The various reigns

Cyprus under the Ptolemy

According to Pavlides, after Alexander’s death in 323, there was a quarrel among his heirs who would possess Cyprus, as we don’t know if it was given to someone during the division of the empire. Cyprus was important for Ptolemy I Soter, who possessed Egypt and for Antigonus I Monophthalmus, who possessed Minor Asia and Syria. There were seven kings in Cyprus, and four took the side of Ptolemy (Nicocreon of Salamis, Pasicrates of Soloi, Nicocles of New Paphos and Androcles of Amathus) another four (Poumiathon of Kition, Stasioikos of Marion, Praxippos of Lapithos and Protrepticus of an unknown city) took the side of Antigonus. We know nothing about Kourion during this time. The kingdoms of Idalion and Tamasos had previously been abolished. Ptolemy fought more decisively and won Antigonus in 312 BC, having got rid of Perdiccas and Eumenes earlier. The city-kingdom of Marion was destroyed and its inhabitants fled to Paphos. Lapithos’s king was executed. The kingdoms of Marion, Lapithos and Kition were abolished and only four remained: Salamis, Soloi, New Paphos and Amathus [Andros Pavlides, 2013].

Cyprus under Demetrius I of Macedon (Poliorcetes) and back to Ptolemy

According to Pavlides, Demetrius Poliorcetes, the son of Antigonus, took Cyprus from Ptolemy in 307 BC with a massive army. He initially conquered Ourania and Karpasia, then Salamis, where a massive battle took place in the water between the huge armadas of Demetrius and Ptolemy, where Demetrius prevailed triumphantly. Ptolemy returned back in 294 BC, conquered Salamis where Demetrius’s family resided and became once again ruler of Cyprus. He released Demetrius’s family. The following years were quiet and peaceful and Cyprus flourished. The institution of the king was abolished and Cyprus was united for the first time in history, as part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom [Andros Pavlides, 2013].


Governance under the Ptolemies

According to Pavlides, Cyprus had a new and extraordinary flourish during the Hellenistic Period. Nicocreon, the king of Salamis was set by Ptolemy General Administrator of the island. He died in 311 BC and the new governor of Cyprus was Menelaos, brother of Ptolemy. Between the years 312-310 BC the institute of the king was abolished by Ptolemy. Cyprus was to be ruled each time by a General sent from Alexandria, the capital of the Ptolemaic Kingdom [Andros Pavlides, 2013]. According to Hill, Cyprus was exploited by the ruling power and all the resources were flowing into the Egyptian treasury [George Hill, 1940].


Hill (1940), drawing information from Cohen (1912), assumes that the one-sixth taxation on the produce of vineyards and gardens, known as apomoira and which was applied in Egypt, could had been levied on Cyprus as well [George Hill, 1940].

Law and order

According to Pavlides, in various cities, there were permanent garrisons under the commandment of the garrison commanders. Among those guardians, Hellenic mercenaries were included from various areas of the Hellenic world. The former Cypriot kingdoms enjoyed a level of self-commandment, under democratic conditions. They couldn’t involve in matters of defence or general politics, but they were responsible for issues of local administration, development, economy, education and so on. Democratic institutions as the bodies of the Vouli [Boule] and Demos were founded in each city, where people were elected and represented the folk of each city [Andros Pavlides, 2013].


Cities and Towns

  • New Paphos [Kato Paphos]

New Paphos was built in the last quarter of the fourth century BC, 14 km on the west of Palaepaphos, by orders of king Nicocles, who realized the potential of the sheltered harbour. In the second and third centuries, New Paphos was a powerful city with imposing temples and large public buildings, such as an agora (marketplace), an amphitheatre and an asklepion (medical centre). Beautiful mosaics have been excavated from this time. [Livius]. Other buildings (e.g. the gymnasium) had been known from the written sources but have not been localized yet. In the western part of the city, the residential quarter developed, known as Maloutena and Ktisto and in the central area, the low hill is known as Faros (from the modern lighthouse built here) probably served as an Acropolis. On the east slope of this hill, the odeon was erected (likely used as a bouleuterion too). Opposite it, the agora is located (the main city square). The new city had been the capital of Cyprus (from ca. 200 BC to ca. AD 350) [Łukasz Misžk – Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka, 2016]. According to Pavlides, New Paphos was the capital of Cyprus, due to the fact that it was closer to Alexandria [Andros Pavlides, 2013]. The monuments of Nea Paphos uncovered, starting from the 60s of the 20th century by Cypriot archaeologists and numerous foreign missions have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1980 [Łukasz Misžk – Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka, 2016].

