Appearance and Location
According to Pavlides (2013), Engomi was initially founded as a settlement of agriculturists and farmers in the 17th century. This ancient town is situated on the island’s eastern coast, around 3 km to the northwest of Salamis and to the west of the modern village of Engomi in the Ammochostos district. It seems to have been abandoned at the beginning of the 16th century, most likely due to Hyksos invades, and the settlement revived in the middle of the 16th century when it possessed a small harbour. It gradually became a city reaching its acme in the 14th century and its zenith at the end of the 13th century. At that time the sea was reaching the city, today it is land [Andros Pavlides, 2013].
Was Engomi Alashiya [Alasia]?
Muhly and Knapp claim that the king of Alašiya was actually residing there, hence when a claim was made for the “the king of the city-state Alashiya”, that was meant for Engomi. Of course, many scholars believe that this is not the case [Eleni Mantzourani, Konstantinos Kopanias, Ioannis Voskos, 2019].
In the 12th century, a big part of the city was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt. At the end of the same century, it was destroyed by earthquakes and started to decline, until it was finally abandoned around 1075 BC, giving place to the new glorious city, Salamis [Andros Pavlides, 2013]. The sitting of its original harbour by alluvial deposits from the Pedieos River estuary must have contributed to its demise [Maria Iacovou, 2008].
According to Pausanias (2nd cent.), the traditional founder of Paphos was Trojan War hero Agapenor (12th cent. BC), king of Tegea in Arkadia in the Peloponnese, who founded the Temple of Aphrodite in that city [ἀπὸ Ἀγαπήνορος ὃς ἐς Τροίαν ἡγήσατο Ἀρκάσιν, οἰκοῦσα δὲ ἐν Πάφῳ] [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
According to Pseudo-Apollodorus, the cult of Aphrodite was established earlier by Kinyras, the proverbial king of Paphos or of all Cyprus [ἐγέννησε Κινύραν. οὗτος ἐν Κύπρῳ, παραγενόμενος σὺν λαῷ, ἔκτισε Πάφον], who, as the Iliad tells us, 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 [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
Circa 1.5 km from the sea, some 16 km southeast 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 northeast, east, and south of the city. Palaipaphos or simply Paphos was the capital of the kingdom of Paphos and the celebrated centre of the cult of Aphrodite [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
Temple of Aphrodite
The Temple of Aphrodite [ca. 1200 BC] 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 Paphos. The temple of Aphrodite lies on a hill in 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) [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
Other locations traces
The “Canadian Palaipaphos Survey Project” and the “Western Cyprus Project” collectively surveyed around 245 km2 of land. Based on these survey inspections, 579 ‘sites’ were recorded around the village of Kouklia, spanning chronologically from the Neolithic period to Byzantine and Medieval times [University of Cyprus].
The traditional founder was Teukros [Teucer], son of Telamon, king of the Greek island of Salamis and one of the heroes of the Trojan War. He was also the founder of the Temple of Zeus Salaminios and the ancestor of its dynasty of priest-kings. A sepulchral epigram to him exists among those on the Homeric heroes. The dynasty of Teukridai ruled for a long time and even the kings of later times claimed descent from Teukros. This dynasty of priest-kings lasted down to the time of Augustus [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969]. According to Ioannou, “the foundation of Salamis in the 11th century has been established archaeologically” [Maria Iacovou, 2008].
Salamis is, essentially, the second of a series of three successive towns: the Bronze and Early Iron Age town Enkomi, ancient Salamis, and medieval Famagusta. Salamis was founded after Enkomi had been destroyed by an earthquake [Livius].
