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Ancient Monuments in Cyprus

    Naturevolume 134pages730731 (1934) | Download Citation



    THE address on the “Ancient Monuments of Cyprus”, delivered by Sir Charles Peers at the meeting of the Royal Empire Society on November 5, afforded ample justification—if justification were needed—for the appeal issued in the spring of this year by the influential Cyprus Committee, of which Lord Mersey is chairman, for funds for the preservation of these monuments. Sir Charles, as the result of a visit of inspection to the island, on which he was accompanied by Sir George Hill, director of the British Museum, was in a position to assure his audience, and through them, a wider public, of the unique character and exceptional interest of the long series of monuments, many of them of surpassing beauty, which extends from prehistoric times to the Turkish occupation. To the archaeologist the island of Cyprus, which gave its name to the metal first put to practical uses by men, and which was a meeting place of the cultures of the Mediterranean, of Egypt, and of Asia, is a source of the material of prehistory of which the potentialities have yet to be explored systematically; while the historian and the student of art may here view within its restricted compass a sequence of Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance and Turkish, scarcely surpassed,if indeed equalled, in riches elsewhere —such riches, for example, as the Gothic buildings or the village ohurches with their painted decorations, to which Sir Charles referred. Since attention was directed recently to the danger which threatens the antiquities of the island, an inspector of antiquities has been appointed; this is only a partial discharge of the responsibility entailed by Britain's occupation of Cyprus since 1878, and its formal status as a colony since 1925, now that the inhabitants have fallen on evil days through the economic depression. On historical and æsthetic grounds, the Cyprus Monu ments Fund (6 Pall Mall, London, S.W.I), for which several thousand pounds will be needed, deserves the fullest support.

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