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mentions the fact of cholera raging on the adjacent coast of Syria, whilst Cyprus was quite free from it. Consumption is said to be unknown, and pulmonary complaints are uncommon. A proof of the comparative healthiness of the climate is found in the fact that the diseases which prevail in Cyprus, both as to frequency and
character, do not relatively reach three-fifths of the amount of .
disease in Europe generally. In spite of the sinister reports that have been circulated, it is quite certain that Cyprus is not unhealthy in the sense that particular places, such as the West Coast of Africa are so, and the climate is in fact not dangerous to the constitution of Northern Europeans. Comparing Cyprus with Malta, the former has in hygienic aspects many manifest advantages;–it is larger; the population, compared to the area, is smaller; the island as a whole is incomparably more fertile, and there are many elevated sites suitable for habitation: consequently it is not improbable that when Cyprus has its sanitary laws, it may be made, at all events, as free from fever as Malta, where, when we first took possession, and for years afterwards, particularly bad forms of aguish fever were exceeding prevalent.
THE beasts of burden in ordinary use in Cyprus are the camel, the
mule and the ass.
Until lately, horses do not appear to have been much used, and
indeed, they were rarely to be seen except in towns, and there only
of inferior breeds; yet, in reports dated 1845, we read that the
horses of Cyprus, though small, are hardy, and might be useful for
light cavalry. Consul Riddell, writing at the beginning of 1876,
remarks that the old and cumbrous bullock cart is being rapidly
supplanted by the more general and increasing use of carts con-
structed upon European models, many of which are drawn by
horses instead of bullocks. The importation of horses, may, to a
certain extent, be looked upon as a natural consequence of the
Camels are very generally used for transporting the produce of
the cultivated districts to the markets and to Larnaca and Limasol,
from which places nearly the whole exports are sent out of the
island. The camels are less expensive than good horses, and can
carry a heavier weight; their pace is comparatively slow, but
hitherto time has been of no object in Cyprus, and the slow move-
ments of camels and mules are in perfect harmony with the
indolent character of the Cypriotes.
The mules and asses of the country are of good quality, and
are very generally used for riding; some of the former have an
excellent and easy amble, which does not fatigue the traveller, and
is a faster pace than the trot. The mules of Cyprus are much
esteemed throughout the Levant, and Consul White, writing in
1864, says that a considerable number of mules are annually ex-
ported to Rhodes, and that asses are also exported to Syria.
During the Abyssinian War, Consul Lang purchased in Cyprus
over two thousand mules for the British government in the course
of a month, at a cost of about £20 each, they were officially
reported to be the best of all that were obtained, they went up the
country to Magdala, and returned to the coast in good condition
for sale. As the roads in the island are not fit for driving, all
travelling has to be accomplished by riding. On this subject General
di Cesnola remarks “I found it in the end more profitable and less
expensive to purchase than to hire animals, and in this way I
became the possessor of several fine well-broken mules and two
strong donkeys, as high almost as horses, of a breed peculiar to
Cyprus. These donkeys are glossy and sleek, with large eyes, and
will trot as fast as a mule; they are besides very intelligent.”
The inhabitants of the village of Athienou, which is in a central
position between Larnaca and Nicosia, are mostly muleteers by
occupation, and own tolerably good saddle mules, which can be
hired to visit any part of the island. The muleteers, as a class,
are described to be excellent and trustworthy, even under the
temptation of conveying large sums of money from one town to
another. General di Cesnola mentions that during his residence
in Cyprus, he never heard of a professional muleteer proving un-
worthy of the trust confided in him, and this statement is fully
confirmed by Consul Lang. Travellers usually select their mule,
and bargain with the owner of it for a lump sum for the entire
journey, or else at the rate of so much a day. The latter mode is
generally found preferable, for should the mule turn out badly,
the traveller would be at liberty to change it on the road if he
could meet with a better one; still, the natives, for the sake of
economy, generally make a bargain for the journey. The saddle is
of rough native manufacture, and is called “stratouri; " across it are
hung, in such a manner as not to incommode the rider, two large
canvas bags for carrying his effects, upon these several coloured
blankets or quilts for bedding are piled, the stirrups are tied on to
this mass by ropes, and the rider has then to be assisted to ascend
to the top.
The load often appears enormous for the size of the animal,
but the Cyprus donkeys are as a rule very strong, and can resist
the fatigues of a long journey better than the mules.
Oxen are employed exclusively for agricultural purposes, they
are of a small kind, and usually in anything but good condition. Their
number is small, for there is no grass pasture land. Beef is con-
sequently not always to be obtained, and its quality is often far
from good; the natives scarcely ever eat it.
Cows are never kept for dairy purposes, and the milk is not
drunk; the Cypriotes appear to have an aversion against it as well
as the flesh. Oxen usually fetch from £3 to £7 10s. aecording to
The flocks of sheep and goats form a considerable portion of
the wealth of the island. In 1862, the numbers, exclusive of
lambs and kids less than one year old, were about 400,000, but
Consul Watkins reports that in 1877, the number of sheep alone
was estimated to be 750,000. These flocks browse upon the herbs
of the uncultivated districts.
