and Adj. Κύπριος
, Cyprius, Cypriacus: Kibris
), an island lying off the coast of Phoenicia and Cilicia.
The physical features and the legends connected with this chosen seat of Aphrodite, have given rise to a multitude of names. 1. Acamantis (Ἀκαμαντίς
). 2. Amathusia (Ἀμαθουσία
). 3. Aspelia. 4. Colinia. 5. Cerastis (Κερασρτίς
). 6. Cryptos (Κρυπτός
). 7. Macaria (Μακαρία
). 8. Meïonis (Μηϊονίς
). 9. Ophiusa (Ophiusia arva, Ov. Met 10.229
). 10. Spheceia (Σφηκεία
According to ancient admeasurements the circuit of this island. amounted to 3420 stadia. (Strab. xiv. p.682
.) Its greatest length from W. to E., between Cape Acamas and the islands called the Keys of Cyprus (Κλεῖδες
), was, reckoned at 1400 stadia. (Strab. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 5.35
; Agathem. 1.5.)
The principal or SW. part of the island has the form of an irregular parallelogram, and terminates with a long narrow peninsula, running in a NE. direction. Its shape was compared fancifully by the old writers to a fleece (Agathem. l.c.
), or to a Gallic shield (Hyg. Fab. 276
The surface of the country is almost entirely occupied by the elevated range of Mt. Olympus, whose culminating points reach the height of 7000 feet.
The slopes descend both on the N. and S. shores: on the former side the chain is bold and rugged; on the S. side the scenery is still bolder, presenting a deeply serrated outline with thickly wooded steeps, which are broken by masses of limestone, or furrowed by deep picturesque valleys, in which grow the narcissus, the anemone, and ranunculus.
The mountains contained: copper (χαλκὸς Κύπριος,
aes Cyprium), the most famous mines of which were to be found at Tamassus, Amathus, Soli, and Curion (Plin. Nat. 12.60
), as well as the nobler metals, gold and silver.
The precious stones of Cyprus were famous in antiquity. They were: the “adamas vergens in aerium colorem” (Plin. Nat. 37.15
),--whether this was the diamond seems doubtful, as it has been thought that Pliny was unacquainted with the real diamond (Dana, Mineralogy,
p. 401);--the “smaragdos” (37.17), emerald; the “chalcosmaragdos turbida aereis venis” (37.19), malachite (?), or more probably red jasper; “paederos” (37.22), opal; “achates” (37.54), agate; and asbestos (Dioscor. 5.156).
The land is described as flowing with wine, oil (Strab. p. 684), and honey (Plin. Nat. 11.14
); and the fragrance of its flowers gave it the epithet of εὐώδης
--the plaything (ἄθυρμα
) of the goddess of Love. (Eustath. ad Dionys. Per. 508
Cyprus lies between Asia and Africa, and the flora and fauna of the island partake of the characteristics of both continents.
A list of the plants, birds, quadrupeds, and fishes, found in Cyprus, is given in Walpole (Turkey and Greece,
vol. i. p. 253, foll.). The Ferula Graeca--or νάρθηκα,
as it is now called, with a slight alteration from the ancient name--is one of the most important plants of the island in respect to its economical uses.
The stalks furnish the poor Cyprian with a great part of his household furniture; and the pith is used instead of tinder for conveying fire from one place to another, as taught by Prometheus of old. (Aesch. Prom.
The level tracts were in the neighbourhood of Salamis and Citium, the former was watered by the river Pediaeus, and the latter by the Tretus; but, as these streams are occasionally dry, marshes have in consequence been formed. Strabo (xiv. p.682
) begins his description of the island with Cape Acamas (Ἄκαμας
), at the W. extremity of the island, which he describes as a thickly wooded headland, divided into two summits rising towards the N. (Comp. Ptol. 5.14
§ 1; Plin. Nat. 5.31
§ § 282, 292, 293.)
The modern name, after the celebrated metropolitan of Cyprus, is Haghios Epiphanios,
which is shortened into St. Pifano.
