Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
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chiefly remarkable on account of the great battle which took place just off its coast, when the powerful Persian fleet, brought down by Xerxes for the destruction of the Greek Empire, was signally defeated by the Greeks in the year 480 b.c.
2 The Pedias, Pedæius, or Pedircus, is the principal river; it rises on the range of Mount Olympus, and in its course irrigates the plains of Lefkosia and Messaria, finally discharging itself into the sea on the east coast at this ancient port of Salamis.
The harbour and the city were, doubtless, connected, as is the case in many Greek sites, by a long and straggling village, now entirely passed away. It was probably destroyed by the earthquake which took place during the reign of Constantine, and entombed many of the inhabitants. At the present day there only exists one monument which may be considered to belong to the first epoch. This is a wall; per haps a part of the ancient wall bounding the interior area of the harbour. It is now used for a Greek church or chapel. The method which has been employed in the construction of this wall, of which so small a fragment is left, has no parallel except in the composition of the walls of the temple of Baalbec in Syria; like this, the wall of Salamis consists of a mass of masonry measuring thirty-four feet in length and eighteen in breadth. There is a Greek tradition, of little or no importance, which, indeed, I do not think worth while to discuss, and merely allude to because it has been taken seriously by several distinguished archaeologists and historians, in which it is related that Salamis was constructed by Teucer,1 the hero of Troy, son of Telamon and Hesione, after having been driven out by his father because he did not wreak vengeance upon those who were concerned in the death of his step-brother Ajax. There is also another legend, to the effect that Belus, king of Sidon, conquered the island of Cyprus and made a gift of it to the hero Teucer, who thereupon founded the city of Salamis, not long after the Trojan war. We have still extant an Assyrian monument as old as the reign of Sargon, B.c. 800, of which the inscription records the name of a king of Salamis. Herodotus in like manner makes mention of several royal personages, reigning in Salamis from B.c. 566 to B.c. 495. The Greek invaders appear to have descended upon the island in parties, under the leadership of small or petty chiefs, who seized upon the quiet bays, wherever the scenery of the coast held out and Teucer is related to have married Eune, the daughter of Cyprus, by whom he became the father of Asteria. inviting prospect, and speedily brought their armed ships to land. Then they made their way into the dense forests, hewed down the trees, and, after constructing entrenchments, awaited with shield and spear to see whether the natives of the island, who had assembled in the distance, would dare to attack them. All around the coast similar inroads were continually repeated, until at length the invaders, emboldened by constant successes, ventured further up the course of the rivers, and there established their infant colonies, each of which became the nucleus of a petty state. This Greek occupation of the island of Cyprus lasted for a considerable period, in concert with the presence of Syrians of Phœnician or Jewish descent, until at length the two races became assimilated both in speech and customs, and formed but one people. Certain inscriptions, according to Von Lòher, that have been found in the island, were at first quite impossible to decipher, because they were attributed to some very ancient people, older even than the Phœnicians. Further examination of them has, however, resulted in the discovery that the language is of Graico-Cyprian origin. For a considerable length of time the city of Salamis was subject to the sway of Amosis, King of Egypt, about B.c. 540. Upon the downfall of the Egyptian supremacy, it passed under the dominion of the Persians, until Evagoras, who claimed to be descended from Teucer, the Greek founder of the colony of Salaminia, in B.c. 410 captured the city by surprise, after a sanguinary battle, and thus rendered the island of Cyprus an independent kingdom, he himself being King of Salamis. Evagoras succumbed to a tragic fate, being assassinated by an eunuch, who at the same time dispatched his eldest soil. Nicocles, the second son of Evagoras, succeeded his father in the year B.c. 374, and was put to death by Ptolemy in b.c. 310. Coins of this period will be described further on. Passing over intermediate events, we find the Romans in the year A.D. 60 in possession of Salamis, converting the whole island into a province of the Roman empire, and delivering it into the jurisdiction of Cato. During the reign of the Emperor Trajan, Salamis experienced considerable destruction at the hands of the Jews, who revolted against the oppression of their Roman masters; they, in revenge, organised a great massacre of these unfortunate people. Since that time no Jew has ever established himself in the island. Probably the motive of their absence is more owing to the fact

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Created at June 2008