Post-classical history

Janus of Cyprus (d. 1432)

King of Cyprus and titular king of Jerusalem and Cilicia (1398-1432).

Janus was born around 1374, the son of King James I and Helvis of Brunswick. His early reign was overshadowed by the effects of the Genoese invasion of 1373-1374, which had enabled Genoa to occupy the port of Famagusta (mod. Ammochostos), dominate Cypriot trade, and demand substantial war indemnities. In 1402 Janus launched a failed attack on Famagusta; despite peace negotiations in 1403, hostilities continued sporadically until 1410.

Janus, faced with a general decline in the Cypriot economy, resorted to seeking loans, imposing taxes, and debasing the coinage to pay for indemnities and military campaigns. Meanwhile, raids onMamlûk shipping by corsairs based on Cyprus caused relations with Egypt to deteriorate. A Mamlûk attack on pirates off Limassol (mod. Lemesos) in 1424 was followed by a Christian raid on Tyre (mod. Soûr, Lebanon) in March 1425. That summer a fleet sent by Sultan Barsbay al-Zahīrī of Egypt ravaged areas around Limassol. The next year another Egyptian force brought by more than 150 ships sacked Limassol and Nicosia (mod. Lefkosia), capturing Janus in battle (7 July 1426).

Janus did not return to Cyprus until May 1427, after agreeing to a ransom of 200,000 ducats, Egyptian sovereignty over Cyprus, and an annual tribute of 5,000 ducats. When Janus died on 28/29 June 1432, the Cypriot monarchy was heavily in debt. He was succeeded by his son John II.

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