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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 188

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to dig in the parapets, while we were not slow in hurling grenades among them, and in sallying now and then from the shelters to harass the diggers, but our losses were considerable. We restored the parapets with buffalo skins soaked in water and stuffed with earth, waste and wet cotton, well bound with cords. All the women of Famagusta, under the guidance of a monk, made up companies for each quarter of the city, and went every day to work at the post assigned to them, carrying stones and water, which was stored in half casks in every battery to quench the fire thrown by the Turks. For having failed to take the gate, they found a wholly new device. They collected a great quantity of wood called teglia which burns easily with a bad smell : this they piled before the gate, lighted it, and with fascines and beams smeared with pitch they worked up so fierce a fire that it was impossible to extinguish it, though we kept throwing casks full of water from the tall cavalier which burst over the fire. This lasted four days when by reason of the great heat and stench our men were forced to retire into the city. The Turks went down into the lower flanks, and began to dig fresh mines. We closed the gate, which we could no longer leave open, and straightway to the surprise of all they remade the platform of the ravelin and planted a gun over against the gate, which our men had entirely earthed up with stones, earth and other material. The position of the city was now desperate; within the walls everything was lacking except hope, the valour of the commanders, the daring of the soldiers. The wine was ex-hausted, neither fresh nor salted meat nor cheese could be had, except at extravagant prices. The horses, asses and cats were consumed. There was nothing to eat but bread and beans, nothing to drink but vinegar and water, and this too soon failed. The digging of fresh mines was heard below in the cavalier of the gate : everywhere the enemy was toiling with more activity than ever: in the ditch opposite the battery The Siege of Famagusta 185

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