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Remembering the crusaders in Cyprus: the Lusignans, the Hospitallers and the 1191 conquest of Cyprus in Jean d’Arras’ Mélusine

Nicholson, Helen 2018. Remembering the crusaders in Cyprus: the Lusignans, the Hospitallers and the 1191 conquest of Cyprus in Jean d’Arras’ Mélusine. In: Parsons, Simon Thomas and Paterson, Linda M. eds. Literature of the Crusades, Woodbridge, Suffolk: D. S. Brewer, pp. 158-172.

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Abstract

During 1392 and 1393 the French writer Jean d’Arras composed a story of the Lusignans’ legendary fairy ancestress, Mélusine, which depicted their acquisition of Cyprus rather differently from actual events in 1191. Whereas historically Richard the Lionheart had conquered the island and then granted or sold it to Guy of Lusignan, in Jean d’Arras’s account the Lusignans acquired Cyprus through marriage and the heroism of Mélusine’s sons, with the assistance of the Order of St John of Rhodes—otherwise known as the Hospitallers. Jean d’Arras claimed to have based his work on historical sources, but he was very selective in the information that he used, excluding the dominant versions of history in favour of an invented past which gave the Lusignans free agency and full ownership of the island. This article considers Jean’s use of both past and present, and what he could have intended to gain for his patrons by restating the Lusignans’ rights over Cyprus at a time when their control of the island was being challenged.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
D History General and Old World > DC France
Uncontrolled Keywords: Crusades; Medieval French Literature; memory
Publisher: D. S. Brewer
ISBN: 9781843844587
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2018 15:12
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/108535

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