|21.5 × 18.5 × 1.5 cm
Cyprus has a long and eventful history. The island lies in the eastern Mediterranean, where the cultures of Anatolia, Assyria, the Levant, Egypt, and Greece flourished in antiquity. Each of these great civilisations has left its mark on the history of Cyprus, through commercial ties, migration, conflicts, and technological innovations. The mining of copper in the Troodos Mountains led to lively trade, greatly boosting the prosperity of the island’s various kingdoms. These independent states maintained relations with all the neighbouring states, leading to a cultural melting pot of languages, customs, and religions. Yet certain elements can be seen as truly Cypriot down the ages: the widespread veneration of the goddess Aphrodite, who was born from the foam of the waves off the island’s west coast, the unique character of the arts in the Bronze and Iron Ages, and a marked capacity to absorb foreign influences without sacrificing the island’s own distinctive character.
This book introduces readers to the main landmarks in the history of Cyprus. Various topics in the island’s archaeological past are discussed, each one written by a leading expert. You will meet the first inhabitants of the island, who crossed the sea from the mainland in tiny boats and rafts, bringing their livestock with them. And you will read about the ships, which started their journey across the Mediterranean laden with cargoes of copper ingots. Discussions of the history of archaeological investigations of the island range from random acts of plunder in the nineteenth century to ongoing scientific investigations. Several chapters focus on the highlights of Cypriot art in the collections of the museums of Cyprus, Stockholm, and Leiden. This book is published to coincide with the exhibition Cyprus: A Dynamic Island at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden.