Significant Events


332 > Earthquake: According to Theophanes (c.758-c.818), an earthquake occurred during this year or the next, which ruined Salamis and killed many of its inhabitants [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

333 > Revolt: Constantine the Great, listening to his mother, he sent as General Commander of Cyprus Kalokeros, who at a later stage he wished to become independent and revolted against the Emperor. The Emperor sent against him his nephew, Dalmatius, who crushed the revolters [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

342 > Earthquake: According to Hill, Sakellarios and other historians, this great and famous earthquake was accompanied by a tidal wave that levelled Salamis to the ground. Emperor Flavius Claudius Constantinus [Constantine III] rebuilt it on a much smaller scale having relieved the survivors from taxation for four years. Paphos was also ruined and it was rebuilt at a later stage [George Hill, 1940]. Salamis was renamed Constantia by Constantinus who rebuilt it [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

We can strongly challenge the possibility of the existence of a tidal wave, created between the tiny area of Syria and Cyprus that took such a size, that could sink Salamis. Ioannis Malalas (491-578), the source of the information, says by word: “During the reign of Constantine the Great, Salamis city of Cyprus was hit by an earthquake occurred due to the rage of God, and its greater part was sunk into the sea and the rest of it was ruined onto the ground”. Malalas doesn’t speak about a tidal wave, he says that Salamis “was sunk into the sea”. Taken into consideration that Salamis 1700 years ago had a port, we could assume that the land collapsed, sedimented into the sea next to it. This hypothesis is strengthened by another statement of an anonymous geographer of the 4th century who stated “from Pidalion [Cape Greco] to the Salamis islets, the distance is 80 stadia…”. The geographer mentions islets in Salamis, hence Salamis a coastal city 1700 years ago, and this reminds us of the 1999 Marmara 7.4 magnitude earthquake, in Turkey, which sunk this also coastal city under the sea, having been sedimented by the shake.

365 > Earthquake: The earthquake destroyed Kourion making it uninhabited [Archaeology Wiki].

526 > Administration: Following the 526’s earthquake that destroyed Antioch, Cyprus became administratively independent [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

770 > Banishments: Cyprus was used as a place of banishment. General Lachanodracon, carrying out his Emperor’s policy of persecution, collected at Ephesus all the monks and nuns from the Thracesian Theme [region], and told them that if they wished to obey the Emperor they had to put on a white dress [stop being monks and nuns] and marry at once; otherwise, they would be blinded and sent to Cyprus; and this was done to many [George Hill, 1940].

800 > War: According to Theophanes (c.758-c.818), having learned the Empress Irini that an Arab fleet was being built to attach Cyprus, sent against it the Byzantine fleet. When the fleet entered the gulf of Attalia they saw the Arabs moving towards Cyprus and attacked them. The Cibyrrhaeote General Theofilos was captured and taken to Calif Harun al-Rashid, who asked him to convert to Islam in order to save his life. He denied it and was executed [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

867 > War: According to Constantine VII Flavius Porphyrogenitus (905-959), Emperor Basil I the Macedonian removed Cyprus from the possession of the Arabs for seven years, until the Saracens took it back, as well as the right to receive annual tribute [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

1042 > Revolt: A revolt broke out, led by the governor of the island, Theofilos Erotikos. He was able to inflame the minds of the Cypriots against the protospatharios1The title protospatharios(Greek: πρωτοσπαθάριος) was one of the highest court dignities of the middle Byzantine period (8th to 12th centuries), awarded to senior generals and provincial governors, as well as to foreign princes. Theophylactos, who held the office of judge and collector of public taxes, accusing him of extortion. He was defeated without trouble by Constantine IX Monomachos, who had mounted the Emperor’s throne as the elderly Empress Zoe’s third husband. Constantine despatched the naval commander Constantine Hage, who speedily reduced the rebels to order and conveyed Theofilos to the capital. There according to Hill, he was treated with unusual mildness; they dressed him in woman’s clothes and exhibited him in the Hippodrome at the races to humiliate him, as well as deprived him of his possessions and allowed him to go free [George Hill, 1940].

1092 > Revolt: A second governor of Cyprus revolted, this one was called Rapsomates. According to Anna Comnene (1083–1150s), Caesar John Ducas chased Rapsomates, he caught him at Stavrovouni at the Church of Holy Cross where he took refuge and carried him to the Lord High Admiral [George Hill, 1940].

1103 > Piracy: According to Anna Comnene (1083–1150s) there was a failed attempt by the Pisans to plunder Cyprus, repelled by the governor of Cyprus and high-ranking Byzantine military leader, Eumathios Philokales [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

1158 > Raid: According to Hill, the Egyptian fleet of Es-Salih, vezir of Egypt, made various expeditions by sea and land to Cyprus which brought back many prisoners, and thanks to these raids, “all hands were full of booty” [George Hill, 1940].

c. 1160 > Earthquake: According to Saint Neophytus, a serious earthquake took place soon after his settling at Enkleistra in 1159. It ruined fifteen churches in the province of Paphos alone [George Hill, 1940].

1160 > Raid: According to Hill, Emperor Manuel lost his wife and negotiated first with Raymond III of Antioch, Count of Tripolis, for the hand of his sister. After allowing the negotiations to drag for more than a year, he suddenly changed his mind and married another woman. The Count of Tripolis took his revenge on Cyprus. He places the ships which had been prepared to carry his sister to Constantinople in the hands of pirates, commissioning them to raid indiscriminately all the lands of the Emperor, ravaging, burning and slaying without regard to sex, rank or religion; an order that they executed in Cyprus and elsewhere [George Hill, 1940]. Saint Neophytus mentions the incident as follows: “…in a pitiful and wretched manner they tore our people to pieces, as if they were grass or cabbages, in the place called Choletrio, near the village of Dikomo, between Nicosia and Kyrenia. And after they captured the ruler of the region and a certain high priest and many others…” [Agios Neophytos o Eglistos, 1179].

c. 1174 > Plague: Saint Neophytus mentions in 1179 that “Such a punishment [from God] we have seen it take place some five years ago in the form of a pestilence, of which many, whose bodies were disintegrated by the disease, the undertakers could not, as usual, put them in the grave, but first they had to tie the discarded corpses tightly with cords, and they buried them afterwards” [Agios Neophytos o Eglistos, 1179].

1176-1179 > Drought, Hunger, Earthquakes, Migration: According to Saint Neophytus, during these three years Cypriots suffered from hunger due to the lack of rain that caused the crops to provide less than half the crops they should, a hunger that led an unknown number of people to death, especially in 1178. Not only people were led to death due to the drought but also “animals and birds”. Additionally, he mentions the occurrence of three earthquakes that would “almost leave the country without residents”. These events urged a number of residents to abandon Cyprus in order “to relocate to foreign lands”. At some other stage he mentions that “And almost not even a third of the people have remained alive, and too many villages due to the hunger and the deaths and migration have been abandoned by their inhabitants and remain deserted without human presence” [Agios Neophytos o Eglistos, 1179].

1191 > Raid: According to Hill, drawing information from Baha ad-Din ibn Shaddad (1145-1234), Frankish renegades landed somewhere in Cyprus on a feast day and they joined the inhabitants in their celebrations in a church by the sea. Then they took all the congregation prisoners and carried them off to Laodicea, including 27 women. The spoils of their expedition brought to each one 4000 silver coins [George Hill, 1940].

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