Significant Events

1191 > Revolt: According to Mas Latrie (19th cent.), inhabitants of the foothills of the mountain range of Olympus and Machairas, one month following the conquest, revolted against the English, announcing as the new ruler of the island one monk, a relative of Isaakios. The knights of Richard, having learned about the upcoming revolt, arrested the monk and hanged him [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

1192 > Revolt: It was the 15th of April of 1192 when the Cypriots according to Mas Latrie (19th cent.), having conspired to slain the Templar Knights, attacked them in Nicosia. The Knights had already learned about the conspiracy and they were 120 men [fourteen Brethren, with their horses; twenty-nine other mounted men; and seventy-four foot-soldiers according to Hill (1948)] well-armed and prepared to face the peasants in the battle. The Latins according to Hill, “slew the Greeks indiscriminately like sheep ; a number of Greeks who sought asylum in a church were massacred; the mounted Templars rode through the town spitting on their lances everyone they could reach; the streets ran with blood, which found its way to the water- course at the bridge of the Seneschal (Lodron), whence the water carried it to the bridge of the Pillory; there a great stone was afterwards set up in memory of the slaughter. The Templars rode through the land, sacking the villages and spreading desolation, for the population of both cities and villages fled to the mountains”. The Templar Knights feared that this could be repeated, asked King Richard to buy the island back [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890 – George Hill, 1948].

1215 > Religious affairs: According to Sakellarios (1890), Queen Alicia wrote in 1215 to the Pope Innocent III, asking among others to order so that Cyprus would have only four bishops and that the only archbishopric would be the Latin one. The Pope accepted all the Queens’ demands and the benefits enjoyed by the Greek clergy were removed (land and taxation income) and given to the Latin Church. Additionally, the Greek bishops would have the same rights as the common priests. Having seen this coming, the Greek bishops, that they were about to lose their income and authority, they started growing the seed of revolt against the Queen, onto the people. The Queen, in order to avoid any revolt, reassured the archbishop and the bishops that nothing will be changed prior their death, and that until then their privileges were guaranteed […] [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

1220 > Massacre: French chroniclers mention a disaster that befell the Christians during the absence of the King [this year or the next]. The Saracens, finding that the Christians were not guarding the sea-communications between Acre and Damietta, armed ten galleys to attack the traffic between these places. The Legate, who was warned, declined to believe his spies, even when they reported that the enemy was actually at sea, and took no steps to meet the danger until it was too late. The Saracen fleet raided the port of Lemesos, where they burnt a large number of ships, and took prisoner or killed, it was said, more than 13,000 Christians [George Hill, 1948].

1222 > Earthquake: Sources such as Oliver Scholasticus (alive at that time), Ogerius Panis and Marchisius Scriba 13th cent.), record that the earthquake of May 1222 did much damage at Lemesos, Nicosia and elsewhere, but Paphos suffered the most; the city and castle were completely ruined, the inhabitants killed, the harbour dried up. In one place a church fell, burying the bishop who was saying mass and all his congregation [George Hill, 1948].

1247 > Deadly incident: According to Mas Latrie (19th cent.), Ludvig the 9th lost approximately 200 knights and prelates in Limassol due to a deadly incident [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

1291 > Armenians: Just as after the fall of Acre refugees from Syria flooded into Cyprus, so that Martoni could say, a hundred years later, that the population of Famagusta consisted mainly of people from Acre, so it was after Saracen raids on Armenia. Armenian clerks are mentioned in 1317 as living in the church of St Leonard at Famagusta according to Mollat (20th cent.). An order was given for the support, out of the funds of the church of Famagusta devoted to poor relief, of the poor Armenians living in the church of S.M. Viridis in 1317. The cathedral, owing to the increase of the population, became too small, and an indulgence was granted to those who contributed to the building in 1318. In 1335 the pilgrim James of Verona saw the arrival at Famagusta of over 1500 fugitives from a Moslem invasion of Armenia [George Hill, 1948].

