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Population, Inhabitants, &c.
Population. The population of Cyprus, as shown by the estimates given below, has varied very considerably at different epochs in the history of the island.
In ancient times it was stated to be .... 2,000,000
In 1801 „ Sonnini 60,000
In 1815 „ Dr. Clarke 60,000
In 1840 „ Consular Reports 100,000
In 1841 a census was ordered to be taken by the Governor, Talaat Effendi; the figures obtained were not very exact, but they showed a total population of 108,000 to 110,000; of these 75,000 to 76,000 were Greek Christians, 32,000. to 33,000 Turks, 1,200 to 1,300 Maronites, 500 Roman Catholics, and 150 to 1 GO Armenians. The population of Nicosia was then 12,000, consisting of about 8,000 Turks, 3,700 Greeks, and a few Armenians and Maronitea. In 1854-58, consular reports stated that the population had risen to 180,000, consisting of 26,514 families, of which 7,299 families were Turkish, and 19,215 Christians.
The population of Greek Christians was then described as increasing, and in 1867 the population was reported to amount to 200,000 inhabitants, of whom no less than three-quarters were Christians of the Orthodox Greek Faith.
The last official report we have is that of Consul Watkins, who, writing in March, 1878, says that of the estimated present population of 200,000, about two-thirds are Greek, and the remainder, with but few exceptions, Moslems. Since the cession of the island to Great Britain, several estimates, varying considerably in their figures, have been made concerning the present population, but the best authorities consider that there are now about 220,000 people in Cyprus, three-fourths of whom are Christians.
The causes of the sudden and rapid increase of the population since 1840, have been assigned to the disappearance of the plague, which was always a source of considerable mortality in Cyprus; the introduction of vaccine, and consequent comparative freedom from small-pox; and to the somewhat improved system of government which has been adopted since that date. Inhabitants. The inhabitants consist of the native Cypriotes who form the
great bulk of the population, for the Turks, though governing the country, are quite in a minority; moreover, amongst those who are considered Turks, and in outward appearance might be taken for Mahomedans, many are not so in reality; the greater part of these are the descendants of converts, and would go back to their original faith if they could, others are of the sect known as Linobambaki, which is described a few pages further on, and are the descendants of forced converts; they are unwilling followers of Islamism, and have little or no sympathies in common with the true Turks.
The Armenians, Maronites, Europeans, and other nationalities in the island form but a very small fraction of the total population.
The inhabitants of Cyprus are often included in a general classification as Greeks, but this is evidently incorrect, for, from the earliest days up to the present time, not only have the characteristics of the people been essentially different from those of the true Greeks, but it must also be remembered that ethnologically the Cypriotes, belonging to the old stock of the island, which has been aptly called "proto-Hellenic," are quite a distinct race from the Greeks, with whom, indetd, almost the only connecting link lies in the fact that the majority of inhabitants of Cyprus are Christians of the orthodox Greek faith, and it would appear that it is on this account alone that they have been considered to be Greeks. The number of real Greeks by birth now in the island is stated to be not more than a few hundreds. .
In character the Cypriotes are deficient of the liveliness and ner- Character. i . vous activity of the Hellenes, and do not possess any Hellenic ^> "j* aspirations; their leading traits are a quiet and docile disposition, V
combined with frugal and careful habits, and considerable cunning in business transactions. The natives are said to be very sociable and hospitable, and are remarkably fond of pleasure, but, although wine is both abundant and cheap, they are as a race considered very sober; still they waste much of their time in the cafes, are great frequenters of the fairs which are often held in different parts of the island, and are devoted to all amusements. The climate of the island does not promote industry, and the Cypriotes, as a rule, are very averse to hard and continued labour; the extreme simplicity of their mode of living, and the inexpensiveness of the necessaries of life, enable the labouring classes to indulge in idle and lazy habits, which in most other countries would inevitably lead to ruin. This love of ease is, however, combined with saving habits, and it is said that the natives are often very niggardly and avaricious, so that although, on the one hand, they do not care to work and make money, on the other hand what little they do earn is hoarded up, and made to last a long time; no expenditure that can possibly be avoided is ever incurred, and in food and living generally, they are particularly temperate and frugal. Coarse bread, cheese, olives, and vegetables, with now and then salt fish or salt pork, form the ordinary food of the peasantry, and all these articles can be procured at extraordinarily low prices.