The Port

According to Strabo, the Hellenistic city of Paphos ascended to become the first city on Cyprus due to the port that offered three harbours which were protected from all wind directions, with easy access to the timber forests ideal for shipbuilding, and with the ports of Alexandria and Rhodes within easy reach, and during which time the harbour of Salamis had become so silted as to render it useless. The harbour can be classified as the Hellenistic “closed harbour”. Two breakwaters enclose the external basin, the western having a NE-SE orientation, and an eastern breakwater with an orientation of NE-SW. The western breakwater is today covered by the constructions of the modern harbour. According to Daszewski, the breakwater has a width of 10-15m and a length of 270-280m, with a submerged section measuring 50-70m and a southerly orientation, which is still visible today [Römish-Germanisches Zentralmuseum]. According to J. Młynarczyk, the eastern breakwater must have been used as a pier too and could have been even 15m wide. R. L. Hohlfelder believes that it had been 600m long. Satellite photographs show that the length could be ca. 596m. A parallel breakwater arm, 195 m long, was erected south of the described structure. Its lower parts are still visible underwater [Łukasz Misžk – Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka, 2016]. Geomorphological surveys in 1996 revealed that the basin of the harbour was far larger than it seems today. It was believed that this was due to tectonic movements from the seismic activity of the 1st and 4th centuries AD [Römish-Germanisches Zentralmuseum].

Tombs of the Kings

The Tombs of the Kings, a vast ancient archaeological necropolis with impressive underground tombs located in the city of Paphos on the south-west coast of Cyprus. One of the tombs actually contained the bones of a Ptolemaic ruler, the others are equally monumental but not meant for a royal person [Livius]. Most of the tombs are characterised by an underground, open-aired, peristyled rectangular atrium completely carved into the natural rock. Columns or pillars of the Doric style supported the porticoes, which surrounded the atrium. The burial chambers and the loculi for single burials were dug into the portico walls. It seems that the walls were originally covered with frescoes although today only small fragments are preserved. The tombs’ architectural characteristics directly relate them to Hellenistic prototypes from Alexandria, Delos, Pergamon and Priene [Cyprus Department of Antiquities].

The Agora

In 2011, the Paphos Agora Project was commenced by a team from the Institute of Archeology of the Jagiellonian University. Its main objective was to search for the Hellenistic agora, which was presumably hidden under the Roman one. The Agora was erected in 2nd century BC, in Hellenistic times and it was a square of almost 160m length of the side surrounded by porticos. It was one of the largest agoras in the eastern Mediterranean [Website of the Republic of Poland]. The agora was an extremely important place in ancient cities: there the administrative, economic, cultural and social functions of the community were focused. The Paphos inhabitants handled the official matters here, discussed matters of state, filled various cult activities, but also shopped and gossiped [Łukasz Misžk – Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka, 2016].

The Odeon

According to C. Raddato, the Odeon located in the northeastern part of the ancient city of Nea Paphos. It was built in the 2nd century CE and could hold approximately 1,200 spectators [World History Encyclopedia]. It is comprised of carved limestone and it features twelve rows of stone seating in a half-circle surrounding a stage. The Odeon is built into the side of Fabrica hill [Just about Cyprus].

The Theatre

The University of Sydney has been excavating the World Heritage-listed site of the ancient Hellenistic-Roman theatre of Nea Paphos, under the auspices of the Department of Antiquities of the Republic of Cyprus since 1995 [Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project].  According to J.R. Green (2015), the theatre was created at the very beginning of the town‘s history (around 300 BC) [Łukasz Misžk – Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka, 2016].