The sheep are of two kinds, the small, and the fat-tailed. A
large quantity of both sheep and goat hides are tanned in the island,
and in 1862 it was reported that about 2,000 or 3,000 hides were
annually sent to Europe, chiefly to Trieste. The annual export of
lambskins was then about 16,000, these also were chiefly sent to
Trieste, and about 5,000 kids' skins were annually sent to Mar-
seilles. Consul Watkins, writing in March 1878, describes the present trade in skins as follows:—“The trade in skins is somewhat brisk, though limited. Cyprus exports a certain number over and above its producing capacity, as some are brought from Egypt and other places to be prepared and tanned here. The prices were as follows: for lambskins, 1s. 3d each; for sheep, 8d. each ; kids, 7d. each; goats, 1s. 3d each; and for bullocks' hides, 1s. 3d. per oke.” A considerable quantity of wool, unwashed and in the grease, is annually exported from Cyprus; Consul White, writing in 1864, says that about 3,400 cwt. are sent annually to Marseilles and Trieste. Some later consular reports are quoted below to show the present value of this article of export. Consul Riddell's Report for 1872:—
“The quantity raised in this island appears to vary very little year by year and may be averaged at about 450,000 lbs. ; the quality is somewhat coarse and wiry, but the staple is strong and of good length. All the wools of Cyprus are exported in the grease, and no attention whatever is given to improve their quality by improved breeding in the flocks. The pasturage is often scant o generally precarious during the summer and autumn, there being nothing beyond the rough and scanty produce of the uncultivated hill and table lands, so that whenever the rainfall is insufficient the food is scanty, and many of the flocks of both sheep and goats perish from disease generated by insufficient nourishment. Goats are able to subsist better than sheep during periods of drought. The entire number of both in the island is computed at about 800,000, in the proportion of one-third sheep and two-thirds goats.”
Consul Riddell's Report for 1873:—
“The production and export of sheep's wool in 1873, having been of all kinds, 478,860 lbs., rather exceeds the average yield. This quantity, however, comprises 43,040 lbs. of old wool, i.e. wool which has been used for various domestic purposes, and which the poverty of the owners has obliged them to sell in order to procure the means of existence. Deducting this from the whole quantity exported, leaves 435,820 lbs. as the yield of 1873.”
Consul Riddell's Report for 1874 –
“The growth of sheep's wool will probably turn out about an average in quantity, and of superior quality. The pasturage has been very abundant everywhere, and the flocks have been maintained in fine condition. The only drawback has been the prevalence of small-pox among the flocks in various
parts of the island, but the mortality is not reckoned to have exceeded 12 to 15 per cent.
Consul Watkins' Report for 1877:—
“The quantity of the wool produced last year was about 330,000 lbs.
The mildness of the latter part of the winter, and the abundance of pasturage
tly contributed to the growth of this article. The number of sheep is put own at 750,000.”
The mutton of Cyprus is described by Consul White as not being very good, having a strong rank taste with a coarse fibre, but this is not the universal opinion. Goats' flesh is said to be much eaten, and when fat and young is superior to the mutton. A considerable quantity of cheese is made from the milk of the sheep and goats, the kinds called “hellumi,” and also that made in
the village of Acanthou, are much esteemed, and are frequently ex-
ported to Syria. Cesnola mentions that the priest of Acanthou
assured him that the number of small cheeses, weighing not over
4 lb. a-piece, which are made, averages 2,000,000 a year.
It has been remarked by competent authorities (Consul Sand-
with and others) that a most lucrative trade in the export of live
stock generally to Egypt and Syria, might be carried on greatly to
the advantage of those countries, and to the breeders in Cyprus,
did not the government put absurd restrictions on the trade in
order to raise the prices. The consequence of so narrow-minded
a policy is that the flocks increase so rapidly that sheep and goats
sell for 10s. or 12s. a-head, while in Egypt they can sometimes
command three times that price.
At Beyrout, in winter, mutton sometimes goes up to 8d. a pound,
whilst in Cyprus, at a distance of only twelve hours by steam, it
sells at 3d. a pound; and yet exportation is as strictly prohibited
as if the two countries were in a state of war with one another.
Pigs are very generally reared by the Christian population, and
abundance of pork of good quality may be easily procured; it is
eaten by the upper classes only in winter, being rightly considered
unwholesome during the hot weather, but the peasantry salt it, and
in that state it is largely consumed by them at all seasons.
Poultry is very plentiful. Turkeys are abundant, and can be
bought at moderate prices, but, owing to the scarcity of water,
ducks and geese are somewhat rare.
It is stated that formerly wild animals abounded in Cyprus, but of the larger species, such as deer and roebucks, none are at present to be found. The fox is the only carnivorous animal now in the island.
Game is very abundant. The mufflon or wild sheep, and wild boars are found on Mount Troodos, and in the wild and uninhabited regions at the eastern and western extremities of the island, in the vicinity of Capes St. Andrea and Arnauti, and also in the Maratassa valley. Many of the sheep and goats on the slopes of Olympus, though the descendants of domesticated animals, are now quite wild, and it is said that in the Acamas and Karpas districts, horses, asses, and oxen rove at large in a wild state. Hares are plentiful, and as they subsist upon the sweet herbs which abound, their flesh is of excellent quality. The plains are frequented by flocks of bustards, partridges, francolins and quails. The francolins, in size and shape, resemble our red-legged partridges, but their plumage is much darker, and their ilesh more white and delicate, approaching in flavour that of the pheasant.
Of birds of passage, woodcock, snipe, and wild duck are very plentiful during the winter, frequenting the island from end to end. Becca ficos are abundant in October; the Cypriotes preserve them partially boiled in Commanderia wine, for winter eating.