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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 6

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long hold it in peace, and were obliged to restore it to Richard, who made over his rights to Guy Lusignan. Carlotta, the last scion of that family, was expelled in 1460 by her natural brother Jacques. She married Louis of Savoy, through whom those Dukes take the title of Kings of Cyprus. Jacques died, and his widow Carlotta Cornaro being childless gave the kingdom to the Venetians in 1489. They could not hold it against the Turks, who took it from them in 1570, and still hold it undisturbed. Ferdinand de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, attempted the conquest of the island, and might have succeeded, say the historians, had he been better served by the commander of his forces. This most beautiful island has a circuit (including its bays) of 600 miles. It is 200 miles long, and 65 broad, and is crossed and divided by a range of mountains running from east to west : the highest of these are Olympus, S. Croce and Buffavento. The greatest of her plains is that of Mesaria, of 78 miles in length, and 30 in breadth. Her streams and torrents which flow even in winter are but few, so subject is the island to drought. It is said that in the days of Constantine the Great no rain was seen for full thirty years, and the land lost many of its inhabitants. In ancient times there were many cities, but now the names only of a few remain attached to their old sites ; of the rest the very locality is forgotten. The notable towns which still exist are Nicosia and Famagusta, which rank as walled cities. One might add Larnaca, where are the European mercantile houses. There are also seven large forts, in each of which is a Disdar or Commandant. Cyprus surpasses every other Greek island in the number of natives illustrious for their birth, dignity, learning and saintliness. Strabo, Geography, xiv. 20, says of the island " κατ dperrjv ουδεμίας των νήσων λείττεται—it yields to ПО Other island in excellence." Many ancient historians have thought 2 A General View of the [CH.

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