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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 52

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not give her money to go to the bath. In these cases the man is obliged to release her, to restore her dowry, and to maintain all the children. The woman can also claim a divorce if her husband is addicted to unnatural vice. To ask a dissolution of marriage on this plea she goes to the judge, and without further ex-planation she takes off a boot or slipper, and lays it before him up-side-down. A husband so charged is taken, beaten on the soles of his feet, and separated forthwith from his wife, without getting a chance of excusing himself. Slaves cannot demand a divorce ; only if they do not get sufficient food they can claim to be sold to another Turk. Although the Turks may have different forms of marriage, yet, speaking generally, women throughout the Levant are but slaves. The .reasons are many : I will end this chapter with one set down in the words of the famous Montesquieu. He is speaking of southern women, but his statement applies perfectly to those of the Levant. "Women in hot climates are marriageable at eight, nine and ten years of age, and infancy and wedlock are generally but one state. They are old at 20, so that they never display at one time reason and beauty. When beauty claims in-fluence, reason causes it to be refused : when reason might obtain it, beauty has vanished. "Women must always be in a state of dependence, for reason cannot procure for them in old age an influence which even in their youth beauty had not given them." {Esprit des Lois, XVI. 2.) 48 Concerning the City of Nicosia [CH. VI

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