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“A poor island and an orphaned realm …, built upon a rock in the midst of the sea …, surrounded by the infidel Turks and Saracens”: The Crusader Ideology in Leontios Makhairas’s Greek Chronicle of Cyprus

ByAngel Nicolaou-Konnari

Literary production in medieval and early modern Cyprus is characterized by a rich historiographical tradition, the amazing continuity, variety, and volume of which constitute a unique case in the literary history of the Latin and Ottoman-ruled Greek world. One could suggest a number of complex historical and social factors that contributed to the creation of this historiographical tradition, especially when the Cypriot case is compared to that of Venetian Crete, a comparative examination of literary production in Cyprus and Crete under Latin rule and of their respective social, cultural, and ideological context still lacking.1 For the purpose of this study it is important to stress that the change in the languages used for the composition of these “histories” of Cyprus reflects cultural relations and linguistic evolution on the island as well as the process of the formation of ethnic identity (or identities). This “school” of history writers may be extended to encompass a corpus stretching from Neophytos the Recluse in the late twelfth-early thirteenth century to Archimandrite

A first version of the present study, under the title “The Crusader Ideology in the Greek Cypriot Chronicle of Leontios Makhairas: Holy War or National War?” was presented at the joint research conference of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Science Foundation Holy War: Past and Present. The Crusader Phenomenon and its Relevance Today, which was organised by Sophia Menache, Judith Bronstein, and Adrian Boas (Jerusalem, 1-6 June 2008). I am grateful to the editor and two reviewers for their constructive comments, to Laura Minervini for her valuable suggestions, and to Despina Ariantzi for providing material. For the quotation in the title, see below n. 64.