Significant findings

The archaeological expedition from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw started work in June 1965. Marble statues of Asclepius and Artemis (who was worshipped in the city) were found on the sites in the south-western part of Paphos. Another discovery was a treasure of silver coins from the reigns of Philip III of Macedon and Alexander the Great [Wikipedia].


Nea Paphos had in Ptolemaic times a shipbuilding industry. Ptolemy II Philadelphos (284-246/245) had two large ships built there by the naval architect Pyrgoteles son of Zoes, to whom a statue was erected in the Temple of Aphrodite at Palaipaphos [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].


Under the Ptolemies, the importance of Paphos is shown by the fact that this city along with Salamis and Kition preserved the right to issue coins. In fact, the Paphian mint was the most important, and was the only one still issuing coins in Roman times. Excavations brought to light a hoard consisting of 2484 silver Ptolemaic tetradrachmas, the majority of which were minted in Paphos. The others were minted in Salamis and Kition. Molds were found also for casting flans as well as bronze flans for making coins, again of the Ptolemaic period [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].


From inscriptions, we are also informed of the worship here of Aphrodite, Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, and Leto. The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates lies to the E outside the limits of the ancient city. Cut in the solid rock it is composed of two underground chambers entered by a flight of steps. The front chamber is rectangular; the back one, circular with a dome-shaped roof. Two rock-cut inscriptions in the Cypro-syllabic script, cut above the entrance of the cave, inform us that it was dedicated to Apollo Hylates. These inscriptions are dated to the end of the 4th c. BC [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Palaepaphos [Old Paphos]

According to Pavlides, Palaepaphos continued to constitute a very important and international religious centre, which gathered every year thousands of pilgrims from all around Cyprus and from abroad, to worship Aphrodite in her sanctuary [Andros Pavlides, 2013]. The ancient town of Nea (New) Paphos after some time took on significance.
It replaced the Old Paphos (Palaepaphos) in its economic and administrative functions. However, Old Paphos remained the main centre of Aphrodite‘s cult on the island. The two centres have been connected by the sacred gardens of the Aphrodite-Ieroskepos (today Yeroskipou village) [Łukasz Misžk – Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka, 2016].


Many Greek alphabetic inscriptions of the Hellenistic and Roman era were found in the area of the temple. Of these, some are dedications to Aphrodite Paphia while others are honorific. An important inscription of the Early Hellenistic period is a dedication of Ptolemy II to his naval architect Pyrgoteles son of Zoes. A house of the atrium type of the 3d-4th c. B.C. to the W of the Temple of Aphrodite was excavated in 1950 and 1951.  The finds are in the Cyprus Museum, the Paphos District Museum, and the site museum at Kouklia [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].


Several thousand fragments of Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman terracottas not only demonstrate a strong Greek influence on the original fertility cult, but also Phoenician traces reflecting the impact of Astarte on the worship of Aphrodite [Academia Paphou].


Trade networks maintained by ancient Pafos in the Cypro-Classical period (end of the 6th century BC) with Carthage, Egypt, the coast of modern-day Lebanon, Syria, the Aegean (Thasos, Kos, Mende, Rhodes and Chios) and the coast of Asia Minor (Ephesus, Samos, Miletus), especially from the 4th to the 2nd century BC [University of Cyprus].

  • Salamis

According to Pavlides, Alexander the Great removed Tamasos from the possession of Kition and offered it to Salamis, alongside its rich mines [Andros Pavlides, 2013].

