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Byzantine Era


Venetian Era

Ottoman Era

British Era


Northern Cyprus

The Order of the Sword





After the division of the Roman Empire into an eastern half and a western half, Cyprus came under the rule of Byzantium. At that time, its bishop, while still subject to the Church, was made autocephalous by the Council of Ephesus.

The Arabs invaded Cyprus in force in the 650s, but in 688, the emperor Justinian II and the caliph Abd al-Malik reached an unprecedented agreement. For the next 300 years, Cyprus was ruled jointly by both the Arabs and the Byzantines as a condominium, despite the nearly constant warfare between the two parties on the mainland. The Byzantines recovered control over the island for short periods thereafter, but the status quo was always restored.

This period lasted until the year 965, when Niketas Chalkoutzes conquered the island for a resurgent Byzantium. In 1185, the last Byzantine governor of Cyprus, Isaac Comnenus of Cyprus from a minor line of the Imperial house, rose in rebellion and attempted to seize the throne. His attempted coup was unsuccessful, but Comnenus was able to retain control of the island.

Byzantine actions against Comnenus failed because he enjoyed the support of William II of Sicily. The Emperor had an agreement with the sultan of Egypt to close Cypriot harbours to the Crusaders.


Mediæval and Modern History

In 1191 the island was conquered by King Richard I of England during the Third Crusade from Isaac Comnenus, an upstart local governor and self-proclaimed emperor claiming the Empire of Constantinople. Richard then sold it to the Knights Templar, who in turn sold it to King-Consort Guy of Jerusalem, of the House of Lusignan, in 1192 after the failure of Richard's crusade and when Guy was dispossessed from his late wife's kingdom. His brother and successor, Amalric I of Cyprus, received the royal crown and title from Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor. [1]


After the death of Amalric of Lusignan, the Kingdom continually passed to a series of young boys who grew up as king. The Ibelin family, which had held much power in Jerusalem prior its downfall, acted as regents during these early years. In 1229 one of the Ibelin regents was forced out of power by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, who brought the struggle between the Guelphs and Ghibellines to the island. Frederick's supporters were defeated in this struggle by 1233, although it lasted longer in Palestine and in Europe. Frederick’s Hohenstaufen descendants continued to rule as kings of Jerusalem until 1268 when Hugh III of Cyprus claimed the title and its territory of Acre for himself upon the death of Conrad III (= Conradin, †1268) of Jerusalem, thus uniting the two kingdoms. The territory in Palestine was finally lost while Henry II was king in 1291, but the kings of Cyprus continued to claim the title.

Like Jerusalem, Cyprus had a Haute Cour (High Court), although it was less powerful than it had been in Jerusalem. The island was richer and more feudal than Jerusalem, so the king had more personal wealth and could afford to ignore the Haute Cour. The most important vassal family was the multi-branch House of Ibelin. However, the king was often in conflict with the Italian merchants, especially because Cyprus had become the centre of European trade with Africa and Asia after the fall of Acre in 1291.

The kingdom eventually came to be dominated more and more in the 14th century by the Genoese merchants. When the Mameluks made the kingdom a tributary state in 1426 the remaining monarchs gradually lost almost all independence, until 1489 when the last Queen, Catherine Cornaro, was forced to sell the island to Venice. The Republic lost the island to the Ottomans in 1571.


The Ottoman Era 1571-1878

Kibris, created a province in 1571, with the mainland attachments (= Cilicia), changed its status frequently. At first it was under direct Ottoman rule but following the abuses of the administration and the many uprisings they caused  it was made a sançak of the Kaptan Paşa’s province of Cezayir (Algeria) from c. 1660-1703, and again from 1784 onwards. It was a fief of the Grand Viziers from 1703-45 and from 1748-84. For the short period 1745-8 it was again an eyâlet. [2] About 1660 also, in order to eliminate the greed of the Ottoman administration and stop the oppression and injustice against the people (who they called "rayahs", sheep for milking), the Sultan recognised the Archbishop and the Bishops as “the protectors of people” and the representatives of the Sultan.

The cypriotic archbishops were independent from Constantinople. They wore red brocade shoes, like the Byzantine emperors before them, signed their acts in red ink and sealed with the imperial two-headed eagle.

The Kaptan Pasha’s and the Grand Viziers both let themselves be represented by the highest bidders for the office of military and civil administrator.


The British, 1878-1960

In 1869 the Suez Canal opened, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland showed increasing interest in the island, which is situated in what had suddenly become a very convenient location. When the Turks were defeated by the Russians in 1877 and the Berlin Congress took place the next year in order to revise the treaty of St Stefano which was signed by Russia and the Ottoman Empire according to terms dictated by the former, it was officially announced on 9 July 1878 that on the 4th of preceding June, the British and the Sultan had secretly countersigned the Convention of Istanbul by virtue of which the possession and administration of Cyprus was vested in Great Britain. In exchange for control of Cyprus, the UK agreed to support Turkey in the Russian-Turkish war. This agreement was formalised as the Cyprus Convention.

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, Cyprus was annexed by Britain in 1925 and made a crown colony. Between 1955-‘59 EOKA was created by Greek Cypriots and led by George Grivas to perform enosis (union of the island with Greece). However the EOKA campaign did not achieve a union with Greece but rather an independent republic, the Republic of Cyprus, in 1960.


Independence, 1960

Internal conflicts turned into full-fledged armed fighting between the two communities on the island which prompted United Nations to send peace keeping forces in 1964 (These forces are still in place today). In response to a Greek-backed coup attempting to unify the island with Greece, Turkey invaded the island in 1974 and seized the northern third of the island, Turkish Cypriots in the south would travel north and Greek Cypriots in the north would move to the south. The de facto state of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed in 1975 under the name “Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus”. The name was changed to its present form on 15 November 1983.


