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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 17

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most minute particle, and to this end guards are set over the spot : but a present will buy some little licence. The same jealousy is shown about the amiantus, a stone found near the village of Paleandros. Various historians testify that by certain processes cloth was made from it, and that to clean this it was thrown upon the fire, whence it was withdrawn clean and unburnt. Pliny speaks of it, xxxvi. 19, "amiantus, like alum, loses nothing of its substance from fire"; and Dioscorides, v. 158, says of the Cyprian amiantus "there is produced in Cyprus a stone called amiantus, resembling alum (alumen scissik), which is prepared and made into a cloth which looks like leather. When thrown into the fire, it burns but comes forth brighter, and is not consumed." The modern Greeks called the amiantus carystia : others, Cotton-stone. Besides this stone there is found also much red jasper, agate and three different kinds of precious stones. The hills nearest to Larnaca are all of talc, from which is prepared the gypsum so generally used in the island. Of wild quadrupeds there are only foxes and hares : the latter, owing to the fine pasture, are better flavoured than our own. The European residents keep horses and dogs, and amuse themselves greatly at all seasons of the year in hunting these animals. Among birds the commonest are francolins, partridges, woodcock, quails, thrushes, and every kind of waterfowl : we may say in fact that no winged game is lacking. The price of francolins and of partridges is the same, five soldi each. Woodcocks are a little dearer, for though they are abundant enough they are more prized, and other birds are extremely cheap. ' I must not forget the beccafico and the ortolan, which are very plump : they are sold indiscriminately at four soldi the bunch of twelve, and they are so plentiful that even at this price they are a source of profit to the villagers. The largest catches are made near Santa Napa. Some are sold fresh, but ι] Island and Kingdom of Cyprus 13

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