The next point, in a S. direction, is Drepanon (Δρέπανον,
Ptol. [p. 1.730]
). Then the roadstead and harbour of Paphos (Πάφος
The cape which closes the bay of Baffo
to the W. is the Zephyrium Promontorium (Ζεφύριον, Ptol. 5.14.1
; Ζεφυρία ἄκρα,
Strab. p. 683). To the S. is another headland, Arsinoë (Ἀρσινόη
), followed by Phrurium (Φρούριον, Ptol. 5.14.1
: Capo Blanco
At a little distance further inland was Hierocepia (Ἱεροκηπία,
Strab. p. 684). Then follow Palaepaphos (Παλαίπαφος
), Boosura (Βοόσοῦρα
), Treta (Τρήτα
), and Curium (Κούριον
) with a port built by the Argives. Near this was the point of Curias (Κουρίας
: Capo delle Gatte
), at a little distance from which are some salt marshes which receive an arm of the river Lycus (Λῦκος, Ptol. 5.14.2
). Amathus (Ἀμαθοῦς
: Old Limasol
), which next followed, was a Phoenician colony. Beyond was the little town of Palaea (Πάλαια,
Strab. p. 683), at the foot of a mountain shaped like a breast (μαστοειδές
), Olympus (Ὄλυμπος
: Monte Sta. Croce
). Citium (Κίτιον
) was a large town with a harbour that could be closed; to the W. of it was the little river Tetius (Τέτιος, Ptol. 5.14.2
), and to the E. the promontory Dades (Δᾴδες,
Ptol. l.c.: Kiti
A rugged line of coast follows for several miles along a bay which lies between this headland and that of Throni (Θρόνοι
). Above Pedalium (Πηδάλιον
: Capo della Grega
), the next point on the E. coast, rose a hill with a temple consecrated to Aphrodite.
The harbour Leucolla (Λεύκολλα
: Porta Arnio dia e Lucola
). Ammochostus (Ἀμμόχωστος, Ptol. 5.14.3
§ 287), near the river Pediaeus (Πεδιαῖος
), a name which has been transmitted by corruption to the Venetian Famagosta.
Further N. was Salamis (Σαλαμίς
), Elaea (Ἐλαία,
Ptol. l.c.: Chaulu-bernau
), Urania (Οὐρανίης πέδον ἕδρης,
13.450), Carpasia (Καρπασία
), and the promontory called Dinaretum, with the islands called the Keys of Cyprus (αἱ Κλεῖδες
The ironbound shore to the NE. was called the shore of the Greeks (Ἀχαιῶν ἀκτή
), from the story that Teucer and his colonists had landed here. (Strab. p. 682.) On this coast, 70 stadia from Salamis, was Aphrodisium (Ἀφροδίσιον, Ptol. 5.14.4
; Strab. p. 682), Macaria (Μακαρία,
), Cerynia (Κερύνεια
), and Lapethus (Λάπηθος
). Cape Crommyon (Κρομμύων ἄκρα
) was the most N. point of the island; near this were the towns of Cerbia (Κερβεία
) and Soli (Σόλοι
The promontory of Callinusa (Καλλίνονσα
) completes the circuit of the island.
In the interior were the towns of Aepeia (Αἰπεῖα
), Limenia (Λιμενία
), Tamassus (Ταμασσός
), Tremithus (Τρεμιθοῦς
), Leucosia (Λευκωσία
), Chytrus (Χύτρος
), and Marium (Μάριον
An account of these places will be found under their several heads: most of the towns have now disappeared.
Cyprus seems to have been colonized by the Phoenicians at a very early period, and if we may trust the Syrian annals consulted by the historian Menander (J. AJ 8.5.3
, c. Apion.
1. 18; comp. Verg. A. 1
), was subject to the Syrians, even in the time of Solomon. We do not know the dates of the establishment of the Greek cities in this island; but there can be no doubt but that they were later than this period, and that a considerable portion of the soil and trade of Cyprus passed from the Phoenicians to the Greeks. Under Amasis the island became subject to the Aegyptian throne (Hdt. 2.182
); he probably sent over African colonists. (Comp. Hdt. 7.90
.) On the invasion of Aegypt by Cambysses Cyprus surrendered to the Persians, and furnished a squadron for the expedition. (Hdt. 3.19
It continued to form a part of the Persian empire, and was with Phoenicia and Palestine the fifth satrapy in the arrangement made by Dareius (Hdt. 3.91
.) During the Ionian revolt the whole island, except Amathus, threw off the Persian yoke. The Cyprians were attacked by the Persians by land and sea, and after varying success, were defeated, and their leader Onesilus slain.
