A brief compendium of Cyprus History

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First and foremost, the church in Klonari is 16th Century and recently restored.  The Cyprus Centre of Cultural Heritage was involved in the restoration of the church and artefacts, http://www.heritage.org.cy/conservation.htm.  On this page you can view, "Bronze vigil lamp from Klonari village, 16th century, after treatment, by A.Georgiadis, 1991.".  You can also see the inside of the church (not labelled as Klonari, but as, "The iconostasis of Prodromos in situ after treatment, August 1999, made possible by the donation by the Anastasios G. Leventis Foundation.".

An additional picture of the Klonari St Nicholas church is available at http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=408.   A further, brief link, of minor interest is http://www.mediterracypria.org.cy/English/Cyprusworkshop.htm.

A little etimology to commence - the name "copper" comes from Cyprus (or possibly vice-versa) and is a natural resource particularly exploited by the Romans there.

Richard the Lionheart, King of England, married Berengaria of Navarre here in the Middle Ages.

The main deity was Aphrodite, who was born in Cyprus.  Apparently she rose from the sea at Petra, Paphos.

Salamis - fantastic archaeological site including restored Roman amphitheatre, gymnasium, marble baths, mosaics etc.

"History of Cyprus

from http://ginasrantings.blogspot.com/2005/09/history-of-cyprus.html

9,000 Years of civilization gathered together on one island
 

It is said, "scratch the soil anywhere in Cyprus and you will find traces of its magnificent past". This is no exaggeration. Evidence of the island's 9,000 years of history is scattered throughout the island.
 

Remains from the Neolithic period bear witness to the existence of an ancient civilization. According to tradition many of the ancient cities of Cyprus were founded by the heroes of the Trojan War whom also Hellenised the island. Assyrians, Phoenicians, Egyptians and Persians all passed through the island. This strategically important island was part o the Roman Empire for four centuries. Excavations have brought to light temples and palaces, amphitheatres and baths. Just as magnificent are the early Christian basilicas; equally magnificent are the Byzantine churches with their beautiful mosaics and icons. And then Crusader castles, Venetian fortifications.
Cyprus is a living book of pictures taken from world history.

7000-3900 BC NEOLITHIC
Remains of the oldest known settlements in Cyprus date from this period. This civilization developed along the North and South coasts. First, only stone vessels were used. Pottery appeared on a second phase after 5000 BC

3900-2500 BC CHALCOLITHIC AGE

Transitional period between the Stone Age and the Bronze Age. Most Chalcolithic settlements are found in Western Cyprus, where a fertility cult developed. Copper is being discovered and exploited on a small scale.

2500-1050 BC BRONZE AGE

Copper is more extensively exploited bringing wealth to Cyprus. Trade develops with the Near East, Egypt and the Aegean, where Cyprus is known under the name of Alasia. After 1400 BC Mycenaeans from Greece reach the island as merchants. During the l2th and 11th centuries. mass waves of Achaean Greeks come to settle on the island spreading the Greek language, religion and customs. They gradually take control over Cyprus and establish the first city-kingdoms of Paphos, Salamis, Kition and Kourion. The Hellenisation of the island is now in progress.
1050-750 BC GEOMETRIC PERIOD

Cyprus is now a Greek island with ten city.Remains of the oldest known settlements in Cyprus date from this period. This civilization developed along the North and South coasts. First, only stone vessels were used. Pottery appeared on a second phase after 5000 BC

750-325 BC ARCHAIC AND CLASSICAL PERIOD

The era of prosperity continues, but the island falls prey to several conquerors. Cypriot Kingdoms become successively tributary to Assyria, Egypt and Persia. King Evagoras of Salamis (who ruled from 411-374 BC) unifies Cyprus and makes the island one of the leading political and cultural centers of the Greek world. 333-325 BC The city-kingdoms of Cyprus welcome Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, and Cyprus becomes part of his empire.

325-58 BC HELLENISTIC PERIOD

After the rivalries for succession between Alexander's generals, Cyprus eventually comes under the Hellenistic state of the Ptolemies of Egypt, and belongs from now onwards to the Greek Alexandrine world. The Ptolemies abolish the city-kingdoms and unify Cyprus. Paphos becomes the capital.

58 BC - 330 AD ROMAN PERIOD

Cyprus comes under the dominion of the Roman Empire. During the missionary journey of Saints Paul and Barnabas, the Proconsul Sergius Paulus is converted to Christianity and Cyprus becomes the first country to be governed by a Christian. Destructive earthquakes occur during the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD and cities are rebuilt. In 313 the Edict of Milan grants freedom of worship to Christians and Cypriot bishops attend the Council of Nicaea in 325.

