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123 BOOK REVIEWS Coureas, Nicholas and Edbury, Peter 2015. The Chronicle of Amadi, translated from the Italian [Texts and Studies in the History of Cyprus LXXIV] Nicosia: Cyprus Research Centre, xxvi + 580 pp. ISBN: 978-9963-0-8137-0 From the second half of the nineteenth century onwards, scholarship has grown significantly over the fertile terrain of medieval Cypriot historiography, to which the volume under review constitutes a valuable addition. The anonymous narrative of the first half of the sixteenth century, commonly known as the Chronicle of Amadi or simply Amadi, is rightly regarded as a major source for the history of the Frankish Kingdom of Cyprus under the rule of the dynasty of the Lusignans (1192–1489). The chronicle has known so far only one, now outdated edition, by René de Mas Latrie in 1891,1 while the present book, published in the distinguished series of the Cyprus Research Centre ‘Texts and Studies in the History of Cyprus’, is its first translation in any modern language. Eminent Cypriologists with a substantial experience in the translation of medieval Greek and French texts from Cyprus and the Latin East, Nicholas Coureas and Peter Edbury collaborated closely on the work, the former largely undertaking the task of the translation and the latter of the composition of the introduction, annotations, and index, each one preparing two of the four annexes. In the introduction, they justify their choice of providing the interested reader with a translation rather than with a new edition of the text on the grounds of a scholarly need for the highest possible accessibility to this precious text, especially amongst students, explaining at the same time that the existence of only one manuscript made it easier for them to ‘check the de Mas Latrie edition against the manuscript and make some, mostly trivial, corrections’ (pp. xiii–xiv). A bulky compilation in Italian of older narrative sources, the text commences with the wars of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius against the Persians for the recovery of the Holy Cross in the seventh century, in conformity with the Latin Eastern historiographical tradition, and ends with the wedding of King John II of Lusignan with the Byzantine princess Helena Palaeologa on 3rd February 1442, more or less in accordance with the closing date of the fifteenth-century Greek chronicle of Leontios Makhairas; it also comprises introductorily a short account of the history of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem from its foundation onwards. The fact that the chronicle survives only in a unique, mid-sixteenth-century manuscript at the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice (It. VI, 157 (=6895) ), which does not contain either a title page or a colophon or any notes, causes a multitude of historical and philological problems regarding its authorship, the place and date of its composition, whether it was commissioned or not, its readership and circulation, and the itinerary of the manuscript. To begin with, the text’s common name is entirely misleading as the Venetian Francesco Amadi (d. 1566) was not the author of the text but only the owner of the extant manuscript. We do not know how this manuscript ended up in Amadi’s hands, but his connections with Cypriot students and men of letters in Venice and Padua must be a factor. It later on became the property of another Venetian scholar with Cypriot interests, Apostolo Zeno (1668–1750), and subsequently of the Marciana Library. The presence of the manuscript in Cyprus is attested only once, in 2006 during the exhibition organised at the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia within the framework of the Italian Cultural Month 2006 (2nd October–5th November 2006). A nineteenthcentury copy at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris (It. 387), commissioned by the father of medieval Cypriot studies Louis de Mas Latrie to the librarian Giovanni Battista Lorenzi and used by Louis’ son René for the edition, does not contribute much in terms of textual criticism and manuscript tradition nor does it help elucidate the above issues. However, the relatively short but extremely rich introduction to the present translation (pp. xiii– xxvi), not only proposes plausible answers to these problems, but it also raises more intriguing questions. Peter Edbury argues convincingly...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2523-9465
Print ISSN
1016-3476
Pages
pp. 123-125
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-11
Open Access
No
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