After this the island was again subject to Dareius (Hdt. 5.104
), and in the expedition of Xerxes furnished 150 ships. (Hdt. 7.90
After the overthrow of the Persians at Salamis, a Grecian fleet was despatched to Cyprus and reduced the greater part of it. (Thuc. 1.94
.) The Athenians sent out another expedition against it, but in consequence of a plague and the death of Cimon, the attempt was relinquished. (Thuc. 1.112
The brilliant period of its history belongs to the times of Evagoras, king of Salamis, when Hellenic customs and civilization received a new impulse.
He was succeeded by his son Nicocles; another Evagoras, son of Nicocles, was joined with Phocion, to recover Cyprus for the king of Persia, from whom it had revolted. (Diod. 16.42
.) Cyprus again became a tributary to the Persians, and remained such till the battle of Issus, when the several states declared for Alexander, and joined the Macedonian fleet with 120 ships at the siege of Tyre. (Arrian. 2.20.) They were afterwards ordered to cruise off the Peloponnesus with 100 ships along with the Phoenicians. (Arrian. 3.6.) When the empire of Alexander was broken up, Cyprus fell with Aegypt to the lot of Ptolemy. Demetrius invaded the island with a powerful fleet and army, defeated Ptolemy's brother Menelaus, and shut him up in Salamis, which he besieged both by sea and land. Ptolemy hastened to his relief with 140 ships; and after a sea-fight--one of the most memorable in ancient history, B.C. 306,--the whole island fell into the hands of Demetrius. (Diod. 20.47
; Plut. Demetr. 15
; Polyaen. 4.7.7
; Just. 15.2
.) In B.C. 295, Ptolemy recovered the island, and it became from this time an integral portion of the Aegyptian monarchy. (Plut. Demetr. 35
It formed the brightest jewel in the Alexandrian diadem; the timber of Olympus was used for the navy of Aegypt, and its metallic and other riches contributed to the revenue. Independently of its importance as a military position, the Ptolemies had a personal interest in securing it as a place of refuge for themselves or their treasures, in case of invasion or internal revolutions. Under the Lagid dynasty, the government of the island was committed to some one belonging to the highest class of the Alexandrian court, called the “kinsmen of the king.” This viceroy had full powers, as it would appear from the inscriptions in which he is entitled στρατηγὸς καὶ ναύαρχος καὶ ἀρχιερεὺς ὁ κατὰ τὴν νῆσον.
Ptolemy Philadelphus founded the Cyprian cities which bore the name of his wife--Arsinoë. On the decline and fall of Aegypt, Cyprus with Cyrenaica was the only foreign possession remaining to the crown. Polycrates, an Argive, about B.C. 217, was governor of Cyprus, and secured, by his faithfulness and integrity, the island for Ptolemy Epiphanes, the infant son and successor of Philopator. On the division of the monarchy between the brothers Ptolemy Philometor and Euergetes, Euergetes,in contravention of the arrangement [p. 1.731]
was anxious to take Cyprus to his share. In B.C. 154, Euergetes went to Rome, to seek assistance from the senate. Five legates, but no Roman army, were despatched to aid him; but Philometor, anticipating him, had already occupied Cyprus with a large force, so that when his brother landed at the head of his mercenary troops, he was soon defeated and shut up in Lapethus, where he was compelled to surrender, on condition that he should content himself with the kingdom of Cyrene. The Romans did not again interfere to disturb the arrangement thus concluded. During the dissensions of the brothers, Demetrius Soter, king of Syria, had endeavoured to make himself master of Cyprus, but unsuccessfully. On the accession of Ptolemy Lathyrus to the throne of Aegypt, his younger brother, Ptolemy Alexander, went to Cyprus.
Afterwards, when by the intrigues of Cleopatra, the queen.mother, Alexander became king of Aegypt, Lathyrus retired to Cyprus, and held it as an independent kingdom for the 18 years during which Cleopatra and Alexander reigned in Aegypt, B.C. 107--89. When Lathyrus was recalled by the Alexandrians to Aegypt, Alexander, his brother, in the hope of becoming master of Cyprus, invaded the island; but was defeated in a naval action by Chaereas, and fell in the battle. While Ptolemy Auletes occupied the throne of Aegypt, another Ptolemy, a younger brother, was king of Cyprus.
This prince had obtained from the Roman people the complimentary title of their friend. (Cic. pro Sest.
26; Schol. Bob. p. 301, ed. Orell.) On the pretence that he had abetted the pirates (Schol. Bob. l.c.
), he was commanded to descend from the throne. In B.C. 58, Clodius, who had a personal enmity against the king (Appian. B.C.