330 -1191 AD BYZANTINE PERIOD

After the division of the Roman Empire Cyprus comes under the Eastern Roman Empire, known as Byzantium, with Constantinople as its capital. Christianity becomes the official religion. Empress Helena visits Cyprus and founds the Stavrovouni Monastery. New earthquakes during the 4th century AD completely destroy the main cities. New cities arise; Constantia is now capital, and large basilicas are built from the 4th to 5th century AD. In 488, after the tomb of St. Barnabas is found, Emperor Zenon grants the Church of Cyprus full autonomy and gives the Archbishop the privileges of holding a scepter instead of a pastoral staff, wearing a purple mantle and signing in red ink. In 647 Arabs invade the island under Muawiya. For three centuries Cyprus is constantly under attack by Arabs and pirates until 965, when Emperor Nikiforos Fokas expels Arabs from Asia Minor and Cyprus Kingdoms. The cult of the Goddess Aphrodite flourishes at her birthplace Cyprus. Phoenicians settle at Kition. The 8th century BC is a period of great prosperity.

1191-1192 RICHARD THE LIONHEART AND THE TEMPLARS

Isaac Komnenus self proclaimed 'Emperor' of Cyprus behaves discourteously to survivors of a shipwreck involving ships of Richard's fleet on their way to the Third Crusade. Richard in revenge defeats Isaac, and takes possession of Cyprus marrying Berengaria of Navarre in Limassol where she is crowned Queen of England. A year later he sells the island for 100,000 dinars to the Knights Templars who resell it at the same price to Guy de Lusignan, deposed King of Jerusalem.

1192-1489 FRANKISH (LUSIGNAN) PERIOD

Cyprus is ruled on the feudal system and the Catholic Church officially replaces the Greek Orthodox. Which though under severe suppression manages to survive. The city of Ammochostos is now one of the richest in the Near East. It is during this period that the historical names of Lefkosia, Ammochostos and Lemesos are being referred to as Nicosia, Famagusta and Limassol respectively. The era of the Lusignan dynasty ends when the last queen Caterina Cornaro cedes Cyprus to Venice in 1489.

1489-1571 VENETIAN PERIOD

Venetians view Cyprus as a last bastion against the Ottomans in the east Mediterranean and fortify the island, tearing down lovely buildings in Nicosia to reduce the boundaries of the city within fortified walls. They also build impressive walls around Famagusta, which were considered at the time as works of military architecture.

1571-1878 OTTOMAN PERIOD

In 1570 Ottoman troops attack Cyprus, capture Nicosia, slaughter 20,000 of the population and lay siege to Famagusta for a year. After a brave defense by Venetian commander Marc Antonio Bragadin, Famagusta falls to the Ottoman commander Lala Mustafa who at first allows the besieged a peaceful exodus but later orders the flaying of Bragadin and puts all others to death. On annexation to the Ottoman Empire the Latin leadership is expelled or converted to Islam and the Greek Orthodox Church restored; in time, the Archbishop, as leader of the Greek Orthodox becomes the people's representative to the Sultan. When the Greek War of Independence breaks out in 1821, the Archbishop of Cyprus, Kyprianos, three bishops and prominent Cypriots are executed. The Muslim minority during the Ottoman period eventually acquires a Cypriot identity.

1878-1960 BRITISH PERIOD

Under the 1878 Cyprus Convention, Britain assumes administration of the island. It remains formally part of the Ottoman Empire until the latter enters the First World War on the side of Germany, and Britain in consequence annexes Cyprus in 1914. In 1923 under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey relinquishes all rights to Cyprus. In 1925 Cyprus is declared a Crown colony. In 1940 Cypriot volunteers serve in the British Armed Forces throughout the Second World War. Hopes for self-determination being granted to other countries in the post-war period are shattered by the British who consider the island vitally strategic. After all means of peaceful settling of the problem are exhausted. a national liberation struggle is launched in 1955 against colonial rule and for union of Cyprus with Greece, which lasts until 1959.

1960 REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS


According to the Zurich-London Treaty. Cyprus becomes an independent republic on l6th August 1960. It is a member of the United Nations the Council of Europe the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement. According to the above treaty. Britain retains two Sovereign Bases (158.5 sq. km) on the island at Dhekelia and Akrotiri- Episkopi. The 1960 Constitution of the Cyprus Republic proves unworkable in many of its provisions and this makes its smooth implementation impossible. In 1963 the President of the Republic proposes some amendments to facilitate the functioning of the state and the Turkish Cypriot community responds with rebellion. The Turkish Cypriot ministers withdraw from the Cabinet and Turkish Cypriot civil servants cease attending their offices while Turkey threatens to invade Cyprus. Since then the aim of the Turkish Cypriot leadership acting on instructions from the Turkish Government has been the partitioning of Cyprus and its annexation to Turkey. Using as a pretext the coup of July 1974 instigated against the Cyprus Government by the military Junta, then in power in Athens,

Turkey invades Cyprus on July 20, 1974 violating all principles governing international relations and the UN Charter. As a result approximately 37% of the island is occupied, 40% of the Greek Cypriot population violently uprooted and thousands of people, including civilians, killed, ill-treated or disappear without trace. The continuation of Turkish military occupation and the violation of the fundamental human rights of the people of Cyprus have been condemned by international bodies, but until today Turkey refuses to withdraw from Cyprus and maintains the island's division by the force of arms. Turkey has established the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, an illegal state, recognized only by Turkey and continues to maintain the division of the island through force. Following the signing of the EU Enlargement Treaty in Athens on April 16, 2003 and its subsequent ratification by the Cypriot House of Representatives, Cyprus has officialy joined the EU on May 01 , 2004."
 

