Cypriot society in the 15th century: social contacts and cultural identities

This dissertational project analyses society and culture on Cyprus in the 15th century. In that time, the formerly byzantine island had been under Lusignan crusader rule for almost three hundred years. It was inhabited by various groups and communities: the byzantine-orthodox population, the formerly frankish upper class, Armenians, Syrians, Italians, Jews and Spanish all contributed to the diversity of the island. After such important events as the Plague of 1348 and the occupation of the city of Famagusta in southern Cyprus by the Genoese in 1374, it seems that cypriot society and with it  the culture on the island changed. These changes in the cultural contacts between the groups, as well as changes in their perceived identities will be analysed in this project. Using the tools of social network analysis, the contacts between individuals of the different groups are analysed: Who knew whom, and on which basis (private vs. public/professional)? Did the different groups mix, or did they live parallel lives without any real contact?

As a second step, the question of social and cultural identities, values and religious affiliation and their connection to the cultural contacts catalogued in the network analysis is adressed: Did the perceived identities and values of the groups change through cultural contact, and if so, how did they change? Was there a real change in the culture of the different groups, or even a symbiosis between some of them?

The time span of the analysis lies between 1374 and the island's occupation by Venice in 1474. Thus, I hope to get a detailed picture of Cypriot society and culture during the 15th cenutury. The dissertation will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Johannes Pahlitzsch from the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and by Prof. Dr. Alexander Beihammer from the University of Cyprus.


WissenschaftsCampus Mainz


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johannes Pahlitzsch


Miriam Rachel Salzmann M.A.

B. Kulturkontakte und Kulturtransfer