Heraldry [3]


Byzantine Era until 1191


Niketas Chalkoutzes, governor of Cyprus 950-965


Niketas Chalkoutzes is credited by Kedrenos with the recovery of Cyprus—a neutralized Byzantine–Arab condominium since the late 7th century—and its full annexation into the Byzantine Empire. The event is only briefly covered, and no details are given in the sources, while its date is commonly placed in the second half of 965, but may be slightly earlier, perhaps even in mid-964. Chalkoutzes was likely the first Byzantine governor (strategos (general)) of the island after that.

General Leo Phokas the Younger defeats the Arabs under Sayf al-Dawla in 950.

The Byzantine ambassador, Niketas Chalkoutzes, escapes from Arab captivity during the battle..

Miniature from the Madrid Skylitzes


On this picture the Romans (ρωμαλοι) are riding from the left to the right. Niketas Chalkoutzes (οχαλκοντς) is in the middle and the arabs (ςαρακηνοι) are on the left. The Byzantines, including Chalkoutzes  have pointed shields of the norman model here, the Arabs (Saracens) have round shields, both however without any device.


Vakram was the Byzantine governor of Cyprus in 965


From the 9th and 10th centuries some officials of Cyprus bearing the titles of archon (ruler), Spatharokandidatos (palace guard), Protospatharios (theme commander) or Kommerkiarios (tax collector) are known from their seals.


Michael imperial spatharokandidatos and archon of Cyprus (9th/10th century)


Obv.: Bust of the Virgin holding the medallion of Christ before her. No sigla. Traces of circular inscription along the circumference: Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ.  Border of dots


Rev.:Inscription of five lines. Border of dots.


Μιχαὴλ ασιλικῷ σπαθαροκανδιδάτῳ καὶ ἄρχοντη τῆς Κύπρου


Translation of the inscriptions: Mother of God, help your servant Michael imperial spatharokandidatos and archon of Cyprus.


Theodosios imperial spatharokandidatos and archon of Cyprus (10th century)


Obv.: Patriarchal cross on three steps.

Circular inscription between two borders of dots: Κύριε βοήθη τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


Rev.: Inscription of five lines:

Θεοδοσίῳ βασιλικῷ σπαθαροκανδιδάτῳ καὶ ἄρχοντιΚύπρου

Border of dots



Translation of the inscriptions:

Lord, help your servant Theodosios imperial spatharokandidatos and archon of Cyprus


Bardas protospatharios epi tou Chrysotri-klinou and (basilikos?) of Cyprus (10th/11th century)


Obv.: Bust of the Virgin with her hands open in front of her. Sigla:  Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. Border of dots.


Rev.: Inscription of five lines:

Βάρδᾳ βασιλικῷ πρωτοσπαθαρίῳ ἐπὶ τοῦ Χρυσοτρικλίνου καὶ βασιλικῷ (?) Κύπρου.

No visible border

Translation of inscriptions: Bardas imperial protospatharios epi tou Chrysotriklinou and basilikos (?) of Cyprus


John imperial semeiophoros, kommerkiarios of Attaleia and Cyprus (10th/11th century)


Obv.: Bust of St. George holding spear and shield. Vertical inscription: Ὁ ἅγιος Γεώργιος. Border of dots.

Rev.: Inscription of five lines:

Ἰωάννῃ βασιλικῷ σημιοφόρῳ, κουμερκιαρίῳ Ἀταλίας καὶΚύπρου

Border of dots


Translation of inscriptions: John imperial semeiophoros, koumerkiarios of Attaleia and Cyprus. [4]


Theophilos Erotikos until 1042


Strategos of Serbija but expelled by Stefan Vojislav a Serbian lord. Erotikos was nevertheless appointed governor of Cyprus, and in 1042, at the death of Emperor Michael V and the resulting turmoil in the imperial government, he decided to take advantage of the situation and incited the local populace to revolt, especially against the local krites (senior fiscal and judicial official), who was accused of excessive taxation and murdered by the rebels. The new emperor, Constantine IX Monomachos (1042-’55), sent a fleet under Constantine Chage, which quickly suppressed the rebellion and arrested Erotikos. The rebel was brought to Constantinople, where he was paraded on horseback in the Hippodrome dressed in women's clothes. After this public humiliation, his estates and fortune were confiscated, but Erotikos himself was set free.


John (imperial) kourator of Cyprus (11th century)


The office of kourator of Cyprus was already known from one seal and from letters of Psellos addressed to such a kourator, congratulating him for having pacified the island (Psellos, Minora II, nos. 80, 159). Malamut (Iles, 320-21) deduced from these letters that the kourator was a governor of the island, appointed in order to pacify it after the revolt of the Cypriots in 1042. But the date of these letters is not known, and our seals show that the kouratoreia was a semipermanent institution, since we know of at least two kouratores. Thus we would tend to consider that, according to a well-established tradition, the kourator was at the head of a domain of the crown (kouratoreia) possibly assembled from the lands abandoned by the Arabs immediately after the capture of the island by the Byzantines in 965, much in the same way as Melitene had become a kouratoreia after its capture in 934 (Listes, 356).


Lead seal of John as an imperial kourator: [5]

Bust of St. John the Baptist holding long cross. Inscription in two columns:

Ὁ ἅγιος Ἰωάννης

ὁ Πρόδρομος.

Obscure circular inscription. No border visible.

Inscription of four lines. Border of dots.

Ἰω[άννῃ βασιλικῷ]


[τ]ορ[ι] Κύ



Translation of iscription: John imperial kourator of Cyprus.


