Chrysovalantis Kyriacou

Jul 22, 2022

Orthodox Cyprus Under the Latins, 1191-1571

Society, Spirituality, and Identities

Lexington Books 2021

Medieval and Renaissance Cyprus was a fascinating place of ethnic, cultural, and religious encounters. Following almost nine centuries of Byzantine rule, Cyprus was conquered by the Crusaders in 1191, becoming (until 1571) the most important stronghold of Latin Christianity in the Eastern Mediterranean—first under the Frankish dynasty of the Lusignans, and later under the Venetians. Modern historiographical readings of Cypriot identity in medieval and early modern times have been colored by British colonialism, Greek nationalism, and Cyprocentric revisionism. Although these perspectives have offered valuable insights into the historical experience of Latin-ruled Cypriots, they have partially failed to capture the dynamics of non-coercive resistance to domination, and of identity preservation and adaptation. 

Orthodox Cyprus under the Latins, 1191–1571 (Lexington Books, 2018) readdresses the question of Cypriot identity by focusing on the Greek Cypriots, the island’s largest community during the medieval and early modern period. By bringing together theories from the fields of psychology, social anthropology, and sociology, this study explores continuities and discontinuities in the Byzantine culture and religious tradition of Cyprus, proposing a new methodological framework for a more comprehensive understanding of Cypriot Orthodoxy under Crusader and Venetian rule. A discussion of fresh evidence from hitherto unpublished primary sources enriches this examination, stressing the role of medieval and Renaissance Cyprus as cultural and religious province of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine Orthodox world.

Chrysovalantis Kyriacou (Ph.D.) is a lecturer in Ecclesiastical History at the Theological School at the church of Cyprus. He earned his Ph.D. in history at Royal Holloway, University of London, and has also taught at the University of Cyprus. His area of specialty is late antique, Byzantine, medieval, and early modern history and culture, focusing on the role of Cyprus as a place of ethnoreligious encounter, interaction, and contention.

Evan Zarkadas (MA) is an independent scholar of European and Medieval history and an educator. He received his master’s in history from the University of Maine focusing on Medieval Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, medieval identity, and ethnicity during the late Middle Ages.

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