On the east coast of the island, circa. 6.5 km north of Famagusta. The ruins occupy an extensive area, ca. 150 ha, along the shore and for a considerable depth now covered by sand dunes and a forest. The harbour lies to the S near the mouth of the river Pedieos. Traces of the city wall of the archaic period have recently been discovered to the S. The vast necropolis lies in the plain W of the city and extends towards the villages of Enkomi, Haghios Serghios, and the Monastery of St. Barnabas [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
According to Nicolaou (1969), the city was founded, according to archaeological evidence, in the Late Bronze Age but the site was already occupied in the Early Bronze Age. Excavations have shown that the founders were Mycenaeans coming from the Peloponnese. The Phoenicians arrived at Kition at the end of the 9th c. B.C. at first as traders during their expansion to the W, and later as settlers [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969]. Excavations in the northern part of modern Larnaca (“Area II”) suggest that this was the site of an important Bronze Age settlement, which already flourished between 1500 and 1300 BCE [Livius].
The ruins cover a large area now occupied by the modern town. The city site, on the S coast, is situated on a hill sloping gently S. The acropolis is NE of the city, but unfortunately very little of it survives. The port lay on the E side below the acropolis. At this end the sea penetrated inland and reached the foot of the acropolis and then turned a little to the S. This inlet formed a natural harbor, the enclosed harbor of Strabo. All this is now silted up and the present coast line is ca. one-half km away. Traces of the city wall and of the moat, which followed the edge of the plateau, are still visible, particularly on the W side. A vast necropolis extends N, W, and S. The tombs date from the Early Bronze Age to Graeco-Roman times [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
Kourion existed in the 12th century BC as a copper idol was found there representing a man holding a copper talent on his shoulders, now in the British Museum [Andros Pavlides, 2013].
According to Strabo, Kourion was founded by the Argives (Hdt. 5.113; Strab. 14.683). According to Nicolaou (1969), the connection between Kourion and Argos is further illustrated by the worship at Kourion of a god called Perseutas. Excavations have yielded evidence of an Achaian settlement in the 14th c. B.C. at the Bamboula ridge at the nearby village of Episkopi. A tomb within the necropolis of Kourion yielded material of the 11th c. B.C. including the well-known royal gold and enamel sceptre which is now in the Cyprus Museum. The name of Kir appears in an Egyptian inscription at Medinet Habu of the time of Rameses III (1198-1167 B.C.) if the correlation with Kourion were beyond dispute [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
On the SW coast, about 16 km W of Limassol. The ruins cover a large area on a bluff overlooking the sea to the S. Kourion was surrounded by a city wall but of this very little survives; the rocky scarp on the E and S sides has been vertically cut. There was probably no proper harbour but the remains of a jetty, about 80 m long, are still visible at low tide to the W of the town and Strabo mentions the existence of an anchorage. The necropolis extends E and S [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
In Egypt at Medinet Habu in the temples of Ramesses III, there is a large 12th-century BC inscription that refers to Cypriot towns including Marion. The Mycenaeans or Achaeans settled in Cyprus between 1400 and 1100 BC and Marion was one of the city-kingdoms they founded [Wikipedia]. According to Princeton University and Kyriakos Nicolaou, though, Marion was founded during the next, Geometric Period of Iron Age (1050-700 BC).
According to tradition, Aepeia or Aipeia [the predecessor of Soloi] was founded by Demophon, brother of Akamas. [Akamas was a Trojan War (1180 BC) hero, hence Aepeia should had been built around the 12th century BC] [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969]. According to sources, the city was built in an area with an unhealthy climate, and in the 6th century Solon advice Philokypros, its king, to relocate it [Wikipedia].
Evidence of its early existence
Nicolaou (1969), who seems not to believe in the existence of Aepeia, writes himself the following: “Owing to the existence of copper mines, the richest in the island, the area was inhabited at an early date and the presence of Late Bronze Age settlements in the vicinity is well attested. On archaeological evidence available today, the city site has been occupied since Geometric times and like some other cities in the island such as Salamis, Soloi may have succeeded a Late Bronze Age town in the neighbourhood”.
