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Funerary Inscriptions

A considerable number of incised funeral slabs have survived among the architectural remnants of the crusader kingdoms in the Latin East. Written in both Latin and French, these funerary inscriptions sometimes survive in situ, but more often were reused, either as paving stones set face down in a pathway, or as material in the reconstruction of walls and damaged areas of medieval churches. The most comprehensive study of these inscriptions now is Brunehilde Imhaus, whose excellent collection catalogues with extensive photographs the funerary inscriptions he found in church remains in the city of Nicosia and other Cypriot urban areas.

While the majority of these stones contain only short messages - noting the name of the individual, when they died, and perhaps their occupation - some were much more elaborate. The epitaph of Peter of Vieille Bride, Master of the Hospital from 1239 until his death in 1242, argues Joshua Prawer, was placed in a busy passageway beneath the Church of St. John to inspire visitors to donate to the Hospital. Carvers also incorporated French writing into Heraldic and larger funerary relief programs, such as those found in the Church of Our Lady of Tyre, which contains life-sized reliefs of a number of fourteenth century knights and other important figures of fourteenth-century Famagusta.

Bibliography:
Markou, George. Heraldry of Cyprus. Nicosia: Zavallis Press, 1979. 
Imhaus, Brunehilde. Lacrimae Cypriae: Les larmes de Chypre ou recueil des inscriptions lapidaires pour la plupart funéraires de la période franque et vénitienne de l'île de Chypre, 2 vols (Nicosia: Republic: Of Cyprus, Department of Antiquities, 2004). 
Pringle, Denys A. “Notes on Some Inscriptions from Crusader Acre.” In In Laudem Hierosolymitani: Studies in Crusades and Medieval Culture in Honour of Benjamin Z. Kedar, edited by Iris Shagir, Ronnie Ellenblum, and Jonathan Riley-Smith, 191–209. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.

 

 

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