Acropolis of Amathous, Cyprus

Acropolis of Amathous, Cyprus

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Discover the History of Amathus Archaeological Site

Once a bustling city and one of the ancient kingdoms of Cyprus, Amathus is one of the most impressive archaeological sites to visit in the Limassol district.

Amathus was the second most important place of worship for Aphrodite on the island, after Paphos, which is famed as the goddess’ birthplace. There are various rich archaeological finds at the site, including the Agora, the public baths, the Temple of Aphrodite, early Christian basilicas and several tombs.

Located in the lower town, the Agora and the many buildings surrounding it was the traditional hub for commercial and political activities, and it played an important role in the daily life of the city. During the Roman period, the Agora was organised around a large stone-paved court. Three porticos occupy the other three sides. The west portico opened to the court through thirteen Doric columns and ended at a fountain (or a Nympheum) at its northern edge. Buildings were erected behind the north portico, which is now damaged, and appear to have constituted the most important administrative or religious buildings of the site.

The area south of the Agora is occupied by a public bath (balaneion), which comprises a closed circular area and annexes. The bath, along with part of the west portico of the Agora, dates to the Hellenistic period and constitutes the earliest indications of human activity in the area.

This site also includes the Temple of Aphrodite, which sat atop the hill at the Acropolis of Amathus. Evidence of the presence of the sanctuary includes votive offerings dating to the mid-eighth century BCE. Through the centuries, the Temple of Aphrodite was a sacred, enclosed space for ceremonies with votive offerings placed around an altar. There may have been other buildings in the area, but the cult itself was not housed in the main building.

Two gigantic stone craters (huge monolith vessels) believed to be of the late archaic period once stood in the area. One was taken to the Louvre in Paris in the middle of the nineteenth century and has now been replaced by a modern replica.

It is also believed that there were two other temples at the Acropolis of Amathous: one dedicated to Adonis and the other to Hercules.

Several tombs dating from the Archaic, Roman and Christian periods were also discovered at the Acropolis, in the lower section of the town and in five early Christian basilicas.

The Amathus Site is open from September 16 to April 15 from 08.30 – 17:00 (daily) and from April 16 to September 15 from, 08:30 – 19:30 (daily). The site is c losed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday (Greek Orthodox). The e ntrance fee is €2.50 per person. There is an access for disabled with p artially wheelchair accessible and disabled toilets.

Note: Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.


Amathus was one of the most ancient royal cities of Cyprus. Its ancient cult of Aphrodite was the most important, after Paphos, in Cyprus, her homeland, though the ruins of Amathus are less well-preserved than neighboring Kourion.

The pre-history of Amathus mixes myth and archaeology. Though there was no Bronze Age city on the site, archaeology has detected human activity that is evident from the earliest Iron Age, c. 1100 BC. The city&aposs legendary founder was Cinyras, linked with the birth of Adonis, who called the city after his mother Amathous. According to a version of the Ariadne legend noted by Plutarch, Theseus abandoned Ariadne at Amathousa, where she died giving birth to her child and was buried in a sacred tomb. According to Plutarch&aposs source, Amathousians called the sacred grove where her shrine was situated the Wood of Aphrodite Ariadne. More purely Hellenic myth would have Amathus settled instead by one of the sons of Heracles, thus accounting for the fact that he was worshiped there.

Amathus was built on the coastal cliffs with a natural harbor and flourished at an early date, soon requiring several cemeteries. Greeks from Euboea left their pottery at Amathus from the 10th century BC. During the post-Phoenician era of the 8th century BC, a palace was erected and a port was also constructed, which served the trade with the Greeks and the Levantines. A special burial ground for infants, a tophet served the culture of the Phoenicians. For the Hellenes, high on the cliff a temple was built, which became a worship site devoted to Aphrodite, in her particular local presence as Aphrodite Amathusia along with a bearded male Aphrodite called Aphroditos. The excavators discovered the final stage of the Temple of Aphrodite, also known as Aphrodisias, which dates approximately to the 1st century BC. According to the legend, it was where festive Adonia took place, in which athletes competed in hunting wild boars during sport competitions they also competed in dancing and singing, all to the honour of Adonis.

