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The Cypriot World in the Age of the Protestant Reformation in Europe

Pavlína Šípová - Mgr., Institutum Graecitati et Latinitati augendae Universitatis Carolinae / Ústav řeckých a latinských studií, Univerzita Karlova

 

Abstract

In the era of Ottoman expansion and the Protestant Reformation, there was a growing interest among Europeans in private trips to Jerusalem and professional missions to the Sublime Porte, with an intermediate stop in Cyprus. The stormy events in the Christian world of the 15th and 16th centuries and the mounting danger from the Ottomans propelled a strong desire to find the original and pure Christian Church.

Reading the texts of the travellers of the time, we may conclude that in the late 15th century and during the 16th there was a significant increase in voyages to the Holy Land through the Venetian-occupied Greek world and Ottoman-occupied Cyprus. We are informed through these of the Venetian possessions that were gradually passing into the hands of the Ottomans, including Cyprus.

Despite the fact that none of the travellers focussed primarily on the Cypriot reality and although direct references to the society of the time are rare in their writings, we nevertheless obtain some much-needed information about both the island and the travellers themselves. When dangerous situations prevented the pilgrim from circulating freely on the island, we find supplementary information through numerous and diverse references and quotations drawn from ancient writers and contemporary travel texts.

This paper offers an authentic perception of the Cypriot world through eyewitness accounts of 15th- and 16th-century travellers, especially that of Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice.

 

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