The Cypriotes are very easily governed, anything like brigandage is unknown in the island, and burglaries and assassinations are very rare, though, by recent accounts, it appears that the use of the knife in quarrels, particularly in the Baffo district, is by no means uncommon. Political agitation, or opposition on the part of the people to the constituted authorities is unknown, although the country has had hard things to bear at the hands of her Turkish rulers, and it is generally remarked that patience and docility are amongst the marked features of the national character. At the same time the slyness and cunning of the Cypriotes are noted, and all pver the Levant they have a reputation for keenness in business which includes efforts to over-reach and cheat whenever it is possible, knavery and lying being freely employed in order to gain the required object. The Mussulmans of Cyprus have little of the fanatical spirit and bigotry which characterize the Arab Mussulman. They generally live in harmony with their Christian neighbours in town and country; this is usually found to be the case wherever the Mussulman element is in the minority, and only in Nicosia, where they form the majority of the population, do they evince any desire to assert a superiority. The Christian population is far more industrious and zealous in the acquisition of wealth than the Mahornedan, and for many years past in the sales of land, the latter have generally been the sellers, and rarely the purchasers. The Turk is also seldom an intelligent agriculturist 8.0 \t can scarcely be wondered at that in Cyprus, the Christians have acquired considerable ascendancy.
The Cypriote love of home and family is very strongly evidenced, and is noticed by nearly all writers. It has often been found difficult to induce men to leave their native village even for considerable pecuniary advantages. The continual care of parents is the settlement for life of their children, and, with this object, they will often despoil themselves of their whole property, and settle it upon the younger members of the family. Consul Lang, General dl Cesnola, and others, mention cases of this being done, and it points out in a most decisive manner not only the self-denial, but the striking affection of the parent towards his children. It is very commonly supposed that the morals of the Cypriotes are loose, but Consul Lang, speaking with a thorough knowledge of the island, declares that this is an entire mistake, and that the morals of the peasantry will bear most favourable comparison with the same class in England and Scotland.
The marriage customs of the Greek and Catholic inhabitants are governed by the rules of the Greek and Roman churches, and do not differ in any essential points from those in force elsewhere.
The Turks, in all religious rites, follow the precepts of the Koran.
During the Lenten fast, and on Fridays throughout the year, the religious Cypriote lives on bread and olives, and will not even touch fish, or anything that has breathed. Various superstitions exist in the island, the origin of which may be traced to the old rites of Aphrodite; such, for example, is the custom of offering doves to the priests. The " evil eye" is much dreaded throughout the island, and curious precautions are taken by the unlives in order to avoid its influence. The ladanum plant is believed to have magical properties, and the peasants carry it in their hands, and smell it, under the belief that it will charm away disease. The patron saints of the island are St. George, St . Lazarus, St. Barnabas, and St. Andrew. At Whitsuntide the Cypriotes hold a curious ceremonial called the water /Ste; it appears to be a celebration of the anniversary of the rising of Venus from the waves at Paphos. Gaudry witnessed this ftte, at Larnaca, and describes the great crowd which marched in procession to the sea shore, and the various ceremonies which took place. At the birth of an infant, a vessel of wine is buried, and is not dug up, or touched, until the child is grown up and married, but whatever may be the fate of the child the wine is never used in commerce.
As regards physique, the Cypriote males are generally described as a tall, fine looking, and broad shouldered race; Mariti especially praises their personal appearance. The women are said not to retain their ancient reputation for beauty, but their domestic qualities are highly praised by all who are well acquainted with the island.
From the position of Cyprus there has necessarily been a great Language, mixture of Semitic, Aryan, and African races, their languages must also have been to some extent mixed, and some of them, as far as the island is concerned, lost. During the Venetian rule the pertinacity of the Greek element maintained their language, though it become more or less corrupted, particularly in pronunciation, by Italian.
