History Podcasts

Cypro-Archaic Sculptures

Cypro-Archaic Sculptures


Ancient Cypriot art

Ancient Cypriot art refers to all works of visual art originating from Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean from c. 10,000 BC to c. 330 AD. [1] During this period, various types of objects were produced such as domestic tools, weaponry, jewellery, and decorative figurines. This range of art attests to the blend of both native and foreign influences of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome as they successively occupied the country. Artworks produced in ancient Cyprus incorporate almost all of the mediums of visual art worked on in ancient history including terracotta, stone, [2] metals, glass, [3] and gemstones. [4]


Pottery of Geometric, Archaic and Classical periods in Cyprus

The pottery of Iron Age Cyprus, i.e. of the Cypro-Geometric (CG), Cypro-Archaic (CA) and Cypro-Classical (CC) periods, represents an abundant archaeological record of the extant material culture. Ceramic vessels come from different archaeological contexts (tombs, settlements, and sanctuaries) of the Iron Age, which provide evidence for the production and use of pottery in the course of the 1st millennium BC.

The excavation and research programmes carried out by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus and by several archaeological missions have uncovered information about the historic past of various Iron Age sites. Publications particularly revealing of the wealth of the material culture of these sites relate, for instance, to cemeteries of Palaepaphos, especially for the CG period, 1 the ‘royal’ tombs of Salamis for the CA period 2 and, more recently, to the CC necropoleis of Kition. 3 Yet, the most comprehensive work on Iron Age Cyprus is the monograph of E. Gjerstad, the Swedish Cyprus Expedition volume IV/2 (SCE IV/2) which lays the foundation for the study of the material culture of this period. 4

The pottery craft, which interests us here, when placed into its historical framework, should be considered in the context of the Iron Age polities. These are characterized by an uninterrupted occupation from the beginning of the Iron Age (the CG period) and they are defined as kingdoms from the end of the 8th century BC onwards until their abolition in the late 4th century BC, which signifies the end of the Iron Age. 5 Thus, the pottery craft is to be studied as part of the social, economic and cultural environment of the Iron Age polities. Based on the current state of research, this chapter provides an overview of the development of the Cypriote pottery from the mid-11th through the late 4th century BC by outlining its basic trends. To do so, it is necessary to firstly present the typo-chronological system, the principal tool for the reading of the pottery record of Iron Age Cyprus.

The SCE IV/2 typo-chronological system

The classification and dating of Iron Age ceramics are based on the typo-chronological system developed by Gjerstad in his work of SCE IV/2 6 . Subsequently, this was slightly elaborated on by the same scholar. 7 The Iron Age was, thus, divided into seven periods resulting from the definition of seven ceramic Classes or Types.

In this classificatory system, the various shapes are classified according to the wares, i.e. the decorative techniques, which occur in each ceramic class. For example, White Painted I for CG I, White Painted II for CG II, and so on. The wares that appear in the course of one period are indicated by the number of their first appearance, accompanied by the number of the respective ceramic class in a parenthesis. The Black-on-Red, for instance, firstly occurred in the CG III period, is noted as Black-on-Red I (III) for the CG III, Black-on-Red II (IV) for the CA I, and so on.

New research in pottery studies of Iron Age Cyprus

The general aspects of the Cypriote pottery pertaining to shapes, wares and decorations were explicitly displayed in the SCE IV/2 typological system. Gjerstad’s main purpose by establishing this system was, in fact, the definition of “…a common Κύπριος χαρακτήρ, which distinguishes Cypriote pottery from that of non-Cypriote origin…”. 8

Nevertheless, recent studies have attempted to supplement the Cypriote character of the pottery craft, as it was defined by Gjerstad. This has been achieved through an approach of the pottery data in their regional context. Such a method has resulted in the identification of pottery production centres and definition of their respective ceramic styles. So far, for the CG period we can identify the pottery production of the workshops of Paphos, Kourion, Amathous, Kition, Lapithos, Salamis and Kythrea 9 in the CA period, the workshops of Amathous and Kition. 10 Concerning the CC period, with the exception of a recent study on the classical pottery from Kition, 11 the definition of the production of the various workshops still remains an open subject for research.