1308-9 > Drought: According to Amadi (1520) and Fl. Boustron (16th cent.), “The year 1308-9 added to the troubles of the inhabitants one of the worst seasons on record. First came a bad drought in summer. In November there were good rains, which encouraged the peasants to sow not only the fields which were prepared for sowing but also others. The rains ceased, and all December, January and February the weather was as hot and sunny as usually from June to August. The fields and gardens were scorched, and many made preparations to leave the island. Processions of all sects were made to pray for rain; the King and his court joined in them, and masses were sung in both Latin and Greek churches. On 27 February it rained again, and the crops revived and promised a better harvest than ever. But, says the chronicler, for the sins of the people, God sent fire in the form of rain’, which burned up all the wheat. This visitation lasted until mid-May, and was followed by fog, and then thin rain, to which succeeded heavy rain and thunderstorms. All the crops and trees were destroyed. It is noted as a sign of the shortage that the retainers of gentlemen were reduced to eating barley-bread, and that grain had to be imported for the people” [George Hill, 1948].

1312 > Piracy/Raid: According to Florio Bustron (16th cent.) and Amadi (1520), the piratical adventures of the Genoese continued after King Henry’s return to cause the same trouble as in his earlier years. An instance is a treacherous attack on Paphos on 2 July 1312 by three galleys under Emmanuel Marabotto, who pretended to the captains of the place, Philip de Borgne and John de Chivides, that he had been sent by the Commune of Genoa to speak with the King. Being believed and allowed to land, Marabotto and all his men went out the next night to Yeroskipou, from which they proceeded to sack the whole district for four days. The responsible officers, taken completely by surprise, abandoned their post. Only when Marabotto had finished lading his galleys with booty and set sail for Lajazzo, the forces that should have opposed him — knights, turcopoles and Hospitallers — collected at Paphos [George Hill, 1948].

1314 > Piracy/Raid: According to Florio Bustron (16th cent.) and Amadi (1520), on 5 June of this year another Genoese pirate made a raid with eleven galleys, burning and laying waste the coast district of Paphos. On hearing this, the King suddenly laid hands on the Genoese in Nicosia, seized their property and imprisoned them all, some four hundred and sixty men, women and children, in the State prison (the house of the Lord of Tyre). There they remained in great straits until 6 September 1320. He also sent Robert de Montgesart with three or four galleys and a foist to sail around the coast and look out for pirates; the result was the capture of a large carrack; the crew were taken prisoners and the ship burnt [George Hill, 1948].

1322 > Armenians: According to Reynaldus (17th cent.) and Amadi (1520), in April of this year the Saracens had raided Armenia. The population took refuge in the fortresses; but on the 15th Lajazzo was taken, the fort on the land side was destroyed, and the sea fort badly damaged. The Armenians took to their ships and abandoned the place on 23 April. As soon as the news reached Cyprus, King Henry sent out Hugh Beduin with three or four galleys and three foists. These took off such of the men, women and children as they could and carried them to Cyprus; returning with provisions they again relieved the Armenians who were still holding out on rocks and in ships and carried to Cyprus a second load of refugees. For some time the fleet lay off Lajazzo fighting the enemy and rescuing Armenians. Such of the latter as could bear arms were enrolled by Henry in the Cypriote army [George Hill, 1948].

1325 > Piracy: According to Hill (1948) and Leontios Macheras (15th cent.), from time to time the King’s ships made an attempt to round up the pirates. In 1325, for instance, fairly vigorous steps were taken, and the Admiral of Cyprus with two galleys captured two pirate galleys. Altogether a hundred men were hanged at various places in July [George Hill, 1948].

1330 > Floods: According to Sakelloarios (1890), Pedieos river drowned 3,000 people in Nicosia and Garillis in Limassol another 2,000 after they flooded [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890]. According to Hill (1948), after the rain had fallen for 28 days and nights, a devastating storm, on 10 November, caused the Pedias to inundate the capital, destroying many houses and drowning thousands of people. The river at this time entered the city at three places, flowed through it and issued at a single point. Lemesos also suffered severely, the deaths being as many as 2000, and the city ‘almost entirely destroyed’. Archbishop John del Conte opened his house and the churches to the homeless and distributed the grain from his granaries, and the King also took measures for the relief of the sufferers. Giovanni Villani (alive during the events) puts the total deaths in both cities at over 8000 [George Hill, 1948].

