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Spectacle, Community and Holy War in Fourteenth-Century Cyprus

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Abstract This article examines how temporal and ecclesiastic authorities on Lusignan Cyprus used rhetoric and performance to mobilize support for the Alexandria Crusade. While King Peter I appealed to the chivalric ideals of his vassals in order to overcome their reluctance to endanger the kingdom’s economic and military security, papal legate Peter of Thomas led interfaith processions that presented Cyprus’s population as united in its Christian devotion despite long-standing tensions between the Latin and Greek communities. This presentation of a shared Cypriot identity reflected nascent moves away from the physical and social segregation of confessional groups. It also clarifies the role played by perceptions of a constant threat of Mamlūk invasion in this process of acculturation. Such concerns and responses were not unique to Cyprus. By considering late-medieval Cyprus as a frontier society, we can gain insight into the complex politics of holy war in other composite medieval communities.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, University of Rochester, 364 Rush Rhess Library Rochester, NY 14627 USA


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