1268 - 1284
1267 – 1284
King of Cyprus
March 24, 1284, Tyre, Lebanon
Isabella of Ibelin, Queen of Cyprus and Jerusalem
Henry II of Jerusalem, John II of Jerusalem
Isabella of Cyprus, Henry of Antioch
Alice of Champagne, James II of Aragon, Godfrey of Bouillon, Alfonso IV of Aragon
Hugh III of Cyprus (1235 – 24 March 1284), born Hugues de Poitiers, later Hugues de Lusignan (he adopted his mother's surname de Lusignan in 1267), called the Great, was the King of Cyprus from 1267 and King of Jerusalem from 1268 (as Hugh I of Jerusalem). He was the son of Henry of Antioch and Isabella de Lusignan, the daughter of king Hugh I of Cyprus. He was a grandson of Bohemund IV of Antioch and thus a descendant of Robert Guiscard.
From 1261 he served as Regent for Hugh II of Cyprus in Cyprus, as the Haute Cour of Cyprus considered him, as a male, a better regent than his mother Isabella. She was, however, accepted as the Regent of Jerusalem in 1263. She died in 1264, and Hugh became the acting regent of the Kingdom of Jerusalem as well as Cyprus. The regency was contested by his first cousin, Hugh of Brienne, who was the son of Mary of Cyprus, the eldest daughter of Hugh I and hence the senior heir to Cyprus, and heir to Jerusalem after Hugh II. However, the Haute Cour of Jerusalem declared Hugh of Antioch the next regent, as successor to Isabella in proximity of blood.
Hugh II died in 1267 without heirs. As Hugh of Brienne did not advance his claim on the throne, Hugh of Antioch succeeded as uncontested King of Cyprus on 5 December and was crowned at Santa Sophia, in Nicosia, on 24 December. He claimed the Kingdom of Jerusalem as well in 1267 or 1268 upon the execution of Conradin. However, the throne of Jerusalem was also claimed by Mary of Antioch by proximity of blood to Conradin. The Haute Cour of Jerusalem rejected her claim and Hugh was crowned King of Jerusalem at Tyre on 24 September 1269.
Hugh and his descendants, the Kings of Cyprus, assumed his mother's surname of Lusignan in 1267, having inherited Cyprus through that family, thus establishing the Second House of Lusignan.
Hugh disliked dealing with the various factions in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and left for Cyprus in 1276 in disgust at their defiance of his authority. The next year, his bailiff, Balian of Ibelin, Lord of Arsuf, was ejected by Roger of Sanseverino, the bailiff of Charles of Anjou, who had purchased the claim of Mary of Antioch. The kingdom remained under Angevin control for the rest of Hugh's reign.
It is supposed that Thomas Aquinas' work On Kingship was written for Hugh III.
He was buried at Santa Sophia, in Nicosia.
He was married after 23 January 1255 to Isabella of Ibelin (ca. 1241 – 2 June 1324). He had eleven children: