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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 75

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Famagusta are many fields which produce bom, otherwise madder-root {robbia or lizart). It furnishes a red dye, and is one of the richest products of the island. Following the coast eastward from Salamina you enter that part of the island called Carpasso, which stretches up to Cape St Andrea. I need only say that it produces abundantly, silk and cotton. On the seashore are groves of olive trees. They are no longer fruitful, and are cut down for firewood. No one hinders their destruction, and boats come even from the coast towns of Syria to carry them away. The city anciently called Carpassia is now the village of St John. The district is governed by an alai bey, or captain of horse, who generally lives at Varoshia, near Famagusta. There too resides a Qazi, who acts as judge. In the plain of Mesaria, about four miles from Salamina, is a fine church dedicated to St Barnabas, and a large convent containing only a few Greek monks. A few years ago they wished still further to enlarge the church, and had begun to lengthen it by 25 braccia. But the permission was withdrawn, and the monks forbidden to enlarge the church, lest some day it should be used against the Grand Signor as a fortress. A liberal bakhshish would have smoothed every difficulty. A stone's throw hence stands another, older, church, almost in ruins, dedicated to the same saint. Below this, in a subterranean tomb, was laid the body of the saint, which was discovered in the days of the Emperor Zenon. Many writers, including the Roman martyrologists and Cardinal Baronius, relate the story, and say that on the corpse was found the Gospel of St Matthew, written by the evangelist's own hand. The Greek bishop who presented the said Gospel to the Emperor at Constantinople obtained the privilege of signing his name with red ink, and in his full pontifical habit to wear the crown, with the terrestrial globe in his left hand, and the sceptre in his right, and the regal mantle—as well as of being finally independent of the patriarch of Antioch, with whom хш] and its Neighbourhood 71

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