“Pancyprian Rain” A poetic weather broadcast

Posted by: Maria Atalanti

Published on: 12/09/2023

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“Pancyprian Rain”

(The rain) filled the earth’s grooves and our rivers, from which the river of Idalion, after getting excessively drunk and enraged, swept away a part of its bridge. Now, efforts are being made to restore the communication between Scala and Nicosia by repairing the damaged section of the bridge with beams. We extend our thanks to the chief engineer and his team.

This is a news excerpt from the Cypriot newspaper “Salpigs,” published on January 26, 1885. This news is, in my opinion, very interesting, both for its language – archaic but poetic – and for the subject matter itself. One of the concerns of our people has always been the weather: Will it rain, how much will it rain, and how many disasters will it cause? At that time, the anxiety was much greater because farmers and shepherds relied solely on rainfall to yield crops, provide grass for their animals, and ultimately feed their families. Moneylenders profited from the countryside, while most residents lived in poverty. Additionally, they had to pay the tithe tax, which amounted to one-tenth of their production, to the government.

It is important to note that the first newspaper published in Cyprus and still preserved today is “Kypros,” dated August 29, 1878, just a few months after Cyprus came under British rule. Before that, there were no newspapers in our country. Of course, we must keep in mind that the early newspapers had nothing in common with today’s newspapers, which feature news from all over Cyprus, international news, and more. In an era without telephones, cars, correspondents from other cities, or the ability to distribute newspapers nationwide, it was natural that only news related to the government, laws, and some local news would be included. For this reason, most newspapers were local and sold through annual subscriptions. We should also remember that the majority of residents were illiterate and could not read newspapers. However, for the few literate individuals, it was a rare opportunity to express their opinions. Almost all newspapers published lengthy letters that began with the salutation: “Dear Editor.” This was somewhat similar to the freedom of speech we have today, thanks to social media, where anyone can say what they want without judgment or criticism. However, back then, there were no profanities, and the language used was more formal.

In Larnaca, the newspaper “Neon Kition” was published, and in Limassol, the newspaper “Alethia.” In Nicosia, the newspapers “Kypros” and “The Cyprus Times” in English were published. Naturally, “Kypros” newspaper was often bilingual. At times, there were other newspapers like “Salpigs,” but the ones mentioned above were the most essential in the early years.

If you find this journey into the past interesting, we could delve into it for a while to understand how our county first came into contact with modern civilization and how it evolved over the years until today.


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