1343 > Piracy: According to Mas Latrie, Hugo IV having seen that the Turks were attacking and deserting the islands of the Eastern Mediterranean, due to the fact that Cyprus did not possess naval or infantry forces to prevent them, created an alliance in 1343 with Pope Clementine VI, the Republic of Venice and the Hospitalier Knights, all together to provide 20 galleys to defend the island from piracy (4 the Pope, 4 the King of Cyprus, 5 the Republic of Venice, 6 the Hospitalier Knights and 1 the island of Mylos). Having seen this fleet, the Turks, stopped their raids [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

1348 > Massacre: According to Leontios Macheras (15th cent.), the plague struck Cyprus in 1348. According to Latin and Arabic sources it was particularly devastating. According to Al-Maqrizi, the plague struck first the beasts and then the people. Confronted by this calamity, the Cypriots assembled all the Muslim slaves and prisoners together and devoted one entire afternoon until sundown massacring them because of their fear that the Muslims would gain control of the island when so many of the Christians were dying and fleeing in panic. Panic was induced by an accompanying earthquake and a tidal wave that destroyed the navy, the fishing fleet and the olive groves [Michael Walters Dolls, 1977].

1350 > Freed Serfs: According to Sathas (1882), Byzantine writer Nikiforos Grigoras visited Cyprus during this year and was very delighted to find out that King Hugo IV had freed many Greek serfs [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

1359-1369 > Freed Perpirarii: According to Hill [who doesn’t mention the exact date], the treasury balance being inadequate, King Peter I was persuaded to allow the Perpirarii, the second-lowest class of the island, to compound for their freedom from taxation by payment of a lump sum, in order to collect money. This was fixed at first at 2000 white bezants for a man, his wife and infant children; it was then by degrees reduced, for those who could not afford so large a sum, to 1000 bezants. The persons thus freed comprised most of the civil servants and all the rich burgesses in Nicosia, men whose payment of taxes had hitherto come to more than 2000 bezants a year. The class who continued to pay the poll-tax was reduced to those who were too poor to buy themselves off. Their turn was to come later [George Hill, 1948].

1360 > Religious Violence: According to Macheras, someone called Peter Thomas came from Rome and wanted to convert by force to Catholicism the Greek Orthodox, thus he brought the Greek bishops and other prelates in Agia Sofia to convert them and they opposed this. Having learnt the folk about what was going on, they wanted to force themselves into the church but the entrance was blocked. The folk brought a large beam to crush the entrance door and lit a fire. Having heard about the news, the King, sent his brother the Prince and other higher officials of Nicosia to the church. They let the prelates out and let them know that they could keep on performing their religious duties as they used to, and ordered Peter Thomas to abandon the island [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

1361 > Armenians/Greeks: According to Sakellarios, Armenian King Leo in 1361 abandoned the kingdom for France, following its conquest by the Turks. The Greek and Armenian inhabitants of the fortress of Coricus [Cilicia], which was not conquered by the Turks, requested from the King of Cyprus Peter I to become their king and protect them from the Turks. Peter I accepted their pledge and sent a naval force to settle there. Coricus remained land of the Kingdom of Cyprus until 1448 [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

1363 > Piracy/Raid: In 1362 and 1363 the plague once more devastated Cyprus. Like the Arabs in the year 747,  Hill says the Turks took advantage of the depletion of the island to raid it. In 1363 Mehmed Reis came to Pendayia with twelve galleys and carried off a number of prisoners, and another fleet of six galleys raided the Karpass and nearly captured the wife of the Lord of the Karpass, Alphonse de la Roche. A series of retaliatory raids followed, ending on balance very much in favour of the Cypriotes. The Turks who were taken prisoners were all dragged at the horse’s tail and hanged [George Hill, 1948].

1364 > Piracy/Raid: According to Hill, a raid by the Turks on the north coast of Cyprus ended in the destruction of three Turkish ships and their crews [George Hill, 1948].

