History of Cyprus
Human habitation of Cyprus dates back to the Paleolithic era. Cyprus's geographic position has caused Cyprus to be influenced by differing Eastern Mediterranean civilisations over the millennia. Periods of Cyprus's history from 1050 BC have been named according to styles of pottery found as follows: Cypro-Geometric I: 1050-950 BC Cypro-Geometric II: 950-850 BC Cypro-Geometric III: 850-700 BC Cypro-Archaic I: 700-600 BC Cypro-Archaic II: 600-475 BC Cypro-Classical I: 475-400 BC Cypro-Classical II: 400-323 BC Cyprus was settled by humans in the Paleolithic period who coexisted with various dwarf animal species, such as dwarf elephants and pygmy hippos well into the Holocene. There are claims of an association of this fauna with artifacts of Epipalaeolithic foragers at Aetokremnos near Limassol on the southern coast of Cyprus; the first undisputed settlement occurred in the 9th millennium BC from the Levant. The first settlers did not yet produce pottery; the dog, sheep and cattle and pigs were introduced, as well as numerous wild animals such as foxes and Persian fallow deer that were unknown on the island.
The PPNB settlers built round houses with floors made of terrazzo of burned lime and cultivated einkorn and emmer. Pigs, sheep and cattle were kept but remained, for the most part, behaviourally wild. Evidence of cattle such as that attested at Shillourokambos is rare, when they died out in the course of the 8th millennium they were not re-introduced until the ceramic Neolithic. In the 6th millennium BC, the aceramic Khirokitia culture was characterised by roundhouses, stone vessels and an economy based on sheep and pigs. Cattle were unknown, Persian fallow deer were hunted; this was followed by the ceramic Sotira phase. The Eneolithic era is characterised by stone figurines with spread arms. Water wells discovered by archaeologists in western Cyprus are believed to be among the oldest in the world, dated at 9,000 to 10,500 years old, putting them in the Stone Age, they are said to show the sophistication of early settlers, their heightened appreciation for the environment. In 2004, the remains of an 8-month-old cat were discovered buried with its human owner at a Neolithic archeological site in Cyprus.
The grave is estimated to be 9,500 years old, predating Egyptian civilization and pushing back the earliest known feline-human association significantly. In the Bronze Age the first cities, such as Enkomi, were built. Systematic copper mining began, this resource was traded. Mycenaean Greeks were undoubtedly inhabiting Cyprus from the late stage of the Bronze Age, while the island's Greek name is attested from the 15th century BC in the Linear B script; the Cypriot syllabic script was first used in early phases of the late Bronze Age and continued in use for ca. 500 years into the LC IIIB, maybe up to the second half of the eleventh century BC. Most scholars believe it was used for a native Cypriot language that survived until the 4th century BC, but the actual proofs for this are scant, as the tablets still have not been deciphered; the LCIIC was a time of local prosperity. Cities such as Enkomi were rebuilt on a rectangular grid plan, where the town gates correspond to the grid axes and numerous grand buildings front the street system or newly founded.
Great official buildings constructed from ashlar masonry point to increased social hierarchisation and control. Some of these buildings contain facilities for processing and storing olive oil, such as Maroni-Vournes and Building X at Kalavassos-Ayios Dhimitrios. A Sanctuary with a horned altar constructed from ashlar masonry has been found at Myrtou-Pigadhes, other temples have been located at Enkomi and Kouklia. Both the regular layout of the cities and the new masonry techniques find their closest parallels in Syria in Ugarit. Rectangular corbelled tombs point to close contacts with Palestine as well; the practice of writing spread and tablets in the Cypriot syllabic script have been found at Ras Shamra, the Phoenician city of Ugarit. Ugaritic texts from Ras Shamra and Enkomi mention Ya, the Assyrian name of Cyprus, that thus seems to have been in use in the late Bronze Age. Copper ingots shaped like oxhides have been recovered from shipwrecks such as at Ulu Burun and Cape Gelidonya which attest to the widespread metal trade.
