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 258

View PDF version of this page

island, as it everywhere affords plenty of snipes, partridges, hares, wild goats, bnt it has no deer. Early in the morning the shepherds find on the gonts1 beards a viseid substance, which looks and smells pretty much like pitch ; and this smell, which is far from being disagreeable, is said to be good against the pestilence. Some Franks call it laudanum, others give it the name of stirax. Near lìaffe are mines of rock crystal, and a French merchant there allowed ine a most beautiful stone, which might pass for a diamond, and such stones being found iu the mines here are commonly called Baffo diamonds. Ancient historians and geographers speak of various mines in Cyprus both of gold and silver, and gems, but the present proprietors do not concern themselves about mines, and the Greeks must not work them, indeed the ore, after all their pains and charges, would be of little advantage to them, for they know nothing of separation, or any other branch of metallurgy: under the Venetian government, however, Cyprus exported a great deal of veiy good vitriol. In some of the mountains is found a kind of blueish stone, by the aneieuts called awiaiähua, and out of it is spun a kind of cotton, of which formerly sheets were made, and cleaned by being put into the fire. They were also used in the burning of substances into ashes, according to the custom of those times. The ancients also made bags of it, in which they put bodies that were to be burnt, in order thus to preserve the ashes, which were deposited iu an urn. The Indinne are said to have burnt their dead bodies in sacks of tins kind. Some will liave this stone to be a kind of asbestos, or al omen schiston, or fissile alum. Bnt the difference is very great ; that consumes in the fire, bnt the amianthus withstands the most intense fire. This stone is also found in China, in the island of Corsica, and is said likewise to be met with in the Riviera di Genua, near Sestri di Ponente, in the Pyrenean mountains, and in those of Volaterra iu Tuscany. The chief trade of the island at present is in flowered silks and cottons little inferior to those of the Indies. A kind of flax for making cordage is likewise no inconsiderable article. Amidst all these advantages of nature and industry, the inhabitants, by reason of their enormous taxes, are far from being wealthy. A poor Cypriot pays every year, in the whole, thirteen piastres for head money : and those who have houses or lands pay also eight piastres of iwzttl, besides the tenths of the produce of their land. This island was formerly governed by a Pasha, residing iu Nicosia; but at present the governor is oidy a Musellim or Stadhonder, and far from l«ing a person of great dignity, winch has the conveniency that he is not obliged to live in the splendour of a Pasha; yet he must remit three hundred and sixty purses to the Grand Vizir's lady, to whom the Grand Signor, as being his sister, granted the revenues of this island. Besides suoh a considerable snm, he is obliged at least to reserve forty purses for other demands and himself. The towns inhabited at present are only nine, Nicosia, Fn magnet a, Baffe, Lemica, Chorines, Lumesol, Sirori, Maznlo and Ijescara; but the other smaller towns or villages, I was told, amount tu eight hundred. Hie Turks have made a military division of this island into eleven departments, each furnishing a regiment. Nicosia, the capital and residence of the governor, is a pretty handsome and fortified town, about three miles in circuit-, and in the middle of the island ; bnt as for the walls and fortifications, the Turks suffer them to go to ruin without any repair. In this city are three or four Greek churches, but the cathedral called Saint Sophia is turned into a mosque. There 248 EXCERPTA CYPR1Ä.

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