The earliest remains hitherto found on the site are tombs of the early Iron Age period of Graeco-Phoenician influences (1000-600 BC). Amathus is identified with Kartihadasti (Phoenician &aposNew-Town&apos) in the Cypriote tribute-list of Esarhaddon of Assyria (668 BC). It certainly maintained strong Phoenician sympathies, for it was its refusal to join the philhellene league of Onesilos of Salamis which provoked the revolt of Cyprus from Achaemenid Persia in 500-494 BC, when Amathus was besieged unsuccessfully and avenged itself by the capture and execution of Onesilos.

Amathus was a rich and densely populated kingdom with a flourishing agriculture and mines situated very close to the northeast Kalavasos. In the Roman era it became the capital of one of the four administrative regions of Cyprus. Later, in the 4th century AD, Amasus became the see of a Christian bishop and continued to flourish until the Byzantine period. In the late 6th century, Ayios Ioannis Eleimonas (Saint John the Charitable), protector of the Knights of St. John, was born in Amathus. Sometime in the first half of the 7th century Anastasius Sinaita, the famous prolific monk of the Saint Catherine&aposs Monastery, was also born there. It is thought that he left Cyprus after the 649 Arab conquest of the island, setting out for the Holy Land, eventually becoming a monk on Sinai.

Amathus still flourished and produced a distinguished patriarch of Alexandria, St. John the Merciful, as late as 606-616, and a ruined Byzantine church marks the site but it declined and was already almost deserted when Richard Plantagenet won Cyprus by a victory there over Isaac Comnenus in 1191. The tombs were plundered and the stones from the beautiful edifices were brought to Limassol to be used for new constructions. Much later, in 1869, a great number of blocks of stone from Amathus were used for the construction of the Suez Canal.

The city had vanished, except fragments of wall and of a great stone cistern on the acropolis. A similar vessel was transported to the Musée du Louvre in 1867, a limestone dim, used for storing the must from the grapes, which dates to the 6th century BC. It is 1.85 m high and weighs 14 tons. It was made from a single stone and has four curved handles bearing the head of a bull.

Acropolis of Amathous, Cyprus - History

Or, how I spent Christmas day, 2011. One of the lesser known archaeological sites of Cyprus, largly because it completely unsignposted! The site yielded the largest known single piece stone pot. The original is in the Louvre, leaving only this replica and the remains of a second vessel, seen on the left of the picture. The image was shot in infra-red in the early afternoon of Christmas Day. I has trying to capture some of the isolation and barrenness of the ruins. I like the way that the very high contrast of the image is reminiscent of the lunar landscape.


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What's it all about?

Aiming to make you suffer my feeble efforts at photography and to give me an excuse to rant.

For those who care, all photographs are taken with a Canon 60D, or my specially converted infra-red Canon 40D.

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites Richard Stillwell, William L. MacDonald, Marian Holland McAllister, Stillwell, Richard, MacDonald, William L., McAlister, Marian Holland, Ed.

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One of the ancient kingdoms of Cyprus, its legendary founder was Kinyras, who called the city after his mother Amathous. It was said in antiquity that the people were autochthonous. They used a non-Greek language, as shown by inscriptions in the Cypriot syllabary used down to the 4th c. B.C. According to one version of the Ariadne legend, Theseus abandoned Ariadne at Amathousa, where she died. The Amathousians are said to have called the grove where she was buried the “Wood of Aphrodite Ariadne.”

Nothing is known of the earliest history of the city. At the time of the Ionian Revolt (499-498 B.C.) it sided with the Persians. Onesilos, king of Salamis, who led the revolt, persuaded all the Cypriots except those of Amathous to join him against Persia. Onesilos proceeded to lay siege to Amathous, but forced by other events to abandon the siege, he fell in the battle that ensued on the plain of Salamis.

King Euagoras I of Salamis (411-374/373 B.C.) reduced Amathous at the time of his attempt to liberate Cyprus from the Persians. Its king Rhoikos had been made a prisoner, but then returned home, his release having been effected by the Athenians, who were Euagoras' allies. King Androkles of Amathous assisted Alexander the Great at the siege of Tyre. The history of the city was written in nine books by Eratosthenes of Kyrene (275-195 B.C.). The kings of Amathous who are known to have issued coins are Zotimos, Lysandros, Epipalos, and possibly Rhoikos. The city continued to flourish throughout the Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman periods down to Early Byzantine times, when it became the seat of a bishop, but it was gradually abandoned after the first Arab raids of A.D. 647

Some stretches of the walls still stand but practically nothing of the city has been uncovered so far. A number of built tombs had been excavated in the 19th c., while more tombs were excavated in 1930. In recent years the ruins of two Early Christian basilican churches were excavated. A built tomb can be seen on the seaward side of the main Nicosia-Limassol road a little W of the ruins of the city. A large dromos, measuring 13 x 7 m, slopes down to the doorway. The interior of the tomb consists of two rectangular chambers both have corbeled slightly curved saddle roofs with flat top stones. It is dated to the beginning of the Cypro-archaic I period, shortly after 700 B.C.

The city wall may be traced in practically all its course the circuit starts at the E end by the sea near the Church of Haghia Varvara, extends N along the edge of the acropolis, and returns along its W edge. Remains of this Classical wall survive at both ends. Of the ancient harbor only a little is now visible, on the SE of the acropolis. Part of it has silted up and only scanty remains of the artificial breakwaters can still be seen above water. The sites of a gymnasium and of a theater are suspected but they have never been investigated. The Temple of Aphrodite (also known as Amathousia) is to be sought on the summit of the acropolis. We also know of the worship in Amathous of Zeus, Hera, Hermes and Adonis, but nothing about the position of their sanctuaries. Cut into the face of a rock on the E side of the acropolis there is a Greek inscription recording the construction by Lucius Vitellius Callinicus at his own expense of the steps leading up to it and of an arch.

Casual finds in the city site are frequent. A colossal statue in gray limestone, measuring 4.20 m in height and 2 m in width at the shoulders, now in the Istanbul Museum, was found in 1873 by the harbor. This curious colossus has been much discussed and many identifications have been put forward, but most probably it represents Bes. Its date too is disputed but it may well be an archaistic statue of the Roman period. In 1862 a colossal stone vase, now in the Louvre, was found on the summit of the acropolis. It may have stood at the entrance to the Temple of Aphrodite. It has four horizontal arched handles ending with palmettes, within each of which is placed a bull. Many small finds are in the Nicosia and Limassol Museums.


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MYTH I : Born of the sea-foam

T he myth of her birth includes elements from very ancient Sumerian and Hittite cosmogonies in which the father god is mutilated by his son. A myth from Byblos, closer to the Cypriote myth, narrates that the god Uranus was mutilated by his son and the blood from his genitals fell into the river of Byblos. The introduction of a maiden born from the foam created by the genital parts of Uranus could be an invention by some Cypriote hymn singer in order to explain the goddess’ name – Born of the sea-foam.

Sandro Botticelli – The Birth of Venus, 1485. Uffizi- Florence.

The most common version of the birth of Aphrodite describes her born in sea-foam from the castrated genitals of the sky-god Ouranos and is frequently referred to by ancient art. Stories of Aphrodite’s birth are preserved in Hesiod’s Theogony and a Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, both of which date to sometime in the century B.C.

MYTH : Hesiod, Theogony 176 ff (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :

“Ouranos (the Sky) came, bringing on night and longing for love, and he lay about Gaia (the Earth) spreading himself full upon her.

Then the son [Kronos] from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and in his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth, and swiftly lopped off his own father’s members and cast them away to fall behind him . . .

and so soon as he had cut off the members with flint and cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were swept away over the main a long time:

and a white foam spread around them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden.

First she drew near holy Kythera, and from there, afterwards, she came to sea-girt Kypros, and came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet.

        • Aphrodite, and
        • Aphrogeneia (the foam-born) because she grew amid the foam, and
        • well-crowned (eustephanos) Kythereia because she reached Kythera, and
        • Kyprogenes because she was born in billowy Kypros, and
        • Philommedes (Genital-Loving) because sprang from the members.

        And with her went Eros (Love), and comely Himeros (Desire) followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the assembly of the gods. This honour she has from the beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods, – the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness.”

        MYTH : Homeric Hymn 6 to Aphrodite (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :

        “To Sea-set Kypros the moist breath of the western wind (Zephryos) wafted her [Aphrodite] over the waves of the loud-moaning sea in soft foam, and there the gold-filleted Horai (Seasons) welcomed her joyously.

        The goddess Aphrodite is clothed by the Horae (Seasons) as she rises at her birth from the sea. Basrelief, The Ludovisi Throne. ca 470 – 460 B.C. National Roman Museum, Rome.

        They clothed her with heavenly garments:

        on her head they put a fine, well-wrought crown of gold, and in her pierced ears they hung ornaments of orichalc and precious gold, and adorned her with golden necklaces over her soft neck and snow-white breasts, jewels which the gold-filleted Horai wear themselves whenever they go to their father’s house to join the lovely dances of the gods. And when they had fully decked her, they brought her to the gods, who welcomed her when they saw her, giving her their hands. Each one of them prayed that he might lead her home to be his wedded wife, so greatly were they amazed at the beauty of violet-crowned Kythereia.”

        The Anacreontea, Fragment 57 (C5th B.C.) :

        “[Aphrodite] roaming over the waves like sea-lettuce, moving her soft-skinned body in her voyage over the white calm sea, she pulls the breakers along her path. Above her rosy breast and below her soft neck a great wave divides her skin. In the midst of the furrow, like a lily wound among violets, Kypris shines out from the clam sea. Over the silver on dancing dolphins ride guileful Eros and laughing Himeros (Desire), and the chorus of bow-backed fish plunging in the waves sports with Paphia where she swims.”

        Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 55. 4 (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :

        “Aphrodite, they say, as she was journeying [after her birth in the sea] from Kytherea to Kypros and dropped anchor near Rhodes, was prevented from stopping there by the sons of Poseidon, who were arrogant and insolent men whereupon the goddess, in her wrath, brought a madness upon them.”

        Pausanias, Description of Greece (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :

        “[Depicted on the throne of Zeus at Olympia:] is Eros (Love) receiving Aphrodite as she rises from the sea, and Aphrodite is being crowned by Peitho (Persuasion).”

        “[Depicted on the base of the statue of Poseidon at Korinthos:] Thalassa (Sea) holding up the young Aphrodite, and on either side are the nymphs called Nereides.”

        Aelian, On Animals 14. 28 (Greek natural history C2nd A.D.) :

        “Aphrodite delighted to be with Nerites in the sea [after her birth] and loved him.

        And when the fated time arrived, at which, at the bidding of [Zeus] the Father of the gods, Aphrodite also had to be enrolled among the Olympians, I have heard that she ascended and wished to bring her companion and play-fellow. But the story goes that he refused.”

        Orphic Hymn 55 to Aphrodite (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :

        “Aphrodite . . . sea-born (pontogenes) . . . Kypros thy famed mother fair.”

        Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 5. 72 ff (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :

        “Out of the sea was rising lovely-crowned Kypris, foam-blossoms still upon her hair

        and round her hovered smiling witchingly Himeros (Desire),

        and danced the Kharites (Graces) lovely-tressed.”

        Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 521 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :

        “I [Aphrodite] should find some favour with the sea, for in its holy depths in days gone by from sea-foam I was formed, and still from foam I take my name in Greece.”

        Ovid, Heroides 7. 59 ff (trans. Showerman) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :

        “For ’twas from the sea, in Cytherean waters, so runs the tale,

        that the mother of the Amores (Loves) [Erotes], undraped, arose.”

        Seneca, Phaedra 274 ff (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :

        “Thou goddess, born of the cruel sea, who art called mother of both Cupides (Loves)

        [i.e. Eros and Himeros or Anteros].”