Weights in the shape of animals found in Enkomi and Kalavassos follow the Syro-Palestinian, Mesopotamian and Aegean standards and thus attest to the wide-ranging trade as well. Late Bronze Age Cyprus was a part of the Hittite empire but was a client state and as such was not invaded but rather part of the empire by association and governed by the ruling kings of Ugarit; as such Cyprus was "left alone with little intervention in Cypriot affairs". However, during the reign of Tudhaliya, the island was invaded by the Hittites for either reasons of securing the copper resource or as a way of preventing piracy. Shortly afterwards the island was reconquered by his son around 1200 BC. Although Achaean Greeks were living in Cyprus from the 14th century, most of them inhabited the island after the Trojan war. Achaeans were colonizing Cyprus from 1210 to 1000 BC. Dorian Greeks arrived around 1100 BC and, unlike the pattern on the Greek mainland, the evidence suggests that they settled on Cyprus peacefully.
Another wave of Greek settlement is believed to have taken place in the following century, amon
The Cypriot or Cypriote syllabary is a syllabic script used in Iron Age Cyprus, from about the 11th to the 4th centuries BCE, when it was replaced by the Greek alphabet. A pioneer of that change was king Evagoras of Salamis, it is descended from the Cypro-Minoan syllabary, in turn a variant or derivative of Linear A. Most texts using the script are in the Arcadocypriot dialect of Greek, but one bilingual inscription was found in Amathus, it has been established that the Cypriot syllabary is derived from the Linear A script and, most the Minoan writing system. The most obvious change is the disappearance of ideograms, which were frequent and represented a significant part of Linear A; the earliest inscriptions are found on clay tablets. Parallel to the evolution of cuneiform, the signs soon became simple patterns of lines. There is no evidence of a Semitic influence due to trade, but this pattern seemed to have evolved as the result of habitual use; the structure of the Cypriot syllabary is similar to that of Linear B.
This is due to underlying language. The Cypriot script contains 56 signs; each sign stands for a syllable in the spoken language: e.g. ka, ke, ki, ko, ku etc. Hence, it is classified as a syllabic writing system; because each sign stands for an open syllable rather than a closed one, the Cypriot syllabary is an'open' syllabary. To see the glyphs above, you must have a compatible font installed, your web browser must support Unicode characters in the U+10800–U+1083F range; the main difference between the two lies not in the structure of the syllabary but the use of the symbols. Final consonants in the Cypriot syllabary are marked by a final, silent e. For example, final consonants, n, s and r are noted by using ne, re and se. Groups of consonants are created using extra vowels. Diphthongs such as ae, au, eu and ei are spelled out completely. In addition, nasal consonants that occur before another consonant are omitted completely. Compare Linear B to Cypriot, both forms related to Attic Greek: ἄνθρωπος "human".
One other minor difference involves the representation of the manner of articulation. In the Linear B script, liquid sounds /l/ and /r/ are covered by one series, while there are separate series for the dentals /d/ and /t/. In the Cypriot syllabary, / d / and / t / are combined. There are minor differences in the forms of the signs used in different sites. However, the syllabary can be subdivided into two different subtypes based on area: the “Common” and the South-Western or “Paphian”. However, no detailed analysis between the two exists; the script was deciphered in the 19th century by George Smith due to a Phoenician-Cypriot bilingual inscription found at Idalium. Egyptologist Samuel Birch, the numismatist Johannes Brandis, the philologists Moritz Schmidt, Wilhelm Deecke, Justus Siegismund and the dialectologist H. L. Ahrens contributed to decipherment. About 1000 inscriptions in the Cypriot syllabary have been found throughout many different regions. However, these inscriptions vary in length and credibility.
