Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
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page 63

desired to promulgate. The date of Nerva's accession to the purple being September 18th, a.d. 96, and of his death, January 27th, a.d. 98, it is not difficult to infer the age of this inscription. Stone, from the hardness of its nature, would naturally be employed for making stamps. Among this class of objects is a piece of flat stone, carved in intaglio, to serve as a stamp for making ornaments which are to be placed on the surfaces of terra-cotta vases, lamps, and the like. On one side of this there are two figures, one of Mercury, the other of a soldier in full armour. It may be that this represents Mars. On the other side is carved a piece of scroll ornament, a crescent, and a scroll, resembling a portion of a capital of a column. Two clay stamps were found, bearing Egyptian hieroglyphics. Another carved stone stamp (fig. 117) was evidently used for impressing the shew-bread, or, perhaps, the consecrated element, in the ritual of the Greek Church. The letters, which are rightly reversed, to enable them to be impressed in proper order, are placed in the spaces formed by the four limbs of a thin and plain cross inscribed in a square. Dr. Birch and M. Piérides agree in reading:—  Ί[ησοη)]ς χ[ρίστο]ς νικά, ’Jesus Christ conquers.’Some read the last word νικη[τηρ], "conqueror"; or νι[κητηρ] κό[σμου], " conqueror of the world". The iconic bust of a female (fig. 118), formed of calcareous stone, eighteen inches and a half high, is of interesting art. The hair is in a close and small knot behind, and on the neck a necklace with a crescent, formed probably of a gold ornament, or two teeth of a wild animal, as described above at p. 32. There are traces of colour in the hair and face. This is one of four busts—two male, two female—found on the corners of a sarcophagus. The other three were accidentally destroyed.1 Round the upper surface of the pedestal or plinth, the following inscription is roughly scratched:—
Of a much later date than either of the above objects is the white marble tympanum of a church door, which comes from a church at Larnaca (Kìtium), where it was found while men were digging the foundation for a house.2 It is in perfect preservation, and as sharp as when the sculptor left it. It could not have been exposed to the weather even in Cyprus during any considerable period of time. Jesus Christ is here ascending, seated within a vesica-shaped glory, his nimbus is cruciform. He holds in his left hand a scroll; the other hand is extended in the act of benediction, after the Greek. manner, with the first and fourth fingers extended. Four angels are placed at the sides of the glory, with their hands in an attitude of supporting this aureola. At the sides of this central element of the tympanum are represented

1 Sergius was Proconsul of Cyprus in the time of Tiberius. The tomb in which the sarcophagus was found probably belonged to his family.
2 Plate ix, fig. 1.

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