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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 208

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eight thousand. The Cypriot» bear the Turkish, yoke unwillingly enough, still they hear it, since they have no hope of aid from the princes of Christendom, from whom so great a distance shuts them off. They think however that, were there any chance of aid, their arms, their coin-age and numbers wonld suffice to set them free. But such, alas, is the present deplorable attitude and temper of the Christian princes, such their mental blindness, so fierce the bitterness of their mutual hatreds, so cold their faith and love, that they have no thought for the good of all, or the cause in which they should be ever vigilant I They allow general confusion to reign, they refuse help to the tottering Christian commonwealth; Christian blood is shed unavenged, Christians draw their swords upon one another, when they should be bringing aid to those who groan under the infidel yoke, and waging war against their savage foe until they have crushed that impious Turkish tyrant, and brought his strength to the ground. With daily tears the wretched Cypriote deplore this state of things, and see no hope of liberty, unless it should flash upon them from Heaven. But they frankly confess that their own faults and those of their ancestors deserve these things, and worse than these, inasmuch aw they loathed the just rule of the Venetians, deeming themselves to l>ear a heavy yoke because they were subject to men of another racé, and often wishing to put themselves under the Turkish flag, preferred their tyranny to the government of the Christian princes, now indeed, as the chief men of the island have assured me, their troubles and trials have at last shown how grievously they were mistaken. Long use has taught them plainly tho difference between the principles and system of the Turks, how opposite they are. Among Christians, reason, equity and love have their proper place. Among the Turks they are wholly wanting, tyranny is all in all. This by the way, I resume my account of the state and condition of Cyprus. Under the last kings and the Venetian Republic the islanders were divided into six distinct classes, Parici, Ijevteri, Perpirarii, Albanians, white Venetians and Nobles. The Parihi or Parici, like the Latin Coloni, were men of the lowest or servile condition, and so completely under the power of their lords that these hud over them all but the power of life and death. For besides the annual tax which they were bound to pay to their lords, they had to give in each week two days* labour, and a third of their crops. The lords too were free to sell, exchange, release, auction, flog, tortmv, and inflict any corporal punishment except death, which was reserved to the kings. This only consolation and hope remained to these wretched creatures that by a payment of sixty gold crowns they conld redeem their personal freedom, but their land remained in all cases subject to the duties exacted from the Parici. Next to them were the Levteri or Elefteri, freemen or freedmen, who were reallj- of the Parici class, but by payment, or by their lords* favonr, or otherwise had obtained their liberty. But these were not all on the same footing. Some, for instance, were freed absolutely, others obtained their personal liberty, but their masters still kept a lien ou their property, and compelled them to pay yearly some fifteen or sixteen, some more some less, perpira or hyper pira: hence Coloni of the third class got the name of Perpirarii or Hyper-pirarii. The Albaninns, originally from Albania or Epirns, were free men, and under the kings and Venetians received pay from the state. They patrolled the coast day and night, took turns as sentries, and guarded the island from corsairs and pirates. They settled by and by in the conntiy, and were called Albanians. The white Venetians were also reckoned free meu, but they were obliged to pay η yearly tax to the princes or magnates. The Nobles, divided into two classes, ranked before all these. The Princes, Barons, and (so called) Lords came first, after them the other patricians. For while the Venetians ruled the island it was not only the Venetian nobles who enjoyed the rights of nobility, but these were granted also 198 EXCERPTA CYPRIA.

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