Most inscriptions found. There are no inscriptions known to be before the 8th century. Most of the tablets found are from funerary monuments and contained no useful information but name the deceased. A few dedicatory inscriptions were found but of little contribution to decipherment; the most important tablets are found in Enkomi and Paphos. The earliest dated inscription from Cyprus was discovered at Enkomi in 1955, it was a part of a thick clay tablet with only three lines of writing. Epigraphers saw a resemblance; because the date of the fragment was found to be around 1500 BCE earlier than Linear B, linguists determined that the Cypriot syllabary was derived from Linear A and not Linear B. Several other fragments of clay tablets were found in Enkomi, they date to a period, around the late 13th or 12th century BCE. The script found on these tablets has evolved and the signs have become simple patterns of lines. Linguists named this new script as Cypro-Minoan syllabary. Idalium was an ancient city in Cyprus, in Nicosia District.
The city was founded on the copper trade in the 3rd millennium BCE. Its name in the 8th century BCE was "Ed-di-al" as it appears on the Sargon Stele of 707 BCE. From this area, archeologists found many of the Cypriot syllabic scripts. In fact, Idalium held the most significant contribution to the decipherment of Cypriot syllabary – the Tablet of Idalium, it is a large bronze tablet with long inscriptions on both sides. The Tablet of Idalium is dated to about 480–470 BCE. Excluding a few features in morphology and vocabulary, the text is a complete and well understood document, it details a contract made by the king Stasicyprus and the city of Idalium with the physician Onasilus and his brothers. As payment for the physicians' care for wounded warriors during a Persian siege of the city, the king promises them certain plots of land; this agreement is put under the protection of the goddess Athena. Recent discoveries include a small vase dating back to the beginning of 5th century and a broken marble fragment in Paphian script.
The vase is inscribed on two sides. The broken marble fragment describes a fragment of an oath; this inscription mentions King Nicocles, the last king of Paphos and includes some important words and expressions. The number of discoveries of new inscriptions has increased, but most of the new discoveries have been s
The Achaemenid Empire called the First Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, the development of civil services and a large professional army; the empire's successes inspired similar systems in empires. By the 7th century BC, the Persians had settled in the south-western portion of the Iranian Plateau in the region of Persis, which came to be their heartland. From this region, Cyrus the Great advanced to defeat the Medes and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, establishing the Achaemenid Empire.
Alexander the Great, an avid admirer of Cyrus the Great, conquered most of the empire by 330 BC. Upon Alexander's death, most of the empire's former territory came under the rule of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Seleucid Empire, in addition to other minor territories which gained independence at that time; the Iranian elites of the central plateau reclaimed power by the second century BC under the Parthian Empire. The Achaemenid Empire is noted in Western history as the antagonist of the Greek city-states during the Greco-Persian Wars and for the emancipation of the Jewish exiles in Babylon; the historical mark of the empire went far beyond its territorial and military influences and included cultural, social and religious influences as well. Despite the lasting conflict between the two states, many Athenians adopted Achaemenid customs in their daily lives in a reciprocal cultural exchange, some being employed by or allied to the Persian kings; the impact of Cyrus's edict is mentioned in Judeo-Christian texts, the empire was instrumental in the spread of Zoroastrianism as far east as China.
The empire set the tone for the politics and history of Iran. The term Achaemenid means "of the family of the Achaemenis/Achaemenes". Achaemenes was himself a minor seventh-century ruler of the Anshan in southwestern Iran, a vassal of Assyria. Astronomical year numbering Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details The Persian nation contains a number of tribes as listed here....: the Pasargadae and Maspii, upon which all the other tribes are dependent. Of these, the Pasargadae are the most distinguished. Other tribes are the Panthialaei, Germanii, all of which are attached to the soil, the remainder -the Dai, Dropici, being nomadic; the Achaemenid Empire was created by nomadic Persians. The name "Persia" is a Greek and Latin pronunciation of the native word referring to the country of the people originating from Persis; the Persians were an Iranian people who arrived in what is today Iran c. 1000 BC and settled a region including north-western Iran, the Zagros Mountains and Persis alongside the native Elamites.