1424-1426 > Piracy/Raid: According to Mustafa ibn as-Sayyid, a raid by two ships in 1424, carrying 600 men and 300 horses, resulted in the capture of much booty and 1600 prisoners from Limassol. In 1425 The Moslems, who had landed some 400 men, burned Trapeza and Kalopsida; but some of them were caught and defeated by the Prince at Styli [Stylloi]. As Hill comments, “from the letter addressed, 1 Jan. 1426, to the Sultan by the consul and veterani of the Genoese colony of Caffa it appears that the Egyptians treated Famagusta as an enemy, burning many villages [including Trapeza and Kalopsida according to Sakellarios [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890]] and taking many prisoners [700 prisoners of both sexes according to Ibn Yahya]. The enemy was also able to burn Kellia and Aradippou with its seigneurial lodging, also that at the tower of Aliki, as well as Agrinou, Vromolaxia and Kiti. Larnaka was sacked. At a later stage, the enemy burned Palamida [unknown village] and many other places, and finally, having destroyed the upper part of the castle at Limassol and burnt the city, abandoned the enterprise and sailed for Egypt with considerable booty. As to prisoners, Muir, from Arabic sources, says that [around] 1000 were taken and were all sold [including the 700. In 1426, a fleet of 180 vessels according to Zahiri, with an army of around 5000 according to Ziada, landed on the 1st of July at Linidi [unknown village] near Avdimou according to Macheras, and after two days they had burned and sacked Limassol according to Lusignan. The famous “Battle of Khirokitia” followed with the easy defeat of the King. In the meantime, the Mameluke fleet was left free to ravage the coasts. In Nicosia, houses and churches were pillaged, men killed and women raped. The Moslems departed with their booty, carrying with them men, women and children and goods. It was estimated that 6000 men and women were carried away captive to Egypt according to Piloti [3700 according to Suyuti, 2000 according to Sanudo]. Of the common folk among the captives, some were ransomed, some sold and sent to various parts of the world, some accepted the faith of Islam, and some who refused to apostatize died in torment [George Hill, 1948]. Since 1426, Cyprus belonged to the sultan of Cairo [Boustronios Georgios, 15th cent.] and the Franks were paying yearly tribute to him [George Hill, 1948].

1426-1427 > Riots: According to Macheras, following the departure of the Egyptians, the Cyprus folk, living in anarchy, luted each other wines, grain, sugar and other products. Somebody called Sforzas wanted to be the ruler of Paphos. Many peasants anointed a leader in Lefka, another one in Limassol, another one in Orini, another one in Peristerona, another one in Morfou, and in Lefkoniko they anointed king of Cyprus Alexis, the postman. Having heard these the cardinal appointed governors of the island de Nores and de Zimpliet, who with army conquered Nicosia and ordered the folk to return back to their work. Following this, they sent men to the locations where disorder prevailed, they overthrew the situation and some leaders they hanged, others cut their noses, and “King” Alexis was transferred to Nicosia where was hanged in 1427 [Leontios Macheras, 15th cent.].

1441 > Religion: Eleni Palaiologou becomes the queen of Cyprus. According to Florio Bustron, she was not pleased just to be the queen, but also enjoyed to rule the Kingdom. Hence she altered the scenery in regards to the matters of the Church, giving the Greek clergy the superiority for the first time. Somehow the island came to the arms of the Greek (as she was of Greek origin too) [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

1459 > Piracy: The Latin bishop resigned his post because piratical devastations had left the site quite deserted [Ronald Jennings, 1992].

1469 > Famine: According to Boustronios, this year due to certain weather conditions, the crops were destroyed and a great famine occurred: “And at 1469 a great hunger occurred in Cyprus, because of a great myrtos; and the wheat was sold at a great price; and from hunger, many died. And the King took care of it, and send people to bring as much wheat as he could afford, and the island was relieved” [Boustronios Georgios, 15th cent.].

1472 > Marriage: According to Boustronios, during this year King Jacques II married the Venetian Katerina Cornaro [which was meant to be the last queen of Cyprus under the Franks] and he died the next year at the age of 33 [Boustronios Georgios, 15th cent.].

1482 > Decline: Joos van Ghistele described Limassol as a village of only thirty or forty houses; in that same year Paul Walther found only a single church stood there, along “with a few hovels. Fra Suriano reported two years later that Limassol appeared “in ruins” and “entirely destroyed by earthquakes [Ronald Jennings, 1992].


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