Eumathios Philokales 1093-1112

In 1093, Emperor Alexios appointed Philokales as stratopedarches (military commander) and governor of Cyprus


Constantine Euphorbenos Katakalon, protonobelissimos and doux of Cyprus ca. 1102-04


Lead seal of Constantine Kartakalon: [6]

Inscription of five lines. Border of dots.


φῶν σφρα[ὶς

Κατα] καλὼν

Κων [σταντίνου]

Inscription of four lines. Border of dots.





Γραφῶν σφραγὶς Κατακαλὼν Κωνσταντίνου δουκὸς Κυπρίων, πρωτονωβελλησίμου.

Seal of the correspondence of Constantine Katakalon, doux of the Cypriots and protonobelissimos.


Isaac Komnenos ruled Cyprus from 1184 to 1191


Lead seal of Isaac Komnenos  (before 1185): [7]


Obverse: Image of St. George, standing, his left hand resting on his shield, his right hand holding a spear. Line border. On either side, the sigla (the letters on the left are arranged in the shape of a cross): ὁ ἅγιος Γεώργιος. (St, George)

Reverse: An inscription consisting of three twelve-syllable verses, engraved in eight lines.

Κομνηνο δουκόπαιδα  μητροπατρόθεν Ἰσαάκιον ςε βαστοκρατόρων  θυγατρόπαις γαμ βρός τε, μάρτυς,

με σκέποις


Translation of the inscriptions: Martyr, watch over me, Isaac, a descendant of the Komnenoi and Doukai through my mother and father, the son of a sebastokrator's daughter and brother-in-law to another)


From the 11th century two frescoes have been preserved showing the emblem of what could have been the (military-) governor of the island.


The first is in Kykkos monastery which is considered to be one of the wealthiest and most well-known monasteries in Cyprus. The Monastery was founded in the 11th century, by Byzantine emperor Alexios Komnenos (1081-1118).

The original monastery burned down many times, so there are no remains of the original Kykkos Monastery. In 1365, a massive fire destroyed the monastery's main church, as well as many documents and relics. Shortly after, Queen Eleonora (the wife of Peter I Lusignan) requested the monastery to be reconstructed.

The fresco may be an original from the end of the 12th century or an exact copy made on the request of Queen Eleonora.


Official (St. Demetrios)  in Byzantine dress

Fresco from Kykkos Monastery


Tree and birds medallions

On the tunic of the byzantine warrior.


The second is in Christ Antiphonitis monastery which was build in about the same time and has suffered comparable damages. On some pillars in the interior there are frescoes of medallions of two birds supporting a tree only slightly different from the achievements on the tunic of the warrior in Kykkos monastery in that the representation is its negative.


Medallion of tree and birds respecting

Church of Christ Antiphonitis (Χριστός Ἀντιφωνητής) (N.Cyprus)


The interesting parts of these frescoes are the  medallions with the figures of a tree supported by eagles on a purple background or vice versa. [8]  The medallions date the frescoes in the 11th-12th century when Byzantine silken shrouds now in Spain and France had similar medallions with similar decorations. In iconography the tree is a symbol of the territory, the eagles are symbols of a caesar or consul or, translated into byzantine terms, of a basileus. The purple indicates the imperial descent or the mebership of the senate of the wearer. The reversal of the colours may be for difference. This would make the achievement symbolise the administration of the imperial territory and the official concerbed the (military-) governor of this territory. For this governor John Doukas Komenos (1155-’76) or Isaac Komnenos (1184-’91) (both doux (duke)) would qualify and it implies that both Kykkos Monastery and Christ Antiphonitis Monastery have been sponsored by the 12th-century dukes of Cyprus.


In 1191 Cyprus was captured by Richard Lionheart and sold to the Templars who sold it in their turn to Guy of Lusignan


The Kingdom 1196 - 1489


Kings of Cyprus

House of Lusignan

Guy of Lusignan

† 1194

King of Jerusalem 1186-1192

Lord of Cyprus 1192-1194


1187 Matthew Paris Chronica Majora, Cambridge, Corp. Christi Coll. MS 26 fol 279 [140] Saladin Capturing the True Cross, 1187 (2:328) bottom right margin: Salaadinus - Guido rex. Crux sca. The knight helping Guy with  a shield on his back:  Gules a lion Or.


Bezant of Guy of Lusignan, 1192-‘94


The iconography of the bezant preserved many of the elements of its Byzantine iteration. Jesus Christ appeared on the obverse of the coin, while the reigning Lusignan king, arrayed in Byzantine ceremonial attire, appeared on the reverse. [9]




Count of Jaffa 1193

King of Cyprus 1196-1205

King of Jerusalem 1198-1205

Brother of Guy


1196 The title of king was granted in exchange for the recognition of Emperor Henry VI as his lord.


Hugues I

*1193 -  † 01.10.1218

King of Cyprus 1205-1218


Gold Scyphate bezant of Hugues I


Obv.: Christ facing enthroned, throne without back, IC-XC

Rev.: King standing facing, holding long cross with crescent at base and globus cruciger, HvGO. REX CY.PRI. [10]


This coin might be a proof that the first Lusignan Kings of Cyprus clung to the Byzantine style of representation



03.03.1217- †18.01.1253

King of Cyprus 1218-1253


In 1229 Frederick II called Henry to give account for the administration of Cyprus which call was refused by him. In 1232 the Staufen were defeated. After the excommunication of Frederick in 1245 Cyprus was placed under the protection of the Holy See by Innocentius IV.


