previous next

GOLGOI Cyprus.

Inland ca. 1.6 km NE of the village of Athienou and 17 km N-NW of Kition. The ruins cover a sizable area on a hill sloping gently N to S in the direction of the village. Remains of the ancient city wall can still be traced in almost all its course. According to Sakellarios, who was the first to identify this site, the perimeter of the circuit was 7 stadia. The necropolis lies to the S within the village and to the SE. Two important temples excavated in the 19th c. lie outside the walls by the Church of Haghios Photios about 3 km SE of the village. The area of the city itself is now a field of ruins under cultivation.

The traditional founder of the town was Golgos from Sikyon in the Peloponnese. This connection is further illustrated by an archaic limestone block found here, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Carved in relief on this block is a Chimaera, the symbol of Sikyon which appears on its coins. Golgoi must have succeeded the nearby Late Bronze Age settlement at Bamboulari tis Koukouninas, due N of Athienou. Nothing is known of the history of Golgoi although it is mentioned by several ancient authors. Inscriptions attest an Aphrodite Golgia whose worship was, according to Pausanias, earlier than the cult of Aphrodite at Paphos. And although we know nothing about the existence of a kingdom of this name some coins have been attributed to it. On the evidence of recent excavations near the E gate the city seems to have flourished to the end of the 4th c. B.C. but another sector of the town must have been inhabited down to Early Christian times.

Excavations on the site were started for the first time in 1969 and were confined to the E sector by the E Gate, where a number of private houses and workshops dating mainly from the 4th c. B.C., came to light; the lowest strata, however, produced sherds of the archaic and Early Classical periods. Part of the city wall is preserved to a height of 2.50 m; its lower course consists of rubble with mudbricks above. The E Gate with steps leading up into the town has also been cleared.

From a tomb comes a late archaic stone sarcophagus with low relief decoration, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. One of the long sides shows a hunting scene; the other, a banquet scene of four couches on which recline one older and three younger men.

One of the short sides shows Perseus carrying off the head of Medusa followed by his dog; the other, a fourhorse chariot with a beardless driver conveying an elderly man, who probably represents the occupant of the sarcophagus. The cover is in the form of a gable with four crouching lions at the ends.


Luigi Palma di Cesnola, Cyprus, its Ancient Cities, Tombs and Temples (1877); A. Sakellarios, Τὰ Κυπριακά I (1890); I. K. Peristianes, Γενικὴ Ἰστορια τῆς νήσου Κύπρον (1910); Olivier Masson, Les Inscriptions Chypriotes Syllabiques (1961) 275-301I; id., “Kypriaka IX: Antiquités de Golgoi,” BCH 95 (1971) 305-34MI; K. Nicolaou, “Archaeological News from Cyprus, 1969,” AJA 74 (1970) 396-97I; 76 (1972) 314; 77 (1973) 56, 429-30; V. Karageorghis, “Chronique des Fouilles à Chypre en 1969,” BCH 94 (1970) 269-72I; 95 (1971) 403-6; 96 (1972) 1073-74; 97 (1973) 673.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: