Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2012

6 April 2013

Ancient Cyprus. Cultures in Dialogue

Edited by Despina Pilides & Nikolas Papadimitriou

Ancient Cyprus. Cultures in Dialogue

City: Nicosia

Year: 2012

Publisher: Cyprus Department of Antiquities

Description: Paperback, 228 pages, numerous coloured and b/w illustrations, 30x23.5 cm


The exhibition ‘Ancient Cyprus: Culture in Dialogue’ was presented in the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels on the occasion of Cyprus’ Presidency of the Council of the European Union from October 2012 until February 2013. It presented an overview of the culture of Cyprus from the earliest human settlement on the island to the end of Antiquity. A great number of Cypriot antiquities from both older and more recent excavations were exhibited.

Aphrodite, the Cypriot goddess par excellence, was conceived by ancient Cypriots as a great goddess of nature who emerged from the sea. One is impressed by their acute conception to embody the essence of Cyprus itself in the persona of a goddess. Cypriots developed their civilization through their struggle to exploit the natural resources of their island and used in parallel the sea surrounding it as a means of communication with the rest of the peoples of the Mediterranean to exchange both goods and ideas. One of the aims of this exhibition was to demonstrate the interaction between the natural environment of Cyprus and the people who exploited its resources and overcame its deficiencies.

The focus of this exhibition, however, was the ability remonstrated by ancient Cypriots to be in a continuous cultural dialogue with the rest of the Mediterranean civilizations, without losing their own cultural character. Located at the intersection of three continents, at a point where the Orient meets the Occident, Cyprus has always been at the crossroads of different and diverse civilizations. As a result, Cypriots developed through the millennia the ability to assimilate foreign influences without losing their idiosyncrasy, even though it was often difficult to maintain their political independence. The greatest moments in their history were the occasions when they managed to strike a balance between the conflicting forces that surrounded them and their own interests.


Foreword, Mr Efthemios Flourentzou, Minister of Communications and Works, Republic of Cyprus [8]
Foreword, Dr Michel Draguet, General Director a.i., Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels [8]
Foreword, Dr Maria Hadjicosti, Director, Department of Antiquities, Cyprus [9]
Chronology [10]
Map of Cyprus [12]
Map of the Central and Eastern Mediterranean [14]

1. Despina Pilides, ‘Introduction’ [16-17]

2. Nikolas Papadimitriou & Efthymia Alphas, ‘Cultures in dialogue: exhibiting the past of an island’ [18-19]

The birth of Cypriot archaeology

3. I. Despina Pilides, ‘From treasure hunting to systematic excavation [22-23]

   II. Eric Gubel & Natacha Massar, ‘Cyprus and Belgium’ [24-25]

   III. Anja Ulbrich, ‘The Cypriot Collection at the Ashmolean Museum’ [26-27]

   IV. Thomas Kiely, ‘The British Museum excavations on Cyprus in the 1890s’ [28-29]

   V. Karin Nys, ‘The Swedish Cyprus Expedition: the  rst comprehensive study of the island’s ancient history’[30-31]

The ancient history of Cyprus

4. Zomenia Zomeni, ‘The geology of Cyprus’ [34-37]

5. Alain Le Brun, ‘Neolithic period’[38-41]

Jean Guilaine, Jean-Denis Vigne & François Briois, ‘Case study: Ayios Tychonas-Klimonas’ [42-43]

6. Edgar Peltenburg, ‘Chalcolithic period’ [44-47]

Edgar Peltenburg, ‘Case study: Souskiou’ [48-49]

7. Jennifer M. Webb & David Frankel, ‘Early and Middle Bronze Age’ [50-53]

Jennifer M. Webb & David Frankel, ‘Case study: Marki’ [54-55]

8. Despina Pilides, ‘Late Bronze Age’[56-59]

Karin Nys, ‘Case study: Hala Sultan Tekke’ [60-61]

9. Maria Iacovou, ‘Early Iron Age’ [62-65]

Maria Hadjicosti, ‘Case study: Idalion’ [66-67]

10. Demetrios Michaelides, ‘Hellenistic and Roman period’ [68-71]

Efstathios Raptou, ‘Case study: Paphos-Glyky Nero’ [72-73]

Thematic essays

11. Vasiliki Kassianidou, ‘Natural resources and the importance of copper’ [76-79]

12. Stella Demesticha, ‘Harbours, navigation and trade’ [80-83]

13. Joanna S. Smith, ‘Languages, scripts and administration’ [84-87]

14. Evangeline Markou, ‘Coinage and economic politics’ [88-91]

15. Marguerite Yon, ‘Cultural interaction through time’ [92-95]

16. Giorgos Georgiou, ‘Burial and society’ [96-99]

17. Anja Ulbrich, ‘Cult and ritual’ [100-103]

18. Eftychia Zachariou-Kaila, ‘Aspects of personal styling and adornment’ [104-107]


History of research (cat. nos 1-17) [110]

The island (cat. nos 18-68) [118]

The sea (cat. nos 69-136) [146]

Society and people (cat. nos 137-215 [184]

The world of the dead (cat. nos 216-245) [228]

The world of the sacred (cat. nos 246-291) [246]

Abbreviations [270]
Bibliography [271]
Photographic credits [286]
Index of geographical names [287]


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