An early coat of arms for Cyprus is given by Walford’s Roll (ca1275):



1275  Le roy de Cypre vert besantee un crois passant d'or (Walfords C13, Cl 16/Cd 33). (Vert, besanty a coss Or).

1275 Le roy de Chipre, de vert besanté de goule a un croyz d’or passant (C16)

1275 Le roy de Scypre, de verte besannté de gules une croyz d’or passant (Cd33)


Hugues II


King of Cyprus 1253-1267


In the time of the minority of Hugues II Baldwin of Ibelin was the seneschal of Cyprus and John of Ibelin connétable (commander in chief) of Cyprus and Jerusalem


Baldwin of Ibelin ( 21 February 1267) was the fourth of five sons of John I of Beirut and his second wife Melisende. He belonged to the family of the Counts of Jaffa and the Lords ofBeirut the arms of which are described by Joinville as Gules of cross Or. (ð Lebanon) [11]

He commanded the third battaile at the Battle of Agridi in 1232. In 1246, he was appointed Seneschal of Cyprus and was taken captive at the Battle of Mansurah in 1250.


Seal of Baldwin of Ibelin, seneschal, 1261

ASV, S. Maria dei Teutonici, b. 55


Seal of orange-, colorless- and black wax (Ø 45 mm.), hanging from a double cord, the legend partly damaged.

Arms: Argent, a cross patonce Sable (Teutonic Order)

Legend: [...] de : ybelin : se[ne]-schal : d [...] reaumq[u]e : de chip[r]i.


Affixed to a donation of some goods of the Teutonic Order (Beirut, 16 december 1261). The seal is announced as follows: ...saeller dou seignor de Barut .... et dou seau de mesire Baudain dy Belin le seneschau de Va[....].....


John of Ibelin


Lord of Arsouf, Constable of Cyprus (1256) and Jerusalem

[Count of Askalon & Jaffa 1244-?]


John of Ibelin (died 1264), often called John II, was Lord of Beirut from 1247, and named after his grandfather John I, the famous "Old Lord of Beirut".

In 1258, by manipulating the complex regency laws, John and his compatriot John of Jaffa, succeeded in aligning the feudatories of Jerusalem with the Republic of Venice against that of Genoa in the War of Saint Sabas. He took part in a very large raid alongside the Templars into Galilee in 1260. They were defeated at the camp near Tiberias in a route by some Turcomen and John was taken captive along with John of Gibelet, James Vidal, and Thomas Bérard, Grand Master of the Knights Templar. His ransom alone was 20,000 bezants.

His children were Isabelle d'Ibelin and Eschive d'Ibelin.


Seal of John II d’Ibelin, Lord of Beirut 1261

ASV, S. Maria dei Teutonici, b. 55


Seal of orange wax (Æ 62mm), on two strips of parchment, slightly damaged (the legend partly disappeared)

Arms: [Argent] cross pattée [Sable] on shield and horseclothes (Teutonic Order)

Legend: X : sigill[um i]o[hannes de y.]b[elin : domini : X be[rit]ensis :


With the death of Hugues the old branch of  the House of Lusignan died out. He was succeeded by Hugues, the son of his aunt Isabella and Bohemund of Antiochia.


House of Lusignan-Antiochia.

Hugues III van Lusignan

*1240 - †24.03.1284

Regent van Jerusalem 1264-1267

King of Cyprus 1267-1284

King of Jerusalem 1269-1284

Crowned Tyrus, 24.09.1269

Nephew of Bohemundus IV of Antiochia and Melisande, a daughter of Amaury II of Lusignan (†1205) and Isabella I of Jerusalem.


The arms of Cyprus and of Jerusalem are documented in the Wijnbergen Roll of Arms dating from about the reign of Hugues III. [12]



Arms of the King of Cyprus

Wijnbergen Roll, n° 1276

Arms of the King of Jerusalem

Wijnbergen Roll, n° 1259


King of Cyprus

Arms: Barry of 16 pieces Argent and Azure, a lion Gules crowned and unguled Or.

Legend: le Roi de chipre.


This coat of arms is composed of the arms of Lusignan-Marche and the lion Gules of Antioch

The arms of the count of Marche were: Le countee de la March, burule de argent et d’azure de un menue burules. [13]


King of Jerusalem

Arms: Argent, a cross recrrossed between 15 square crosslets Or.

Legend: le.Roy de jerusalem



Arms of the King of Acre

Walford’s Roll n° Cl. 14 (1275)


Arms: "Le roy d'Acre d'argent poudré a croy­sille d'or a une croys d'or byletté"  


The arms of Cyprus and Jerusalem in Camden Roll [14]:





1280 Arms (1): Le Rey de Cypre, l'escu d'azur od treis targes d'or. (Camden Roll  D10).

 It is not known with whom these arms have to be associated (= later the arms of the Guild of St Luke!)

1280 Arms (2): “Le rey de Jerusalem porte l'escu de argent a une croiz de or cruselé de or". (Camden Roll n° D.1)


Æ See also: Jerusalem


John I

*1259- †20.05.1285

King of Cyprus en Jerusalem 1284-1285


Henry II

*1270- † 31.08.1324

King of Cyprus 1285-1306


1289 Fall of Tripolis     

1291 Fall of Acre

        Quarreling with the pope about the Knights Templar.

1303 Hugues of Lusignan dies, the Lusignan family looses f the county of Marche


Initially the coins of the kingdoms of Cyprus and Jerusalem/Acre showed the lion rampant of Antioch, the family arms of Henry II.


Henry II (1285-1324), Gros, heavy issue, type v/iv, die. King seated facing X hENRI· REI DE,  Rev: lion rampant X IERVSALEM E D’ChIPR’


Amaury of Tyr 

*1270- †5.6.1310

Lord of Tyr 1288-1291

Bailiff of Jerusalem 1289

Regent of Cyprus 1306-1310

Brother of Henry


A lion on coins, on the reverse Jerusalem (Acre)


Amaury, ½-Gros, die A. Obverse: cross of Jerusalem. Legend: X hENRIC’IRhM E CIPRI REX,. Reverse: lion rampant. Legend: X AMALRIC’ GVBNATOR CIPRI,



Amaury (1306-1310), Gros, die B. Obverse: cross of Jerusalem Legend: X hENRIC’IRh’M E CIPRI REX. Reverse: lion rampant  Legend: X AMALRIC’ GVBNATOR CIPRI.


