Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
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Alessandro Palma di Cesnola

Here he offered voluntary assistance to the poor and sick, at a time when skilled nursing by experienced persons was almost impossible to be procured at any cost. This philanthropic act of Cesnola's was lauded and praised by all. He was struck down with it (after having passed the night at the bedsides of a poor French family, victims to this sickness, at the time the fever was at its worst. After about a month's illness in bed, his life being saved entirely through his good French landlady, Madame Schielbs, he returned into his usual good health, but finding his finances in an unsatisfactory state, he returned to Montevideo, where, with great difficulty, and under the protection of the Doctors Spada and Obbicini, both Italians, he obtained the post of Captain in the National Mobilised Guards. In that place he was excellently treated by the deputy-colonel, Don Juan Crux Costa, therefore he did not get on very well with his companions, and principally with the Italians. At the termination of the war (one of their truces or armistices, which they celebrated and called peace), there came afterwards recommendations, and through President Commensoro, Cesnola was nominated Sergeant-Major (Major), to the 4th Battalion Regular Infantry, commanded by one of the President's nephews, and thus he became part of the Republican Army.
In April 1873 he resigned, and sailed from South America, for New York, where he arrived after three months' journey on the sea without touching land. He visited Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington during the three months' sojourn in New York with his brother, and then left with him for the Island of Cyprus. His brother Luigi (who was made a general after the war in the United States), had been nominated American Consul for the Island of Cyprus in 1865. By the proposal of this brother, Major di Cesnola was nominated Vice-Consul for the United States at Paphos, now a little town, but much renowned in the ancient history of the island, with residence in Larnaca. There he commenced to undertake archǽological excavations, assisting his brother as chief digger and partner. At the end of the year 1875, Major di Cesnola left Cyprus to go to London, where he remained up to the middle of the following year to study the language and archǽology of Cyprus in the British Museum. It was at this time that he formed an intimate friendship with Dr. Samuel Birch, keeper of the Egyptian and Oriental Antiquities in the British Museum, who was his great helper and scientific adviser. Cesnola returned to Cyprus in 1876, recalled by his brother, who was on leave at New York, where he, a short time after, was nominated Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Alexander, with study and an enthusiasm for archǽology, put forth all his strength, and continued the excavations on his own account, aided in funds by Mr. Edwin H. Lawrence, F.S.A., of London, father of his future wife. The author arrived in Cyprus 22nd July of that year, to undertake the duties of American Consul, to represent his absent brother, and hoped later on to be nominated and replace him as Consul. These duties lasted only six months, because the American Congress, for economical reasons, abolished, together with 120 other consulates, that of Cyprus. In having no government employment, his Vice-Consulate of Paphos being thus abolished, he remained perfectly free of all engagements with the United States, and so he devoted himself then entirely to his excavations, which gave him splendid results and obtained great success; for in less than three years he had discovered 14,000 objects of archaeological value, comprised in his valuable collection, which is called and known by the name of the " Lawrence-Cesnola Collection." These excavations ceased when the British occupation of the Island of Cyprus was brought about. In 1879 Alexander married Augusta, younger daughter of Edwin H. Lawrence, Esq., great nephew to the illustrious Sir Thomas Lawrence, President of the Royal Academy of London. In 1881 Cesnola published his Album, an important work on his excavations at Salamis, of which the edition is now exhausted. This stupendous work has about 1,000 illustrations, and has received favourable notice at the hands of the English press. In 1882 the work took a new form, being entitled Salaminia, and revised by the author, who obtained some important notices bearing on the archǽelogical and epigraphical features of the relics from several well-known antiquaries. In this elegant volume, published by Messrs. Triibner and Co., figure the principal pieces of his collection, selected by himself, with the aid of Dr. Birch, Professor A. H. Sayce, M.A., and Professor C. T. Newton, C.B. They consist of gold, silver, bronze, lead, iron, ivory, marble, terra-cotta, glass, precious stones, Greek, Phœnician, Assyrian, and Cypriote inscriptions, which manifest the ancient art of those remote people and the nearest approach to Roman art. The Society of Antiquaries of London elected Cesnola a Fellow. He was also elected Member of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, and of the British Archaeological Association. The Royal Academy of Science and Art at Urbino made him Honorary Corresponding Member; not less appreciation of his work was shown by the circle of artists in Turin, who nominated him by diploma Honorary Member for life; so also other Italian and foreign Societies. One of his lectures which he gave in the English language at the British Archǽological Association has been published. He was not much known personally to the Italian colony in London, by reason of the retired life he lived; he was, however, a friend of Professor Tivoli of Oxford. He has always had a great affection for his countrymen, as also an ardent love for Italy and all belonging to it, always welcomed, when he paid his rare visits to the Italian Ambassador in London, with that courtesy due to a man that has done so much honour for his country by his sword, by his activity, and by his genius. Now, after a long absence, Major di Cesnola has returned to his native country, where he intends to establish himself with his family. Before his arrival in Turin he had been nominated to one of the scientific societies, " The Philotechnic", and at the First General Meeting was unanimously elected one of the Council. On the 5th of December 1883, by royal decree, he was nominated Major in the Italian army. Thus, after fourteen years' absence, he has again returned to his favourite life.