Temple of Zeus

On the S side of the agora lies the Temple of Zeus Olympios, originally built in Hellenistic times. The temple stands on a high stylobate and has a square cella at the rear. Fallen column-drums and Corinthian capitals of a considerable size suggest an impressive building [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Kition

According to Pavlides, following Cyprus’s annexation from Alexander, kept having a Phoenician king, Poumiathon, but Alexander removed Tamasos from the possession of Kition and offered it to Salamis [Andros Pavlides, 2013]. In the year 312 B.C., Ptolemy I Soter put to death Pumiathon, the last Phoenician king of Kition, and burned the Phoenician temples of the town [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

Zeno of Kition

Zeno was born in Kition, Cyprus. He went to Athens around 315 BC, where he attended Plato’s Academy and other philosophical schools, then opened his own school. Zeno was the founder of Stoicism, a philosophy that asserted that virtue consisted in a will that is in agreement with nature. Zeno was teaching his students in Athens on a painted porch or “stoa”, from which the name “stoic” came. He taught that happiness came in freedom from desire, and in freedom from fear of evil. He died in Athens at the age of 72. The Stoic philosophy spread to Rome and flourished for several centuries [Wikipedia].

  • Kourion [Curium]

Kourion existed during this Period.

  • Amathus

It should be noted that on Cyprus, besides New Paphos, only one other agora of Hellenistic date has been excavated and this belongs to Amathus [Łukasz Misžk – Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka, 2016]. During this period a new harbour is built; the cult of Isis and Sarapis is introduced and the worship of queen Arsinoe [Livius].


East and west of the city of Amathus, there are two extensive and important necropolises with carved tombs, dating from the Geometric to the early Christian period [No Stone Left Unturned].

  • Arsinoe

Arsinoe was built on the ruins of Marion. The excavation team unearthed a large porticoed building with polychrome architecture, which may have been a military structure in the Hellenistic period [Princeton University]. The new city was smaller than Marion but it flourished due to its proximity to the copper mines [Cyprus Department of Antiquities].

  • Soloi

The last kingdom

The last king of Soloi was called Eunostos, probably the elder son of Pasikrates. All the kingdoms of Cyprus were abolished by Ptolemy I Soter with the exception of Soloi, which seems to have been in an exceptional position. How long Pasikrates continued to reign after we last hear of him in 321 BC when he sided with Ptolemy, we do not know; Eunostos, however, was his successor [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].


In 1931, the Swedish Archaeological Mission uncovered at the location Cholades (on a hill, 250 metres from the western gate of the determined walls of the ancient city) a big complex of five consecutive temples dated from 250BC to the beginning of the 4th century AD. Two of those temples were dedicated to Aphrodite Oreia and two to Isis. The fifth is of the Late Roman Period [Cyprus Department of Antiquities].

  • Tamasos

According to Pavlides, Alexander the Great removed Tamasos from the possession of Kition and offered it to Salamis [Andros Pavlides, 2013]. The city flourished mainly from the Archaic to the Roman Period. There are no coins attributed to Tamassos and nothing is known of the existence of a gymnasium or of a theatre though a town of this importance should have had both [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Idalion

The city continued to flourish throughout the Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman times [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Ledra

The existence of Ledra is recorded during the Hellenistic Period as well. There are two important primary testimonies. The first, according to Hadjioannou (1980) is a piece of white marble from Bedestan in the centre of Nicosia (not its original location), dating to 320-310 BC and the inscription states that someone named Archaeos erected the statue of Nicocles, king of Paphos, in the temple of Paphia Aphrodite in Ledra. The second, according to Michaelides and Pilides (2012) concerns an inscribed ceramic found in the nymphaeum at Kafizi and dates to 225-224 BC. It is a votive vase and the inscription is as follows: επ[ι Ζηνων]ος? του Λεδρίου [Zeno the Ledrian]. This proves that Ledra had not lost its urban status [Andreas Oratiou, 2018].


On the west side of the necropolis of Agioi Omologites, a new area for tombs is created in which the offerings have more value than in the previous Periods [Andreas Oratiou, 2018].

  • Lefkosia ?