A lion on the obverse and a party of Jerusalem and Cyprus on the reverse.



Amaury, Gros, Nicosia, dies E/f, X AMALRIC’TIRE’SI’DOMINU’ , ET CIPRI GUB’NATO’E’R’, lion rampant. Rev: X IRL’M ET CIPRI REGI’FILIU’, divided shield with cross of Jerusalem on left and Lusignan..



Amaury, Gros, Famagusta, X AMALRIC’TIRENSIS DOMINUS / CIPRI GUB’NATO’E’RETOR,  lion rampant Rev: X IRL’M…ET…CIPRI:REGIS FILIUS, divided shield with cross of Jerusalem and Lusignan Cyprus ...


Henry II

*1270- †31.08.1324

King of Cyprus 1310-1324


Hugues IV

*1294 - †1359

King of Cyprus 1324-1359

Son of Guy, a brother of Henry II.



Three coats of arms which are carved into a marble lintel of the refectory of Bellapais Abbey dating from the time of Hugh IV. (1324-‘59)


Silver gros of Hugues IV (1324-’59)[15]


King sitting with sceptre and orb the cross of Jerusalem on the reverse


Silver gros of Hugues IV (1324-’59) [16]


King sitting with sceptre and orb the cross of Jerusalem on the reverse


Arms of the King of Cyprus, Famagusta, 1350ca


Peter I


King of Cyprus 1358-1369

King of Armenia 1368-1369


The arms of the King of Cyprus

From: Armorial de Gelre K.B. Brussel Ms. 15652 - 56 fol. 69v, n° 749.


Arms: ¼: 1&4: Jerusalem. 2&3: Lusigna-Cyprus

Crest: A conical hat Argent, strewn with square crosses Or, rising from a mural crown Or and crested with a bunch of cock-feathers.

Legend: Die Coninc van Cipers. 


The arms of the king of Cyprus

In: Armorial Bellenville fol. 9r


Arms: ¼: 1&4: Jerusalem; 2. Azure; 3. Cyprus/Lusignan.


The text reads:

Le Roy de cipre porte escartele le premier quartier d’or dargent a une croix d’or potencée a catre croysette de memes le second quartier d’argent a ung lion de geulles et lautre quartier au desus fachiet de VI perches dor et dasur a ung lion de geulles et lautre quartier dor a ving lion de geules couronné langue dasus.


This annotation has to date from after 1368 when Hugues became King of Armenia, as the last part describes the arms of that kingdom.


Silver groschen of Peter I., 1359-1369


The king seated with sceptre and orb; on the throne a shield with a lion (Armenia). The cross of Jerusalem on the reverse.[17]


Silver groschen of Peter I., 1359-1369


The king seated with sceptre and orb; on the throne a shield with a lion (Armenia). The cross of Jerusalem on the reverse.[18]



Peter II



King of Cyprus & Jerusalem 1369-1382

John of Lusignan


Prince of Antiochia 1345-1375

Constable of Cyprus 1358-1375

Regent of Cyprus 1369-1375



Arms of the King of Cyprus on Cornaro Piscopia Palace, Venice


The shield on the left of the quarterly of Jerusalem and Cyprus-Lusignan, the shield on the right charged with the device of the Order of the Sword, founded by Peter I in 1347, consisting of a sword upright and the motto POUR LEALTE MAINTENIR on a scroll.

Peter II (1369-1382) Silver Gros,


Obv. King seated facing on plain throne, holding sceptre over right shoulder & orb in left hand, shield with lion rampant of Cyprus to right, PIERE PAR LA GRACE D DIE RO;

Rev. heraldic cross pattée of Jerusalem, crosslets in angles DE IERVSALEM E DE ChIPRE;


James I


King of Cyprus 1382-1398

Titulary King of Armenia 1393-1398

FaBro (uncle) of Peter I


Arms:  Probably: ¼ Jerusalem & Cyprus/Lusignan (like his brother).






Prince of Antiochia 1392-1398

King of Cyprus 1398-1432

¥1411 Charlotte de Bourbon †1422

Son of James I


Stained glass of the arms of Janus of Lusignan and Charlotte de Bourbon in alliance

Supported by two angels. Chartres Cathedral, Chapelle de Vendôme.


The arms of Bourbon are: Azure, strewn with Fleurs de lys Or, a bend compony Argent and Gules.



1417 Arms: Cyprus. ­Crown.

Von dem durchlüchtigste fürsten kung wadislausen kung zu zippern und schribt sich kung

Ulrich Richental: Chronik des Konzils zu Konstanz fol. 138.


Banner of Janus and device of the Order of the Sword

Manchester, John Rylands, Latin MS 28, p 121 [19]


In the right upper corner: Janus dei gra rex de ihrlm de cipria et de armenia


In 1426 Cyprus became a tributary state of the Mameluk empire.


1440 ca:

Arms: ¼: 1&4: Jerusalem; 2: Lusignan/Cyprus; 3: Armenia (Or, a lion Gules).

Crest: Lambrequined Argent a crown Or and a sphere Azure a bunch of peacock’s feathers

Légend: Sypers.

