LECTURE: The Assizes of Cyprus: A Valuable and Neglected Part of Cypriot Heritage

26.02.19, 19:00

The Leventis Municipal Museum invites the public to attend the paper titled “The Assizes of Cyprus: A Valuable and Neglected Part of Cypriot Heritage” to be given by Dr Nicholas Coureas.

This paper, to be presented on Tuesday 26 February at 7:00 pm forms part of the temporary exhibition titled “Nicosia: The birth and growth of a capital. Byzantine – Medieval period”.


The Subject of the Lecture


In this paper the composition and dissemination of the corpus of legislation applied in the states of the Latin East created as a result of the Crusades of the eleventh and twelfth centuries will be examined and discussed, with particular attention given to the Assizes of the Lusignan kingdom of Cyprus and especially those of the Court of Burgesses.

Reference will be made to the various collections of legislation known as assizes as well as to other legal texts composed in the Latin East after the final loss of Jerusalem. In this way the paper will present the wider legal context within which the assizes of the kingdom of Cyprus are placed. The various legal traditions and source materials used in the composition of the Assizes of the Burgess Court, which have heterogeneous origins, will also be examined and discussed.

The speaker will analyse in depth the totality of the laws applied in the Court of Burgesses, concerning aspects of family, civil, commercial and criminal law. In addition, he will comment on the text itself with regard to the medieval Cypriot dialect in which it is written and the extent to which this reflects the evolution of the dialect during the later medieval period.

Finally, the chronology and origin of the extant Greek manuscripts of the Assizes of the Court of Burgesses will be discussed.


About the speaker:


Dr Nicholas Coureas, a historian and Senior Researcher at the Cyprus Research Centre of the Ministry of Education and Culture, specializes in the history of the Lusignan kingdom of Cyprus (1191-1474).

He has published various articles and books on this topic, including the monographs The Latin Church in Cyprus 1195-1312 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997) and the sequel The Latin Church in Cyprus 1313-1378 (Nicosia: Cyprus Research Centre, 2010). He completed a translation into English of the two extant Greek manuscripts of the Assizes in 2002 and in 2015 together with Professor Peter Edbury a translation into English of the anonymous medieval Italian chronicle known as ‘Amadi’. Both translations have been published by the Cyprus Research Centre.



Due to the increased interest regarding all activities taking place in the context of the Periodic Exhibition booking places is mandatory. Contact details: +357 22661475 / e-mail: info@leventismuseum.org.cy





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