The Cypriote language is now a Greek dialect with a Doric tendency, and words of Semitic origin prevail extensively. The peculiarities of the dialect are such that a knowledge of ordinary Romaic is often of little use in the villages. Mr. Stuart Poole advises any one who wishes to become thoroughly acquainted with the Cypriote language, to supplement a good colloquial knowledge of Romaic with a careful study of Professor Mullach's "Grammatik der Griechischen Vulgarsprache," in relation to Cypriote.
It is said that the Italian language is much used in Cyprus in commercial transactions, and both it and Turkish are spoken commonly by the better classes. Orientals acquire a knowledge of Italian with much greater facility than any other European language. Greek, or the Cypriote dialect of it, is much used by Mahomedans as well as Christians, and there are many villages where the Mahomedan inhabitants are quite ignorant of Turkish. French is very little spoken in the island. Official communications must now be couched either in English or Turkish.
Commencing with the earliest ages, we find but little informa- Eady fora» tion regarding the religion practised by the first inhabitants of ofiror""P. Cyprus, but it is probable that in the almost savage life led by the early settlers, the religion derived from their forefather Japhet gradually died out, and that when the Phoenician and Cilician colonists arrived, they found nothing but fetishes.
The worship of Aphrodite, the early form of Venus, was then introduced, and Kinyras, who established himself in a regal and priestly position at Palrc Taphos, was the founder of the priesthood (774) i
Introduction of Christianity.
of the Kinyradae. The Tamaridae family held the priesthood of the Cilician worship, and maintained with Bahylonian rites the worship of the goddess Mylitta.
To these two forms of worship was added that of Jupiter, which was introduced by Teucer, the son of Telamon. Afterwards, colonists from otl\er countries arrived, and to the above prevailing systems new practices were introduced, but as they all involved the same general principles and customs, it appears that all worked smoothly together.
These idolatries continued undisturbed until about A.d. 45, when Paul and Barnabas in the course of their missionary tour arrived in Cyprus; they landed at Salamis and travelled through the island to Paphos, where they converted the pro-consul Sergius Paulus by their preaching, and performed the miracle upon Elymas the Sorcerer, as related in the Acts of the Apostles. At this time the Jews formed a large and important element of the
fopulation of Cyprus, but after the revolt and massacre of A.D. 15, mentioned in Chapter I, they were expelled from the island, and have never since recovered their influence there.
The conversion of the island to Christianity progressed rapidly, numerous bishoprics were founded, and we learn that Epiphanius was Bishop of Salamis in the fourth century; afterwards, religion in Cyprus deteriorated, as was the case for a time throughout the whole Church. At present it is said that about two-thirds of the population belong to the Orthodox Greek Faith, but have several rites and ceremonials peculiar to the island.
Of the remaining one-third, the greater part profess the religion of Islam, but of these the true Mussulmans are chiefly confined to the Turks of Nicosia, Famagusta, and Paphos, who alone are really Osmanlis; the remainder, who have been designated as neoMuslims, are of Greek origin, they are the descendants of converts to Mahomedanism, and are by no means zealous adherents of that faith. A somewhat different sect also exists in the island, the members of which have been nicknamed "Linobambaki," that is linen and cotton, a figurative expression meaning a mixture of Christian and Mussulman. These people do not number more than about 1,200; they are distributed chiefly near Nicosia, Famagusta, Iimasol, and in a village called Leo-Petro, situated at the southeast extremity of the island between Capes Pila and Greco. In outward appearance the members of this sect resemble Turks, and are recognised as such by the authorities, but in reality they are Christians whose ancestors were forced, after the Turkish conquest in 1571, to declare themselves Mussulmans, and embrace the faith of Islam in order to save their hives and property. Their ancestors were members of the Latin Church, and it is now a matter of dispute between the Greek bishops and the Latin priests, as to which of these Churches they really belong, each being desirous of claiming them. On account of their anomalous position, the Linobambaki have frequent difficulties with the Turkish authorities with regard to religious rites, conscription, &c.*
* Further details concerning thia aoct arc contained in Cesnola,s "Cyprus, iti Cities, &e;" page 185.