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Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
 
 
 
 
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HISTORY OF CYPRUS

GIOVANNI MARITI. Travels in the Island of Cyprus

7

sheep supply the best meat. There are some magnificent ones, with a tail so large that it weighs as much as fifty pounds, and some have three and even five horns. The lambs are chiefly eaten in the summer. The flocks of goats are really beautiful on account of the remarkable cleanness of the animals, the different colours and varied spots of their coats.
The greyhounds are much valued for the chase, and their speed is such that when one goes to hunt with falcons, dogs of a slower race are taken, so as not to lose one's pleasure if the hare were caught in the twinkling of an eye. The best breed
is white, with long hair about the ears and tail, and a long but stout and strong foot, the rest of the coat being somewhat rough.
The time is past when arts and sciences flourished among the Greeks. Ignorance has taken their place, ignorance reigns. The Mohammadans one and all acknowledge no idol but wealth, and this they seek not by those fair means which the cultivation of the liberal and mechanical arts suggest, but only by violence and tyranny. The kingdom of Cyprus and all Syria we may except a few parts of Asia and European Turkey are the touchstone of this truth. In the island of which I speak there are no arts but those which are indispensable to human existence. Or if there are others they are only those concerned with the manufacture of cotton. And these deal with so small a produce that it can no longer keep up a regular commerce with Europe. The same may be said of the manufacture of skins tanned with sumach, yellow, red and black, of which just enough are prepared for home consumption.
Although the Greeks are sunk in idleness and indolence, so far as regards the arts and sciences, they still show signs of talent, and of pride of spirit, which makes one remember what their ancestors were: but few know how to employ these qualities to any good end. They are accomplished only in fraud, deceit and such subtleties that one needs the eyes of Argus to guard oneself from their treachery. Few have any education, and these few are the priests, who learn to read the written language, though but few of them know its real meaning.
Now that I have spoken of and described the island and kingdom of Cyprus in general, I will pass on to particulars.

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