Nothing is known of its origin but it certainly succeeded a Late Bronze Age settlement in the area, the best-known one being on the other side of the river on a height due north of Pera village. A Late Bronze Age necropolis, however, exists at Lambertis, a small hill due southeast of the ancient town and east of the Monastery of Agios Irakleidios. Owing mainly to the existence of copper mines, the area of Tamasos was inhabited even earlier. The city naturally owed its prosperity to these mines, as has been stressed by ancient writers [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
Tamasos lies in the copper mining area southwest of Nicosia. The ruins of a large town lying on the left bank of the river Pedieos extend on the top and over the northern slopes of a hill overlooking the rich Pedieos valley below. The site is now partly occupied by the village of Politiko. The town consisted of two parts, the acropolis and the lower town. The acropolis is believed to lie on top of the hill to the south of the town. Remains of the city wall can still be traced for part of its course. The necropolis extends north and west [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969]. Today the villages of Psimolofou, Episkopeio, Pera Orinis, Ergates, Politiko, Kampia, Analyontas, and Kapedes occupy the site of the city [Wikipedia].
Idalion, one of the ancient kingdoms of Cyprus, was, according to tradition founded by Chalcanor, the Achaean hero of the Trojan war, who was also the descendant of the founder of Salamis [Realm of History]. Excavations have shown that the city was inhabited towards the end of the Late Bronze Age when the western acropolis became a fortified stronghold with a cult place [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969]. The site of Idalion shows signs of activity dating back to the 13th century BC [Open Context].
Idalion is located innland by the river Yialias, 22 km northwest of Kition. The ruins of the ancient city extend to the south of the modern village of Dali. The city consisted of three parts: two acropoleis and the lower town. The acropoleis occupied two hills, Moutti tou Gavrili to the east and Ambelleri to the west. These acropoleis bounded the city to the south and the lower town extended on their northern slopes and on the flat land right up to the southern outskirts of the modern village, which lies near the river. The city wall can still be traced along the northern ridge of the eastern acropolis and past the Church of Agios Georgios, where it disappears in the plain. It can also be traced along the ridge of the western acropolis and then disappears in the plain below. The necropolis extends to the east and the west. Tombs of the Late Bronze Age and of Geometric times lie in the eastern necropolis; those of the archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, and Graeco-Roman, in the western one [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969]. This location gave Idalion control of the valuable copper mines that played such an important role in the city’s growth [Open Context].
The first signs of use in the Lower City North date to the Late Cypriot Period (13th century B.C.E.) Excavations revealed small scale industrial installations which included facilities for olive oil pressing and horn working. Several large pits dug into the bedrock were perhaps used as settling tanks for levigating clay. One of these pits was 4.5 meters wide and 3 meters deep and at some time in the 1st century B.C.E. it was reused as a bothros. A bothros is a place where sacred vessels and objects are deposited after they have been consecrated to a deity, but are no longer in use. This pit was full of pottery and artefacts and was topped with a stone-built altar complete with a burnt offering of goat or sheep bone [Open Context].
Lower City South was opened in the hopes of learning more about the domestic and industrial life of the city. Instead, the sanctuary associated with the bothros was uncovered. This unusual structure incorporated Cypro-Archaic votive sculptures which were built into later Hellenistic and Roman walls. Something not found elsewhere on site. Features in this sanctuary had more in common with Israelite and Canaanite cult practices than those of the Aegean. This included a pair of standing stones which were miniature versions of those found at Arad in Israel, several stone-built altars, and a betyl in a pit [Open Context].
Beyond monumental (and practical) spatial arrangements, the Idalion palace also boasts its fair share of around 800 inscriptions, with most of them being curiously presented in the Phoenician (along with a few Greek specimens, in the Arcadocypriot dialect) [Realm of History].
Idalion has drawn the interest of antiquarians and archaeologists for a century and a half. In the 1860s, the famous antiquity robber Luigi Palma di Cesnola, American consul to the Ottoman Empire in Cyprus, boasted that he opened 15,000 tombs near the ancient city. His collection was so vast that the material played a significant role in the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the British Museum in London. Not long after, R. Hamilton Lang excavated an open-air sanctuary on the eastern of the city’s 2 acropoleis. He was followed 15 years later by Max Ohnefalsch-Richter who conducted excavations at a number of shrines in the area as well as a temenos on the East Acropolis that he referred to as “the great chief sanctuary of the Idalion Aphrodite” [Open Context].
