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but little is accurately known of the relations between the two
races, but it seems probable that the Greeks gradually established
a political supremacy, whilst the Phoenicians continued to form an
important part of the population, and exercised considerable influ-
ence over the manners and customs, arts, and religious rites of the
inhabitants in general, and, in fact, although the languages of the
two races remained distinct, it would seem that their religions be-
came by degrees entirely amalgamated. The Phoenicians had in-
troduced the worship of the goddess Ashtaroth, whose temple at
Paphos was founded, according to tradition, in imitation of a temple
of the Tyrian goddess Astarte at Ascalon; this worship was
universally accepted by the Greeks in the island, and the goddess
Was identified by them with their own Aphrodite.
The Phoenicians settled chiefly on the south coast at the most
çonvenient points for trade, and their chief towns were Paphos,
Amathus, and Citium. Salamis was the most important of the
Greek towns; Soli and Kythraea were founded by the Athenians;
Lapathus, Cerinea, Nea Paphos, and Golgoi are also said to have
all owed their origin to Greek colonists.
. As regards the early monarchical institutions of Cyprus, it is
known that both Aristotle and Theophrastus wrote on that subject,
but, those Special Writings have been lost, and only a very few facts
remain. According to Strabo, the island was divided into ten petty
kingdoms, which were sometimes at war with, and sometimes allie
to, th9 peighbouring powers of Greece and Asia Minor. The king-
doms were Salamis, Soli, Chytri, Curium, Lapethus, Cerinea, Nea
Paph9s, Marium, Citium, and Amathus; the two latter alone appear
iQ o, been under Phoenician rule.
The first of the kings mentioned in history is Cinyras, of whose
reign various events are related by Homer, but these are much
mixed up with legends.
It would appear that the kings of Salamis were generally the
* powerful, and at times even the whole island was subdued by
In these ancient days a great portion of the commerce between
the east and the west centred in Cyprus; the island then possessed
good seaports with convenient harbours, forests of trees suitable for
ship-building, mines which were productive of great wealth, and
an extremely fertile soil; consequently riches poured in, and the
inhabitants became notorious for luxury and pleasure.
To follow the history of Cyprus during these times would be a
difficult task, for there are but few positive facts to guide us, and
for a long period little can be related but a series of unconnected
events, At one time the island was conquered by Thothmes III,
and became subject to Egypt: afterwards most of its cities were
destroyed by Belus, King of Troy: in B.G. 707 we read that seven
of the Cypriote monarchs sent presents, or tribute, to Sargon, King
of Assyria, thus implying subjection. This tribute is said to have
consisted of gold, silver, vases, logs of ebony, and various, manufac-
tures of the island. The envoys received, and carried back, an
evident token of subjection in an effigy of Saigon, which was set
up at Idalium, where it was discovered, and is now in the Berlin
Museum. This setting up of the image of a king was then always
a sign that he had conquered the country, neverthelesss, in B.C. 685,
it is believed that the kings assisted the Cilicians in their struggle
against Sennacherib, fearing lest the occupation of Cilicia by the
Assyrians might endanger their own island.
Again, we read that about B.C. 675, the King of Cyprus furnished
Esarhaddon, King of Assyria, with materials—great beams of wood,
statues, and various works in metal—for the construction of his
palace at Nineveh.
In B.C. 594, Apries, or Uaphris, King of Egypt (the Pharaoh
Hophra of Scripture) defeated several Cypriote monarchs near
Citium, and returned to his country laden with spoil.
In B.C. 559, Cyrus subdued the island, but left the kings in
their respective dominions, on condition that they should pay tri-
bute to him. A few years later, however (about B.C. 550), it appears
that Amasis, King of Egypt, again brought the island under the
Egyptian rule, but during the reign of Psammeticus, his son and
successor, this yoke was thrown off, and in B.C. 525 the island
surrendered to Persia, joining heartily with King Cambyses in the
war against Egypt, and becoming thenceforth a tributary province
of the Persian Empire.
When Darius became King of Persia, and founded the satrapies,
Cyprus was included with Phoenicia and Palestine in the fifth
province. Peace was, however, never thoroughly established ; in
the time of Aristagoras of Miletus, a rebellion broke out, which
took the Persians a year to suppress; again, during the Ionian re-
volt, B.C. 499–500, the whole island, except Amathus, rose in arms,
and led by Onesilus, brother of Gorgus, King of Salamis, besieged
Amathus; after several attacks, in one of which both Onesilus,
and Aristocyprus, King of Soli, were slain, this rebellion was
In B.C. 477, the Athenians and Lacedemonians under Pausanias
conquered part of Cyprus, and some years later Cimon arrived with
a large fleet to capture the remainder of the island, but he died
whilst besieging §. and all the conquests were then abandoned.
