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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 81

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CH. xv] St Lazarus 77 greater exactness, took with him a native called Parisin, a Maronite, who was conversant with various tongues, and acted as an interpreter to strangers. He had been, if I mistake not, also Mr Swinton's guide. Cav. Niebuhr was taken straight to these inscriptions, which had been already carefully examined by other foreigners. Cav. Niebuhr was an excellent Arabic scholar, and knew the characters of Chaldean, and other oriental languages. He saw at once that they could not be Phoenician. But, hesitating to rely upon his own judgment only, he made the best copies he could of the characters, which were strange to him and worn by time, and took these to Mr Timothy Turner, Her Britannic Majesty's consul in Cyprus, who thought them Armenian. I had seen the originals many times, and was always of the same opinion. Still we might be deceived, and we therefore sought out one Ambarsun, a native of Armenia, who read and wrote his own language well, to whom Cav. Niebuhr showed his copies, and asked him if he knew the character. He replied that he saw they were Armenian, but that it required some trouble to read them. However in our presence he made out the names, the country and the dates of some of the writers, and satisfied us that the inscriptions were really Armenian, engraved by some devout person who came to visit the church of St Lazarus. Other like records are found in every language in all the sanctuaries of Palestine. I do not remember if Cav. Niebuhr carried away with him from Cyprus his copies of the inscriptions, but I fancy that when he knew them to be Armenian he set no further store on them, and left them as valueless. I grew equally indifferent, but to satisfy such men of letters as may wish to see them I will write to Cyprus, and do my best to obtain copies of them. Monsignor Mario Guarnacci, who has earned the gratitude of Italy by the many works in which he has illustrated its antiquities, speaks on p. 221 of the first volume of his Origini Italiche of Mr Swinton's opinion. He is inclined to

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