Did you know

24 Oct 2023

Did you know? Charles Fullwood

Upon the arrival of the British to Cyprus in 1878, the Illustrated London News and The Graphic magazines recruited a number of talented members of the military ranks for a different mission: to sketch and present the new colony to the British public. Amongst those sketches, published mainly during July and December 1878 some pertained to dancing. In the issue of 31st August, page 225 The Graphic published “Cyprus-a native dance in the Turkish recruiting ground at Nicosia” drawn by Charles Fullwood. The accompanying text reads as follows:

The subject of my sketch is a dance on the recruiting grounds in Nicosia. It was taken a few months ago. While the recruiting for the Sultan’s army goes forward these dances are employed, so by their gymnastics and wild war-songs, they may attract probable recruits to the ground and infuse into them a spirit of patriotic enthusiasm. The Turks in Cyprus responded well to the calls for troops to serve the Padishah up to quite a recent date; but on the whole, the Cypriots are a quiet, inoffensive, agricultural people and possess no strong ambition for martial glory. The ground shown is also used as a marketplace and is in the strictly Turkish quarter of the town. The sketch was taken at considerable risk, as at the time the Turks objected to see a stranger with a pencil and sketch-book in his hand.

Dancing is employed to entice recruits, with strong associations and appeal to concepts of gallantry and manhood, strength and pride. Furthermore, it is obvious that this method of recruitment was imported from the central Ottoman military administration, whose long arm was still reaching Cyprus.

The ‘Did You Know’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus) and the Active Citizens Fund.

Discover More