        Apuleius, The Golden Ass 4. 28 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :

        “The goddess [Aphrodite] who was sprung from the dark-blue depths of the sea and was nurtured by the foam from the frothing waves.”

        “The clouds parted, and Caelus (Heaven) [i.e. Ouranos] admitted his daughter.”

        Nonnus, Dionysiaca (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :

        “Did not the water conceive Aphrodite by a heavenly husbandry [Ouranos], and bring her forth from the deeps?”

        “Kronos . . . cut his father’s loins with unmanning sickle

        until the foam got a mind and made the water shape itself into a selfperfected birth,

        delivered of Aphrodite from the sea?”

        “He [Kronos] cut off his father’s [Ouranos’] male plowshare, and sowed the teeming deep with seed on the unsown back of the daughterbegetting sea (Thalassa).”…

        “When the fertile drops from Ouranos, spilt with a mess of male gore, hand given infant shape to the fertile foam and brought forth Paphia [Aphrodite].”…

        “Kypros, godwelcoming island of the fine-feathered Erotes (Loves), which bears the name of Kypris the self-born [Aphrodite] . . .

        Paphos, garlanded harbour of the softhaired Erotes (Loves), landingplace of Aphrodite when she came up out of the waves, where is the bridebath of the seaborn goddess.”…

        “Before Kypros and the Isthmian city of Korinthos, she [i.e. the city of Beroe or Beruit in Phoinikia] first received Kypris [Aphrodite] within her welcoming portal, newly born from the brine when the water impregnated from the furrow of Ouranos was delivered of deepsea Aphrodite when without marriage, the seed plowed the flood with male fertility, and of itself shaped the foam into a daughter, and Phusis (Nature) was the midwife – coming up with the goddess there was that embroidered strap which ran round her loins like a belt, set about the queen’s body in a girdle of itself . . . Beroe first received Kypris and above the neighbouring roads, the meadows of themselves put out plants of grass and flowers on all sides in the sandy bay the beach became ruddy with clumps of roses . . .

        There, as soon as she was seen on the neighbouring harbourage, she brought forth wild Eros (Love) . . .

        without a nurse, and [Eros] beat on the closed womb of his unwedded mother then a hot one even before birth, he shook his light wings and with a tumbling push opened the gates of birth.”

        [N.B. In this passage Aphrodite is born pregnant with Eros who she births on the day of her own birth.]

        Amathus (Cyprus)

        Cyprus was annexed in 58 BC by Rome and depleted of 7.000 talents from the treasury of the Ptolemy's by Cato the Younger, its first consul, and after 22 BC it became a senatorial province. Under Roman rule Nea Paphos became the center of administration and Amathus declined, its population falling, and the acropolis virtually abandoned. Only the sanctuary of Aphrodite preserved its vitality, and in the later first century AD, perhaps after the earthquake of 77/78, one Loukios Vitellios Kallinikos built a ramp that linked the east side of the acropolis to the lower city. The inscription recording this act of municipal generosity can still be read within a recessed square a little to the north of the east end of the central wall.

        Aqueduct outside the city wall

        Two different aqueduct branches supplied the city of Amathus with fresh water: the north one from Akmenokhori and a northwest line from Dhoxamenes.

        At the northern edge of the plateau of Armenokhori, along the road to Ayia Marina, 350 m from the village, a permanent spring is used for the modern water supply of the area. Besides a modern tank the remains of an ancient basin was discovered which shows that the source was already in use in antiquity. Some 350 m. southeast, at a place called Lazaridhes, another source was discovered based on four wells that still supply water.
        A legend tells that the ancient structures once had a link to the chapel of Ayios Georgios, halfway between both sources only a few remains of the chapel are left. Oral tradition states that these sources were the origin of the water supply of Amathus. Near the latter source two small figures have been found which support the hypothesis of a cult place linked to fresh water that could have persisted for a time under the patronage of Saint George.
        Both sources have been located at an altitude of 250 masl (meters above sea level).

