The Venetians in Cyprus had no force to withstand the Turkish troops, and the Cypriotes were too spirit-broken to fight for the laud that was only cultivated to enrich their merciless taskmasters.
The Proveditore, Nicolaus Dandolo, decided to surrender the whole of the island, with the exception of Famagusta and Nikosia. The Turks landed
without any further hindrance and marched at once to the capital with 100,000 men, whilst their fleet kept guard, lest assistance might be sent from Europe. For seven weeks the city sustained the siege, and the nobility, ably supported by the lower orders, bore themselves like brave and desperate men. Twice the Turks led an assault, and twice were gloriously repulsed, until they were obliged to send for a reinforcement of 10,000 men, including many sailors, to aid them in the desperate struggle.
The bold defenders of the capital were at no time more than 100,000 strong. In the night on the 9th of September began the third general storming of the doomed city. The whole army threw itself as one man against the walls, and before sunrise three bastions were in the enemy's hands; 20,000 men fell at the first shock, but their places were soon filled by those who pressed behind. The unfortunate women, as soon
as they saw that all was lost, flung themselves in numbers from the roofs of the houses, and many danghters, we are told, met their death at the hand of their father or mother to save them from a worse fate. The carnage and work of destruction lasted for eight days, and when it ceased, what had once been a fair city was a mere open space, covered with blackened ruins, with only its still towering cathedral dome looking down upon the scene. Two thousand Turks remained to keep possession, whilst the rest of the army marched on to Famagusta. Nikosia was in the hands of the Mussulmans, and the last Christian city in the East entirely destroyed. Enormous booty, comprising an immense amount of jewels, gold cloth, and fine works of art, and nearly a thousand of the fairest and noblest maidens, were put on board three ships to be sent to Constantinople
as tribute from Cyprus to the Sultan. A Greek lady on board, preferring death to the fate that awaited her, found her way to the powder magazine, which she ignited. The ship at once exploded, setting fire to its companion vessels, which were also totally destroyed; only a few sailors
saved themselves by swimming. Four years later, Sultan Selim, having enjoyed the choicest Cyprian wine to his heart's content, happened one day to take a fuller cup than usual before entering his bath, his foot slipped and his skull was fractured on its marble floor. He only survived this accident eleven days.
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