Cyprus - History Of The Conflict Essay

This essay has a total of 1795 words and 6 pages.

Cyprus - History Of The Conflict

Cyprus, an island in the Eastern Mediterranean, at the cross-roads of three continents -
Europe, Asia and Africa - has one of the oldest histories of the world, dating back 9000
years.Its strategic position, its wealth in forests and mineral deposits, as well as its
skilled craftsmen, made it the prized possession of the powers of the day. Cultural
influences came from all directions - all major regional civilisations left their mark on
the island, contributing to the development of a very rich and diverse cultural heritage.
ANCIENT TIMESThe Stone AgeThe first signs of human life on the island date back to c. 8500
BC during the Palaeolithic period. Evidence of human activity was found in cave dwellings
near Liopetri, though it is not known whether they were just hunting parties passing
through or permanent settlers.The first undisputed settlements are believed to have been
established towards the end of the 8th millennium BC. Vestiges of such early communities
are found all over the island, such as at Khirokitia, Kalavasos-Tenta, Apostolos
Andreas-Kastros, Phrenaros, Petra tou Limniti.Neolithic Cypriots built circular houses
with small undressed stones for the lower structures and sun-dried mudbricks and clay for
the middle and superstructure. The Khirokitia neolithic settlement in Larnaca district
stands out as a striking example of prehistoric architecture. The Bronze/ Copper AgeLarge
copper deposits brought fame and wealth to the island and may have even given it its name.
It has been documented that during the bronze age Cyprus had intense commercial relations
with the main commercial and cultural centres of that time. During this period metallurgy
and pottery flourished while close relations developed, particularly with Crete, which are
also expressed in the Cypro-Minoan script which appeared in Cyprus around 1500 BC. Of
special significance for the future of Cyprus was its colonisation around 1200 BC by
Mycenaean and Achaean Greeks, a migration process that lasted for more than a century.
They brought with them to the island the Hellenic language, culture and religion. Legend
has it that the first Hellenes who settled in Cyprus were heroes of the Trojan war. The
arrival of the Achaeans greatly influenced town planning, architecture, and pottery. Since
then Cyprus has remained predominantly Greek in culture, language and population despite
influences resulting from successive occupations. Iron AgeMore and more people from the
Greek world came to live in Cyprus. They built city along the lines of the Greek ones.
There were about eleven city kingdoms in all: Kourion, Paphos, Soloi, Marion, Lapithos,
Salamis, Kition, Kyrenia, Amathus, and Idalion.Although Cyprus was conquered by other
peoples, these city kingdoms mostly ruled themselves, paying taxes to their conquerors.
The island was conquered in succession by the Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Persians
(800-332 BC). The Classical Period For more than a century, Cyprus was caught in the
middle of the power struggle between Greece and Persia. In the 6th century BC Persia
became the dominant power and the kings of Cyprus, while being allowed to retain their
autonomy, were obliged to pay tribute to the Persian King and place their military forces
at his disposal. Persia's domination, however, was not maintained easily and there were
several attempts tooverthrow the Persian yoke, the most significant being the Ionian
revolt and an attempt by King Evagoras I of Salamis to unite all of Cyprus' city-kingdoms
under him. attempts failed.The Hellenistic PeriodCyprus stayed in Persian hands until
Alexander the Great defeated the Persian Empire when the island became part of his huge
Empire. Upon Alexander's deathCyprus fell to one of his generals, Ptolemy I, the ruler of
Egypt. From then on Cyprus, under the Ptolemies, was an integral part of the Hellenistic
World until its integration with the Roman Empire in 30 BC.During this time Cyprus
experienced significant cultural activity and close contacts with the city kingdoms of the
Hellenic World. Cypriot athletes took part in the Olympic and Panathenian Games and the
names of Cypriot sculptors are referred to at Delphi and Lemnos. The worship of Aphrodite
was known throughout the region and the Temple of Goddess of Love and Beauty at
Palaepaphos gathered pilgrims from all over the ancient world. The city-kingdoms of
Salamis, Amathus, Paphos and others which were established at the time of Greek
colonisation flourished during this period and produced magnificent pieces of architecture
and sculpture which survive till our days. The Roman PeriodAs the Ptolemaic empire
declined, Cyprus came under Roman domination and was a colony in 58 BC. Romans also left
their legacy on the island in the form of Roman amphitheatres, public baths, mosaics and
other architectural edifices. One of the most significant events during this period was
the visit to the island of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, the latter being considered the
founder of the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus. The Apostles travelled all
across the island to Paphos where they converted the Roman governor to Christianity and so
Cyprus became the first country to be ruled by a Christian.THE MIDDLE AGESThe Byzantine
PeriodThe Christian civilisation was consolidated in the island during the Byzantine
Period(330-1191 AD) at which time the island was an important spiritual focus. Wonderful
churches and magnificent monasteries containing fine wall paintings and mosaics survive to
our times and are testimony to the importance of Cyprus in the East Roman Empire. With the
emergence of Islam in the 6th and 7th centuries AD, Cyprus became an object dispute
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