LUDOLF VON SUCHEN DE TERRA SANCTA
Concerning the city of Nicosia from De Terra Sancta, 1336
There is another great city in Cyprus called Nycosia. It is the capital of the island, and lies under the mountains in a fine open plain with an excellent climate. In this city, by reason of its well-tempered air and healthfulness, the king of Cyprus and all the bishops and prelates of his realm, the princes and nobles and barons and knights, chiefly live, and daily engage in spear-play and tourneys, and especially in hunting. There are in Cyprus wild rams which are not found in other parts of the world. But they are caught with leopards, in no other way can they be taken. And in Cyprus the princes, nobles, barons and knights are the richest in the world. For one who has a revenue of three thousand florins is no more accounted of there than if he had an income of three marks. But they spend all on the chase. I knew a certain Count of Japhe [Hugues d'Ibelin, Comte de Jaffa et d'Ascalon] who had more than five hundred hounds, and every two dogs have their own servant to guard and bathe and anoint them, for so must dogs be tended there. A certain nobleman has ten or eleven falconers with special pay and allowances. I knew several nobles and knights in Cyprus who could keep and feed two hundred armed men at a less cost than their huntsmen and falconers. For when they go to the chase they live sometimes for a whole month in their tents among the forests and mountains, straying from place to place, hunting with their dogs and hawks, and sleeping in their tents in the fields and woods, carrying all their food and necessaries on camels and beasts of burden. You must know that in Cyprus all the princes, nobles, barons and knights are the noblest, best and richest in the world. They live there now with their children, but they used to live in the land of Syria, and the noble city of Acon, but when that land and city were lost they fled to Cyprus, and there have remained until the present day.
Moreover there are very rich merchants, a thing not to be wondered at, for Cyprus is the furthest of Christian lands, so that all ships and all wares, be they what they may, and come they from what part of the sea they will, must needs come first to Cyprus, and in no wise can they pass it by, and pilgrims from every country journeying to the lands over sea must touch at Cyprus. And daily from the rising of the sun to its going down are heard rumours and news. And the tongues of every nation under heaven are heard and read and talked : and all are taught in special schools.