        If these sources were indeed the origins of the water supply of Amathus, the only course possible passed through a bypass via a plateau east of Armenokhori. On certain places along the course of the aqueduct the concentration of terracotta pipes was impressive on the other hand the slopes of the Artakharis are interspersed with pipe fragments, some of which dated by stamps from the second year of Hadrian.
        The aqueduct continued just east of Ayios Tykhonas. Some 0,3 km north of the defensive walls of Amathus the northern aqueduct branch met the northwestern line in a collecting basin at Laxia tou Antoniou, at an altitude of 62 masl.

        Notwithstanding the quite isolated position of the large reservoir (35 x 20 m) and its adjacent sanctuary in Dhoxamenes - this village name means 'the cisterns' - they form the origin of the northwest aqueduct branch. This source also was placed under the patronage of a deity. The reservoir, at a level of 174 masl, was followed by a water supply system that could not have had an other destination than the city of Amathus. This branch also ended into the collecting basin 300 m north of the city wall.

        North of the walls

        Standing on the north wall and looking toward the modern highway one can see the rubble foundations of a once arcaded section of the aqueduct that crossed the cemetery field on a - possibly double (see photo) - line just north of tower B (see plan). The aqueduct was linked up with the walls which here doubled in function, also to support the water supply of the city, which was underlined by the discovery of the remains of clay pipes along the city wall, both north and south, the existence of a cistern close to one of the towers on the north wall, conduit elements, and a spillway with a carved mouth of a lion.
        A date in the Hellenistic period is suggested by its construction technique using dry jointed stretchers and headers. An important branch of the aqueduct must have carried water to the fountain-reservoir / nymphaeum that in turn supplied the fountain in the agora and the adjacent Roman baths. The network of conduits was reorganized under Hadrian, as shown by inscriptions on terracotta pipes found at the foot of tower A and elsewhere in the countryside, given a fragment of a pipe with the inscription LB ADRI[anou]: the second year of Hadrian.
        The presence of a water basin and conduits behind the stretch of the wall east of tower C shows that this system was maintained until the final years of the city.

        It does not make sense to follow the contour lines to discover the remains of the aqueduct: there was no need to follow the natural slope. Because its pipes were under pressure, the aqueduct easily crossed irregularities by a siphon - as applied between the collecting basin (nr 72) and the north city wall - without any work of art other than relief basins. Its only constrain was the difference in level between the sources (250 and 174 masl) and the destination, here the north city wall at 52 masl.

        Mean fall Start Level (m) End Level (m) Distance (km) Calculated gradient (%)
        North aqueduct branch Armenokhori 250 Basin nr 72 60 4,9 3,8
        Northwest aqueduct branch Dhoxamenes 174 Basin nr 72 60 1,2 9,5
        Common course Basin nr 72 - Wall Basin nr 72 60 North wall 52 0,3 2,7

        The Acropolis

        Agora and fountain

        The paving in the west half of the agora square is well preserved. A cut running diagonally from the northwest corner marks the path of a late water conduit made of pierced column drums laid end-to-end and runs from the reservoir. An large fountain formed a conspicuous centerpiece in the north part of the square. Architectural elements recovered permit the reconstruction of an elevated central basin and fountain covered by a baldachino, the roof of which, perhaps pyramidal, was supported by four spirally fluted columns of dark stone, originally standing on white marble bases (one is preserved) and topped by Corinthian capitals also of white marble (all four are preserved). Two of these columns have been re-erected, but not in their original position on the central fountain. The central fountain was surrounded on all four sides by a lower basin (a 9,9 x 9,9 m. square) with a low outer wall laid over a foundation of hydraulic cement.

        Cyprus and the Tabula Peutingeriana
        = See the entry Salamis =
        Water was brought to the fountain from the reservoir through an underground conduit of terracotta pipes . It probably spilled from openings on the four sides of the central basin into the subsidiary one, where it would have been accessible to the public, and then drained away to the east. The whole structure is datable to the early second century AD.

        Reservoir and nymphaeum

        The nymphaeum and reservoir, located north from the agora, were equipped with a ramp and stairs, had a deep basin of 9,30 by 5,80 m. and a facade with two columns. The columns may once have supported Nabataean capitals. The capital currently on top of one of the columns does not belong there. At some stage a water trough was added in front of the reservoir's facade, its base pierced to allow passage of the stone water conduit.