Cyprus and its Earliest Inhabitants from Reuters 22 November 2005

"Archaeologists have discovered what they believe is the earliest evidence yet of long distance seafaring in the eastern Mediterranean, undermining beliefs that ancient mariners never ventured into open seas. Fragments of stone implements believed to be up to 12,000 years old have been found at two sites of Cyprus, suggesting roving mariners used the areas as temporary camp sites after forays from what is today Syria and Turkey.

The flints are unlike anything found in the geological make-up of Cyprus, and more than 1,000 years older than the timing of the first permanent settlers to the island.

The discovery adds to a body of evidence contradicting the widespread belief that ancient mariners would never venture out of sight of land or had limited navigational capabilities.

"If this is verified this would be the earliest evidence of seafaring in the East Mediterranean," said Pavlos Flourentzos, director of Cyprus's department of antiquities.

Cyprus, lying at least 30 miles away from any other land mass, was not settled by man 12,000 years ago, but there is evidence it was populated by pygmy elephants and hippopotamuses.

Its earliest inhabitants, dated from the 9th millennium BC, are believed to be from the land mass which now rings it north and east.

Flint fragments were found at sites on the southeast and the west of the island by Albert J. Ammerman, an archaeologist at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

The site on the southeast is a hilly outcrop overlooking Nissi Beach, one of the most popular beaches on the island.

"Its a rock where they now do bungee jumping," Flourentzos told Reuters. "Ammerman was with his children on this particular beach when he found the fragments."

The disclosures were contained in an archaeological paper Ammerman released at a conference in Philadelphia in the United States in mid-November.

"They have yielded good evidence for the earliest voyaging in the Mediterranean and for the increased mobility of people at the end of the ice age and the beginning of agriculture," Ammerman was quoted as saying in Tuesday's edition of the New York Times."
 

Ship Wreckages from Cyprus Weekly:

THERE are no immediate plans to salvage ancient shipwrecks possibly lying on the bottom of the Episkopi Bay on the island’s southern coast, Director of Antiquities Pavlos Flourentzos said this week.

Asked by The Cyprus Weekly to comment on a continuing underwater survey in the area, which revealed potential shipwreck sites, he said that unless something was important and at least older than the famous 4th century Kyrenia wreck, the Department would leave it alone for the time being.

He explained that excavating and bringing up a submerged ancient wreck involved considerable expenses and efforts, especially as it would then have to be restored and preserved.

Anomalies

"If they are Roman or more recent they would just have to wait," Flourentzos said.

The only definite sightings so far concern the scattered debris of a 5th or 6th century merchantman in the small inlet of Avdimou Bay. But the use of more sophisticated equipment this year showed anomalies on the seabed of Episkopi Bay probably hiding shipwrecks underneath.

According to a recent Department of Antiquities release, the survey continued for the third season during July and August in the underwater area of Episkopi Bay and the Akrotiri Peninsula with a small international team of archaeologists and students. The project, which forms a contribution of the University of Cincinatti excavations at Episkopi-Bamboula, is logistically and financially supported by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University, the Cyprus Society for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (Limassol), and RPM Nautical Foundation (Florida, USA).

This year’s survey covered three main areas, one of them Dreamer’s Bay on Southern Akrotiri. At the site of a submerged anchorage littered with pottery, "several substantial new and revealing assemblages were added to the catalogue," the release said. The archaeologists also began a preliminary mapping of a long ashlar-built mole reported some years ago.

During the investigations in the inlet of Avdimou Bay two additional stone anchors were documented, along with three partial millstones that may have supplemented the ship’s primary cargo of wine carried in amphorae from the Gaza region of Palestine.

Sensing

The survey in the wider sea area of Episkopi involved high resolution remote sensing, thanks to a grant of equipment and technical expertise by the RPM Nautical Foundation.

The anomalies on the seabed that could be potential shipwreck targets were detected by multi-beam sonar operations from the 37-metre research vessel Hercules.

Investigations during 2006 will focus on visual exploration of these targets through diving and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) work to determine which may be the remains of shipwrecks, the release said.

A selection of photos that I took Christmas 2004 around the many Cyprus sites including the Larnaca, Paphos, Limassol and Nicosia districts.

 

 

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All photographs Copyright © Robin Harrison 2005

 

 

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