With Cyprus Car Rental and Cyprus Car Hire you can discover the ancient past of Cyprus at your leisure. You can stop at museums and at historic sites and walk in the footsteps of the ancestors..
Assyrian Period and City Kingdoms: In Kition written documents were found commemorating the victory of king Sargon II (721-705 BC) bringing Cyprus under Assyrian rule. Ten kingdoms are listed in an inscription of Esarhaddon in 673/2 BC. They have been identified as Soloi, Salamis, Paphos, Kourion, Amathus and Kition on the coast, and Tamassos, Ledrai, Idalion and Chytroi in the interior. Later inscriptions add Marion, Lapithos and Kerynia (Kyrenia). This was the period of city-kingdoms. They began to make their own coins around 500 BC, using the Persian weight system.
The main deity on the Island was the Great Goddess, Phoenician Astarte, later known under the Greek name of Aphrodite, who was called 'the Cypriote' by Homer. You can visit her legendary birth place near Paphos with Cyprus Car Hire.
Paphian inscriptions call Aphrodite the Queen. Pictures of her appear on coins of Salamis as well, demonstrating that her cult was of more than local importance. The king of Paphos was high Priest of Aphrodite as well. Other gods venerated were the Phoenician Anat, Baal, Eshmun, Reshef, Mikal and Melkart and the Egyptian Hathor, Thoeris, Bes and Ptah, as attested by amulets. Animal sacrifices are attested by terracotta-votives. The sanctuary of Ayia Irini contained over 2000 figurines.
For a brief period Egypt conquered Cyprus in 570 and left its mark mainly in the arts, especially in sculpture, where we observe the rigidity of style and dress of the Egyptians. Soon, however, the Cypriots discarded both for the sake of Greek prototypes.
Evagoras I of Salamis introduced the Greek alphabet and in some parts of the Island, the Phoenician script (Kition) or the Cypriot syllabic alphabet was still used, either for inscriptions in the local Greek dialect (Arcadocypriot) or in the so called Eteocypriot language (Amathus). Only during the 4th century , the Cypriot gods became known under Greek names. Anat, who had a temple at Vouni was called Athena, Astarte Aphrodite, the main male god as Zeus. Reshef and Hylates were equated with Apollo, Eshmun with Asklepios.
The Persians conquered the Island in 526 BC and some years later, the Island was incorporated into the 5th Satrapy (Ionia). The Persians did not interfere in the internal affairs, the city-kingdoms continued to strike their own coins and to wage war among each other. Yet during the Persian rule, Ionian influence on the sculptures intensified, copies of Greek korai appeared, as well as statues of men in Greek dress. Naked kouroi, common in Greece, were extremely rare while women (Korai)were always presented dressed with rich folding of their himations.
In pottery, definite local styles developed while some Greek pottery was imported as well.
The most important obligation of the kings of Cyprus to the Shah of the Shahs of Persia was the payment of tribute and the supply of armies and ships for his foreign campaigns. Thus when Xerxes in 480 BC invaded Greece, Cyprus contributed 150 ships to the Persian army.
Full Hellenisation only took place under Ptolemaic rule. Phoenician and native Cypriot traits disappeared, toether with the old Cypriot syllabic script. A number of cities were founded during this time, e.g. Arsinoe that was founded between old and new Paphos by Ptolemy II.
During the siege of Tyre, the Cypriot Kings went over to Alexander of Macedon and supported him with ships. In appreciation, Alexander set them free. This period, however was very brief since the Macedonian King died soon afterwards and Cyprus became a bone of contention among his successors. In 321 four Cypriot kings sided with Ptolemy I Soter and defended the Island against Antigonos. Ptolemy lost Cyprus to Demetrios Poliorketes in 306 and 294 BC, but after that it remained under Ptolemaic rule till 58 BC. It was ruled by a governor from Egypt and sometimes formed a minor Ptolemaic kingdom during the poweruggles of the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. Strong commercial relationships with Athens and Alexandria, two of the most important commercial centres of antiquity, developed.
