CYPRUS, Peter I, 1359-69, silver gros


CYPRUS, Peter I, 1359-69, gros, no date, Obverse: king seated facing, PIERE PAR LA GRACE D’ DIEV ROY, Reverse: cross, crosses in angles, D IERUSALEM DE CHIPRE, silver, 24mm, 4.45g, CCS80, VF

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There are neolithic sites on Cyprus from 10,000 BC. Copper working developed early there, the name of the island refers to the metal. There was a bronze age occupation my Mycenaeans. Greek cultural dominance continued through the Roman period. In the early middle ages Byzantine dominance was contested by Arabs. Richard Lionheart of England conquered the island in 1191, sold it to the Knights Templar, who mistreated the populace, who revolted. The Knights got Guy de Lusignan to buy them out. There were two European dynasties. The last dynast had a Venetian wife, Venice took over through her. They forced her to abdicate and took direct control in 1489. The Ottoman Turks conquered Cyprus in 1570. The British got it in 1878, after the Turks lost the Russo-Turkish War, to guarantee the safety of the eastern Mediterranean. They held on until after World War II. Independence, in 1960, was problematic from the start, with a Greek preference for union with Greece and the Turkish Cypriots unwilling to do that. The unitary government fell apart, and the island is divided into ethnically Greek and Turkish administration.