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book on Cyprus ? it is not easy to give an unqualified reply. General Cesnola's volume, with its admirable and abundant illustrations, its rich-toned paper and beauteous type, not only ranks high as a livre de luxe, but also contains a vivid résumé of its past history, and a well-written and amusing description of the island under Turkish rule. No one will begin to read it without being carried on with unflagging interest to the end. But its speciality and raison d'être are the individual researches and discoveries of the energetic author. M. L. de Mas Latrie's volumes leave little to be desired by those who wish to investigate thoroughly the period of Lusignan rule in Cyprus, and who have ample leisure for the task. But, of the three volumes before us, the two most bulky comprise the original documents which M. de Mas Latrie has with remarkable perseverance and critical discernment selected from widely dispersed collections, and the third, although extending to more than 500 ample pages, yet only completes the first of the three centuries during which Lusignan kings reigned in the East. Mr. Lang's less pretentious pages, which are still in course of publication in Macmillan's Magazine, aim rather at describing the resources of the island, and at indicating the necessary administrative measures requisite to ensure its prosperity under our control. Mr. Lang writes in a pleasant style, is full of matter, and speaks with the authority of one who has enjoyed and turned to good account opportunities of being thoroughly acquainted, during a residence of nine years, with the country, its inhabitants, its capabilities, and its administration. Of the other volumes named at the head of our paper, we will only say that Pococke will hardly afford new light to those who have any acquaintance with geography or history of the island; whilst Meursius is exclusively valuable for the industry, not always guided by critical knowledge, with which he has collected all that early writers have recorded about Cyprus ; a task in which he has been followed and superseded by Engel.
*A glance at any map,' says Mr. Lang, 'will convince the most incredulous of the advantageous position which Cyprus occupies, both as a defence to the Suez Canal, and a possibly future Euphrates Valley Railway.' Nearly a century ago Louis XVI. of France sent M. Sonnini on a voyage through Greece and Turkey, and in the account of his travels, published on his return, under the régime of the Republic, he recommended the conquest of Cyprus as an indispensable starting point for the occupation of Egypt. About the same date the island was visited by Captain J. Taylor, who was attempting
the then most unwonted task of an overland journey to Bombay, and he immediately perceived its importance to the command of the Valley of the Euphrates. These authorities will suffice to prove that it is under no influence of party feeling that Englishmen may rejoice over the peaceable cession to them of the valuable prize whose past history and future prospects we will try, very briefly and imperfectly of course, to set before our readers.
The chain of historic interest which is associated with Cyprus is singularly complete. The island has been identified by modern as well as ancient archæologists with the Chittim and Caphtor of Holy Writ. The statement of Eusebius that the town of Paphos was founded by Israelites in the days of the first Judges is more questionable ; but it is certain that its shores were the seat of Phænician colonies full a thousand years before the Christian era, and their influence on Cypriote art and character may be traced down to comparatively modern times. Greek settlers soon realised and largely appropriated the value of the mineral and agricultural resources of a land which had been celebrated in the poetry of Homer, and visited in the wanderings of Menelaus and Ulysses. The Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian, Egyptian, Roman, Byzantine, and Mohammedan Empires each in turn exercised an important influence on its fortunes. It was the fabled birthplace of Venus, the last retreat of Solon, and the fatherland of Zeno. It was the scene of apostolic labour in the earliest days of the planting of Christianity and of the fostering care of the Empress Helena when the cross was first inscribed on the banner of the Empire. Our own Richard Cour de Lion won it with characteristic energy, wedded his affianced bride, Berengaria of Navarre, at one of its altars, and sold it in unkingly fashion to Guy de Lusignan for a stipulated sum. Owing to the continuance of the Lusignan dynasty there for three centuries, the effect of the Crusades was more permanently felt in Cyprus than in any other portion of the Eastern Empire. Venice held it for a century beneath its sway. Nothing save the withering influence of Turkish rule could have severed for three hundred years from the stream of modern politics a country so exceptionally fortunate in geographical position and natural resources.
An unusual number of Greek names was assigned to the island, no less than 16 or 17 being recorded by Meursius ; they denote its connection with the worship of Venus, its numerous promontories, and its singular fertility. The name Cyprus is variously derived from a legendary child of Ciny
ras, from the copper in which it abounded, and from the henna plant (Lawsonia alba), so largely used as an Oriental cosmetic. The titles, too, of its cities bear witness to its varied fortunes. Citium, the modern Larnaca, is the Japathian Chittim ; Paphos, Amathus, Idalium, and Golgos are of Phænician; Neo-PaphosTembros, and Curium of Argive origin. Soli claims connection with Solon, the Athenian lawgiver ; whilst Salamis recalls to every schoolboy the hardships of Teucer, the son of Telamon. Pelasgians, Cilicians, Lycians, and Egyptians all in turn helped to people its shores. Modern philology is still successfully engaged in investigating the dark problems involved in so confused an intermixture of races, and a special Cypriote character-long presumed to be Phoenician-is being gradually deciphered by the united labours of English, German, and American scholars.