Ptolemaic rule was rigid and exploited the island's resources to the utmost, particularly timber and copper. A great contemporary figure of Cypriot letters was the philosopher Zeno who was born at Kition about 336 and founded the famous Stoic School of Philosophy at Athens where he died about 263 BC.
Cyprus became a Roman province in 58 BC, according to Strabo because Publius Clodius Pulcher held a grudge against Ptolemy. The renowned Stoic and strict constitutionalist M. Porcius Cato 'Uticensis' was sent to annex Cyprus and organize it under Roman law, and Cato was relentless in protecting Cyprus against the rapacious tax farmers that normally plagued the provinces of the republican period. After the Caesarian civil wars that ended the Roman republic, Mark Antony gave the island to Cleopatra VII of Egypt and their daughter Cleopatra Selene, but it became a Roman province again after his defeat at the Battle of Actium (31 BC) in 30 BC. From 22 BC, Cyprus was a senatorial province, after the reforms of Diocletian it was placed under the Consularis Oriens.
Pax Romana (Roman peace) was only twice disturbed in Cyprus in three centuries of Roman occupation. The first serious interruption occurred in 115-116, when a revolt by the Jews inspired by Messianic hopes broke out. Their leader was Artemion, a Jew with a hellenised name as was the practice of the time. The island suffered great losses in this Kitos War, when it is believed that 240,000 Greek and Roman civilians were killed. Though probable that the number massacred is greatly inflated, there were few or no Roman troops stationed on the island to suppress the insurrection as the rebels reaped havoc. After forces were sent to Cyprus and the uprising was put down, law was passed that no Jew was permitted to land on Cyprian soil, not even in case of ship wreck. The second turmoil sprang up in 333-334, when the magister pecoris camelorum Calocaerus revolted against Constantine I, claiming the purple. This rebellion ended with the arrival of the troops led by Flavius Dalmatius and the death of Calocaerus.
Several earthquakes led to the destruction of Salamis at the beginning of the 4th century, at the same time drought and famine hit the island.
Roman Cyprus was visited by Apostles Paul, Barnabas and St Mark who came to the island at the outset of their first missionary journey in 45 AD. After their arrival at Salamis they proceeded to Paphos where they converted the Roman Governor Sergius Paulus to Christianity. In the Acts of the Apostles, St Luke describes vividly how a magician named Bar-Jesus (Elymas) was obstructing the two Apostles in their preaching of the Gospel, so Paul by his word only set him blind for some time. As a result of this, Sergius Paulus believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. In this way Cyprus became the first country in the world to be governed by a Christian ruler.
The apostle Paul is reported to have converted the people of Cyprus to Christianity. St. Barnabas was supposed to have founded the Church of Cyprus, underpinning claims for ecclesiastical independence from Antioch. According to the apocryphal Acts of Barnabas, Barnabas carried a copy of the Gospel with him, which he had written and that was buried with him, and later unearthed after a dream by Archbishop Anthemius of Salamis. At least three Cypriot bishops (sees of Salamis, Tremithus and Paphos) took part at the First Council of Nicaea in 325, twelve at the council of Sardica in 344. In 400, the Metrolitan see was located at Salamis (Constantia).
Early Cypriot Saints include St. Heracleidius, St. Spiridon, St. Hilarion and St. Epiphanius. A fragment of the true cross was deposited by St. Helena at Tokhni, the cross of the penitent thief at Stavrovouni, which helped to relieve a terrible drought. During the 5th century AD, the church of Cyprus achieved its independence from the Patriarch of Antioch at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Emperor Zeno granted the archbishop of Cyprus the right to carry a sceptre instead of a pastoral staff.
You can traverse time in Cyprus from ancient to modern reality with Cyprus Car Rental that facilitates you to discover traces of the above written history in real life.