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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 174

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IGT» EXCERPTA CYPRIA. the home of Venn*. The spot has no lack of spring water and gardens, but it is now a mere village, called Dali. liiere were other cities, und fine estates: they are mentioned in the chronicles which 1 hare cited in their proper place. Rut when the Emperors of Constantinople sent Dukes to Cyprus they were reduced to fourteen, and again by the Lusignan kings to four, Nicosia, Baffo, Limiaso and Famagosta. These remain cities, the rest are villages, of which there may be eight hundred and fifty. The latter were divided among the Court, the clergy and the nobles, who drew from them large revenues. The island is rich indeed in all the fruits of the earth, and its more useful products. Its wines are very luscious and wholesome; a* they grow old they turn from black to white, they are fragrant and of pleasant taste. One finds wine of eighty years and more, and a vintage that bad graced α grandee's table gets fresh honour as a medicine, for its health-giving and preservative virtues, which are those of a balsam. One needed to drink but a tiny measure in a large quantity of water. I do not menu that this wine only is rich and good, but all the wines of Cyprus may vie with those of any country, and they are appreciated accordingly in Venice and Rome, wherever indeed they reach. It produces the raisins called zabib, large, black and fine fruit, dried naturollyby the sun, wheat and barley in abundance, and nil kinds of vegetables. All ordinary fruits grow here, except cherries, chestnuts and sorbs, but in their place are dates, bananas and citrons. Its gardens arc adorned with oranges, lemons and citrons, of such quality as few other countries can surpass. Sugar was formerly one of its chief products, but the culture of the cane wa« abandoned for that of cotton, as being more profitable. And not to be tedious, I must assure the reader that Cyprus is a most productive island : over and above what is found in other countries it gives saffron, sesame, coriander, sumach, lentisc seed, and three sorts of honey, the white of the hives, black made from carobs, and treacle from sugar. Occasionally there is a slight fall of manna. It has all the common vegetables, and in addition cauliflowers and cabbages, the colocafia or Egyptian bean, which is excellent eating, and many others. In the village Calopsida grows the herb from which they make soap, and that with which they bleach camlet, for this and other cloths are made in great quantity. Cotton however is the real staple of the island, mien there is the fragrant powder which we cal! Cyprian ; mixed with other drugs it gives a scent to the daintiest kinds of soap : also Ciprino or henna, olibanuin, incense and storax. Minerals abound, veins of gold and copper, white and red marchasite, brass and iron ; but copper is the most common ; so we read in ancient writers of the furnaces in which it was smelted, in whose flames was found the creature called pyniustes or pyrnlis, which died when taken ont of the fire. Emeralds, malachite, crystal, diamonds (not of the first water), coral, white and red, in the sea about A ma thus, and other precious stones: rock alum, white and black, pitch, resin, sulphur, nitre, cochineal and amiantns. Of this last 1 have spoken in my work "on Funerals"; it is beaten, soaked and manipulated until it produces threads like linen, and is spun into a cloth which is impervious to fire. Or rather it grows whiter and cleaner in fire, while water makes it hard like stone. Of this cloth the ancients made the bags in which they burned their dead, so as to preserve the ashes. Amiantns is found in a village of the same name. Of substances used in medicine are turpentine, colocynth, rhubarb, scniniiiuuy, and many other useful herbs and rare simples. There are beasts mid birds of all kinds: in most esteem are those found nowhere else, as certain little birds called vine-birds, which feed on grape and lentisc seed, and get very fat. They are caught in very great numbers, and, pickled in rinegar, are ex]K>rted to grace the table of epicures. Everywhere they are welcomed and relished, but

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