In: Armorial Bergshammer fol. 2v n° 8. N° 3379: The same but with the legend: De coninc van sijpers.[20]


John II


Prince of Antiochia 1418-1432

King of Cyprus 1432-1458


Seal of John II of Lusignan

Arch. Vat., I. M. 6742, Cipro 3


John II., 1432-1458 silver gros

The king with sceptre and globe, on the reverse the cross of Jerusalem


John of Coimbra


Prince of Antiochia and Regent of Cyprus 1433-1457

58th Knight of the Fleece 1456


Arms of John of Coimbra

From: Wapenboek Hendrik van Heessel S.l., [14--?][21]




Arms: ¼: 1. Jerusalem; 2. ¼: 1&4 Portugal; 2&3 ¼ France and England; 3. Armenia; 4. Antiochia;

Crest: Crown dragon issuant Or.

Order: Of the Fleece. (1. Statuts, KB. Ms 76 E 10 fol. 66v . Ca. 1490; 2. Maurice, 1667)

The same but in  2: Portugal. Lambrequines: Gules and Or. (Wapenboek KB. Ms. 76 F 4 fol 14 v ).


El señor Juan de Chipre, pryncype de Antyocha.

Trae escuartelado: el prymero de Gerusalen y el segundo escuarte­lado de Portogal e de Yngalaterra. De Portogal es de plata con cynco escuditos de azul en cruz y encyma de cada escudito cynco puntos de plata; con la bordadura de Castilla, que es de gulas a castillosa de oro levantados y pasados de azul; y por baxo del escudo pasando una cruz floretada de synopla; de Ynglaterra escuartelado de azul con tres flores de lis de oro; y segundo de gulas con tres lyupardos de oro; y los dos cuarteles de en baxo traen: el prymero de Armyños y (= que es) de oro con un león de gulas, y en el segundo de Antyocha, que es de plata con un león de gulas; y en el medio des escudo, sobre el todo, trae de Chipre, que es brulé de plata y de azul con un león  de gulas.

            y el tynbre de Lusynyen debat [336] (= ...es una cuba de plata lygada de synopla, saliendo d'ella una sierpe del primero con alas y la lengua del segundo.]


From: Alonso de Torres (in: Martin de Riguer), no 381: Juan de Portugal, duque de Coimbra, Princi­pe de Antioquia y regente de Chipre, no 58; La Haya, 1456. [22]




Princess of Antiochia 1456-1458

Queen of Cyprus 1458-1461

Daughter of John II and spouse of John of Coimbra (1456).

Marries after the death of John of Coimbra with Louis of Savoye (titulary king of Cyprus, 1482)


Seal of Queen Charlotte, 1485


Arms: ¼ of Jerusalem, Cyprus, Armenia and Antiochia.

Crown: 5 large and  4 small leaves

Order: Of the Sword (Cyprus 1347)



Charlotte, 1458-1459. silver Groschen

Arms quarterly, on the reverse the cross of Jerusalem

Louis of Savoye 1459-1460

Silver groschen, the king seated with sceptre and globe, on the reverse the cross of Jerusalem


James II


King of Cyprus 1460/’63-1473

¥ 1468/’72 Catharina Cornaro, heiress of Venice


Heraldic seal of James II, 1469


Arms: ¼ of Jerusalem, Cyprus, Armenia and Antiochia.

Crown:  4.5.

Order: Order of the Sword.

Legend: iaco[bus] * dei * gra[t]ia * [xx] * r[e x * yerusalem * c]ip[ri * et] arme[nie]. [24]


James was appointed to the archbishopric of Nicosia in 1456, at the age of 16. After murdering Iacopo Urri, the Royal Chamberlain on 1 April 1457, he was deprived of the archbishopric and fled to Rhodes on a ship of the Catalan Juan Tafures.



Commandery of the Order of Saint John at Kolossi, a few miles west of Limassol (Lemessos), where the Order had its headquarters from 1302 to 1310, when it moved to Rhodes.

The arms of James of Cyprus in the center are surrounded by the arms of the grandmasters Jean de Lastic (1437-‘54) and Jacques de Milly (1454-‘61). This sculpture is almost certainly a modern reproduction.


Achievement of the Kings of Cyprus

On the Land Gate of Famagusta


Arms: ¼ of Jerusalem, Cyprus, Armenia and Antiochia.

Crown:  4.5.

Supporters: Two Angels kneeling

Order: Twice the device of the Order of the Sword.


Achievement of the King of Cyprus

after  the achievement on the Land Gate of Famagusta


James III

28.08.1473 -  26.08.1474

King of Cyprus 1473-1474


Catharina Cornaro


Queen of Cyprus 1473-1489

Wife of James  II, mother of James III and heiress of Venice.


James II died in 1473 and, according to his will, Caterina, who at the time was pregnant, acted as regent. She became monarch when their infant son James (III) died in August 1474 before his first birthday. Under Caterina, who ruled Cyprus from 1474 to 1489, the island was controlled by Venetian merchants, and on 14 March 1489 she was forced to abdicate and sell the administration of the country to the Republic of Venice.

As a queen consort she bore a party of Cyprus and Cornaro which was per pale Or and Azure. These arms were “surrounded by two palm-leaves, symbol of conjugal union and on it was a closed royal cown.”  [25]

Coat of arms of Catharina Cornaro as a queen consort


Coin of Catharina Cornaro, 1473-1489.

The queen seated with sceptre and globe. On the reverse the cross of Jerusalem  [26]


Catharine Cornaro renders her crown to the Doge of Venice

Scene on her monument in the Church of St. Salvator in Venice


After she had been forced to sell her kingdom, Catherine was allowed to retain the title of Queen as a compensation.


Arms of the King of Cyprus

From: Livro do Armeiro Mor, 1505-1509, Fol. 16v°


The Venetian Era

1489 - 1571


Venetian coat of arms placed by Nicolò Foscarini, governor of the island of Cyprus  in 1492-93


Porta da Mar (Sea Gate): Venetian Lion,

from the ancient town of Salamis, four miles north of Famagusta.

