Cyprus History through the Ages -

   People & Life
   Arts & Culture
   Flora & Fauna
   What's New?
   Site Information



Cyprus History

Cyprus under The Knights Templars

The Knights Templars formed one of the three great military orders of knighthood, founded in the twelfth century to protect the pilgrims who flocked to Jerusalem after the First Crusade. At the head of the order was the Master of the Temple at Jerusalem until 1291, when, on the fall of the Latin kingdom, the headquarters of the order moved to Cyprus.

In 1128 the rule of the order was sanctioned by the Council of Troyes. In a few years, the order was established in almost every kingdom of Latin Christendom, each establishment being richly endowed with lands by kings and princes and with the gifts of grateful pilgrims. Spiritual privileges were granted by the Popes. As defenders of the Church, the Templars were exempted from payment of tithes and gradually became free from the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishops, owning spiritual allegiance to the Pope alone. The result was that scarce twenty-five years after its foundation the order was at open feud with the bishops and clergy. But, protected by the Pope and endowed with great wealth, the Position of the Templars was secure so long as the crusading spirit lasted in Europe.

Costume of the Knights TemplarsIt was with the support of the Templars that, on the death of Baldwin V, Sybilla and Guy de Lusignan were crowned at Jerusalem, without the knowledge or consent of the barons of the realm. The rule of the Templars in Cyprus was marked by great severity and they quickly incurred the hatred of the Cypriots by their harsh exactions. At length, in despair at their treatment and seeing that Templars were few in number, the islanders determined to attempt a general massacre of the knights on Easter Day, 1192. The Templars became aware of the plot and took refuge in their stronghold at Nicosia, since they were too few to meet the insurgents in the open. They offered to leave the island if their lives were spared, but as this offer was rejected, they determined to fight rather than to be starved into submission.

Sallying into the streets at dawn, they took the Cypriots unawares and slaughtered great numbers, sparing neither age nor sex. The rebellion was crushed, but the Templars felt unable to hold Cyprus by force and they therefore asked Richard to take back their purchase. This he agreed to do, and the Templars retired to Syria, retaining, however, some of their possessions in Cyprus.

The Knights Templars' sealMeanwhile Sybilla, the hereditary queen of Jerusalem, had died and the opposition to the rule of Guy, her husband, increased. The crusaders determined to elect a new king, and their choice fell on Richard's nephew, Henri, count of Champagne, who with the consent of his uncle, was elected king of Jerusalem. Guy de Lusignan thus lost the crown of Jerusalem, but as he had originally come from Richard's duchy of Aquitaine and had long been a vassal of the English king, Richard offered him the sovereignty of Cyprus in compensation for the loss of his kingdom. It is uncertain, however, whether Cyprus was transferred to him as a free gift or on the same terms as the island had been sold to the Templars. It is probable that Guy undertook the debt, but it is unlikely that he ever paid it.


Related Links


  • From: Newman, P., (1940), "A Short History of Cyprus", Longmans, Green & Co., London.



north Cyprus villa





AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Advertise Here on North Cyprus Home Page

Fly with us! Cyprus Turkish Airlines



©  1994-2008