For a number of centuries they fell under the domination of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, based in northern Mesopotamia. The Persians were nomadic pastoralists in the western Iranian Plateau and by 850 BC were calling themselves the Parsa and their shifting territory Parsua, for the most part localized around Persis; the Achaemenid Empire was not the first Iranian empire, as the Medes, another group of Iranian peoples, established a short-lived empire and played a major role in the overthrow of the Assyrian. The Achaemenids were rulers of the Elamite city of Anshan near the modern city of Marvdasht. There are conflicting accounts of the identities of the earliest Kings of Anshan. According to the Cyrus Cylinder the kings of Anshan were Teispes, Cyrus I, Cambyses I and Cyrus II known as Cyrus the Great, who created the empire. In Herodotus' Histories, he writes that Cyrus the Great was the son of Cambyses I and Mandane of Media, the daughter of Astyages, the king of the Median Empire. Cyrus revolted against the Median Empire in 553 BC, in 550 BC succeeded in defeating the Medes, capturing Astyages and taking the Median capital city of Ecbatana.
Once in control of Ecbatana, Cyrus styled himself as the successor to Astyages and assumed control of the entire empire. By inheriting Astyages' empire, he inherited the territorial conflicts the Medes had had with both Lydia and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. King Croesus of Lydia sought to take advantage of the new international situation by advancing into what had been Median territory in Asia Minor. Cyrus led a counterattack which not only fought off Croesus' armies, but led to the capture of Sardis and the fall of the Lydian Kingdom in 546 BC. Cyrus placed Pactyes in charge of collecting tribute in Lydia and left, but once Cyrus had left Pactyes instigated a rebellion against Cyrus. Cyrus sent the Median general Mazares to deal with the rebellion, Pactyes was captured. Mazares, aft
The Neo-Assyrian Empire was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, became the largest empire of the world up until that time. The Assyrians perfected early techniques of imperial rule, many of which became standard in empires, was, according to many historians, the first real empire in history; the Assyrians were the first to be armed with iron weapons, their troops employed advanced, effective military tactics. Following the conquests of Adad-nirari II in the late 10th century BC, Assyria emerged as the most powerful state in the known world at the time, coming to dominate the Ancient Near East, East Mediterranean, Asia Minor and parts of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa and conquering rivals such as Babylonia, Persia, Lydia, the Medes, Cimmerians, Judah, Chaldea, the Kushite Empire, the Arabs, Egypt; the Neo-Assyrian Empire succeeded the Old Assyrian Empire, the Middle Assyrian Empire of the Late Bronze Age. During this period, Aramaic was made an official language of the empire, alongside Akkadian.
Upon the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC, the empire began to disintegrate due to a brutal and unremitting series of civil wars in Assyria proper. In 616 BC, Cyaxares king of the Medes and Persians made alliances with Nabopolassar ruler of the Babylonians and Chaldeans, the Scythians and Cimmerians against Assyria. At the Fall of Harran the Babylonians and Medes defeated an Assyrian-Egyptian alliance, after which Assyria ceased to exist as an independent state. A failed attempt to reconquer Harran ended the Assyrian Empire. Although the empire fell, Assyrian history continued. Assyria was an Akkadian kingdom which evolved in the 25th to 24th centuries BC; the earliest Assyrian kings such as Tudiya were minor rulers, after the founding of the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from 2334 BC to 2154 BC, these kings became subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under one rule. The urbanised Akkadian-speaking nation of Assyria emerged in the mid 21st century BC, evolving from the dissolution of the Akkadian Empire.
In the Old Assyrian period of the Early Bronze Age, Assyria had been a kingdom of northern Mesopotamia, competing for dominance with the Hattians and Hurrians of Asia Minor, the ancient Sumero-Akkadian "city states" such as Isin, Ur and Larsa, with Babylonia, founded by Amorites in 1894 BC, under Kassite rule. During the 20th century BC, it established colonies in Asia Minor, under the 20th century BC King Ilushuma, Assyria conducted many successful raids against the states of the south. Assyria fell under the control of the Amorite chieftain Shamshi-Adad I, who established a dynasty and was unusually energetic and politically canny, installing his sons as puppet rulers at Mari and Ekallatm. Following this it found itself under short periods of Babylonian and Mitanni-Hurrian domination in the 17th and 15th centuries BC followed by another period of power from 1365 BC to 1074 BC, that included the reigns of kings such as Ashur-uballit I, Tukulti-Ninurta I, Tiglath-Pileser I. Ashur-uballit extended Assyrian control over the rich farming lands of Nineveh and Arbela to the north.
