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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 236



THE LAST DA YS. [VIII. 23° house. He died in 1432, and with him the last sunset gleams of Cypriot glory vanished. The native historians date the beginning of the downfall to the murder of King Peter in 1369; and if that date be taken we must allow that Petrarch, who thought that that event determined the loss of the East, was gifted with s? mewhat of prophetic spirit. But I think that, unfortmu'ie as that event was for the Lusignan house, the doom of the Levantine principalities was already sealed. The great plague had swept off the old acclimatised Franks, especially those nobles who, like the lords of Ibelin, had increased and multiplied in the land. With all their faults these nobles were bonafide Crusaders ; men who, like the first champions, \vere ready to cast in their lot in a Promised Land, and not, like the later adventurers, anxious merely to get all they could out of it, to make their fortunes. They were swept away. Then there was the antagonism of Genoa and Venice, a piece of history which, so long as history is read in books written in direct hostility to Venice, will be read two ways. Genoa had from the very early Crusades been the ally of France, as Pisa had been the ally of England. Venice had succeeded to the political connexions of Pisa ; the tower of the English at Acre abutted on the ward of the Venetians and the Hospitallers ; not that during these ages the English national power was of any weight in the Mediterranean, but a good deal of national piety and knight-errantry found expression in pilgrimages which were now conducted by way of Venice, in alliance with the Teutonic knights and the Hospitallers. The final acquisition of Cyprus by Venice, and the extremely unfair way in which it was acquired, seem to have afforded the grounds for supposing that the republic had long coveted the island, and that her policy had been for several generations directed to that end. This crooked policy is contrasted by the hostile writers with the open.


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