During the subsequent wars of the fifth century before our era,
Cyprus was frequently the scene of hostilities between the Persians
and Greeks; attempts to secure a lasting peace were frequently
made but always failed, until at last the peace of Antalcidas was
concluded in B.C. 387, and Cyprus was thereby formally relinquished
to Persia; the actual possession of the island was, however, not
easily to be obtained; Evagoras, King of Salamis, had for some time
been in a state of revolt; he was assisted by the Athenians, by
Achoris, independent King of Egypt, and by Hecatomnus, vassal
King of Caria; notwithstanding the peace, Evagoras continued
hostilities, and at last Artaxerxes, wishing to crush this trouble-
some rebellion, sent no less than 300 vessels, bearing a large army
under command of Tiribazas, to Cyprus. Evagoras ventured to
attack this fleet, but was utterly defeated, and his tribunes were
dispersed. A struggle was still continued in order to obtain good
terms of peace, and it was not until about B.C. 379 that Evagoras
was finally subdued. He was, strange to say, even then allowed to
Frequent wars and insurrections.
in favour of
retain his kingdom with the single obligation of paying an annual
tribute to King Artaxerxes of Persia.
About B.C. 350, the Cypriote kings revolted against the rule of
the cruel and sanguinary Ochus, King of Persia, and nine of the
kings assumed independent sovereignties, each in his own principal
town; this rebellion was crushed by Idricus, Prince of Caria.
Cyprus then remained quietly subject to Persia for a few years,
but after the battle of Issus, B.C. 333, Alexander the Great
advanced into Phoenicia and besieged Tyre; the Cypriote Kings
then declared in his favour, and sent a fleet of 120 vessels to join
the Macedonian fleet off that city.
On the partition of Alexander's dominions at his death, B.C.
323, Cyprus fell to the share of Antigonus, but the importance
and wealth of the island made its possession an object of contention
amongst all Alexander's successors, so whilst Antigonus was at war
with Cassander, Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, made a descent upon'the
island, and, in B.C. 305, forced the kings to submit to him. In
B.C. 306, Demetrius Poliorcetes, son of Antigonus, made an
attempt to recover the island; he besieged Salamis both by sea
Establishment of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
and land, shutting up Ptolemy's brother, Menelaus, in the city.
Ptolemy hastened to the relief with a large fleet, and a sea-fight,
one of the most memorable of ancient history, ensued, in which
Demetrius achieved a complete victory, and the whole island
subsequently fell into his hands.
About ten years later, B.C. 295, Ptolemy retook Cyprus, and
after this capture the island remained for nearly two and a half
centuries under the sceptre of the Ptolemies, who appear to have
made it a store-house for their wealth, jewels, and plate. During
this period Cyprus became one of the most valuable possessions of
the Egyptian monarchs; the timber of Olympus was largely used
for the construction of ships, and the metallic and vegetable products
also contributed greatly to the revenue. It is said that the island
was now divided into four districts, viz., Paphos on the west,
Amathus on the south, Lapethus on the north, and Salamis on the
Ptolemy Philadelphus founded the several cities in Cyprus
which formerly bore the name of his wife, Arsinoë. Under the
Lagid dynasty the government was under a viceroy who was chosen
from amongst the highest nobles of the Alexandrian court, and to
whom full powers were given. About the middle of the second
century before our era, dissensions arose between the brothers
Ptolemy Philometor and Euergetes, and during their quarrel for
the possession of Cyprus, Demetrius Soter, King of Syria, en-
deavoured, but unsuccessfully, to make himself master of the
Ptolemy Lathyrus was King of Egypt when, through the
intrigues of Cleopatra, Alexander succeeded to that throne;
Lathyrus then retired to Cyprus, and held the island as an in-
dependent kingdom for 18 years, B.C. 107–89, during which time
Cleopatra and Alexander reigned in Egypt. We read that at this
period an army of 30,000 men was raised in Cyprus to oppose
Alexander Jannaeus, King of Palestine, and the fact that so large
an army could be raised for foreign service shows that the popula-
tion was then very large. When Lathyrus was recalled by the
Alexandrians to Egypt, his younger brother Ptolemy Alexander, in
the hope of becoming master of the island, invaded it, but was
defeated by Chaereas, and killed in the battle.
While Ptolemy Auletes occupied the throne of Egypt, his
brother, another Ptolemy, was King of Cyprus; during his reign
Publius Clodius Pulcher, a Roman of high family, was taken
prisoner by Cilician pirates in the waters of Cyprus, and it is
said that an insufficient ransom was offered by Ptolemy, whose
character for avarice was well known. Clodius was afterwards
chosen Tribune, and being anxious to revenge himself upon the
King of Cyprus, obtained a decree from the Roman Senate to
dispossess Ptolemy, and to constitute his kingdom a province of
Rome, the claim being pretended to be founded upon a will of
Alexander, late King of Egypt, who made the Roman people his
Marcus Cato was commanded to put this decree in force, and
despite his objection to such an unwarrantable act of aggression and
spoliation, he was compelled to obey. He sent his secretary,
Candidius, to Cyprus, to deliver the decree, to which Ptolemy
submitted, and soon afterwards committed suicide (B.C. 58). Cato
took possession of the island, also the immense treasures in the
palace at Salamis, which amounted to 7,000 talents, and sent the
money to Rome. Thus ended the Ptolemaic dynasty in Cyprus.