Tiglath-Pileser controlled the lucrative caravan routes that crossed the fertile crescent from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. Much campaigning by Tiglath-Pileser and succeeding kings was directed against Aramaean pastoralist groups in Syria, some of whom were moving against Assyrian centers. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the Aramaean expansion had resulted in the loss of much Assyrian territory in Upper Mesopotamia. After the death of Tiglath-Pileser I in 1076 BC, Assyria was in comparative decline for the next 150 years; the period from 1200 BC to 900 BC was a Dark Age for the entire Near East, North Africa, Caucasus and Balkan regions, with great upheavals and mass movements of people. Assyria was in a stronger position during this time than potential rivals such as Egypt, Elam, Urartu and Media. Beginning with the campaigns of Adad-nirari II, Assyria again became a great power, overthrowing the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt and conquering Elam, Media, Mannea, Phoenicia/Canaan, Israel, Philistia, Moab, Cilicia, Chaldea, Commagene, Dilmun and Neo-Hittites.
Adad-nirari II and his successors campaigned on an annual basis for part of every year with an exceptionally well-organized army. He subjugated the areas under only nominal Assyrian vassalage and deporting Aramean and Hurrian populations in the north to far-off places. Adad-nirari II twice attacked and defeated Shamash-mudammiq of Babylonia, annexing a large area of land north of the Diyala river and the towns of Hit and Zanqu in mid Mesopotamia, he made further gains over Babylonia under Nabu-shuma-ukin I in his reign. He was succeeded by Tukulti-Ninurta II in 891 BC, who further consolidated Assyria's position and expanded northwards into Asia Minor and the Zagros Mountains during his short reign; the next king, Ashurnasirpal II, embarked on a vast program of expansion. During his rule, Assyria recovered much of the territory that it had lost around 1100 BC at the end of the Middle Assyrian period. Ashurnasirpal II camp
The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humankind. It was preceded by the Bronze Age; the concept has been applied to Europe and the Ancient Near East, and, by analogy to other parts of the Old World. The duration of the Iron Age varies depending on the region under consideration, it is defined by archaeological convention, the mere presence of some cast or wrought iron is not sufficient to represent an Iron Age culture. For example, Tutankhamun's meteoric iron dagger comes from the Bronze Age. In the Ancient Near East, this transition takes place in the wake of the so-called Bronze Age collapse, in the 12th century BC; the technology soon spread to South Asia. Its further spread to Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Central Europe is somewhat delayed, Northern Europe is reached still by about 500 BC; the Iron Age is taken to end by convention, with the beginning of the historiographical record. This does not represent a clear break in the archaeological record.
The Germanic Iron Age of Scandinavia is taken to end c. AD 800, with the beginning of the Viking Age. In South Asia, the Iron Age is taken to begin with the ironworking Painted Gray Ware culture and to end with the reign of Ashoka; the use of the term "Iron Age" in the archaeology of South and Southeast Asia is more recent, less common, than for western Eurasia. The Sahel and Sub-Saharan Africa are outside of the three-age system, there being no Bronze Age, but the term "Iron Age" is sometimes used in reference to early cultures practicing ironworking such as the Nok culture of Nigeria; the three-age system was introduced in the first half of the 19th century for the archaeology of Europe in particular, by the 19th century expanded to the archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Its name harks back to the mythological "Ages of Man" of Hesiod; as an archaeological era it was first introduced for Scandinavia by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen in the 1830s. By the 1860s, it was embraced as a useful division of the "earliest history of mankind" in general and began to be applied in Assyriology.