2.23; D. C. 38.30
), proposed to deprive him of his kingdom, and confiscate his large treasures to the service of the state. A “rogation” was brought forward by the tribune, that Cato should be appointed to carry into execution this act of frightful injustice. Cato accepted this disgraceful commission; but half ashamed of the transaction, despatched a friend from Rhodes to deliver the decree, and to hold out to the injured king the promise of an honourable compensation in the priesthood of the Paphian Aphrodite. Ptolemy preferred to submit to a voluntary death. (Plut. Cat. Mi. 34
.) Cyprus became a Roman province, and the fatal treasures amassed by the king, were poured into the coffers of the state. (Pat. Vell. 2.45.)
The island was annexed to Cilicia (Cic. Fam. 1.7
; ad Att.
6.2), but had a quaestor of its own (ad Fam.
13.48), and its own courts for the administration of justice (ad Att.
5.21). In B.C. 47, it was given by Caesar to Arsinoë and Ptolemy, the sister and brother of Cleopatra. (D. C. 42.95
.) M. Antonius afterwards presented it to the children of Cleopatra. (D. C. 49.32
; comp. Strab. p. 685.)
After the battle of Actium, at the division of the provinces between the emperor and the senate, B.C. 27, it was made an imperial province. (D. C. 53.12
.) In B.C. 22, it was given up to the senate (D. C. 54.4
), and was from that time governed by proprietors, with the title of Proconsul, with a “legatus” and a “quaestor.” (Marquardt, Becker's Röm. Alt.
vol. iii. pt. 1. p. 172; Orell. Inscr.
The proconsul resided at Paphos. (Act. Apost.
13.6, 7.) From the narrative in the Acts of the Apostles (13.4--12), it would seem that a considerable part of the population was of Jewish extraction; and in the fatal insurrection during the reign of Hadrian, they are said to have massacred 240,000 of the Grecian inhabitants, and obtained temporary possession of the island. (Milman, Hist. of Jews,
vol. ii. p. 112.) Under the Byzantine emperors it was governed by a “Consularis,” and the capital was transferred from Paphos to Salamis or Constantia (Hierocl.). In A.D. 648, Moawiyah, the general of Othman, invaded the island, which capitulated, the Saracen general agreeing to share the revenues with the Greek emperor, In A.D. 803--806, it fell into the hands of Harun el Rashid, but was afterwards restored to the empire by the conquests of Nicephorus II. Isaac Angelus lost the island where Alexis Commenus had made himself independent; but was deprived of his conquest by Richard Coeur de Lion, A.D. 1191, who ceded it to the Templars, but afterwards resumed the sovereignty, and in A.D. 1192, gave it to King Guido of Jerusalem. Cyprus was never again united to the Byzantine empire.
Cyprus, lying in that sea which was the extreme nurse of the Grecian race, never developed the nobler features of Hellenic culture and civilization.
The oriental character entirely predominated; the worship had but little connection with the graceful anthropomorphism of Hellas, but was rather a deification of the generative powers of nature as common to the Phoenicians, mixed up with orgiastic rites from Phrygia.
The goddess, who was evidently the same as the Semitic Astarte, was worshipped under the form of a rude conical stone. (Tac. Hist. 2.3
The exuberance of nature served to stifle every higher feeling in sensual enjoyment. (Comp. Athen. 6.257
, xii. p. 516.)
A description of the constitution was given in the lost work of Aristotle on the Polities, and Theophrastus had composed a treatise upon the same subject. (Suid. s. v. Τιάρα.
) That such men should have thought it worth their while to investigate this matter shows that it possessed considerable interest; as far as the scanty notices that have come down go, it appears to have been governed by petty. princes of an oriental character. (Comp. Hdt. 7.90
.) For coins of Cyprus, see Eckhel, vol. iii. p. 84; H. P. Borrell, Notice surquelq. Méd. gr. des Rois de Chypre.
Paris, 1836; Meursius, Creta, Cyprus,
&c., Amst. 1675; D'Anville, Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscr.
vol. xxxii. p. 548; Mariti, Viaggi,
vol. i.; Von Hammer, Topogr. Ansicht. aus der Levante:
vol. ii. pp. 40, 528; Engel, Kypros;
Ross, Reisen nach Kos, Halikarnassos, Rhodos, und der Inseln Cypern,
Halle, 1852; Luynes, Numismatique et Inscriptions Cypriotes,