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
 
  Previous Next  

CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 256

View PDF version of this page

'till the year 1571, when the Turks took it, in the reign of Sultan Selim II. This emperor is said to have set his heart so fully on the conquest of this island, from his remarkable fondness for the wine ; but others say he was animated to it by a Portuguese Jew. This Jew, called Jean Miches, had embraced Christianity, bnt for several vile practices was banished his country, and retired to Venice. But he did not long reside there before he became known, and on a well-grounded suspicion of his having formed a design of setting tire to the arsenal, on the night of the 13th of September, 1509, he was banished from the Venetian territories. Revenge canned him to Constantinople, where he married the daughter of a Jew with an immense fortune. His riches giving him an opportunity of obtaining an audience of the Emperor Selim, and his artful discourse having introduced himself into the favour of that prince, he suggested to him the design of besieging Cyprus. It is said, that Selim being onee merry with drinking, gently struck Miehos on the shoulder, saying to him, "If heaven prospers my design, thou ehalt be king of Cyprus." Soon after, namely in the year 1570, tho Turks lauded in the island, and laid siego to Nicosia, whieh sustained a siege of forty-eight days. In the following year they took Fainagusta, but not before firing fifteen thousand cannon shot against it ; tho! the governor, after so brave a defence, was, contrary to a particular promise, and the artieles of capitulation, put to a cruel death by the Turkish Pasha; after whieh the whole island soon eame into their hands. Tho number of inhabitants in the island of Cyprus cannot be determined with any exactness, many removing every year, on account of the prodigious taxes. Some years since the number was said to exeeed two hundred thousand ; and dnring the reign of the Emperor Trajan this island must have been very populous; for Dion Cassine relates, that the Jews, in order to free themselves from the Roman yoke, massacred twenty-four thousand natives iu one day; but at present hardly a Jew is to be seen, the Flanks generally making use of Greeks in their commerce. It is supposed to 1« owing to the warmth of the climate that the Cyprians do not exceed a middle stature, are rather lean than fat, and rather brisk than strong. They are of a brown complexion, like the rest of the Greeks; and both their eyes and hair black. They are also of a quick aud piercing genius. In former times the inhabitants of Cyprus were famous for voluptuousness and magnificence. The most common utensils among all people of fashion were silver; and not a peasant's cottage to be seen without several pieces of plate. The rich even grew tired of their horses, and both in country and town would use only mules; but the sovereign, fearing that their noble breed of horses would by this means degenerate, issued a proclamation against the use of mules; but the horses are not now so highly valued as formerly. ' The women here, especially at Lernica, are not the must beautiful 1 have seen; but allowance must be made fur the eliinnte, and manner uf living. They dress in the same manner as those of Rhodes, except that iu Cyprus they wear no veils. Their hair is covered before, bnt hangs down behind in curls. They also wear those large wide plaited gowns I have already mentioned at Scio. It is known by experience that the inhabitants of this island seldom attain to any great age, owing possibly to the badness of the air; malignant fevers being common hero, especially towards the end of summer; and during onr stay in tho island, though it was in the spring, a contagions distemper was raging at Nicosia. But the air is most noxious at Faniagusta and Lernica, owing to the vapours rising from the fens and saltpans in the neighbourhood. And at Lernica the air is most unhealthy when the sun is above the horizon. The whole island does not afford one single river ; but several ponds, lakes, and fens ; 246 EXCERPTA CYPRIA

View PDF version of this page


  Previous First Next  
 
 
 
 
 
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