[“Lefkosia”, probably comes from Lefkos, son of Ptolemy I of Egypt, who rebuilt the city in the 3rd century BC and] according to Sakellarios (1890), it should not be confused with the nearby Ledra, of which existence under the same name continues for many centuries following this event, until they united into one city after the wars and earthquakes [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

  • Chytroi


According to Nicolaou (1969), very little is known about its monuments. Inscriptions indicate that there was a gymnasium in the 2d c. B.C. and shrines to Artemis, Hermes, and Herakles [of an unknown era] but the location remains unknown [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

The Sanctuary of Apollo Agyates at Voni, ca. 3.2 km south of Chytroi, should be associated with this town. Excavated in 1883, it yielded a large quantity of sculpture dating from Archaic to Hellenistic times. This sanctuary consisted of two courts, one inner and one outer, enclosed by walls. The inner court was probably that for burnt offerings and communicated with the outer court in which votive statues were erected. Of this sanctuary, nothing survives above the surface of the ground [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Lapithos

According to Nicolaou (1969), little is known of the history. The name appears for the first time in 312 B.C. when its king Praxippos, who was suspected of being on the side of Antigonos, was arrested by Ptolemy. The name is mentioned by Skylax the geographer (mid 4th c. B.C.). After that it is frequently mentioned by other ancient authors. Lapethos seems to have flourished mainly from archaic down to Early Byzantine times [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Golgoi

According to K. Nicolaou, on the evidence of recent excavations near the Eastern Gate, the city seems to have flourished to the end of the 4th century BC. Excavations on the site were started for the first time in 1969 and were confined to the Eastern sector by the Eastern Gate, where a number of private houses and workshops dating mainly from the 4th century BC [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969]. Theokritos [315-260 BC] mentions the existence of Golgoi and the temple of Aphrodite there [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

  • Tremithus


According to Nicolaou (1969), the site of a small town identified with Tremithous is partly occupied by the modern village of Tremetousia in the Mesaoria plain. The necropolis lies to the south. This town seems to have flourished from Hellenistic to Early Byzantine times [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].


According to Nicolaou, nothing is known of its founding. Its later history, however, is fairly well known for it is mentioned by Ptolemy (5.14.6), who counts it as one of the interior towns of Cyprus [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

Other information

According to Nicolaou, the worship of Apollo is attested by an inscription. Towards the end of the 19th century an excavation uncovered a number of tombs of the Hellenistic period producing mainly plain pottery. The town site, however, is unexcavated though many finds have been recorded among which are a number of inscribed funerary cippi [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Karpasia

According to Nicolaou (1969), Karpasia flourished in Classical, Hellenistic, Graeco-Roman, and Early Christian times [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].


According to Nicolaou, the west necropolis occupies a large area extending from the cliffs at Tsambres to the plain below as far as the shore. In the cliff of Tsambres itself, there is a series of fine rock-cut tombs with unusual features. The chambers of the tombs are of the usual type but their facades seem to be unique in Cyprus. The face of the rock is carefully scarped and on the right or left of the tomb doors plain stelai are cut in relief, either simply or in groups of two or three. Sometimes they are of the conventional shape with pediment or they are anthropoid. These stelai were not inscribed but were probably painted. The tombs may be dated to the Late Classical or Early Hellenistic period [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Aphrodision [Aphrodisium]

According to Nicolaou, nothing is known of the founding of the town or of its history [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969]. Aphrodisio existed during the Ptolemies as Ptolemy mentions this city among others: «’Αφροδίσιον, Μακαρία, Κερωνία ή Κεραυνία , Λαπήθου ποταμού εκβολαί, Λάπηθος πόλις». Sakellarios (1890) assumes from the words of Ptolemy and Strabo that Aphrodisio should have been a small city [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890]. The worship of Hera in the 2d c. B.C. is attested by a discovered inscription. Aphrodision seems to have flourished from Hellenistic to Early Byzantine times [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].


The ruins of a small town identified with Aphrodision lie by the shore at the locality Liastrika, due N of Akanthou village. The ruins cover the fields inland as well as a headland that separates two bays. On the W side of the headland is a perfectly shaped horseshoe bay, which may have served as a harbour [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Ourania

A number of tombs, dating from Classical to Hellenistic times, were excavated in 1938 in the necropolis but these are for the most part filled in [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Makaria [Moulos]

According to Nicolaou, nothing is known of the founding of the town but it is mentioned by Ptolemy [100-170] 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].

