or Palaipaphos (Kouklia) Cyprus.
W Cyprus, ca. 1.5 km from the sea, some 16 km SE
of Nea Paphos. The ruins cover a large area, part of
which is now occupied by the modern village of Kouklia.
A vast necropolis extends NE, E, and S of the city.
Palaipaphos or simply Paphos was the capital of the
kingdom of Paphos and the celebrated center of the cult
The traditional founder of Paphos was Agapenor,
king of Tegea in Arkadia in the Peloponnese, who
founded the Temple of Aphrodite in that city.
According to another legend, the cult of Aphrodite
was established earlier by Kinyras, the proverbial king
of Paphos or of all Cyprus, who, as the Iliad
sent to Agamemnon a notable cuirass when he heard of
the expedition against Troy. The priest-kings of Paphos
traced their origin to Kinyras, and a dynasty called the
Kinyradai ruled Paphos down to Ptolemaic times.
The Temple of Aphrodite was the most notable sacred
edifice in Cyprus and the most famous Temple of
Aphrodite in the ancient world. There, according to
tradition, Aphrodite first set foot upon the shore after
having been born of the foam of the sea. The Holy
Grove and Altar of Aphrodite in Paphos are mentioned by Homer; since then many historians and geographers of antiquity have described and mentioned this Shrine of the Goddess of Beauty and Love, often called
Paphia. The very Tomb of Aphrodite was shown in
Strabo and Pausanias confuse Old and New Paphos
and refer to Nea Paphos as the city founded by Agapenor. Archaeological evidence, however, is against this
view for, whereas the presence of the Mycenaeans in
Old Paphos is well attested, the founding of New Paphos
cannot be earlier than the 4th c. B.C.
Recent excavations have shown that heavy fighting
took place at the NE defenses of the city at the time of
the Ionian Revolt (499-498 B.C.). Nikokles, son of
Timarchos, the last king of Paphos, was also the founder
of New Paphos. He remained faithful to Ptolemy and
when in 312 B.C. Marion was razed, its inhabitants were
transferred to Paphos, most likely New Paphos. Old
Paphos, however, still flourished in Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman times and retained its status as the principal
center of the cult of Aphrodite. In fact, Strabo tells us
that at the annual festival of Aphrodite men and women,
from other cities as well as from Paphos walked from
New to Old Paphos, a distance of 60 stadia.
Very little is known of the earlier history of Palaipaphos. The name appears on the prism of Esarhaddon (673-672 B.C.) where Ituander, king of Pappa, is interpreted as Eteandros king of Paphos. Two gold bracelets
of the late 6th or early 5th c. B.C. which are said to have
been found at Kourion bear in Cypriot script the name
Eteandros, king of Paphos. The sequence of its kings
from the beginning of the 5th c. B.C. is fairly well fixed
from coins and from inscriptions.
The principal monuments uncovered up to the present
day include part of the fortifications of the city excavated in recent years and the Temple of Aphrodite,
which was excavated towards the end of the 19th c.
Most of the ruins of this large city, however, remain
unexcavated. The existence of a gymnasium and of a
theater is attested by inscriptions but their sites remain
unidentified. The oracle is known both from an inscription and from literary sources.
Of particular importance are the NE fortifications of
the city. The sector uncovered thus far is at the Marcello
hill, due NE of the village of Kouklia. A wall running
for ca. 90 m in a SE-NW direction was cleared. At the
SE end a rectangular tower projecting from the outward
face of the wall was uncovered. At the NW end are two
bastions with a gate in between. But most important
perhaps of all the fortifications is the siege mound between the gate and the tower. The city defenses date from Late Geometric or early archaic down to Late Hellenistic times.
Of particular interest are the fortifications of the time
of the Ionian Revolt (499-498 B.C.) with the construction of siege and countersiege works. The mound was
raised by the Persians when besieging the city. The most
striking feature of the siege mound is the variety of its
contents: stones, earth, ashes, burnt bones, carbonized
wood, and numerous architectural, sculptural and epigraphical fragments, many of which were damaged by fire.
The architectural finds include fragments of Proto-Ionic volute capitals, acroteria, architraves, and various
moldings. There are a number of altars, bases, and many
votive columns. More remarkable are the great quantities of limestone sculpture, among which are Kouroi clad
in the Cypriot “belt” and parts of sphinxes and lions.
All the sculptured remains date from the archaic period,
mostly of the middle or the later part of the 6th c. B.C.