The development of the now-conventional periodization in the archaeology of the Ancient Near East was developed in the 1920s to 1930s. As its name suggests, Iron Age technology is characterized by the production of tools and weaponry by ferrous metallurgy, more from carbon steel; the Iron Age in Europe is being seen as a part of the Bronze Age collapse in the ancient Near East, in ancient India, ancient Iran, ancient Greece. In other regions of Europe the Iron Age began in the 8th century BC in Central Europe and the 6th century BC in Northern Europe; the Near Eastern Iron Age is divided into two subsections, Iron I and Iron II. Iron I illustrates both discontinuity with the previous Late Bronze Age. There is no definitive cultural break between the 13th and 12th centuries BC throughout the entire region, although certain new features in the hill country and coastal region may suggest the appearance of the Aramaean and Sea People groups. There is evidence, however, of strong continuity with Bronze Age culture, although as one moves into Iron I the culture begins to diverge more from that of the late 2nd millennium.
The Iron Age as an archaeological period is defined as that part of the prehistory of a culture or region during which ferrous metallurgy was the dominant technology of metalworking. The periodization is not tied to the presence of ferrous metallurgy and is to some extent a matter of convention; the characteristic of an Iron Age culture is mass production of tools and weapons made from steel alloys with a carbon content between 0.30% and 1.2% by weight. Only with the capability of the production of carbon steel does ferrous metallurgy result in tools or weapons that are equal or superior to bronze. To this day bronze and brass have not been replaced in many applications, with the spread of steel being based as much on economics as on metallurgical advancements. A range of techniques have been used to produce steel from smelted iron, including techniques such as case-hardening and forge welding that were used to make cutting edges stronger. By convention, the Iron Age in the Ancient Near East is taken to last from c. 1200 BC to c. 550 BC, taken as the beginning of historiography or the end of the proto-historical period.
In Central and Western Europe, the Iron Age is taken to last from c. 800 BC to c. 1 BC, in Northern Europe from c. 500 BC to 800 AD. In China, there is no recognizable prehistoric period characterized by ironworking, as Bronze Age China transitions directly into the Qin dynasty of imperial China; the following gives an overview over the
Athienou is a village in Larnaca District, Cyprus. It is one of only four villages located within the United Nations Buffer Zone, the other three being Pyla and Deneia. Today, Athienou has a population of around 5,000 people and since 1990 has been home to Davidson College's Athienou Archaeological Project; the town's city hall includes a museum of local history and culture, established in 2008. It is considered by many, that the name of the village Athienou, derived from the ancient Greek word, "Atta" or "Atha", meaning large rock, which characterized the rocky land of the village. Others believe that the name was given by a group of Athenians, who came and settled in the village, to remember their home town. According to another theory, the name derives from a Lusignan called Etienne, who lived in the area, the people who lived in the village were mentioning his house as "Etienne's Place", in years that changed into Athienou, it has been a settlement since Middle Bronze Age. Athienou Archaeological Project Athienou municipality
Ancient history of Cyprus
The ancient history of Cyprus shows a precocious sophistication in the neolithlic era visible in settlements such as at Choirokoitia dating from the 9th millennium BC, at Kavalassos from about 7500 BC. Periods of Cyprus's ancient history from 1050 BC have been named according to styles of pottery as follows: Cypro-Geometric I: 1050-950 BC Cypro-Geometric II: 950-850 BC Cypro-Geometric III: 850-700 BC Cypro-Archaic I: 700-600 BC Cypro-Archaic II: 600-475 BC Cypro-Classical I: 475-400 BC Cypro-Classical II: 400-323 BCThe documented history of Cyprus begins in the 8th century BC; the town of Kition, now Larnaka, recorded part of the ancient history of Cyprus on a stele that commemorated a victory by Sargon II of Assyria there in 709 BC. Assyrian domination of Cyprus appears to have begun earlier than this, during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III, ended with the fall of the Neo Assyrian Empire in 609 BC, whereupon the city-kingdoms of Cyprus gained independence once more. Following a brief period of Egyptian domination in the sixth century BC, Cyprus fell under Persian rule.