From this time the island became a Roman province, and was
annexed to Cilicia under one pro-consul, but it had a quaestor of
its own, and separate courts for the administration of justice. In
B.C. 47, Caesar gave the island to Arsinoë and Ptolemy, the sister
and brother of Cleopatra, and Strabo tells us that Antony after-
wards gave it to Cleopatra, but after the battle of Actium and the
death of the Triumvir, Augustus Caesar revoked the gift, and at
the division of the provinces between the empire and the senate in
B.C. 27, it was constituted an imperial province; five years later,
however, it was given up by Augustus to the senate, and was
from that time governed by propraetors, with the title of Pro-
In A.D. 45, the island was visited by Paul and Barnabas, and
the pro-consul Sergius Paulus was converted. Cyprus was there-
fore the first country governed by a Christian ruler.
The next remarkable event in the history of the island was an
insurrection in A.D. 115, on the part of the Jews, who formed a
very considerable portion of the population ; led by Arteminius,
they massacred a vast number of Greeks, and it is said that before
the suppression of the revolt by Lucius two years later, no less
than a quarter of a million of the inhabitants were slain. By a
decree of the Senate, the Jews were then expelled from the island,
and for several centuries subsequently it is stated that any Jew
found in Cyprus was instantly executed.
Christianity now rapidly increased in the island, 13 bishoprics
were established, and under Constantine this province became one
of the richest in the Roman Empire.
Unjust decree of the Roman Senate.
Cyprus beconnes a Roman Province.
Insurrection of the Jews.
Cyprus becode part of the Byzantine Empire.
Conquest by the Saracens.
Regained by the Byzantiuc Elapire.
Richard I. of
Treachery of Isaac Com110 in us.
Tha AngloNorunn army invades
. A futile attempt of the camel-driver Calocerus to make him-
self King of Cyprus in A.D. 334, was frustrated by Dalinatius,
who captured the aiubitious aspirant, and had him executed at Tarsus.
... In A.D. 365, at the division of the Roman Empire, Cyprus, with
the adjacent countries, naturally passed under the Eastern or
Byzantine emperors; it remained in their possession for about
300 years, and despite several attempts of the Arabs to conquer it,
enjoyed comparative tranquillity. During this period the island
was governed by a “Consularis” and the capital was transferred
from Paphos to Salamis.
In A.D. 648, the island was invaded by the Arabs under
Moavyah, a general of the Caliph Othman, who destroyed Salamis,
and gained temporary possession of the island, but two years later
it was recovered by the Greek Emperor.
Again, about the year A.D. 802, during the reign of the Caliph
Haroun-el-Rashid, Cyprus was conquered by the Saracens, and
was this time held by them for about 160 years; for not until
A.D. 964, through the conquests of Nicephorus II, was it regained
by the Byzantine Empire.
For some time afterwards the history of the island is without
particular interest, but we find that its governors occasionally took
advantage of the oft-recurring weakness or necessities of the
empire to endeavour to make themselves independent, but these
revolts were never successful, until in A.D. 1184, Isaac Comnenus,
then Governor or “Duke" of Cyprus, a nephew of the reigning
Greek Emperor Andronicus Comnenus, entirely threw off the yoke,
established himself as an independent sovereign, with the title of
Emperor, and ruled the island with a severe and despotic authority.
Shortly afterwards a new page opened in the history of Cyprus,
and as it is one in which England took part, the events of this
period are related with more detail than hitherto. In the year
1191, we find King Richard I. of England on his journey from
Messina to St. Jean d'Acre, where he had appointed to meet King
Philip of France, and to co-operate with him in the third crusade.
On the fourth day of the voyage, a violent storm came on from the
South, which dispersed the fleet, and the King reached Rhodes with
difficulty. Three of his largest ships were driven upon the south
coast of Cyprus, and the crews and soldiers were robbed, mal-
treated, and thrown into prison at Limasol. The ship which
contained King Richard's sister, Queen Dowager of Sicily, and his
fiancée, Berengeria, daughter of the King of Navarre, was driven
by the storm towards Limasol, and gained the roads, but was
refused entrance to the port, and had to anchor in the open roadstead.
Isaac Comnenus arrived that day at Limasol, and tried to entice.
the royal ladies to come on shore; but they, suspecting treachery
and violence, refused the invitation, which was vehemently
repeated, and again declined; preparations were made to seize the
ship, which was consequently obliged to set sail, and shortly fell
in with King Richard and the remainder of the fleet.
Provoked by Isaac's conduct, and refusal to give up the
prisoners, or to water the fleet, Richard determined to disem-
bark a portion of his force at Limasol and take vengeance. He