Characteristics of the Cypriote Iron Age pottery

Let us now turn to the presentation of the principal attributes of the Iron Age pottery of Cyprus according to the three factors making up a pottery style: shape, ware and decoration. We will then proceed with a synopsis per period of the most representative series of production by illuminating particular aspects of the regional workshops.

In general, the composition of the different workshops’ repertoire during the Iron Age demonstrates local pottery traditions accompanied by elements borrowed from foreign ceramic fashions. Cypriote potters were selectively incorporating new elements in their production, mostly concerning new shapes but also certain decorative motifs or even techniques. These external features were influenced by the imports attested on the island and following the tastes of the cosmopolitan society of Iron Age Cyprus. We acknowledge that they testify to the shifting trading patterns and contacts of the island with the surrounding regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, mainly with the Aegean and the Levantine coast.

The several categories of vessels are, from a technological point of view, principally wheel-made, although there is some evidence for handmade vessels, in particular for large storage containers (pithoi) and for certain cooking pots. 12 The production series are divided into two broad categories of closed shapes (vessels for stocking, transporting, serving and pouring) and open shapes (vessels for drinking, eating and serving), to which can be added the specific category of ritual vessels.

The decorative techniques constitute another distinctive characteristic. The wide range of fine painted wares fabricated by Cypriote potters throughout the Iron Age attests to their preference for colourful decorations on ceramics. 13 Nevertheless, it is in the framework of the regional workshops that we can better perceive the degree of popularity of each ware, which in fact corresponds to a specific repertoire of shapes. In turn, the decorative ornaments are closely connected to the wares and each workshop employs a particular range of motifs.

Finally, although vase decoration is mainly abstract, the pictorial representations compose a distinct category for the Cypriote Iron Age pottery which is not comparable to the pictorial styles established in the Greek Geometric, Archaic and Classical pottery. Indeed, the peculiarity of the pictorial scenes in the Cypriote pottery lies on iconographical and stylistic (general rendering and decorative techniques) grounds but also on the selected repertoire of vessel shapes. 14 The pictorial tradition in Cypriote pottery is, therefore, best considered separately for each period and in the framework of the regional workshops.

Cypro-Geometric period (ca. 11th-8th c.​ BC)

It is in the CG period that the principal characters of the Iron Age pottery were established. Cypriote potters develop local traditions from the Late Bronze Age in their repertoire of shapes and incorporate forms of Aegean and Levantine origin. The vessels of the CG period repertoire inspired by Aegean styles relate to ceramic types already apparent in the Late Cypriote IIIA (12th century BC) pottery, but also to new shapes firstly attested in the Late Cypriote IIIB (first half of 11th century BC). 15 The latter is a short transitional period heralding the Early Iron Age. 16

For the closed shapes in the CG repertoire, a representative vase of Aegean inspiration is the belly handled amphora. This vessel also stands out due to its long production during the entire Iron Age. However, it should be noted that in the course of the CG period the Aegeanising elements encompassed and further developed in the Cypriote production are detectable only as reminiscent, without having evidence of any new adopted features in the CG pottery. As for the Levantine inspired shapes, the flask and the globular jug are distinguished as the most abundant imports during the CG period and they were accordingly adopted into the Cypriote repertoire. 17 Essentially, the globular jug, transformed in the Cypriote repertoire to a barrel-shaped jug, constitutes a very typical shape of the CG pottery [Fig. 1]. Among the open forms, a popular vessel is the plate. It is a specific shape of the Cypriote pottery which was produced only during the CG period [Fig. 2]. The plate is characterized by elaborate decoration on the exterior surface of its large base.

The ornamental repertoire comprises a wide variety of abstract, linear and circular motifs in different combinations which define the decorative style of the CG pottery. The limited pictorial representations are inspired from the fauna and flora, whilst the human figure and, in general, the narrative scenes are very rare . 18 However, an important corpus of pictorial scenes has been yielded from the regions of Paphos and Kourion. Regarding the wares employed for vessel decoration, the White Painted (black painted decoration on pale background) and the Bichrome (black and red painted decoration on pale background) are very common techniques in the CG pottery. Furthermore, both these wares indicate a long production during the entire Iron Age. The Bichrome technique, with Levantine roots, particularly flourished in the workshops in the east part of Cyprus, especially in Salamis, but also in the Amathousian workshops . 19

