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James II of Cyprus

James II of Cyprus
Born 1438/1439
Died 1473
Spouse Catherine Cornaro
Issue James III of Cyprus
Father John II of Cyprus
Mother Marietta of Patras (concubine)

James II (the Bastard) of Cyprus or Jacques II le Bâtard de Lusignan (Nicosia, c. 1438/1439 or c. 1440 – Famagusta, July 10, 1473), was the illegitimate son of John II of Cyprus and Marietta de Patras.


  • Archbishop of Nicosia 1
  • King of Cyprus 2
  • Marriage, death and succession 3
  • In Popular Culture 4
  • Illegitimate children 5
  • References 6

Archbishop of Nicosia

James was a great favourite of his father, and in 1456, at the age of 16, he was appointed to the archbishopric of Nicosia. After murdering Iacopo Urri, the Royal Chamberlain on 1 April 1457,[1] he was deprived of the archbishopric and fled to Rhodes on a ship of the Catalan Juan Tafures. He was pardoned by his father, and the archbishopric was returned to him.

King of Cyprus

In 1458 his father died, and his half-sister Charlotte became Queen of Cyprus. In 1460, with support from the Egyptian Mamluk sultan Sayf ad-Din Inal, James challenged her right to the throne, blockading her and her husband in the castle of Kyrenia for three years. When Charlotte fled to Rome in 1463, James was crowned King. In gratitude, he made his friend and supporter Juan Tafures Master of his Household and Titular Count of Tripoli.

Marriage, death and succession

In Venice, on July 30, 1468, seeking political support, he married a 14-year-old Venetian, Catherine Cornaro, by proxy. She finally travelled to Cyprus and married in person at Famagusta in October or November, 1472. James died a few months later, amidst some suspicion that he might have been poisoned by agents of Venice, possibly by Catherine's uncles. According to his will, Caterina, who was pregnant, became regent. The couple's son James died under suspicious circumstances in 1474 before his first birthday, leaving Catherine as regent of Cyprus. During her reign the island was controlled by Venetian merchants. In 1489 Venice forced her to abdicate, and Cyprus became a colony of the Republic of Venice until it was captured by the Ottomans in 1571.

In Popular Culture

The civil war between James II (called "Zacco") and Charlotte of Cyprus forms the historical background to the events of Dorothy Dunnett's novel Race of Scorpions.

Illegitimate children

Prior to his marriage, King James II had four natural children: [2] [3]

  • Eugene of Lusignan also styled d'Armenia (d. Venice,1536), married Dona Paola Mazzara of Sicily, with issue.
  • Janus of Lusignan (d. after 1552), married (1) 1504, to N de Toro, married (2) 1547 to Virginia Cosanza dei Duchi di San Sava., with issue.
  • Charlotte of Lusignan (d. c. 1469), married after 1463 Sor de Naves
  • Charla of Lusignan (1468 – in prison in Padua, 1480), she was either married or engaged to Alonso, batard d'Aragona (1460–1510) a son of Ferdinand I of Naples


  1. ^ Benjamin Arbel and David Jacoby, Intercultural Contacts in the Medieval Mediterranean, p. 45, published by Frank Cass, London, Google Books, retrieved on 19 June 2009
  2. ^ Sanudo, Marino; Stefani, F., Berchet, G., Barozzi, N., Deputazione di storia patria per la Venezie (1882). I diarii di Marino Sanuto: 8. F. Visentini. p. 648. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ Latrie, L. M. (1873). Nouvelles preuves de l'histoire de Chypre sous le reigne des princes de la maison de Lusignan. J. Baur et Detaille. p. 44. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charlotte and Louis
King of Cyprus
Succeeded by
James III
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