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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe

V: The Institutions of the Kingdom of Cyprus,   pp. 150-174 PDF (9.7 MB)

Page 154

they nominated titularies of these same offices, as well as an admiral, a
turcopolier, a chancellor, and an auditor for the kingdom of Cyprus. In addition,
after the seigneurial families of the Holy Land died out, while retaining
the titles of the princes of Antioch and Galilee and the counts of Tripoli
for their younger sons, Peter I and his successors accorded to their subjects
the titles of counts of Edessa and of Jaffa, and lords of Sidon, of Caesarea,
and of Beirut. However, these titles did not include any territorial endowment,
in contrast to the first titled seigneury created in the kingdom of Cyprus,
the county of Carpas (Karpassos; 1472).~ 
 When Guy of Lusignan became lord of Cyprus, he concerned himself with attracting
enough Franks to the island to stabilize its occupation and ensure its defense.
Some came from the kingdom of Jerusalem or the other principalities of the
Latin east, others came from the west, especially from Poitou. He distributed
fiefs among them generously (his brother Aimery reputedly reduced the extent
of these concessions). It was undoubtedly the domain of the "emperor" Isaac
Comnenus, who had deprived numerous members of the Greek aristocracy of their
possessions, which was thus parceled out, but many great Greek landholders,
especially among the laity, and a number of Venetians were also despoiled
— one tradition has it that the archontes had first to surrender half
their possessions. In any case, it is certain that no Greek name is encountered
among the vassals of the kings of Cyprus in the thirteenth century. 10 
 Although generous, these feudal grants were never connected with important
territories. There were no great seigneuries in Cyprus; most of them included
no more than a single village (casal), or else a few scattered villages (one
exception being the domain of Marethasa, belonging to the titular count of
Edessa in the fifteenth century). Not all of them had even a fortified manor-house
with a defense tower. 
 The customs of the kingdom of Jerusalem were imposed with respect to feudal
law: only minor differences may be noted (as, for example, the fief being
passed on only to the direct descendants of a deceased 
 9. L. de Mas Latrie, "Les Comtes de Carpas," Bibliothèque de l'Ecole
des chartes, XLI (1880), 375 if., and "Documents nouveaux," pp. 421—423;
Richard, "Paine d'Orient latin." 
 10. The "families of archontes which, without titles or arms, comprised
a Greek nobility", may have maintained "within the fold of a population hostile
to the invaders their rank and their prerogatives of yester-year", to reemerge
in the 16th century: vitalien Laurent's review of G. Hill's History of Cyprus
in Revue des etudes byzantines, vI (1948), 269. The only Greek "noble" known
up to the 16th century is Constant Synkletiko, cited in 1318 in the account
book of Psimolófo, but some civil servants of the king or the churches
bore names which seem tO indicate a Greek aristocratic extraction. 

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