Towards the later stage of the Geometric period, the CG III period, two new wares make their appearance in the Cypriote production: the Red Slip (red coating of the vessel surface) and the Black-on-Red (black painted decoration on red background). Although the Black-on-Red is one of the most debated wares in terms of its origin and its chronology , current research leaves no doubt as to its Cypriote origin. 20 In addition, it has been recently suggested that the ware was an invention of the workshops of Paphos during the CG III period, where it also presents a high quality of manufacture [Fig. 3]. 21 The Black-on-Red occurs in a variety of shapes (open and closed), many of which were circulated in the Eastern Mediterranean, as we will see further on.

Cypro-Archaic period (ca. 8th-6th c. BC)

In the CA period, novelties mark pottery production as evidenced in the different production centres. It is principally at the late phase of the period, the CA II, that the stylistic divergences between production centres become even more accentuated. Moreover, during the CA period, the production of different workshops is also marked by the enhancement of the use of pictorial scenes. In the repertoire of shapes, we observe the stylistic development of pottery shapes already in circulation in the preceding period (the CG III), as well as the disappearance of others.

A substantial change is, however, demonstrated by the adoption of new open shapes. Different types of bowls without handles executed in Plain White or Red Slip ware represent shapes of Phoenician origin and are widely documented in the production of the workshops of Kition. 22 Furthermore, a new type of drinking vessel of Aegean derivation is also assimilated into the Cypriote pottery. It is a reproduction in White Painted and Bichrome ware of the skyphos vessel imported to Cyprus principally from Euboea and Attica during the 8th century and from the 7th century onwards from the East-Greek region. 23 This vessel is closely related with the practise of banqueting [Fig. 4].

In the category of closed shapes, the production series of round-mouthed juglets is represented by a range of morphological variations. They are manufactured either in continuation of the type of the CG III period or under the influence of Bichrome and Red Slip juglets imported from Phoenicia. 24 The Cypriot specimens are very common in Black-on -Red but also in Bichrome ware [Fig. 5]. These small containers are associated with the production of perfumed oils or unguents. During the CA period, the production of vessels in Black-on-Red ware is evidently increased in various Cypriote centers after the appearance of this ware in the late CG period. Numerous vessels in Black-on-Red ware were exported in the Eastern Mediterranean not only to the Levantine coast, but also in the Aegean (Crete, Cos, Rhodes). 25 In the category of large containers for the transport of commodities, executed in Plain White ware (without painted decoration) the basket handle amphora constitutes another typical Cypriote production, also widely distributed in the Eastern Mediterranean mainly from the late CA period. 26

Returning to the evidence of the painted fine wares, a new decorative technique, the Bichrome Red (black and additional white paints on red background), occurs at the beginning of the CA period. This ware testifies to the predilection of Cypriote potters for more vivid decoration. Moreover, the ornamental repertory of the CA period demonstrates a stylistic enrichment with the creation of new decorative compositions not only of abstract nature but also figural, attributing an imaginative and exuberant style. In addition to the two stylistic traditions already distinguished by Gjerstad pertaining to the west and east of Cyprus respectively, 27 we can also add the evidence from the center of Amathous. 28 The workshops of the western coast preferred abstract geometric compositions with extensive use of the concentric circles motif, while the workshops of the eastern coast favored floral, as well as other figurative motifs, such as animals and occasionally humans 29 . The latter figural representations follow principally the so-called free-field style and they are executed in Bichrome technique [ Fig. 6 ]. Finally, the well-known ‘Amathous style’, rendered principally in Bichrome ware, is attributed to the Amathousian production of CA II and employed a specific repertory of shapes and decorative motifs, with occasional use of the human figure. 30

Cypro-Classical period (ca. 5th-4th c. BC)

In the pottery of the Cypro-Classical period, the tendencies already apparent in the later stages of the CA II period continue and strengthen. Certain production series indicate a development of the pottery types with Levantine and Aegean, Attic but also East-Greek, stylistic “borrowings”. Yet, there are important fluctuations between the different production centers, a subject which still remains open for in-depth research.

