The Venetian Period in Cyprus 

Policy in Cyprus

The acquisition of Cyprus by Venice was prompted by the value of the island as a base for her fleets in the eastern Mediterranean and as a trading centre for the Levant. The policy of Venice was directed to making the island as secure as possible, since it was clear that it formed a vulnerable outpost in a hostile area. 

To reconcile the inhabitants to their new masters, the republic confirmed the nobility and the clergy in their ancient privileges and possessions. They promised to govern in accordance with the Assizes of Jerusalem, which were translated into Italian and published in Venice in 1535. The dominance of the Latin archbishop was, of course, maintained, but it was expressly declared by the Pope that the Orthodox church was not to be molested for observing its ancient customs. Certain concessions were made to the peasantry, who were allowed to purchase their freedom for a fixed sum. The taxes hitherto paid under the Lusignans were confirmed and a promise given that no further burdens would be imposed. 

The administration of the island was entrusted to a lieutenant-governor chosen from the nobility of Venice and appointed for a term of two years. With him were associated two other nobles, called -Consiglieri-. These three resided at Nicosia and constituted the -Rettori-, or governors, of the island. The collection of taxes was entrusted to two other noblemen, called -Camerlenghi-, and the military administration was under the -Provveditore.

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

Chronological History