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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 193



vin.] THE I.USIGNANS. lordship of Cyprus instead. The Templars were glad enough to sell their rights, and Guy, with Richard's advice, bought them. A successful sally of the garrison of Nicosia saved the Latins from massacre, the alarm of which they avenged by an indiscriminate slaughter of the Greeks. Guy thus obtained his first hold on the island ; so much of the Greek population as was still spared fled in panic; and way was thus made for the institution, in this remote corner of the Levant, of a dynasty and government of the_gtraitest feudal character; the introduction into a land, empty of all but the cultivating classes and slaves, of the fully developed and now crystallised block of feudal polity. The house of Lusignan maintained itself in Cyprus for nearly three centuries, during which, although fallen somewhat from the blessedness which had been broken up by Isaac Comnenus, the island seems to have retained so much fertility and prosperity internally as to make its later history very dark by contrast. The flight of the Greek population, which had begun under Isaac and been completed after the massacre of Nicosia, left the island open to colonists from the West. The peculiar privileges of the Cypriot Church, which was autocephalous, made it easy for the remaining prelates and people to accept the Western obedience, and enabled the house of Lusignan to appeal confidently for the support of European Christendom. The short period too during which, under Guy and his successor, the administration of Cyprus was kept separate from that of the waning kingdom of Palestine, gave those kings a moment's breathing time, and this they improved with a success which the long continuance of their dynasty against fearful odds may be held to prove. Guy, we are told, received Cyprus for life only, and did homage for the island to Richard. As he already bore the title of king, the question whether he should hold Cyprus as


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