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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 175

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'tis a cloying food, aud me too this long enumeration of the riches of the island cloys, and I will only shortly say that Cyprus certainly deserves to be ranked with those lauds that produce in most abundant measure all that is necessary for man's use. Aud if the inhabitants were more industrious, or less sluggards, especially in the way of increasing their water supply, lheir fields would be even more fertile still ; but so great is the profit which a very little labour wins for them from cotton and wool, that other produce is generally neglected. The island has no rivers, such streams as there are are mere torrent*. In a few places they have channels or chains of wells, or they dig pits and draw up the water by means of wheels. When there are heavy rains it seems that the hollows in the mountains get filled, where water is mostly stored. But rain is scarce in the island, and when it does not fall the springs in many parts are seen to diminish. Wonders of this kind are common, which the universal superstition of the islanders has exalted into miracles. At Morfn for example the tomb of S. Mamolo, called here Mama, exudes water, or liquid of some kind, a sovereign remedy, so they say, for many illnesses, and for-stonns at sea. At Famagusta again, on the vigil of the feast kept in honour of S. Epiphanins, Archbishop of Salamis, who did penance in a cave near the city, pure and sparkling water was seen to trickle gently frein the rock of the grotto, and again to stop. This too answered to the wishes of many pions persons who kept it to use as a medicine or a charm. Other graves, which it were tedious to enumerate, were credited with like virtues. In the days of Constali tine the Great Cyprns was left uninhabited for thirty-six years; no rain having fallen during that period, the natives were obliged to emigrate. But S. Helena, on her return from Jerusalem, landed at the village Marin, the ancient Marion, now called Vasilopotamo, four leagnes from old Limisso, and seeing the beauty of the island and its present misery prayed to the Lord, and at her intercession it rained, whereupon she procured the return of the inhabitants from the neighbouring provinces of Egypt, Jndiea, Syria, Cilieia and elsewhere, all of them Greeks, and living after the Greek fashion. In many place/* she left pieces of the sacred wood of onr Redeemer's Cress, built ehnrehes, and contributed in other ways to the good of the island, so that it again became populous. The population became, as I said, Creek, but in later days it fell into five different classes, Parici, Lpvteri, Albanians, Milite Venetians, and Perpiri&riì* I leave out for the present the nobles, of whom I will speak by and by. The Parici were a kind of slaves, bound for life to their masters : they dated from the time of the Greek Dukes, who compelled them to defend the coast from corsairs, both by money payments and personal service. The Latin kings found this custom and preserved it (men so easily fall in with what is profitable). Its conditions were even aggravated, for when they began to give the villages to their barons, they gave them also authority of every kind, short of the power of life and death, over the Parici; and the tyranny of the masters grew so fiercely insolent that some bartered their slaves imblushingly for dogs or other animals. The Levteri were those Parici who were freed by payment, through charity or other reason. But some who were free in their persons were bound in their purse, being compelled to pay yearly to the Dukes and Princes fifteen perpiri or more—a perpira was a silver ginlio, or (as they say at Venice) a Marcello—and from this coin they get their name Perpiriarii. The Albanians were people of Albania, brought here to defend the seaboard against pirates, who married in Cyprus, aud with their descendants preserved the name of their native country. The White Venetians were certain peasants who were personally free men, but paid a yearly tax, and came under the jurisdiction of the Venetian Consuls residing in Cyprus. But when Cyprns fell nnder the Republic their privileges were somewhat extended. All these classes could be found through- PORCACCHIA Iü7

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