Historically a part of the Greek civilization, it was briefly governed by the Templar Order in 1192 after its conquest and cession by King Richard I of England during the Third Crusade. The brutal misrule of the Templars sparked a local rebellion which, with the help of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, the Mentor of the Assassins, successfully ousted the new rulers by the end of the year.
During their short occupation, the Templars established the Templar Archive in the city of Limassol. It was also site of an Apple of Eden which lay there until 1488, when it was recovered by the Italian Templars and transferred to Italy for the use of their Grand Master Rodrigo Borgia.
Formerly ruled by the Greeks and the Roman Empire, the island was controlled by the Byzantine Empire from 395 until 1185. The Templars also operated in secret on Cyprus for nearly a decade prior to 1191, establishing a hidden Templar Archive underneath Limassol Castle with the help of Isaac Comnenus, the Templar ruler of the island who had declared independence from the empire.
At the height of the Third Crusade in 1191, Comnenus angered Richard I, leading Richard to overthrow Comnenus and seize control of Cyprus. While Richard initially used Cyprus in his war against the Saracens, the Templars convinced him a few months later to sell the island back to their Order, as they worried that his forces would discover their Archive.
Headquartering themselves in Limassol Castle, the Templars began taking an unusually active role in governing the island, imposing harsh and arbitrary new laws to subdue the restless population. Residents began staying within their homes for fear of suffering abuse at the hands of the Templars, leaving the streets of Limassol and Kyrenia devoid of all but Templar patrols and a few civilians.
At the same time, the Templars attempted to win over the population through charitable donations and the building of churches. As the citizens of Cyprus became more restless of Templar brutality against them, a Resistance against Templar rule began to take shape.
After the assassination of Grand Master Robert de Sable by the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Armand Bouchart became the new Grand Master and ordered a retreat of the Templars in the Levant to Cyprus. Altaïr, now serving as the Levantine Assassins' Mentor, pursued them to Limassol.
Resistance and liberation
Arriving in the city, Altaïr heard rumors of the Templar Archive, which he believed might contain knowledge and artifacts as powerful as the Apple in his possession. He began to track down the Archive, while at the same time helping the fledgling local Resistance.
Altaïr's assassination of Fredrick the Red, the head of the Templar guard in Limassol, led Armand to give all Templar soldiers immunity from any crime committed while attempting to discover Fredrick's murderer. However, fearing for his life after learning of Altaïr's presence on the island, Armand retreated to Kyrenia, with Altaïr in pursuit.
Upon arriving in Kyrenia, Altaïr was asked by Barnabas, a resistance leader, to kill Jonas, a member of the resistance collaborating with the Templars. Jonas' death sparked a riot in Kyrenia due to his respected status in Cypriot society. Altaïr later learned that Jonas' death and the succeeding riot were acts of subterfuge by the Templars, as the real Barnabas had been executed before his arrival, and he had instead spoken to a Templar agent impersonator.
Altaïr continued his search for the Archive, in the process of which he prevented the execution of several resistance members, and assassinated key Templars in Kyrenia, including Moloch and his sons Shalim and Shahar. As a result, the Templars soon fled Kyrenia for the safety of Limassol, liberating the city. Following the Templars back to Limassol, Altaïr learned that the Templars had begun an even harsher crackdown in the city, arresting people at will in hopes of weakening the resistance. In addition, the Templars began a propaganda campaign against Altaïr, accusing him of treason with the resistance.
While Altaïr put a halt to the Templar's repression by assassinating several Templar captains, he later found himself surrounded by a mob of civilians accusing him of treason. He was forced to use the Apple of Eden to convince the crowd of his innocence, and rally them against Armand and the Templars.
With the help of ex-Templar Maria Thorpe, Altaïr infiltrated the Templar Archive underneath Limassol Castle, only to find that the contents of the Archive had been moved during his time in Kyrenia. He killed Armand before escaping the collapsing Archive. Altaïr later wrote in his Codex that Cyprus eventually came under control of the Assassins. In 1193, he and Maria held their wedding on the island in Limassol.
At some point between 1225 and 1227, the Templars launched an attack to retake their archive on Cyprus. Abbas Sofian, the leader of the Levantine Assassins at the time, refused to send reinforcements, allowing the Templars to retake the Archive in what Altaïr referred to as a "massacre".
- "The mission to Cyprus was more difficult than expected. There were complications, but we have returned with the artifact. And have carefully transported it to you, as instructed."
- ―A Venetian guard to Rodrigo Borgia, after returning from Cyprus, 1488.[src]
Ezio Auditore da Firenze sailed to Limassol on Cyprus in late 1510 on the ship of Ma'Mun, from whom he received a map of the island drawn by Piri Reis. He later gave the map to Al-Scarab. While on Cyprus, he visited the old Templar archive, but found nothing except ruins within.
He also attempted to gain aid from the Venetian governor of the island, Domenico Garofoli, hoping that his countryman would lend him aid in gaining passage to Acre. While he was polite, Garofoli ultimately refused, as he was wary of provoking the wrath of the Ottoman Empire by approving such a venture without official diplomacy.