In the category of fine ware ceramics, the Plain White becomes a very popular technique. It is abundantly represented by a variety of jugs, in particular those which develop the shape of the dipper sack-shaped jug of Levantine origin, as well as by different types of handless bowls [ Fig. 7 ]. Another important characteristic is the increasing tendency for the production of such vessel shapes in a miniature version, always in Plain White. Despite the diminished use of the painted wares in comparison with the CA period, it should be noted that the Bichrome Red ware stands out as the characteristic decorative technique of a special series of jugs. These jugs bear an attached animal protome or a terracotta female figurine holding a miniature oinochoe and particularly flourished in the workshops of West Cyprus in the late CA and especially during the CC [Fig. 8] . 31 Many specimens of this type of production are documented in the regions of Marion and Paphos. Moreover, in the beginning of the CC period a new ware appears: the Stroke Polished ware under Aegean influence. 32 It is not a common technique and its use is, in fact, restricted to a range of shapes that have Greek counterparts. It seems that this ware is better represented in the western part of Cyprus.

Regarding painted wares, in general terms, the ornamental repertoire encompasses selective motifs inspired from Greek, in particular Attic pottery styles, such as olive or ivy wreaths. 33 Contrary to the CA period, the representations of humans and animals figures become very rare in the painted decoration the CC pottery.

Finally, in the category of transport amphorae, we observe the evolution of the Cypriote basket handled amphora alongside with the production of a variety of knobbed-base amphorae following Greek models of various proveniences. 34 This latter type of transport amphora appeared firstly in Cypriote production during the CA II period. As far as the Levantine commercial amphora is concerned, the so-called “Canaanite jar” continuously imported in Cyprus already from Late Bronze Age, although it testifies to several typological variations during the Iron Age, a characteristic type of the CC period is the elongated narrow bodied, which was also very probably locally imitated. 35

In concluding this brief summary of the 800 year-long evolution of pottery production in Iron Age Cyprus, it is important to note that new studies are required to define particular characters and aspects of the constantly increasing pottery record. However, it is clear that the Cypriote cultural identity, as manifested through the pottery craft, can be elucidated only in the frame of regional workshops of the Iron Age polities and it is within this focal area that new studies need to be rooted.

List of illustrations

Fig. 1: Bichrome II barrel jug (Georgiadou 2014, fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Bichrome III plate (Georgiadou 2011, 178, fig. 21b).

Fig. 3: Black-on-Red I (III) barrel juglet (Georgiadou 2014, fig. 3).

Fig. 4: Bichrome IV skyphos. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 74.51.590. The Cesnola Collection, purchased by subscription 1874-76.

Fig. 5: Black-on-Red II (IV) juglet. London, The British Museum, 1880,0710.86. Photo courtesy of © the Trustees of the British Museum.

Fig. 6: Bichrome IV trefoil jug. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 74.51.527. The Cesnola Collection, purchased by subscription 1874-76.

Fig. 7: Plain White VI/VII juglet. London, The British Museum 1887,0801.51. Photo courtesy of © the Trustees of the British Museum.

Fig. 8: Bichrome Red VI jug. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 74.51.563. The Cesnola Collection, purchased by subscription 1874-76.

Endnotes

2 For example Karageorghis 1973.

3 Hadjisavvas 2012 Hadjisavvas 2014.

5 Satraki 2012 Iacovou 2013.

10 Amathous: Fourrier 2006, 2009 Kition: Fourrier 2015.

12 For the cooking pots : cf. Fourrier 2007.

13 For the definition and evolution of the various wares: Gjerstad 1948, 48-91.

14 For the corpus of the pictorial scenes on Iron Age Cypriote pottery: Karageorghis and des Gagniers 1974 and 1979.


Cypro-Archaic Sculptures - History

The MCA Cypriot Collection (Thanos N. Zintilis collection) consists of more than 800 artefacts and is one of the most comprehensive collection of antiquities outside Cyprus

THE EXHIBITION

Ancient Cypriot Art is a fascinating example of cultural amalgamation in antiquity. It combines creatively elements deriving from local, Greek, Egyptian and Near Eastern traditions, and exemplifies the intense level of interaction among ancient Mediterranean cultures.

