Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
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Richard I

Richard I

The Words of Neophytus, a Priest and Cloistered Monk, concerning the Misfortunes of the Land of Cyrpus

Excerpta Cypria: Materials for a History of Cyprus. Cambridge, 1908

A cloud veils the sun, and a mist mountains and hills, and these for a while shut out the warmth and bright ray of the sun; and us too, for now twelve years, a cloud and mist, of successive calamities which have befallen our country, wrap round.
For Jerusalem having fallen under the rule of the godless Saladin, and Cyprus under that of Isaac Comnenus, fights thenceforth and wars, tumult and turbulence, plunder and dread events, covered the land in which these men ruled, worse than cloud and mist.  For lo! the life-giving sepulchre of our Lord, and the other holy places, for our sins have been given to the Mudslim dogs, and at this great calamity every God-loving soul weeps: as it is written (Psalm xlvi. 6), "the nations raged, the kingdoms were moved," the sovereigns of Germany and England, and of nearly every nation are moved, I say, on behalf of Jerusalem, and have done nothing. For Providence was not well pleased to thrust out dogs, and to bring wolves in their room.
And now for twelve years the waves swell up even worse: and he, our beloved spiritual son, to whom forsooth we write these things, enduring not to see and to hear the horrors, and partly to suffer them, after many questionings and contrivances, by a divine impulse fled from their bloodstained hands with all his people, and having approached Angelus, the sovereign of Constantinople, was honourably welcomed by him, and from him received the dignity of " Augustus." And I, in fulfillment of my promise, lo! by the grace of God, write the rest as I promised, setting forth to those who may read these our present difficulties.  Which difficulties, when they shall end, no one among men knoweth, but He only who rebuketh the sea and the winds, and they are still.
Strange things and unheard of have befallen this land, and such that all its rich men have forgotten their wealth, their fine dwellings, families, servants, slaves, their many flocks, herds, swine, cattle of all kinds, grain bearing fields, fertile vineyards and variegated gardens, and with great care and secrecy have sailed away to foreign lands, and to the queen of cities. And those who could not fly - who is fit to set forth the tragedy of their sufferings? The searches, the public prisons, the exaction of money squeezed from them, thousands upon thousands! But these, by the just judgment of God, were allowed to befall us on account of the burthen of our sins that we might be humbled, and perchance be deemed worthy of forgiveness.
England is a country beyond Romania on the north, out of which a cloud of English with their sovereign, embarking together on large vessels called smacks, sailed towards Jerusalem.  For at that time the monarch of the Germans, it is said with 900,000 soldiers, was making his way to Jerusalem; and passing by the land of Iconium, and coming through the eastern countries, his troops perished from the length of the journey, and from hunger and thirst. And their sovereign, as he was riding, was drowned in some river. But the English king, the wretch, lauded in Cyprus, and found it a nursing mother: had it not been so, he too perchance would have suffered the fate of the German. But how Cyprus was taken, this too I will briefly relate.