Previous First Next
SALAMIS IN THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS.
BY ALEXANDER PALMA DI CESNOLÀ, F.S.A.,
: the lower part of the object representing The whole device will then read " King of Salamis." It may be perhaps a coin of Nicocreon, King of Salamis. There are. two specimens of this type in the collection of the Duc de Luynes at Paris. The position in the series of Cypriote coins is as yet undetermined. The following coins, although of no great especial value, are of considerable importance, as showing how numerous were the currencies that passed in the Island of Cyprus in the earliest days of the history of the island. Staters of Alexander the Great (fig. 342) are of frequent occurrence, and another coin of Alexander the Great was found, of silver, the reverse being a seated figure of Zeus to the left, holding a bird on his hand. Fig. 343 represents a coin of Massicytes, in Lycia, in fine preservation, found by me at a great depth of earth in Salamis. It is interesting, not on account of its type, which, I believe, is known to numismatists, but as showing what coins were current in Cyprus at an early period. The coins of Antiochus III (fig. 344); of Corinth (fig. 345); of Eretria in Eubœa (fig. 346); and many of uncertain and undetermined localities (fig. 347), are in the Lawrence-Cesnola collection. Among others, I may refer to one of Ephesus (fig. 348), with the name of Lysanias, the magistrate; others of Celenderis in Cilicia (fig. 349); of Miletus (fig. 350); of Soli in Cilicia (fig. 351); of Judǽa (fig. 352), with an inscription purporting that the coin is the equivalent of a sixth part of a shekel; a coin of the Island of Rhodes (fig. 353), with the name of the magistrate, Diognetus, ΔΙΟΓΝΗΊΌΣ, on the reverse, the obverse being designed with the beautiful portraiture of Phoebus Apollo in his character of the Sun God; a coin of a city of Phoenicia (fig. 354), perhaps Aradus; and lastly I will mention a coin (fig. 355) of Valerian the Elder, A.D. 253-260, for Attaleia in Pamphylia, bearing on the obverse figures of Nike, Artemis, and Athene. This last coin is believed to be of the greatest rarity. There is no specimen of it in the British Museum. The legends are—Obv., AΥ KAI IIO ΛI OΥAΛEPIANÒN ET . C. Rev., ATTAΛEΩN. Passing over, for the reasons already given, intermediate currencies of Byzantium and other places, which are well known to numismatists, and all of which are copiously represented by the result of my excavations, I shall conclude with the following observations upon the Latin Kings of Cyprus, of whose coins I found many fine examples. They form an interesting and unbroken series in the numismatics of that island. The Lusignan dynasty held possession from A.D. 1192 to A.D. 1489, or for nearly three hundred years, eighteen princes having reigned during that time, of whom six are represented by coins in the Lawrence- Cesnola collection. The events which led to Guy de Lusignan, founder of the dynasty, becoming master of the island, are related in the valuable little volume on Cyprus, published in 1878 by Captain Savile, of the Intelligence Branch, Quartermaster-General's Department, Horse Guards. Abridged, and with slight alterations, the narrative is as follows:—In the spring of 1191, Richard Cœur de Lion left Messina to join King Philip ofFrance in the third Crusade. A storm dispersed his fleet, and a vessel which carried his sister, Queen Dowager of Sicily,and his fiancée, Berengaria of Navarre, was driven to Limassol, and, being refused entrance to the port, anchored in the roadstead. Cyprus was then under rule of Isaac Comnenus. He had been appointed "Duke" by the Greek Emperor of Byzantium, but declared his independence, and assumed the title of "Emperor of Cyprus". This treacherous prince, who had already imprisoned the crews of three other English ships wrecked on the south coast, tried to seize the vessel containing the royal ladies; but, Richard coming up from Rhodes with the remains of his fleet, frustrated the attempt, and avenged it by landing his troops and occupying Limassol. The arrogance and bad faith of Isaac obliged Richard to attack and defeat him at Colossi. The Cypriote army fled into the interior, and rallied again in the Messarian plain. Richard, meanwhile, in the presence of Guy, Lord of Lusignan in Poitou, ex-king of Jerusalem, and the Princes of Antioch and Tripoli, newly arrived in Cyprus, celebrated, on May 12th, 1191, his marriage with Berengaria. The history of the succeeding events is not clear. Probably some new treachery on Isaac's part determined Richard to follow and punish him. Guy de Lusignan occupied Famagusta. Richard himself defeated and captured Isaac at Tremitusia, marched upon Nicosia, which surrendered without a blow, and reduced, one by one, the famous castles, Kyrenia, Hilarion, Buffavento, and Cantara. Shortly afterwards, Richard sailed with his prisoner from Limassol to S. Jean d'Acre, leavingthe island in charge of R. de Canville and Robert de Turnham. Isaac was confined and died at Tripoli.
Previous First Next