After 1200 B.C. and after the Trojan war many Greek immigrants led by Chytros, grandson of the Athenian Akamantas, hero of the Attican tribe of the same name, settled in Cyprus. Kythrea is situated near the ancient kingdom of Chytroi which was founded by Chytros [Wikipedia] [This period falls by the Cyprus Late Bronze Period circa 1600-1050].
According to Nicolaou (1969), the ruins of a small inland town, due east of the village of Kythrea, have been identified with those of Chytroi. The town consisted of two parts, the acropolis and the lower town. The acropolis situated on a hill now called Katsourkas lies north of the town. The lower town extends to the south around the ruined Church of Agios Demetrianos. No traces of a city wall are visible. A large necropolis extends south and southeast. A Geometric necropolis to the southwest of Kythrea may also belong to early Chytroi [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
According to Nicolaou (1969), Lapithos, one of the ancient kingdoms of Cyprus, was, according to tradition, founded by Trojan hero Praxandros [12th century BC] from Lakonia in the Peloponnese. Excavations on the acropolis have shown that the city was inhabited during the Late Bronze Age, which accords well with its traditional origin. A Late Bronze Age settlement has also been located higher up within the modern village of Lapithos while Early Geometric tombs surround the village [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969]. According to Strabo, the ancient settlement of Lapathus, the site of which is nearby, was founded by Spartans. Findings from excavations i.e. pots and pottery wheels date back its existence as early as 3000 BC [Wikipedia].
On the N coast, E of the Monastery of Acheiropoietos and 10 km W of Keryneia. The ruins cover a large area along the seashore. Substantial remains of a harbour with its breakwaters still survive and the city wall can be traced for most of its course. The necropolis extends E [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
The site extends mainly along the shore for a considerable distance, but also inland. Part of it may lie under the cultivated land. The rest of the site is now a field of ruins overgrown with scrub. A rocky hill near the centre of the city may have been its acropolis. The site has been badly damaged by looters in search of stone and treasure [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
According to K. Nicolaou (1969), the traditional founder of the town was Trojan War hero Golgos [12th cent.] from Sikyon in the Peloponnese. This connection is further illustrated by an Archaic limestone block found here, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Carved in relief on this block is a Chimaera, the symbol of Sikyon which appears on its coins. Golgoi must have succeeded the nearby Late Bronze Age settlement at Bamboulari tis Koukouninas, due north of Athienou. Nothing is known of the history of Golgoi although it is mentioned by several ancient authors. Inscriptions attest to an Aphrodite Golgia whose worship was, according to Pausanias, earlier than the cult of Aphrodite at Paphos. And although we know nothing about the existence of a kingdom of this name some coins have been attributed to it [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
According to K. Nicolaou, Golgoi is located 1.6 km NE of the village of Athienou. The ruins cover a sizable area on a hill sloping gently N to S in the direction of the village. Remains of the ancient city wall can still be traced in almost all its course. The necropolis lies to the S within the village and to the SE. Two important temples excavated in the 19th c. lie outside the walls by the Church of Haghios Photios about 3 km SE of the village. The area of the city itself is now a field of ruins under cultivation [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
According to tradition, Athenian Akamas, son of Theseus, disembarked near Polis after the Trojan war [12th cent.] and gave his name to the Cape of Akamas and the city of Akamantis, a legendary city which has never been found. Marion was probably founded by Akamas [Wikipedia].
Makaria or Moulos otherwise called, was located on the north coast in the area of Akanthou. The ruins of a small town identified by Hogarth with this site cover the Moulos headland. The necropolis lies on the south. The small bay to the east may have served as an anchorage [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].
According to Nicolaou, nothing is known of the founding of the town but it was occupied for the first time during the Late Bronze Age. Among surface finds of this period are fragments of Minoan and Mycenaean pottery. It is mentioned by Ptolemy the geographer but otherwise, nothing else is known of its history. It seems to have flourished from Hellenistic to Early Christian times. The town site was in 1969 under cultivation and following the Turkish invasion of 1974, it remained unexcavated [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].