Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
uses Google technology and indexes only and selectively internet - libraries having books with free public access

page 21

enclosures, with no indications of temples, no columns, nor any sign of wells. In these enclosures the broken statues lay in heaps. In a hollow of the mountain side, not far from the Temple of Apollo, in Kurium, I unearthed a number of fragments of statues which had been thrown together. The heads were in the lowest layer, the torsi in the middle, and the feet of thestatuettes on the uppermost layers over all, at about a yard below the surface. A little later, in a dried-up stream near some ruins, which appear to be those of the city of Throni, an enclosure forty feet square was discovered, containing parts of more than a thousand statuettes in terra-cotta, of a type representing priestesses bearing offerings. Of these, I reconstructed about two hundred entire figures, of which the tallest was three feet high. They are beautifully decorated, particularly their crowned or turreted heads; but I saw neither columns nor bas-reliefs to indicate the site of a temple, while the walls of the quadrangle were thin, a fact which confirms the notion that they were built for the sole purpose of forming an enclosure. In obedience to the above mentioned imperial order, many temples were destroyed, while others were appropriated to the worship of the Christians. Even now may be seen ancient hypogea, which have been converted into Greek chapels. In them traces of their first use may sometimes be discovered; ' others, which were probably used in a similar manner for Christian worship, were stripped of their Pagan appendages, and have fallen into decay, so as to leave no vestiges of the statues buried in their ruins. Beneath the débris of temples, and in tombs, many articles in bronze have been discovered, including armour, weapons, and implements, such as bucklers, axe-heads, and spear-heads, statuettes, mirrors, paterae, strigils, and such objects. A few paterœ are decorated with sculptures in relief, and in rare cases some were found which had been incised with mythological and other representations. The alabastra are of different forms, but, generally speaking, in a poor state of preservation. Very few bear inscriptions. Gold personal ornaments have been discovered, such as earrings, finger-rings, bracelets, armlets, necklaces, and buttons; also mortuary chaplets of a flimsy foil or leaf of gold, with embossed ornaments. Some children's finger rings have letters pricked in outline with a votive inscription. Intaglios of clumsy work, some of which were artistically engraved, have been found with inscriptions, which are generally personal names. Glass is frequently found among Cypriote antiquities; the majority of the examples are remarkable on account of their beautiful iridescence, and for the variety of their forms. Coloured glass comprises articles of blue, purple, and canary tints; and now and then painted unguentarium covers occur, representing Venus, Bacchus holding a bunch of grapes, and other subjects. Some objects of this nature are inscribed with mottoes and artists' names in relief; these are eagerly sought after. The glass vessels discovered in Cyprus belong, in my opinion, to the periods of the Ptolemies and of the Roman domination in the Island. This opinion is confirmed by the dates of the copper coins that were found in the tombs with the vessels. Cippi sometimes occur in the same tombs with works in glass, and the latter bear the names of their owners and an invocation. These sepulchral relics are believed to be of Christian origin and due to periods of persecution. I have not yet been able to convince myself what period should be assigned to those objects of opaque and enamelled glass which by some excavators have been called Phœnician, on the ground that they were found with terra-cotta amphorǽ bearing Phœnician inscriptions in black or red. These examples in glass are of two kinds, viz., those which are shaped like amphorǽ, and those which are enamelled and pear-shaped; the latter are of a greenish colour and very thick. Not having found any coins in the same tombs with these vessels, I am unable to say to what age the latter belong. In point of variety and value, antiquities of glass may be divided into groups as follows:—
1st. Those with embossed figures, ornaments, and inscriptions; those having the shape of the human head; and those representing animals, fruit, etc.
2nd. Unguentarium covers with subjects painted in black on white or red grounds; these are exceedingly rare.
3rd. The so-called Phœnician examples, of which I have already spoken.
4th. Those of large size, of rare form, and fine iridescence, as well as vessels of coloured glass.
On the inscribed specimens in glass, the letters are Greek, which was, and is, the language prevailing in the island. The inscriptions on these articles consist of the names of the makers, or of the persons to whom the relics had belonged, or to whom they were given. A few glass cups

Back to Topic