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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

XI: The Kingdom of Cyprus, 1369-1489,   pp. 361-395 PDF (13.3 MB)

Page 362

 Despite the regent's endeavors, successful up to a point, to delay his nephew's
coronations, Peter II received the crown of Cyprus in the cathedral of Nicosia
in January 1372, and in the following October that of Jerusalem—continuing
the precedent set by his grandfather, Hugh IV, and followed by his father—in
the cathedral of Famagusta, the Cypriote town geographically nearest to the
lost kingdom. It had become the established practice, when the king mounted
his horse on leaving the cathedral after the ceremony, for the representatives
of Genoa and Venice to lead the king's mount, one on either side, the Genoese
on the right, the Venetian on the left. Between these two Italian communities
in Famagusta, which were based on their respective loggias, there existed
a chronic state of feud, and it required no great provocation for the tension
between them to find an outlet in mutual violence. One such episode had occurred
as recently as 1368, in the last year of Peter I, and the memory of it was
therefore still fresh. But on this occasion the provocation, given the importance
which the age attached to matters of international precedence, was anything
but slight. The Venetian, perhaps deriving confidence from the presence in
Famagusta of a more than normally large number of his compatriots, usurped
the position of the Genoese by seizing the right-hand rein of the king's
bridle, and there ensued a bloody affray which was momentarily suppressed
by the regent but broke out again with increased violence at the subsequent
coronation banquet. The Genoese consul, a mem ber of the great house of Doria,
seems to have reacted very intem perately, even for an aggrieved party. He
armed his nationals, who attacked the Venetians, and the regent's forces
had to intervene once more to restore order. To make matters worse, the people
of Famagusta, who hated the privileged and arrogant Genoese, sided with the
Venetians, sacked the shops and houses of the Genoese, killed a number of
them, and destroyed their loggia. 
 Negotiations to compose the situation were now set on foot between the Cypriote
authorities and the Genoese podestâ and might have achieved a settlement
but for three unforeseen factors. First, despite the release and pardon of
the Genoese who had been arrested for their part in the disturbances, and
despite royal proclamations to the effect that no one should injure a Genoese
on pain of losing his right hand and that the Genoese in Cyprus should remain
in the full enjoyment of their customary rights and privileges, a large number
of the Genoese merchants of Famagusta left the island secretly with their
treasure before the Cypriote authorities could stop them. 

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