 The inscription says "Nicolao Priolo Prefecto" and is dated 1496

In this tme (1555) Virgil Solis documents the arms of Cyprus wrongly as Gules, a crowned lion Argent.


The Ottoman Era



Cyprus, created a province of the Ottoman Empire in 1571, with the mainland attachments (= Cilicia), changed its status frequently. It was a sançak of the Kaptan Paşa’s province of Cezayir from c. 1660-1703, and again from 1784 onwards; it was a fief of the Grand Viziers from 1703-45 and from 1748-84; and for the short period 1745-8 it was again and eyâlet. [27]

The arms of Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha, one of the Kaptan Pasha´s ruling Cyprus (1666-´70), was engraved by Nicolaas Visscher.


The arms of Kara Mustapha Pasha

On his portrait by Nicolas Visscher (Coll. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)


Arms: Azure, a tugh per pale between two eight-pointed suns radiant and some inscriptions in arabic

Crown: A Turban

Supporters: Two marschall’s batons in saltire

Legend: In Felix Kara Mustapha Bassa Magni Turcarum Imperatoris Minister Primarius; Post acceptam cladem ante Viennam a Eodem obseßam, Jußu Imperatoris Supremo dicti Alba Græca Strangulatus et decollatus / Ex Formis Nicolai Visscher


The legend mentions his execution by strangulation in 1683 in Belgrade after his defeat before Vienna. The arms are meant to represent his device as a Grand Vizier and commander in chief (1676-’83).


In the time of Ottoman rule the arms of Cyprus are in Hennegies, H.: Theatrum Genealo­gicum. Magdenburg, 1598 p. 373. The lion is crowned with a crown with three hoops.

Later the royal arms were used as arms of pretence by Venice and by the House of Savoye which could claim the kingdom because of the marriage of  Louis of Savoye with Charlotte of Lusignan. In the arms of  Victor Amadeus II (r.1709-'41) it is in the first quarter.


Arms of Cyprus  in the Atlas van Blaeu, 1635


Arms of Victor Amadeus II (*1675-†1730) by Jan Luyken

The royal arms of Cyprus in the first quarter


Larger arms of Venice, 18th century

From: Der Durchlauchtigen Welt vollständiges Wappenbuch.

The royal arms of Cyprus above the arms of Venice in nombril point


Cyprus remained an Ottoman posession until 1878 when it was annexed by Great Britain.


The British Era



Flag of the Cyprus High Commisioner, 1881



In 1887 Cyprus was granted its own constitution. A coat of arms appears on coins minted 1901-1921. It is: Argent an crowned lion Gules. The arms crowned with the Victorian crown and a ribbon inscribed CYPRUS added.


In 1905, the two lion badge was approved by King Edward VII. It was derived from the design of the shield of Richard I (Cœur de Lion) who conquered Cyprus in 1191, after being shipwrecked on the island, while on his way to join the Third Crusade. It replaced the C H C badge on the Union Jack, but was not used on the Blue Ensign until 1922.


Flag of the Cyprus High Commisioner, 1905


On 5 November 1914 Cyprus became a British Crown Colony


Badge of Cyprus on coins 1928-1949


A flag and some weapons seized from the Greeks during the Cyprus Peace Operation


In 1955 a Greek Cypriot nationalist guerrilla organisation was created fighting a campaign for the end of British rule in Cyprus, for the island's self-determination and for eventual union with Greece. It was called Εθνική Οργάνωσις Κυπρίων Αγωνιστών, (National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters), EOKA. Its emblem was in the Greek colors blue and white. In 1959, independence achieved, it ended its activities.





Κυπριακη Δημοκρατια- Kibris Cumhuriyeti




On 16 Agust 1960 Cyprus became an independendt republic named κυπριακη δημοκρατια /  Kibris Cumhuriyeti.

On that date also an new coat of arms was adopted. Its is Or, a pigeon rising Argent, a branch of olive in its bea Vert. and the date “1960” in base. The shield is surrounded by a crown of laurel (formerly also around the EOKA-emblem) Vert.

Coin with the emblem of the Church of Cyprus

On the obverse the portrait of Makarios III


Makarios III (1913–1977), archbishop and primate of the autocephalous Church of Cyprus, (1950–1977), and first President of the Republic of Cyprus (1960–1974 and 1974–1977). In his three terms as President of Cyprus (1959–1977), he survived four assassination attempts and a 1974 coup.


In 1974 there was a coup d’etat in Cyprus. On 15 July 1974 the coup plotters ousted President Makarios III and proclaimed the establishment of the "Hellenic Republic of Cyprus" with Nikos Sampson as its new president.

In response to the coup, on 20 July 1974 Turkey invaded the island claiming that the action was compliant with the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, taking control of the north and dividing Cyprus along what became known as the Green Line, cutting off about a third of the total territory. Sampson resigned, the military regime in Greece that had appointed him collapsed, and Makarios returned. The Turkish Cypriots established an independent government for what they called the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus (TFSC), with Rauf Denktaş as president. In 1983 they would proclaim the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on the northern part of the island, which remains a de facto state.


Greek Army flag captured by the Turks, 1974

İstanbul Harbiye Askeri Müzesi




Cyprus Police George VI Badge

Cyprus Police Elizabeth II Badge



Cyprus Police emblem


Cyprus Police cap badge


Armed Forces


Cypriot National Guard



Coat of Arms


brıs Türk Federe Devleti



On 25 February 1975 the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus in Northern Cyprus was separated from the republic. This new republic uses the emblem of the Democratic Republic to which the Turkish crescent-and-star and the date 1975 are added as a crest.



Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti    

1983- present


In 1983 the name of the republic was changed and the arms were adapted in that the date was changed into “1983”


Proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and its new arms,





Shield of  the Embassies of the Turkish Republicof Northern Cyprus


Presidential Flag





Armed Forces


Cyprus Turkish Peace Force Command


Coat of Arms


The Order of the Sword


Shield of the insignia of the Order of the Sword, 14th cent.

Cornaro Piscopia Palace, Venice


The Order of the Sword is said to have been created by Peter of Poitiers-Antioch of Lusignan in 1347, when he was only the titular Count of Tripoli, and certainly maintained by him after he succeeded his father on the throne of the Kingdom of Cyprus in 1359. There is some reason to think that this order was given a monarchical constitution by its founder, but the only trace of its statutes that have survived is a summary in the diary of a fifteenth century pilgrim of the pricipal obligations then undertaken by its members, and very little is known about the nature of the Order during its founder’s brief reign. The Order survived in some form until the fall of the Cypriot monarchy in 1489.

The insignia of the Order consist of a sword upright, hilt in chief, twisted around with a blue ribbon inscribed POUR LOYAUTE MAINTENIR  in golden letters.


Æ More: The Order of the Sword, Cyprus 1347/59-1489? [28]


On the Ryland’s Manuscript


By Conrad Grüneberg 1483, Blatt 50

On a stained glass of the arms of

Wilhelm vom Diesbach gestorben 28.12.1517 Bern

Modern by Unknown


Collars of the Order of the Sword

After Jonathan Dacre Boulton D'Arcy


The collars were of the insignia separated by roses, suspending therefrom a larger insignia horizontally or vertically



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 © Hubert de Vries 2016-12-07




[1] About the Lusignan family: Sturdza, Mi­hail Du­mi­tru: Grandes Familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople. Dictionnai­re Historique et Genealogique. Paris, 1983. Chez l'auteur. 7 Rue de la Neva, F-75008 Paris. Pp. 613-625.

[2] Pitcher, Donald Edgar:A Historical Geography of the Ottoman Empire from earliest times to the end of the sixteenth century. Leiden, 1972  p. 137.

[3] Lit.: Gerola, G.: Lo Stemma di Cipro. In: Atti della reale Academia di Venezia, 1923.  Haxthausen, O.H.M.: Heraldry in Cyprus. In: Recueil du Congres Inter­national de Genealogie et de Heraldique. Wien 1972 pp. 487-492.

[4] These seals from: http://www.doaks.org/resources/seals/byzantine-seals#b_start=0&c4=10th&c2=cyprus

[5] http://www.doaks.org/resources/seals/byzantine-seals/BZS.1958.106.4486

[6] http://www.doaks.org/resources/seals/byzantine-seals/BZS.1958.106.5159  & http://www.doaks.org/resources/seals/byzantine-seals#b_start=0&c4=12th&c2=cyprus

[7] http://www.doaks.org/resources/seals/byzantine-seals/BZS.1951.31.5.532

[8] Such parrot-like ‘eagles’ are also on the so-called piviale di Vicenza and on some other textile fragments from the time of Emperor Henry VI (†1197). Also on gold coins of Frederick II.

[9] http://numismatics-medieval.dioptra.cyi.ac.cy/?q=content/frankish-period


[11] Joinville and Villehardouin: Chronicles of the Crusades. Penquin Classics, London, 1963. P. 295.

[12] Adam-Even, Paul and Léon Jéquier: Un armorial français du milieu du xiiie siècle : L'armorial Wijnbergen. In: Archives Héraldiques Suisses, 1951, pp. 49-62, 101-110, 1952, pp. 28-36, 103-111.

[13] Walford’s Roll. In Brault, G.J.: Eight XIII cent. Rolls of Arms in French and Anglo-Norman Blazon. London 1973. Nrs. C. 56, Cl 71 en CD 158.

[14] Brault, Gerard J op.cit.

[15] Fritz Rudolf Künker GmbH & Co. KG, Auction 137, 4010

[16] Fritz Rudolf Künker GmbH & Co. KG, Auction 137, 4011

[17] Fritz Rudolf Künker GmbH & Co. KG, Auction 137, 4012

[18] Fritz Rudolf Künker GmbH & Co. KG, Auction 137, 4013

[19] http://enriqueta.man.ac.uk/luna/servlet/detail/Man4MedievalVC~4~4~802015~137659?page=121

[20] Raneke, Jan: Bergshammar Vapenboken - En Medeltidsheraldisk Studie. Lund, 1975

[21] General: Dermul, Cat. des manuscrits de la bibl. de la ville d'Anvers, cod. 255 EHC [Wapenboek]   http://anet.be/digital/opacehc/ehc/o:lvd:1072220/E

[22] Riquer, Martin de: Heraldica Catalana des de l'any 1150 al 1550. Barcelona, 1983. III Dln.

[23] Cibrario, Luigi:  Sigilli dei principi di Savoia.. Torino 1834. Pp. 188-189, fig. 111. 

[24] ASV Atti diplomatici e privati, b.42 n. 1263.

[25] According to Blasonatura dello stemma tratta dall'opera di D. Casimiro Freschot, La nobiltà veneta. Venezia, 1707.

[26] AR-Groschen o. J. (2. Regierung, nach 1474); 3.20 g. Königin thront v. v. mit Zepter und Reichsapfel, zu den Seiten S und P//Kreuz, in den Winkeln je ein kleines Kreuz.. Fritz Rudolf Künker GmbH & Co. KG, Auction 137, 4017

[27] Pitcher, Donald Edgar: A Historical Geography of the Ottoman Empire from earliest times to the end of the sixteenth century. Leiden E.J. Brill, 1972. P. 137

[28] D'Arcy Jonathan Dacre Boulton: The Knights of the Crown: The Monarchical Orders of Knighthood in Later Medieval Europe, 1325-1520.  Boydell Press, 1987. Ch. 7

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