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A´MATHUS (Ἀμαθοῦς,--οῦντος: Ἀμαθούσιος, Adj. Amathusiacus, Ov. Met. 10.227: nr. Old Limasol), an ancient town on the S. coast of Cyprus, celebrated for its worship of Aphrodite--who was hence called Amathusia--and of Adonis. (Scylax, p. 41; Strab. p. 683; Paus. 9.41.2; Steph. B. sub voce Tac. Ann. 3.62; Catull. 58.51; Ov. Am. 3.15 15.) It was originally a settlement of the Phoenicians, and was probably the most ancient of the Phoenician colonies in the island. Stephanus calls Amathus the most ancient city in the island, and Scylax describes its inhabitants as autochthones. Its name is of Phoenician origin, for we find a town of the same name in Palestine. (See below.) Amathus appears to have preserved its Oriental customs and character, long after the other Phoenician cities in Cyprus had become hellenized. Here the Tyrian god Melkart, whom the Greeks identified with Heracles, was worshipped under his Tyrian name. (Hesych. sub voce Μάλικα, τὸν Ἡρακλέα, Ἀμαθούσιοι. The Phoenician priesthood of the Cinyradae appears to have long continued to exercise its authority at Amathus. Hence we find that Amathus, as an Oriental town, remained firm to the Persians in the time of Dareins I., while all the other towns in Cyprus revolted. (Hdt. 5.104, seq.) The territory of Amathus was celebrated for its wheat (Hipponax, ap. Strab. p. 340), and also for its mineral productions (fecundam Amathunta metalli, Ov. Met. 10.220, comp. 531.)

Amathus appears to have consisted of two distinct parts: one upon the coast, where Old Limasol now stands, and the other upon a hill inland, about 1 1/2 mile from Old Limasol, at the village of Agios Tychonos, where Hammer discovered the ruins of the temple of Aphrodite. (Hammer, Reise, p. 129; Engel, Kypros, vol. i. p. 109, seq.; Movers, Die Phönizier, vol. ii. pt. ii. pp. 221, 240, seq.)

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