The civilisation of the Phænician era in Cyprus corresponded with that of the Semitic races at Carthage and Tyre. There was the same spirit of industry and commerce ; the same skill as artisans, smiths, and miners ; the same devotion to pleasure, licentiousness, and blood. Gathered in towns along the coast, these early settlers felled the timber, with which the island was then covered, for their vessels, and became pre-eminent in shipbuilding and navigation. A Cypriote fleet co-operated with the army of Semiramis, as in later years with that of Alexander at the siege of Tyre. The Homeric story of the bad faith of Cinyras attests at once the skill of the Cypriotes at that early age as naval engineers and as workers in the terra-cotta figures, of which so many examples have been disinterred by Cesnola. The same Cinyras, the legendary hero of Cyprus, the inventor of hammer and anvil, and other tools for working metals, is also high-priest and favourite of Venus-a sort of Phænician Vulcan with the characteristic qualities of artistic skill, Punic perfidy, and unbridled sensuality. . •The immoderate licentiousness of modern Malabar,' says Michelet, 'can alone recall the abominations of the Phænicians. What must have been the moral condition of a people whose principal worship was that of Mylitta, Aphrodite, or Venus, in which lust was sanctified, as Thuggism sanctified murder ?
As Phænician influence declined and that of the Greeks increased, nine towns in Cyprus rose to importance each as the seat of an independent kingdom. Citium and Amathus
i General Cesnola's handsome volume contains a series of inscriptions given in facsimile of the Cypriote character.
on the south coast ; Salamis on the east ;' Curium, and afterwards Neo-Paphos, on the west ; Cerynia, Lapithos, and Soli on the north ; and Ledra on the site of Nicosia, the modern capital in the interior, were the capitals of these petty monarchies. The extraordinary fertility of the island enriched at this period a people animated by a spirit of enterprise, and for a brief period of thirty years the navies of Cyprus enjoyed the supremacy of the Mediterranean. But the enervating influences of the climate and of wealth only too easily acquired soon told with fatal effect. The ninth century B.C. was the culminating period of Cypriote prosperity. Sargon, the father of Sennacherib, gained a temporary mastery over the island B.C. 707. Apries, King of Egypt, the Pharaoh Hophra' of Scripture, conquered some of its princes, and carried off much booty B.C. 594. Amasis, who put Apries to death, overran, according to Herodotus, and subjected to tribute the entire island. From this date to the reign of Alexander the Great it was practically a dependency of Persia.
We are indebted to some fragments preserved in the strange medley left us by Athenæus for a few vivid touches, which sketch in rapid outline the typical tyrants of Cyprus. The portrait is one which might serve for many an Oriental despot of modern days, with its flaccid features of aimless extravagance and effeminate luxury. One tyrant in a drunken freak sold his royal authority for fifty talents, with which he retired to end his days at Amathus. Another is described by Clearchus as reclining on a couch with silver feet, placed on an exquisitely soft Sardian carpet, with a coverlet of purple cloth, edged with scarlet fringe, and three purple pillows beneath his head, made of the finest linen, to keep him cool ; two more of scarlet supporting his feet, as he lies clad in a robe of spotless white. Behind his couch are slaves in short tunics, and close to him his three principal attendants; one nursing his master's feet, another gently holding his hand, rubbing it and stretching the fingers; and the third, with his left hand smoothing the young prince's hair, whilst with his right he languidly waves a Phocean fan.
Antiphanes, another writer quoted by Athenæus, gives a yet stranger illustration of Paphian luxury. The poetic rendering from Mr. Yonge's translation preserves much of the spirit of the original :
In Paphos, where you should have seen the luxury
i Cesnola, p. 23.
... The king was fanned
Not harshly on the forehead of the king. It is not surprising to learn that despots so worthless and effeminate lived in constant fear of insurrection. Gradually suspicion, fostered by their courtiers for interested reasons, moulded the policy of the Cypriote kings into a peculiar form, under which the espionage of their own subjects was reduced to a system, of which Clearchus gives the following description.
All the monarchs of Cyprus have encouraged a race of highborn flatterers as useful to them; for they are a possession very appropriate to tyrants. And, as is the case with the Areopagites, no one knows their number nor their persons, except a few of the most prominent of them. Now the flatterers of Salamis (from whom the flatterers throughout the rest of Cyprus are sprung) are divided according to their families into two classes, one they call Gergini, and the other Promalanges. The Gergini associate with the people in the city, and go about as eavesdroppers and spies in the workshops and markets; and whatever they hear they report daily to those who are called their kings. And the Promalanges make inquiry about anything which has been reported by the Gergini which they consider worthy of investigation. And they conduct themselves with such craft and gentleness, that I believe what they themselves assert, viz. that from them the race of notable flatterers has been handed to distant countries.'
The dreary record of luxurious self-indulgence and nerveless inactivity is agreeably relieved in the fourth century B.C. by the episode of Evagoras, a prince of the house of Teucer, whose ancestors had been driven from their hereditary kingdom of Salamis. Cesnola briefly relates his story, which has all the air of a popular legend. The length of the period during which the dynasty of Teucer was dethroned is very uncertain.
1 Athenæus, vi. c. 67.