The MCA collection of Ancient Cypriot Art (one of the largest outside Cyprus) comprises unique prehistoric figurines, Archaic and Classical sculptures, inscriptions, bronzes, coins, exquisite gold jewellery, impressive glasswork, and a wide array of ceramics ranging in date from the 4th millennium BC to Medieaval times.

The most important pieces of the collection are presented on the 3rd floor of the museum in a highly interactive exhibition.

The Thanos N. Zintilis Collection of Cypriot Antiquities, one of world’s most important, was added to the permanent collections of the Museum of Cycladic Art in 2002 on a long-term loan and presented to the public for the first time in 2004.

Completed in 2012 and based on a new museographical study, the display showcases 550 (previously 400) objects dating from the Chalcolithic to the Byzantine, Medieval, and Modern periods, grouped according to time period and category. The new display uses contemporary museological approach (in design, colour, lighting, and presentation of the exhibits on relevant illustrated surfaces) to highlight the rich in style, decoration, and imaginative shapes Cypriot pottery (utilitarian, storage, and table wares) of the prehistoric and historic periods, which represent the collection’s core.

The pottery is presented in ten cases, covering a wide spectrum from the mid-third Millennium BC to Late Antiquity. Separate cases corresponding to different thematic units complete the pottery display: religion, weaving, perfume making, funerary rites, writing, metalworking, coins, seal stones, and foreign relations. The peripheral display also includes glass vases and jewelry displayed by chronology and category.

The development of the human form in figurines and sculpture from Chalcolithic to Roman times is shown in prominent cases in the centre of the gallery. This allows the visitor to understand specific types in the long development from the first Chalcolithic figurines and pendants of the fourth millennium BC, made of native Cypriot picrolite, to the acme of terracotta and sculptural art in limestone – and, rarely, marble – of the Iron Age. The exhibit is accompanied by comprehensive texts for each case, introductory and thematic texts, maps and a chronological chart, as well as multimedia applications on touch screens with texts, figures, and drawings that contain further information on Cypriot copper, the commodity that brought wealth and well-being to the island, the history of writing and coinage.


Archaic Period Horse Sculptures

Horses, with or without riders, were favorite subjects for Boeotian artisans. The figurines were frequently left as burial offerings in graves. Horses were a sign of wealth for the Greeks of this period, and the terracotta horses were probably left to symbolize and to reinforce the high status of the deceased. Thousands of clay figurines like this one survive from the Archaic period (600 to 480 BCE).

"Horses played a central role in the great civic festivals in the ancient world, such as the Panathenaic Games in Athens and the Olympic games at Olympos, where they took part in chariot races and single horse races. The horse’s long affiliation with gods and heroes in Greek mythology no doubt also fostered a special respect and admiration for this remarkable creature in the minds of “ordinary” Greeks. In Homer’s Iliad, horses drive the chariots of the heroes and are praised for their swiftness and beautiful coats. They are often depicted as having special relationships with their owners, like Achilles and his immortal horses, Balius and Xanthus. In the Iliad, it is told how, when Patroclus was killed in battle, Xanthus and Balius stood motionless on the field of battle, and wept, yet when Achilles rebuked Xanthus for letting Patroklus get slain, Hera granted the horse human speech to deliver to Achilles a warning about his own fate." - Stasahatzoglou, The significance of the horse in ancient Greece.


Cypro-Archaic Sculptures - History


Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations

September 29, 2010 - May 1, 2011
2nd Floor, Northeast Wing, Special Exhibit Gallery (Hall 23)
The easternmost island of the Mediterranean has been a crossroads of civilizations for 11,000 years. Discover the history of Cyprus, its struggles, and achievements -- through a rich collection of more than 200 artifacts and antiquities, many of which are on view for the first time outside the country. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus, the exhibition gives an overview of the island's unique culture through a range of objects dating from the earliest villages to masterpieces of medieval religious art.

