James II of Cyprus

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James II
James II of Cyprus.jpeg
King of Cyprus
Reign1463 – 10 July 1473
PredecessorCharlotte
SuccessorJames III
Bornc. 1438/1439 or c. 1440
Died10 July 1473
SpouseCatherine Cornaro
IssueJames III of Cyprus
HousePoitiers-Lusignan
FatherJohn II of Cyprus
MotherMarietta de Patras (concubine)

James II (French: Jacques; c. 1438/1439 or c. 1440 – 10 July 1473) was the penultimate King of Cyprus, reigning from 1463 until his death.

Archbishop of Nicosia[edit]

James was born in Nicosia as the illegitimate son of John II of Cyprus and Marietta de Patras. He was a great favourite of his father, and in 1456, at the age of 16, he was appointed to the archbishopric of Nicosia. After murdering Iacopo Urri, the royal chamberlain, on 1 April 1457,[1] he was deprived of the archbishopric and fled to Rhodes on a ship of the Catalan Juan Tafures. He was pardoned by his father, and the archbishopric was returned to him.

King of Cyprus[edit]

In 1458, his father died, and his half-sister Charlotte became Queen of Cyprus. In 1460, with support from the Egyptian Mamluk sultan Sayf ad-Din Inal, James challenged her right to the throne, blockading her and her husband, Louis of Savoy,[2] in the castle of Kyrenia for three years. When Charlotte fled to Rome in 1463, James was crowned King. In gratitude, he made his friend and supporter Juan Tafures Master of his Household and titular Count of Tripoli.

Marriage, death and succession[edit]

In Venice, on 30 July 1468, seeking political support, he married a 14-year-old Venetian, Catherine Cornaro, by proxy. She finally travelled to Cyprus and married in person at Famagusta in October or November, 1472. James died a few months later in Famagusta, amidst some suspicion that he might have been poisoned by agents of Venice, possibly by Catherine's uncles. According to his will, Caterina, who was pregnant, became regent. The couple's son, James III, died under suspicious circumstances in 1474 before his first birthday, leaving Catherine as regent of Cyprus. During her reign, the island was controlled by Venetian merchants. In 1489, Venice forced her to abdicate, and Cyprus became a colony of the Republic of Venice until the territory was taken by the Ottoman Empire in 1571.

In popular culture[edit]

The civil war between James II (called "Zacco") and Charlotte of Cyprus forms the historical background to the events of Dorothy Dunnett's novel Race of Scorpions.

Illegitimate children[edit]

Prior to his marriage, King James II had four natural children: [3] [4]

  • Eugene of Lusignan also styled d'Armenia (d. Venice, 1536), married Dona Paola Mazzara of Sicily, with issue.
  • Janus of Lusignan (d. after 1552), married (1) 1504 to N de Toro, married (2) 1547 to Virginia Cosanza dei Duchi di San Sava, with issue.
  • Charlotte of Lusignan (d. c. 1469), married after 1463 Sor de Naves.
  • Charla of Lusignan (1468–in prison in Padua, 1480), she was either married or engaged to Alonso, batard d'Aragona (1460–1510), a son of Ferdinand I of Naples.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Benjamin Arbel and David Jacoby, Intercultural Contacts in the Medieval Mediterranean, p. 45, published by Frank Cass, London, Google Books, retrieved on 19 June 2009
  2. ^ "Women in the Middle Ages", Greenwood Press 2004 p. 221
  3. ^ Sanudo, Marino; Stefani, F.; Berchet, G.; Barozzi, N.; Deputazione di storia patria per la Venezie (1882). I diarii di Marino Sanuto:. 8. F. Visentini. p. 648. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  4. ^ Latrie, L. M. (1873). Nouvelles preuves de l'histoire de Chypre sous le reigne des princes de la maison de Lusignan. J. Baur et Detaille. p. 44. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charlotte
Louis
King of Cyprus
1464–1473
Vacant
Title next held by
James III