The Persians did not interfere in the internal affairs of Cyprus, leaving the city-kingdoms to continue striking their own coins and waging war amongst one another, until the late-fourth century BC saw the overthrow of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great. Alexander's conquests only served to accelerate an clear drift towards Hellenisation in Cyprus, his premature death in 323 BC led to a period of turmoil as Ptolemy I Soter and Demetrius I of Macedon fought together for supremacy in that region, but by 294 BC, the Ptolemaic kingdom had regained control and Cyprus remained under Ptolemaic rule until 58 BC, when it became a Roman province. During this period and native Cypriot traits disappeared, together with the old Cypriot syllabic script, Cyprus became Hellenised. Cyprus figures prominently in the early history of Christianity, being the first province of Rome to be ruled by a Christian governor, in the first century, providing a backdrop for stories in the New Testament The Ancient Greek historian Herodotus claims that the city of Kourion, near present-day Limassol, was founded by Achaean settlers from Argos.
He supports the discovery of a Late Bronze Age settlement lying several kilometres from the site of the remains of the Hellenic city of Kourion, whose pottery and architecture indicate that Mycenaean settlers did indeed arrive and augment an existing population in this part of Cyprus in the twelfth century BC. The kingdom of Kourion in Cyprus is recorded on an inscription dating to the period of the Pharaoh Ramses III in Egypt. An early written source of Cypriot history mentions the nation under Assyrian rule as stele found in 1845 in the city named Kition, near present-day Larnaka, commemorates the victory of King Sargon II in 709 BC over seven kings in the land of Ia', in the district of Iadnana or Atnana; the land of Ia' is assumed to be the Assyrian name for Cyprus, some scholars suggest that the latter may mean'the islands of the Danaans', or Greece. There are other inscriptions referring to the land of Ia' in Sargon's palace at Khorsabad; the ten kingdoms listed on the prism of Esarhaddon in 673–2 BC have been identified as Soloi, Paphos, Kourion and Kition on the coast, Tamassos, Ledrai and Chytroi in the interior of the island.
Inscriptions add Marion and Kerynia. Cyprus gained independence after 627 BC following the death of Ashurbanipal, the last great Assyrian king. Cemeteries from this period are chiefly rock-cut tombs, they have been found, among other locations, at Tamassos, Soloi and Trachonas. The rock-cut'Royal' tombs at Tamassos, built in about 600 BC, imitate wooden houses; the pillars show Phoenician influence. Some graves contain the remains of chariots; the main deity of ancient Cyprus was the Great Goddess, the Assyro-Babylonian Ishtar, Phoenician Astarte known by the Greek name Aphrodite. She was called "the Cypriote" by Homer. Paphian inscriptions call her "the Queen". Pictures of Aphrodite appear on the coins of Salamis as well, demonstrating that her cult had a larger regional influence. In addition, the King of Paphos was the High Priest of Aphrodite. Other Gods venerated include the Phoenician Anat, Eshmun, Reshef and Melkart and the Egyptian Hathor, Thoth and Ptah, as attested by amulets. Animal sacrifices are attested to on terracotta-votives.
The Sanctuary of Ayia Irini contained over 2,000 figurines. In 570 BCE, Cyprus was conquered by Egypt under Amasis II; this brief period of Egyptian domination left its influence in the arts sculpture, where the rigidity and the dress of the Egyptian style can be observed. Cypriot artists discarded this Egyptian style in favour of Greek prototypes. Statues in stone show a mixture of Egyptian and Greek influence. In particular, ceramics recovered on Cyprus show influence from ancient Crete. Men wore Egyptian wigs and Assyrian-style beards. Armour and dress showed western Asiatic elements as well. In 525 BCE, the Persian Achaemenid Empire conquered Cyprus. Under the Persians, the Kings of Cyprus retained their independence but had to pay tribute to their overlord; the city-kingdoms began to strike their own coins in the late-sixth century BCE, using the Persian weight system. Coins minted by the kings were required to have the overlord's portrait on them. King Evelthon of Salamis was the first to cast silver or bronze coins in Cyprus.
Royal palaces have been excavated in Palaepaphos and in Vouni in the terr