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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 279

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seed of Alkermes, called by botanists Hex coccifer ; tbere is a small hole in the seed, out of which there comes a very fine powder, called the powder of Al kermes, of which the syrup of Alkermes is made and the seeds afterwards serve for dying, and both are exported to Venice and Marseilles. Coloquintida is cnltivated here, and esteemed better than that of ./Egypt, which being larger does not dry so well ; it- grows like the calabash. The seed is sent into England, and to Germans'", being much used in the latter for embalming bodies: In /Egypt they fill the shell with milk, and let it stand some time, and take it as an emetic. They prepare a. great quantity of yellow, rod, and black Tnrkey leather, which they send to Constantinople; and they export yearly near a hundred thousand pound weight of raw silk, to London and Marseilles ; for as it is a hard weighty silk, it is much used in making gold and silver laces, and also for sewing. At Nicosia they make fine plain cotton dimities. In a word it is a surprising thing to see Cyprus maintain its own people in such great plenty, and export so many things abroad, when one considers the extent of the island, and that half of it at least is mountainous, and much of it near the sea lies uncultivated by reason of Corsaii«, nor is the island well peopled, eighty thousand souls being the most that are computed in it; whereas historians say, that in Trajan's time the Jews massacred here in one day two hundred and forty thousand persons, and since that time they have never permitted any Jews to live in the island ; so that when tins island was well inhabited and cultivated, the produce of it ninst have been very great. Two thirds of the inhabitants are Christians, and there are twelve thousand that pay the tribute as such, exclusive of the women and children. They are mostly Greeks; there are indeed near Nicosia some few villages nf Maronites, and in the city of Nicosia η small number of Armenians, who are very poor, though they have an archbishop, and a convent in the country; the Mahometan men very often marry with the Christian women, and keep the fasts with their wives. Many of them are t-honght to be not averse to Christianity; nevertheless the Turks are so jealous of the power of the Christians here, that they will not suffer them to buy any black slaves or others that are Mahometans, which former are frequently brought to /Egypt, and sold to the Turks. The Greeks have an archbishop of Nicosia, and three bishops of Lamica, Gerines and Baffa ; the Greeks are everywhere in possession of their chu relies, but eannot repair any that are ruined without a licence; they are built in the style of the Syrian churches, but are generally covered with cupolas; they had formerly a custom here, as they have in many other parts, of hanging ont flags at the west end of their churches on Sundays and holidays, and I saw some of the stones which had holes in them for that purpose. There ore a great number of monasteries in the island ; they are to l>e looked on as religions societies, who go out to labour on the lands that belong to them, with their superior to oversee them; this is their employment all day, and half the night is spent in performing their services. They may be also looked on as places of education, where the youth who labour by day learn to rend and chant their offices at night. The lay servants, who are distinguished only by a cap, answer to the brothers in the Roman church ; bnt they never take the vow, and may leave the convent and marry; in these respects the eastern churches pretty much agree. There is no nunnery in Cyprus, and I saw only one of the Greek church throughout all Syria, nunneries being very uncommon in these parts, except among the Maronites of mount Libanon. They take only the vow of chastity and obedience, and every monk generally buys his own clothes, and pays his tribute to the Grand Signor out of his own purse, whieh chiefly depends on the charity of those who come to the convents, either for devotion, retirement, or diversion. Where a convent is well situated, the Turks often come and stay in it, and put the convent to some expense, and never make any return : POOOCKK

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