  • Kyrenia

The name of the town is mentioned by Ptolemy. Practically nothing survives in the way of monuments except for some rock-cut tombs in the western part of the town, looted long ago. In a sanctuary in the upper part of the town, many statuettes of terracotta and of limestone were found, dating from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period. In the same area, some other buildings also came to light but nothing is visible today. Later a number of fragmentary limestone statues and of terracotta figurines were accidentally found in a bothros within the town. They date from Classical and Hellenistic times and obviously belong to a nearby sanctuary. Recent rescue excavations have also brought to light a number of tombs dating mainly from the Classical and Hellenistic periods [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].

  • Thronoi

The ruins of a small town, mentioned by Ptolemy (5.14.1-4), on a headland called Cape Pyla, on the eastern shore of Larnaca Bay. It is mentioned in the list of the Theodorokoi at Delphi (early 2d c. B.C.), provided the restoration of the name is correct. Substantial remains of the town, dating from Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman times, are still visible. Remains of the town wall running for a considerable distance along the inland side of the town, underground chambers cut in the rock, and vestiges of a sanctuary with fragments of stone statues have been reported [Kyriakos Nicolaou, 1969].



A united state

According to Pavlides, following the abolishment of the institution of the kings in Cyprus by the Ptolemies, Cyprus was united into one entity and Cypriots began to acquire a new consciousness, the consciousness of the citizen of Cyprus and not of a single city-kingdom [Andros Pavlides, 2013].


According to Pavlides, the termination of the Persian rule of Cyprus affected the Phoenician, the local population. Without the presence of the Persians and their support, the Phoenicians were confined as an entity and they were assimilated within the Hellenic population or disappeared in the following years. Cyprus began to become of a Hellenic character, inhabited by Hellenes, Hellenized Phoenicians, as well as Jews who were a minority [Andros Pavlides, 2013].

According to Hill, under Ptolemy I, there seems to have been a considerable exodus from Palestine of Jews who settled in many places of the Eastern Mediterranean, including Cyprus [George Hill, 1940].


According to Pavlides, from the end of the 4th century BC, the Ancient Cypriot dialect [Arcadocypriot Greek, 1200-300 BC] was abolished, and the Hellenistic language [Koine Greek, 336 BC – 300 AD, Byzantium up to 1453] was established, from which comes today the Modern Greek alongside its various dialects [the Katharevousa, the Pontic, the Cretan, the Cypriot etc]. The Cypro-syllabic writing was also abolished gradually and was replaced by the Greek alphabet. Thus, the communication of Cypriots with the other Hellenes became easier [Andros Pavlides, 2013]. The Phoenician language disappeared as well as the unknown Eteocypriot language following the abolishment of the kingdoms by the Ptolemies [Maria Iacovou, 2008]. There is no principal mention regarding the Jews. 


According to Pavlides, in the sea surrounding Cyprus piracy was flourishing, and one victim of them was Roman Publius Clodius Pulcher, who as we will see later during the Roman period, Ptolemy, the king of Cyprus, who wouldn’t pay the ransom for his release, lost his life and kingdom because of that [Andros Pavlides, 2013]. Hill mentions another piracy incident, when Heracleides of Salamis was sending corn to Athens and Heracleotes robbed his sails [George Hill, 1940].


In his book, Pavlides, whilst talking about Aphrodite he mentions indirectly prostitution in his aim to disconnect prostitution and the worship of Aphrodite: “Prostitution also existed. So what? Prostitution existed and still exists even though there is no Aphrodite any more. The extended prostitution which is witnessed both in ancient Cyprus as in other places, could not be a religious expression. It was, as it is today, a social problem and not a religious ritual issue. Of course, prostitution was mostly exercised in ports and around religious temples, such as the famous temple of Aphrodite in Palaepaphos. Aphrodite was not responsible for this gathering of prostitutes at her temple, as Mary is not responsible if at monasteries of her name animals were brought by shepherds to be sold in festivals. Thousands of pilgrims visitors were gathered in this sacred place of Palaepaphos every year from all around Cyprus. And naturally, amongst them were merchants, small traders, vendors, thieves and prostitutes who easier found clients among the crowd” [Andros Pavlides, 2013].




