author of the article is Peter W. Edbury and it is contained in his book
The Kingdoms of the Crusaders From Jerusalem To Cyprus.
The book comprises of a collection of articles that discuss various
aspects of this period. The article
in question is approximately 17 pages long.
In focusing on the two countries of Cyprus and Genoa, Edbury draws upon
numerous sources to explain what lead to the War of 1373-1374.
divides his article into three major areas that explain the crux of his
argument. These areas represent the
various aspects of the relationship between Cyprus and Genoa.
In putting forth his ideas Edbury brings each of these major sections
through the same pattern. They all
begin early in the relationship between these two countries and proceeds along a
predetermined path which concludes just prior to 1373.
Edbury begins with a brief introduction that describes what the War means
to the history of Cyprus and how he describes it as being a watershed in the
countries history and resulted in its ultimate destruction.
Edbury mentions right away that the immediate causes of the War 1373-1373
were 'the desire of Genoese to exact reparations from an obdurate Cypriot
government and their alleged concern to avenge the murder of the previous King
Peter I' (Section XIV, pg.110). He
then goes on to discuss why the War of 1373-1374 took place and could not be
three main areas that Edbury proceeds along in his article are those of: the
actual relations between Cyprus and Genoa a century prior to 1373 and how these
relations changed; the economic and commercial importance of the Eastern
Mediterranean and its importance to
Cyprus; finally the legalities of Cyprus and their relations with the West and
the Genoese on the Island itself. He
concludes his article revealing that the war took place due to the policy's and
relationship of both parties and that Cyprus and Genoa should shoulder the
begins his expedition into the history of Cypriot and Genoese affairs 100 years
prior to the conflict that would change Cyprus forever.
He states that Cypriot and Genoese relations were not always antagonistic
rather they were at one time on good terms.
This was around 1218 and these 'warm' feelings lasted until about 1258.
From 1258 onward Cypriot and Genoese relations began a steady decline
that culminated in 1373. In 1256
Genoa and the Venetians were engaged in the War of St. Sabas.
During this conflict Cyprus in 1258 choose to quietly support the
Venetians, though as Edbury points this perhaps more moral support to a degree
and did not result in any military support.
With this action Cyprus goes against Genoa and it is this that marks the
decline of relations between the two countries.
Edbury points out that
the War of St. Sabas marks the beginning of strained relations between Cyprus
and Genoa, it also marks the beginning tendency which lasted throughout the next
century for successive rulers of Cyprus to show favour to Genoa's rivals.'
(Section XIV, pg.111) These rivals
consisted primarily the Venetians. Edbury
describes that Cyprus continually leaned toward the Venetians versus Genoa, and
he provides ample evidence of this in that the Genoese and the Venetians were
involved in two other conflicts: the War of Curzola 1294-1299 and the Straights
War 1350-1355. In both these
instances Cyprus favoured the Venetians. Edbury
sees the period of 1290-1360 Cyprus clearly favouring the Venetians over Genoa
which only further heightened the antagonistic relationship between Cyprus and
economic and commercial importance of the Eastern Mediterranean trade in
particular as well as Western Mediterranean trade were of strict importance to
Cyprus. The period from about the
late thirteenth century to the late fourteenth century saw Cyprus with its port
of Famagusta enjoying considerable prosperity.
This economic prosperity was due to numerous factors that Edbury goes
into depth about. This prosperity
was due to in part that Cyprus lay in the path of the trade routes of the period
and that with the loss of the Crusader States Cyprus increasingly became an
important link in the trade with the Levant.
Cyprus also used its navy to police the seas in conjunction with a papal
ban that prevented Christian trade with Muslims, they hoped to prevent trade
with Syria thereby forcing people to trade with them.
This however, as is fairly obvious, led to conflicts with not only Genoa
but with Western Europe who had their ships seized by the Cypriot navy.
Edbury points out that this economic policy was '. . .an important reason
for the Genoese hostility at the early years of the fourteenth century.'
(Section XIV, pg. 117) The
situation for Cyprus changed in the mid- 1300s as the trade routes slowly
shifted due to the steady decline of the papal ban.
This shift put Cyprus out in the cold of Eastern Mediterranean trade.
Economically with Cyprus working to maximise its profit and Genoa wanting
the something relations between these two countries declined further, especially
in face of Cypriot actions between 1291-1370 on trying to be at the centre of
Eastern Mediterranean trade. These
actions were partly shaped by the papal ban instituted by the papacy.
final factor that Edbury points to as a cause of the antagonistic relationship
between Cyprus and Genoa is within the arena of privileges.
By privileges Edbury means special rights that the Cyprus government
offered to individuals in attempts to attract trade to Cyprus in times of
economic turmoil. The problem with
this was that when economic turmoil gave way to economic prosperity these
privileges were no longer seen as necessary.
Consequently and invariably disagreements arose over the legalities of
these privileges. Genoese arguments
in these areas are based, Edbury says, within the agreement of 1232 granted to
them by Henry I.
1232 grant gave four things: jurisdiction over Genoese nationals to be exercised
by officials from Genoa; freedom to trade and freedom from commercial imposts;
ownership of certain properties in the island and the obligation of the kings to
defend Genoese subjects and their possessions on land and sea.' (Section XIV,
pg.121) The above mentioned grant
and its clauses were open to constant dispute further exacerbating the relations
between Cyprus and Genoa. Part of
the problem he defines with the privileges was who were under Genoese
jurisdiction and who was not.
sums up his discussion in three ways. First,
he makes it known that the article takes a pro Cypriot view and therefore the
turmoil's of Genoa and its interests were not included.
Secondly, '. . . that if the relations between Cyprus and Genoa were bad,
this was definitely not simply the results of an aggressive, unscrupulous
maritime power preying on and exploiting a passive and largely defenceless
island. That there were acts of
piracy and provocative behaviour by individual Genoese cannot be denied, but
against such acts must be set the willingness of successive kings of Cyprus to
take individual Genoese into their service and on occasion reward them with high
offices.' (Section XIV, pg. 125) Thirdly,
'the Genoese exasperation with a kingdom which had done so much to thwart its
interests over the years and which was weakened by the effects of a costly war,
from which it had little to show, and by its own internal political wrangles,
came to ahead.' (Section XIV, pg.126) In
other words then Edbury in his article brings to light that prior to that one
act that sent Cyprus and Genoa into battle in 1373, there was the compounding
element of a century of rising tensions and an non-conciliatory manner between
Genoa and Cyprus.