Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
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Strabo. Geographica. Account of Cyprus from Book XIV. 6.


the coast is generally indented and precipitous up to Cition...it has an enclosed harbour : thence came Zeno, the leader of the Stoic sect, and Apollonios a physician. Thence to Berytos are 1500 stadia. Then Amathos, a city, and between a small town called Palaia, and the breast-shaped mountain Olympos. [" In Cyprus is the city Amathos, where is an ancient temple of Adonis and Aphrodite, and here they say is the necklace which was originally given to Harmonia, but it is called the necklace of Eriphyle, because she received it as a gift from her husband, and the sons of Phegeus dedicated it at Delphi. How they got it I have already related in my account of Arcadia (viii. 24). But it was carried off by the Phocian tyrants. I do not think however that the necklace in the temple of Adonis at Amathos is Eriphyle's, for that is emeralds set in gold, but the necklace given to Eriphyle is said by Homer in the Odyssey (XI. 327) to have been entirely of gold." Pausanias, IX. 41.] Then the promontory or peninsula Curias, seven hundred stadia distant from Thronoi. Then Curion, a city with a harbour, built by the Argives. Now then we can see the carelessness of the man who composed the elegy beginning

ίραί τω Φοίβω,   πολλον  δια κύμα  θεοουσαι ηλθομ€ν  ai ταχιναί τόξα  φυγειν  ελαφοι,

"sacred to Phoebus, coursing over a broad sea, we came, the hinds swift to avoid the bow"—whether it were Hedylos, or anyone else. For he says that the hinds started from the ridge of Corycia, and from the beach of Cilissae swam across to the headlands of Curias, and adds moreover that

μυρίον άνδράσι  θανμα νotivν  πάρα,   πωσ ανοδευτον χευμα δι' εαρινώ εδράμομαν  ζεφυρω,

"an infinite wonder was given to men to see, how we rushed along the pathless stream with a spring-bearing west wind." For the course from Corycus round to C. Curias is not with the west wind, be the island on the right or the left, and there is no passage across.
Curion then is the starting point of the western course aiming at Rhodes; very near it is a promontory from which they hurl those who have touched the altar of Apollo : then Treta and Boosoura and Palaipaphos, built as much as ten stadia from the sea: it has a roadstead and an ancient fane of the Paphian Aphrodite. Then C. Zephyria, with an anchorage, and another Arsinoe which likewise has an anchorage, and a temple and grove. A little distance from the sea is Hierokepia. Then Paphos, built by Agapenor ; it has a harbour and temples well adorned. The distance to walk to Palaipaphos would be 60 stadia ; and yearly along this road up to Palaipaphos men and women meet and keep a fair, coming from the other cities as well. Some folk say that from Paphos to Alexandria is 3600 stadia. Acamas comes next after Paphos. Then after Acamas going eastwards one sails to a city Arsinoe and the grove of Zeus. Then Soloi, a city with a harbour and a river and temple of Aphrodite and Isis; it was built by Phaleros and Acamas, Athenians. The inhabitants are called Solioi. Thence came Stasanor, one of the companions of Alexander, a man deemed worthy of rule. Beyond it inland is a city Limenia. Then С Crommyon. What boots it to wonder at the poets, particularly those who care for nought but phrasemaking, who endorse the opinion of Damastos, who puts the length of the island as from N. to S. from Hierokepia as he says, to Oleides ? Nor is Eratosthenes correct, for while blaming this writer he says Hierokepia is not on the N. but on the S. For it is not on the S. but on the W., since it lies on the W. side, where too are Paphos and Acamas.
Such then is Cyprus in point of position. But in excellence it falls behind no one of the islands: for it is rich in wine and oil, and uses home-grown wheat. There are mines of copper in plenty at Tamassos, in which are produced sulphate of copper and copper-rust useful in the healing art. Eratosthenes talks of the plains as being formerly full of wood run to riot, choked in fact with undergrowth and uncultivated. The mines were here of some little service, the trees being cut down for the melting of copper and silver; and of further help was shipbuilding, when men sailed over the sea without fear and with large fleets. But when even so they were not got under leave was given to those who would and could cut them down to keep the land they had cleared in full possession and free of taxes.
Now the Cypriots were first ruled in their several cities by kings, but since the Ptolemaic kings became lords over Egypt, Cyprus too passed to them, the Romans also contributing often their help. But when the last Ptolemy who reigned, a brother of the father of Cleopatra, the queen of our time, seemed both unsatisfactory and unthankful to his bene­factors, he was deposed therefor, and the Romans occupied the island, and it became a separate imperial province. The king's ruin was chiefly due to Publius Claudius Pulcher. He fell into the hands of pirates, the Cilicians being then very active, and requiring a ransom he applied to the king begging him to send and ransom him. He sent a very small sum, so that the very pirates were ashamed to take it. They sent it back and released Publius without a ransom. When he was safe he bore in mind against both their favours, and becoming tribune grew so powerful that Marcus Cato was sent to take Cyprus from its ruler. Ptolemy indeed succeeded in killing himself, but Cato swooped down and seized Cyprus, and disposed of the royal property and carried off the money to the common treasury of the Romans. From that date the island became an imperial province, as it is to-day. For a short interval Antony gave it to Cleopatra and her sister Arsinoe, but when he fell all his arrangements fell with him.

The stadion = 100 οργυιαί = 600 Attic ποδεσ = 582 English feet.    An English mile = 9, 1\14 stadia.

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