Highlights include:
• Gold jewelry and sphinx sculptures from the Cypro-Archaic period (750 to 480 B.C.)
• Vases, bowls and sculptures, including an Aphrodite marble, from the Hellenistic (325 to 50 B.C.) and Roman (50 B.C. to A.D. 330) periods
• Bronze and copper items, including lamps and jugs, from the Byzantine period (330 to 1191)
• Religious icons, paintings, and vases from the medieval period (13th to 16th century)
• Nearly 100 coins from different eras in Cypriot history, from the Hellenistic (325 to 50 B.C.) through the Venetian period

I'd run up to Philly to the Penn museum's of Archaeology. You can do it in a day without staying overnight. If you can, I'd also catch the Cleopatra Exhibit at the Franklin (also in Philly) as well. It is spectacular. Otherwise, you can't beat the Met in NYC.


Ancient Cypriot Art

"The first mention of Apollo in Cyprus known so far dates back to the 5th century BC. It is a dedicatory inscription uncovered in the sanctuary of Kourion that appears to be the original place of worship of the god on the island. Beyond the political and ideological context, the Apolline cult was widespread significantly over the island defining Apollo as the main masculine divinity of the Cypriote religion at the end of the 4th century BC. This paper aims to present the characteristics of the god owing to the analysis of the development of his worship throughout the Cypro-Classical period. Three different areas are of the main focus: his major temenos in Kourion, the Mesaoria plain and the coastal region. Although some Greek and Oriental elements, especially Phoenician, exist, the autochthonous essence of his cult is clearly visible in some of the epicleses of the deity and certain aspects of his iconography.

Thus, the connection of the “Cypriot” Apollo with the protection, the fertility and the revival of both human community and the natural world is highlighted in this article."


Greek and Roman Art

The museum’s collection of Greek and Roman Art comprises over 6,500 Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Cypriot, and Bronze Age Aegean artifacts. From monumental public sculpture to small-scale items of personal adornment, and from drinking vessels to burial containers, objects on display in the permanent collection galleries demonstrate the rich and varied material cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, offering insight into diverse aspects of daily life, and illustrating processes of contact, conflict, and creative exchange across peoples and time. Highlights include an Attic red-figured calyx krater attributed to the Dinos Painter, depicting the death of Actaeon a colossal portrait head of the emperor Tiberius and a cameo with a portrait of the empress Faustina, formerly in the collection of George Spencer, Fourth Duke of Marlborough (1739-1817).

The collection was formed following a substantial donation of Roman coins from Emory alumnus, Reverend Wilbur Fisk Glenn, in the late 1920s and expanded piecemeal through the 1960s. Beginning in 1981, the generous financial support and long-term commitment of Thalia and Michael C. Carlos ensured its development as one of the most significant collections of Greek and Roman art in the Southeast. It has been further augmented by important donations of objects from the Brummer Collection, donations of Greek pottery from Dietrich von Bothmer, and the long-term loan of classical plaster casts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The collection also houses the photographic archive of archaeologist Conrad M. Stibbe (1925-2019). In accordance with the museum’s commitment to the Association of Art Museum Directors’ Guidelines on the Acquisition of Archaeological Materials and Ancient Art, research into the previous ownership histories of objects in the Collection of Greek and Roman Art is active and ongoing.


Contents

The ancient city Edit

The original inhabitants were natives of the island, known to scholars as the "Eteocypriotes". The original city lay on the northern side of the Gialias River in modern "Ayios Sozomenos". During the 13th century BC the people of Ed-di-al began manufacturing operations on the south side of the river in what is now modern Dhali. From there the city grew to the major urban and copper-trading centre founded by the Neo-Assyrians at the end of the 8th century BC.

The city was the centre of the worship of the Great Goddess of Cyprus, the "Wanassa" or Queen of Heaven, known as Aphrodite and her consort the "Master of Animals". This worship appears to have begun in the 11th century BC and continued down through the Roman Period.

The ancient city was located in the fertile Gialias valley and flourished there as an economic centre due to its location close to the mines in the eastern foothills of the Troodos Mountains and its proximity to the cities and ports on the south and east coast. Idalion prospered and became so wealthy that it was among the 11 cities of Cyprus listed on the Sargon Stele (707 BC) and first among the ten Cypriot kingdoms listed on the prism (many-sided tablet) of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (680–669 BC). [1]

The city included two acropolises while houses were in the lower city. The fortified palace was built in 750-600 BC on Ampileri Hill, the west acropolis of the city, and rebuilt in 600-475 BC against attacks by Kition. The Temple of Athena was also located there. The east acropolis on Moutti tou Arvili Hill functioned as a sacred centre and included the Temples of Apollo, Aphrodite and of other gods. The lower city was also fortified, at least during the 5th c. BC.