To the same context belong over 190 syllabic inscriptions, many of them obviously dedications. The large amount of sculptural and architectural debris proves that there existed an important archaic sanctuary in the
vicinity outside the walls and that this shrine was used
by the Persians as a quarry for building the ramp in a
hurry. The siege mound also contained a large number
of rough, round-shaped stones, probably used as ballistic
missiles. Besides the materials described the mound contained great quantities of weapons: javelin points, spearheads and arrowheads both of iron and bronze, and an exceptionally well-preserved late archaic bronze helmet
of the Greek type with engraved ornaments, resembling
the so-called Miltiades helmet from Olympia.
On the other hand, a series of underground sally
ports were made by the besieged for mining the mound.
Severe fighting took place during the construction of the
ramp, to judge from the quantity of missiles found, and
the defenders were able to mine the ramp by setting fire
to the support of the tunnels, thereby causing it to
The set-back NE gate has an outer (N) cross-bastion
and an inner (S) cross-bastion on the opposite side. The
presence of many spearheads and arrowheads and the
extensive damage to the gate also indicate heavy fighting at the time of the Ionian Revolt. In the 4th c. B.C. a series of guard rooms were built on the N side of the gate.
The temple of Aphrodite lies on a hill at the SW sector
of Palaipaphos. Unfortunately very little of this temple
survives and most of its ruins date from Graeco-Roman
times (excavated in 1887).
The plan as uncovered to date may be divided into
two sections: the S wing, of which very imperfect remains exist; and the great rectangular enclosure to the N; its sides are ca. 9 m long, within which area are
included the S stoa, several chambers of various sizes,
the N stoa, a large open court, and the central hall.
The great rectangular enclosure seems originally to
have consisted of a range of buildings extending along
the whole of the E side with a great open court to the
W of it, which was flanked on the N by a wide stoa extending along its whole width and probably originally
by a similar stoa extending along the S front. Whether
this court ever had a W wall it is impossible to say
without further investigation.
When in Roman times the temple was restored after
its destruction by earthquakes on two separate occasions
all traces of the S stoa were destroyed and a new one
of large proportions was built. The central hall dates
also from Roman times but the chambers running up
the E side belong to the pre-Roman period. To the
same period may be assigned the walls of the N stoa.
Very little of the plan of the temple can be worked
out from the existing remains and our knowledge of the
temple is better derived from coins of the Augustan
and later periods.
A large conical stone, now in the Cyprus Museum,
came from the area of the Temple of Aphrodite and
may be an aniconic representation of the goddess. It is
possible that this stone once stood in the central room of
the temple. The central feature of the shrine is shown on
representations of the temple on Cypriot coins of the
Many Greek alphabetic inscriptions of the Hellenistic
and Roman era were found in the area of the temple.
Of these some are dedications to Aphrodite Paphia
while others are honorific. An important inscription of
the Early Hellenistic period is a dedication of Ptolemy II
to his naval architect Pyrgoteles son of Zoes. A house
of the atrium type of the 3d-4th c. B.C. to the W of
the Temple of Aphrodite was excavated in 1950 and
The finds are in the Cyprus Museum, the Paphos
District Museum, and the site museum at Kouklia.
Chr. Blinkenberg, “Le Temple de Paphos,” Det Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. Historisk-filologiske Meddelelser
IX.2 (1924) 1-40I
; A. Westholm, “The Paphian Temple of Aphrodite,” Acta A
4 (1933) 201-36PI
; T. B. Mitford, “The Kouklia Expedition,” The Alumnus Chronicle, The University of St. Andrews
36 (1951) 2-8; J. H. Iliffe & Mitford, “Excavations at Kouklia (Old Paphos), Cyprus 1950,” AntJ
31 (1951) 51-66MPI
; id., “Excavations at Aphrodite's Sanctuary at Paphos,” Liverpool Bulletin
2 (1952) 28-66PI
Jorg Schäfer, “Ein Persebau in Altpaphos,” Opuscula
3 (1960) 155-75MPI
; V. Karageorghis, Nouveaux Documents pour l'Etude du Bronze Récent à
(1965); id., “An Early XIth century B.C. Tomb
from Palaepaphos,” Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus
; id., “Nouvelles Tombes
de Guerriers à Palapaphos,” BCH
91 (1967) 202-47MPI
F. G. Maier, “Excavations at Kouklia (Palaepaphos),”
Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus
; (1968) 86-93MI
; (1969) 33-42MPI
; (1970) 75-80I
; (1971) 43-48PI
; (1972) 186-201MI
; H. W. Catling,
“Kouklia: Evreti Tomb 8,” BCH
92 (1968) 162-69MI