+ • HIERON • PRIOLI • DVX •, cross pattée with wedge in each quarter / + S • MARCVS • VENETVS, rampant lion left. 14mm, 0.47 grams. Papadopoli 91; Paolucci 17.
Following the death in 1473 of James II, the last Lusignan king, the Republic of Venice assumed control of the island, while the late king's Venetian widow, Queen Catherine Cornaro, reigned as figurehead. Venice formally annexed Cyprus in 1489, following the abdication of Catherine. The Venetians fortified Nicosia by building the Venetian Walls, and used it as an important commercial hub. Throughout Venetian rule, the Ottoman Empire frequently raided Cyprus. In 1539 the Ottomans destroyed Limassol and so fearing the worst, the Venetians also fortified Famagusta and Kyrenia. Girolamo Priuli (1486 in Venice 4 November 1567 in Venice) was a Venetian noble, who served as the eighty-third Doge of Venice, from 1 September 1559 until his sudden death from a stroke. He was the elder brother of the preceding doge, Lorenzo Priuli. Girolamo's face is familiar from Tintoretto's portrait.