The first evidence of non-Cypriot presence (Greek, Phoenician, and others) appears in the Archaic Period (c. 550 BC) in Phoenician inscriptions found in the Adonis Temenos on the East Acropolis.

Production by the mint dating from 535 BC shows the city's authority and prosperity. The fortified palace was also a sign of this prosperity as it is one of the few, and the largest known, in Cyprus. The first Kings of Idalion were Greek as shown from coin inscriptions and the important Idalion Tablet. The tablet also shows that the last king, Stakyspros, was democratic in governing by decisions taken with a council of citizens and the resulting documented laws discovered in the temple of Athena. It also shows that there was a social welfare system during the sieges of the city by the Persians and Kitions of 478-470 BC. The king was the biggest landowner and borders of plots were registered.

The city was conquered by Kition, a Phoenician city at that time, in about 450 BC. [2] The palace became their administrative centre the archive of tax payments was discovered here. Under Kition the city became the centre of a cult of Aphrodite and of the Helleno-Phoenician deity Resheph-Apollo.

From 300 BC the palace and west acropolis were abandoned and the city became centered on the east acropolis, around the special sanctuaries for Aphrodite and Adonis which continued their importance.

The city existed in Hellenistic and Roman times but its extent is not yet known.

"Rosemary scented Idalium" appears in the poetry of Propertius and others as the place where Venus (or Aphrodite, the original pre-Greek Queen of Heaven) met Adonis (the original pre-Greek consort of the Queen of Heaven, or 'Lord').


File:Barrel-shaped jug, Cyprus, Cypro-Archaic I, 700-600 BC, ceramic - Fitchburg Art Museum - DSC08634.JPG

Click on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time.

Date/TimeThumbnailDimensionsUserComment
current16:48, 24 December 20133,486 × 3,627 (3.19 MB) Daderot (talk | contribs) User created page with UploadWizard

You cannot overwrite this file.


“Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations” Opens at the Smithsonian Sept. 29

Cyprus, the eastern-most island in the Mediterranean Sea, situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, has been a meeting point for many of the world’s great civilizations. From its 11,000-year history, Cyprus has woven its own distinctive history and culture.

“Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations” will be on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History from Sept. 29 through May 1, 2011. The exhibition is presented on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus.

“‘Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations’ celebrates Cyprus’ 11,000-year history and showcases some of the latest discoveries from the early era of Cypriot archaeology,” s aid Sophocles Hadjisavvas, guest curator of the exhibition. “This unique exhibit shows the rich heritage and cultural contribution of Cyprus to the world. We look forward to having Smithsonian visitors explore Cyprus and the treasures this island has to offer.”

“This beautiful exhibition gives visitors the chance to explore the rich cultural heritage of Cyprus,” said Ellen Dorn, director of special exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution. “The objects presented in the exhibit give visitors just a glimpse of the unique culture found on the beautiful island of Cyprus.”

The exhibition will feature more than 200 artifacts—covering nearly 11,000 years of history—that range from items from the earliest villages to masterpieces of medieval religious art and give an overview of the island’s unique culture. Among the objects on display for the first time in the United States will be:

Gold jewelry and sphinx sculptures from the Cypro-Archaic period (750 to 480 B.C.)

Vases, bowls and sculptures, including an Aphrodite marble, from the Hellenistic (325 to

50 B.C.) and Roman (50 B.C. to A.D. 330) periods

Bronze and copper items, including lamps and jugs, from the Byzantine period (330 to 1191)

Religious icons, paintings and vases from the medieval period (13th to 16th century)

The exhibition also will feature nearly 100 coins from different eras in Cypriot history, starting from the Hellenistic period through the Venetian period.

“Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations” was made possible by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, the Cultural Foundation of the Bank of Cyprus, the Byzantine Museum of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation, the Holy Bishopric of Morfou, the Pierides Marfin Bank Museum, the Thalassa Museum of the Municipality of Agia Napa and the National Museum of Natural History.


Watch the video: King of the Rusted Crown - Timelapse (January 2022).