Hill mentions the most important products of Cyprus during this period, which was corn, copper and timber for the construction of ships and warships. Vines were also cultivated [George Hill, 1940].


During this period we find coins of the Ptolemy. According to Pavlides, the eagle was a symbol of the Ptolemies and it is represented on the Cypriot coins. On them, the inscription “Πτολεμαίου Βασιλέως” appears, and the image of each king on the other side of the coins. On many coins, it is inscribed “ΠΑ” which relates to “ΠΑΦΟΣ” (Paphos), the city from where the coins were produced [Andros Pavlides, 2013].


According to Pavlides, in each city were established many public buildings, including theatres, temples, baths, gymnasiums. The gymnasiums were places of physical exercise for the youth of each city, but also spiritual exercise and education. They were functioning under the responsibility and supervision of illustrious citizens who were elected and bear the honorary title of the gymnasiarch [Andros Pavlides, 2013].


Hill indirectly mentions about the unusefulness of the mines of Tamasos and Idalion which were probably overexploited in earlier centuries, hence were poor in production during this era [George Hill, 1940].



According to Pavlides, during the Hellenistic years, the worship of the Greek deities in Cyprus prevailed. Those were Zeus, Athena, Hera, Demetra, Hermes, Artemis, Asclepios, Dionysus and many more. The most superior gods in Cyprus were Aphrodite and Apollon [Andros Pavlides, 2013].

According to Pavlides, a new god was worshipped at Pancyprian dimensions by the end of the 4th century BC. He was Sarapis or Serapis, who “seems to be an invention of Ptolemy I”. He was a Hellenic-Egyptian god, and the hearsay of his worship “had political expediencies and sought to the conjugation of the Hellenic and Egyptian ritual and to the creation of a bond between Hellenes and Egyptians”. His worship was introduced in Cyprus when Cyprus became a part of the Egyptian Kingdom of Ptolemy and thus, many sanctuaries of Sarapis were founded, the so-called “Sarapiea” [Andros Pavlides, 2013].



According to Pavlides, during the Ptolemaic rule, the arts and education flourished in Cyprus. The gymnasiums were places of physical exercise for the youth of each city, but also spiritual exercise and education. They were functioning under the responsibility and supervision of illustrious citizens who were elected and bear the honorary title of the gymnasiarch [Andros Pavlides, 2013].



According to Pavlides, the Cypriot self-administered cities were united with a kind of loose federation, that was expressed primarily through the so-called “Κοινόν Κυπρίων”. The Koinon was a significant institution of the Hellenistic years that continued later, during Roman rule. It was a body where all the cities of Cyprus were represented and it initially had a religious character, associated with the Pancyprian festivities in honour of Aphrodite Cypris. Gradually the Koinon acquired an additional role within the religious, athletic, cultural, and even politic-economical matters of the island, possessing great strength, achieving later the right to cut its own coins which inscribed on them the “Κοινόν Κυπρίων”. It was conclusively a Pancyprian lively spiritual guiding organization with substantial influence in the lives of all the Cypriots [Andros Pavlides, 2013].

Several other “Koina” existed as well. One important of those that according to Pavlides we know very well due to inscriptions found was the “Κοινόν των περί τον Διόνυσον τεχνιτών”, which means “Koinon of the artists of Dionysus”. This refers to the organization of people related to the theatre, such as actors, writers, costume designers, musicians and others. It was called “of Dionysus” due to the fact that initially, theatre evolved from rituals in honour of the god Dionysus in ancient Greece. According to the surviving inscriptions, this specific Koinon related to the theatre had acquired unprecedented power, and this reveals that the art of theatre was highly appreciated in Hellenistic Cyprus [Andros Pavlides, 2013].



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