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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 344

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Cyprian boy. Belon, guided by the Cretan fishermen, found it on the rooky shores of Crete. These fishermen are much better commentators on the Greek ichthyologists than their learned editors, who, by their unfortunate conjectures, more frequently confuse than clear a doubtful text. The striking agreement of the modern Greek names with those of ancient Greece is nowhere so evident as in Cyprus. Here we still find the words fwp/nfrw. σπάρος, σκάρο*, μαργίκ, σά\πη, μίλάνοιψος, νέρκα, Ορφοτ, and others, precisely the ancient names of Oppian and Aristotle. They are very properly retained by Lmnœus for trivial names. The shores of Cyprus receive a great number of Mediterranean fishes; some of these confine themselves to its rocks, and seldom emigrate into more northern latitudes. In river fish it is, as we should expect to find it, deficient : the rivulets, few in number and inconsiderable in their size, generally dried up iir-»«innimer, do not lead us to expect a large catalogue of river fish, and upon repeated enquiries I found*"trA^kthe eel was their only inhabitant. My list of Grecian fishes was already very considerable wtìewaiarrived nt Cyprus; the market of Constantinople had furnished me with those of the Thracian Βοβρίιυιασ». and the sea of Marmora. I had still however hopes of discovering some other species in the more boouhheru latitude of the Mediterranean. Cyprus did not deceive my expectation: I added several "secies of Labi-us and Sparus to my collection; among these the Labrus cretensis, which, frommste jnore vivid odours, and the superior elegance of its figure, curries uff the palm of beauty frOïÏP"\.the L. iulis, cited by Linnreus as 'Europteorum facile pulcherrimus. ^*-^^ The greater number of the Grecian islands have been examined by a botaìiiwst of the distinguished merit of Tournefort. Cyprus, from its situation and its size, gives us reasScui to expect a peculiarity as well as a variety in its vegetables; and it is with surprise that we fina " an island so interesting in its natural productions has been little examined, llnsselquist visited it on his return from Egypt, at a season of the year when its annual plants, which form tho greater number of its vegetables, were burnt np by the summer sun; and Pococke, a better antiquary than botanist, has given ns only a scanty account of some of them. A view of its Flora, and comparison of the modern and popular uses of the plants with those of ancient Greece, gave me hopes in an island so near to Carnmania, the native country of Dioscorides, of ascertaining several of the more obscure plants of this author. My expectations have in some measure succeeded ; the modern names, though greatly corrupted, still retain sufficient resemblance to those of ancient Greece to enable us to determine many plants with certainty; and the superstitious and popular uses of many still remain the same. My enquiries were frequent among the Greek peasants and the different priests whom we met. From the physician of Lamica I collected some information relative to their medical uses. I crossed the island iu different directions. Cyprus, though possessing several of the Egyptian and Syrian plante, yot from the scarcity of water, the great heat of the sun, aud the thin surface which covers the upper regions of the mountains, can scarcely be considered as rich iu plants; and when compared with Crete must appear even poor: the sides of whose mountains, those for instance of Ida and Sphakia, are watered with streams supplied from the perpetual snows that crown their summits. Notwithstanding tho character of woody given to it by Strabo, when measured by a northern eye, accustomed to the extensive woods of oak aud beech that we find in some parts of England, or the sombre pine-forests of Switzerland, Cyprus appears to have little claim to the appellation of woody. The higher regions of Troados are covered with the Pinus pinea ; this mixed with the Ilex, and some trees scattered here and there in the valley below of the Quercus a?gilops, are the only trees that con be regarded as proper for timber. The carob, the olive, the audrachne, the terebinthus, the lentisc, the kermes oak, the storax, the cypress, and oriental plane, furnish not only fuel in abundance for the inhabitants, but sufficient to supply, in some degree, those of Egypt. 334 EXCERPTA CYPRIA.

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