+FRAN.VENERIO.DVX., cross pattée with lozenge in each quarter / S.MARCVS.VENETVS.+., Lion rampant left. 14mm, 0.45 grams. Struck in Venice for circulation in Cyprus. Papadopoli 54; Paolucci 15.
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. In 1570, a full scale Ottoman assault with 60,000 troops brought the island under Ottoman control, despite stiff resistance by the inhabitants of Nicosia and Famagusta. The previous Latin elite were destroyed and the first significant demographic change since antiquity took place when Ottoman Janissaries were settled on the island.