HISTORY ETHNOGRAPHY NATURE WINE-MAKING SITE MAP
Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
 
 
 
 
 
uses Google technology and indexes only and selectively internet - libraries having books with free public access
SALAMIS

SALAMIS IN THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS.
BY ALEXANDER PALMA DI CESNOLÀ, F.S.A.,
page 10

My own position is that of an enthusiastic digger-up of antiquities. I went to Cyprus in the year 1873, and remained there until the end of 1874. After an absence of about eighteen months, which were spent in London, I returned to Cyprus. During this interval my days were freely spent in the British Museum, the vast Oriental treasures of which are arranged in a scientific manner, prodigiously to the advantage of those who, like myself, diligently study them. It was while thus occupied that I had the honour of making the acquaintance of Dr. Samuel Birch, the all-accomplished and learned keeper of the Oriental antiquities in the museum. Thisacquaintance ripened, on my part at least, into a very devoted friendship, and I am at this time indebted to Dr. Birch for the abundant aid be has given me, in writing the introduction to the following chapters. My previous engagement in Cyprus having been broken, not through my own wish, nor with my consent, but by others, I accepted the generous offer of Mr. Edwin H. Lawrence, E.S.A., to supply a sum of money to enable me to commence digging on my own account, a condition being that if I succeeded in forming a collection of antiquities of sufficient importance, it should be offered to England before any other country. On arriving in Cyprus at the end of July 1876, I engaged the same house and servants in Larnaka I had before, and also a country house at Ormidia, the latter being near to Kitium, Idalium, Salamis, and other localities which are rich in ancient monuments. In the month of August I was ready to resume researches, and had collected, partly in Larnaka and partly in Dali, twenty skilled workmen, putting at their head an excellent aged digger, who soon proved himself an affectionate and faithful assistant. My intention was to secure a collection of vases and glass, so as to have one or two specimens of every shape and kind used by the ancient Cypriotes. The vases being mostly funereal were not difficult to discover. My men and I knew where to search; all that was required was patience and time. As to the glass, the case was not so simple; some of the natives, and even my own men, were disheartened. Very little glass had been found, they declared, within the last two years; but I am happy to say that in the end I obtained a large number of specimens, and a vast variety of glass relics, as well as terra cotta vases, the number now in the Lawrence-Cesnola collection, which is hereinafter described, being about four thousand of each material. Many specimens, among this multitude of ancient art-relics, are remarkable for their shape and character. With objects in glass, coins are always found, therefore I have been able to obtain a most valuable and exceedingly interesting collection of more than one thousand six hundred examples, which include specimens, in gold, silver, and bronze, of every dynasty which has occupied the island in ancient times; the reader will, amongst other descriptions in my book, find an account of the more important of these relics. As coins are found with objects in glass, so lamps are found with terra cotta vases, and I thus collected more than two thousand lamps, of which two hundred bear makers' names stamped upon them in Greek or Roman characters. All excavators have a fancy for one particular kind of relic, and I was not exempt, my ambition being to find inscriptions in the Phœnician and Cypriote languages; therefore my men had strict orders to bring to me everything which bore an indication of an inscription, and I also was always on the look out for such things. The result of these efforts the reader will find in many interesting examples as described in this book, for the translations and explanations of which I am greatly indebted to friends, but most especially to the learned and Rev. Professor A. H. Sayce, of Queen's College, Oxford. The first objects I found with inscriptions were two vases in terra cotta, bearing Phœnician lettering, such as was used for cinerary urns. Inside one of these vases I found burnt matter, probably the remains of a child: the only differences between the two vases were in respect to the places where they were found, and the inscriptions they bear. One came from ancient Kitium, and has a Phœnician inscription the other came from Idalium, and is enriched with Cypriote letters. Another vase, which I found in the village of Athieno, has Cypriote letters, and was probably used as a family cooking pot. Prom the end of June until October 1876, I was obliged to suspend work on account of the heat of the weather. I occupied this interval in an excursion to Salamis, and with the aid of some natives of two villages, I dug near to the ruins of the ancient city; but I was deceived, and after much outlay and trouble left the place without finding anything of great importance. Although I lost money in this research I did not regret it, as I met there two very intelligent natives, who were large proprietors of land in the ruins of Salamis, and well informed about digging. Having furnished them with money, and incited their diligence with many promises of future payments, I left them, to seek tombs at Salamis. I think, and my men had the same opinion, that neither I nor those who worked before me among those

Back to Topic
 
 
 
 
Our banners   Bibliography   Global Folio
All materials from this site are permitted for non commersial use unless otherwise indicated.
If you reduplicate documents from here you have to indicate Cyprus Explorer as a source and place link to us.
Created at June 2008
              Яндекс.Метрика