What I Saw

23 Jun 2023

Jacobus de Verona

The Augustinian monk Jacobus de Verona, in Cyprus in July 1335, was impressed by the wines which, he advises, should be drunk diluted one glass of wine to four glasses of water. He records some of the first descriptions of a funeral and marriage on the island.

…A rich citizen died (in Famagusta) and all our clerks were invited to pay him honour and I went and while we were at the door of the deceased, I heard women singing sweetly; then I entered the house and looked where the corpse lay and lo, at his head were two women singing aloud and two at his feet piously wailing and these are the flute-players (S. Matt. Ix 23) of whom the Evangelist speaks. They were singing in the Greek tongue…

In the same city, one Sunday I saw a bride go to the house of the bridegroom thus; before her were borne twenty large candles lighted, and after her twenty and in the midst she sat on a horse, with her eyebrows and forehead painted, and after the candles came forty or more ladies with black cloaks over their heads and reaching to their feet, in very decent fashion, and thus go all the ladies of Cyprus, showing nothing but their eyes, and when they go out of doors they always wear this black cloak; and this from (1291) the time that the Christians lost Acre, which is Acon or Ptolemais.

The 'What I Saw...' series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus) and the Active Citizens Fund.

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