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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 407

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like the Turks, from whom they are distinguishable only by their blue turban : but many wear other colours, and even white, without offending the Turks. I remarked that everybody, oven shepherds, workmen and the poorest classes were always neatly dressed. The Greeks, who have no opportunities of studying the higher branches of science, are in that respect very much behindhand. Yet one traces among them the old intelligence of their race, and not unfrequently finds men full of fire, and of high character. But the mass of the community, degraded by slavery, is poor-spirited, ignorant and cowardly. They use the calendar as it stood before the Gregorian corrections, so their reckoning is now twelve days behind that of Europe. They are equally behind the sun, so that unless they amend it the time will come when their calendar will put the month of July in the winter solstice, and the frosty season in the dog-days. Their Lent, which they observe very strictly, lasts a week longer than that of the Catholics. During this penitential season fhey eat neither meat, fish nor cheese. They have scruples even about the use of oil, so their food is reduced to bread and a few olives. They believe themselves the only orthodox Christians because they think they have preserved the primitive Greek rite, and they cajl Latin Christians schismatics. They have all the sacraments recognised by the Roman Church, but they consecrate the Eucharist with unleavened bread. The sanctuary of their churches is divided by a wooden screen covered with paintings which bear tlie stamp of tho bad taste of the Lower Empire. This screen has a large door in the middle, and a smaller one each side, which serve as entrances to tlie sanctuary, in the midst of which is a square pedestal, covered with plaited stuff, and surrounded by a small wooden railing. On this yon find a few small pictures, the missal and other things. The priests, who alone can enter this part of the church, say the mass, I am told, with all these doors closed, and only at certain moments fixed by their ritual are they opened. The faithful stand in the nave, their imagination does duty for the mysteries which they cannot see. The women take their place in a high gallery, shut off by thick lattice work, where they cannot be seen. The Greeks all wear moustaches, and shave their chins like the Turks; but oldish people and priests often grow beards. They are forbidden to carry arms, but they all have a knife or dagger concealed about them. The commerce of the island, of which cotton is one of the principal branches, is almost entirely in their hands; the Turks in this matter play but a secondary part. The indolence of their character is well known, satisfied with the climate and people of Cyprus they smoke their pipes quietly, and never bestir themselves except when they can do some outrage to a Greek under pretext of a real or seeming misdoing. The greatest crime is forgiven when the accused puts into the scales the amount of gold which the greed of the judge thinks equal to the gravity of the offence. Property is only respected when the owner is stronger or better protected than the spoiler. One frequently sees a wretched Greek villager ousted by a Turk who enters into possession of his patrimony. Τα avoid these odious vexations many natives place themselves under the protection of some European consul, who is allowed to grant this favonr to a certain number. These protégés enjoy all the immunities of the subjects of the nation which protects them. They are distinguished, by a tall black cap of bear's skin, called calpìic. I have however seen Greeks who were not protégés wearing the calpàc unnoticed by the Tnrks. The mosques of Cyprus, except that of S. Sophia, which the Turks call Aia Sofìa, are shabby and ngly. Every Friday before the mid-day prayer the Imam ought to preach a sermon in Arabic; but here as no Turkish Imam knows Arabic the sermon is reduced to a few short phrases which they learn by heai"t and repeat over and over again like parrots, neither ALI BEY. 397

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