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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume VI: The impact of the Crusades on Europe
(1989)

V: The institutions of the Kingdom of Cyprus,   pp. 150-174 PDF (13.4 MB)


Page 167

Ch. V THE INSTITUTIONS OF THE KINGDOM OF CYPRUS 167 
 These two republics had to look after not only the interests of their merchants
who traded in the kingdom or who put in at its ports, but also those of a
considerable number of "white Venetians" and "white Genoese". These were
descendants of Syrian protégés of Venice and Genoa who had
established themselves in Cyprus after fleeing the Holy Land. They claimed
to enjoy the exemptions granted to the Venetians and Genoese, and that their
cases should come under the jurisdiction of the consuls of Venice and Genoa.
This did not prevent them from acquiring land (the Assises forbade the sale
of land to "gens de commune") or from holding administrative offices.53 
 A quarrel between the Genoese and the Venetians, at the time of the coronation
of Peter II in Famagusta, following an earlier conflict which had arisen
under Peter I concerning the desertion of sailors who had claimed to be Genoese,
led first to an order of the podestà of Genoa to his compatriots to
leave the island, and then to the arrival of a Genoese fleet,54 Peter II,
captured by a ruse, had to consent to turn Famagusta over to the republic
of Genoa as pledge for the payment of a heavy indemnity. This surrender was
to last only twelve years, and reserved the rights of the king over the city
(1374). James I had to give up Famagusta definitively on February 19, 1384.
The city, with a band of territory surrounding it, was thus, in fact, independent
of the kingdom until 1464. When James II repossessed it he preserved its
peculiar status: the Greek bourgeoisie of the city continued to come under
the jurisdiction of the court of the Syrians, and the royal writs drawn up
at Famagusta were in Italian, not French.55 
 Venice, which had preserved its neutrality, maintained its privileged status
in Famagusta, but its galleys put in at Larnaca when they came to pick up
salt, or at Limassol to load sugar. The bailie of Venice, who represented
the doge in the king's court, and who administered justice to subject Venetians,
moved to Nicosia. Some Venetians began to take advantage of the difficulties
of the crown, but the republic continued to be cautious in its attitude toward
the Lusignans. When the Mamluks took Nicosia in 1426, the Venetian subjects
gave them a warm welcome, thinking they would be treated as neutrals. But,
in view of the king's 
galea zucharorum arrived to take on sugar (Richard, "Une Famille de ' vénitiens
blancs"). Cf. Pierre Racine, "Note sur le trafic véneto-chypriote
a la fin du moyen age," Byzantinische Forschungen, V (1977), 307—329.
 53. L. de Mas Latrie, "Nouvelles preuves," Bibliothèque de 1' cole
des chartes, XXXV, 153— 154; Richard, "Une Famille de ' vénitiens
blancs"; David Jacoby, "Citoyens, sujets et protégés 
de Venise et de Genes en Chypre du XIIIe au XVe siècle," Byzantinische
Forschungen, V (1977), 
159—188. 
 54. On the first conflict see Machaeras, Recital, caps. 145—156. 
 55. Richard, "La Situation juridique de Famagouste." 


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