        In later periods, the reservoir was divided in half: the west side was filled in, while the east side was vaulted and remained in use. Water ran from an ogival niche in the back wall which must once have sheltered a statue. An open drainage system was later installed in the fill of the westernmost half.

        To the east, behind the large rectangular building north of the agora, is a later triangular pool, fed by a branch line from a conduit that was built above ground and then buried.

        All the essential components of a small Roman bath complex of the imperial period - east of the agora - are present: cold rooms on the east side and warm ones on the west, but no traces of a piped water supply were found inside the building. A system of terracotta pipes descending from the reservoir north of the agora assured a generous supply.

        A large drain ran westward under the street and agora collecting rainwater and runoff from the nymphaeum, the reservoir, the fountain, and the baths.

        At present a collection of conduits, basins and pipes from different periods, locations, and sizes, are presented at the south east corner of the agora. The presence of calcareous deposits inside some pipes (called sinter) are indications how long these were in use.

        Unfortunately the publications about Amathus were not focused on the technicalities of the water supply system.
        Description / diameter Externally Internally
        Large stone pipe 0,70 m 0,24 m
        Small stone pipe 0,20 m 0,09 m
        Terracotta pipe )* Diameter 0,20 m "large diameter"
        )* BCH 114-2 (1990) pag 1028 - 32

        As mentioned, it was Hadrian who rebuilt the north aqueduct and, if the fountain-reservoir can also be dated to this period, then it is likely that the whole water system can be attributed to an arrangement between the emperor and the municipality.

        It is readily apparent that the agora fountain and the Roman baths were provided with water under pressure through terracotta pipes from this reservoir, but how was the reservoir itself supplied? A rectangular stone conduit is located behind the construction and water could have come only from the great aqueduct restored by Hadrian, but the line between this aqueduct and the conduit in the agora has not yet come to light.

        Wilke Schram
        primary based on Aupert's reports in the journal Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique and his booklet Guide to Amathus. Unfortunately these publications were not focused on the technicalities of the water supply system of Amathus.

        Amathus Archaeological Site

        Amathus archaeological site or Ancient Amathunta is located 11km east of Lemesos centre, is one of the most significant ancient city kingdoms of Cyprus which dates back to 1100 BC. According to mythology the site was founded by King Kiniras and it is here where Theseus left the pregnant Ariadne to be cared for after the battle with the Minotaur.

        Various attractions at the Amathus site include, the ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite and the Tombs dating back to the early Iron Age period of Graeco-Phoenician.

        A very important cult of Aphrodite-Astarte flourished here. Excavations have revealed part of the acropolis and agora areas as well as part of the upper and lower city. It is in Amathus that the world's largest stone vase was found which is now displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

        Address: Ancient Amathunta, Lemesos

        Winter hours (1st November - 31st March)

        Spring hours (1st April - 31st May)

        Summer hours (1st June - 31st August)

        Autumn hours (1st September - 31st October)

        Operating period: All year round

        Accessibility: Partly wheelchair accessible: only the lower town can be viewed.

        Амату́с (Амафу́нта)

        Амату́с (или Амафу́нта) [Amathus / Amathounta] был древним городом-государством на Кипре, недалеко от нынешнего города Лимассол. Это место располагается на береговой линии с прекрасным видом на Средиземное море на южной стороне Кипра, к востоку от Лимассола, недалеко от посёлка Агиос (Айос)Тихонас (Agios Tychonas).

        Согласно мифологии, основатель Аматуса был одним из сыновей Геракла - Аматус. Название Аматуса происходит от него или от нимфы Аматуса, матери короля Пафоса Кинираса.
        Фотo:Cyprus Aerial Photography

        Археологические исследования показали, что область Аматуса была населена, начиная с 11 века до нашей эры. Первоначально это был небольшой, построенный на укрепленном холме у моря, примерно в 8 веке до нашей эры, порт, который был расширен к эллинистическому периоду. В римские времена Аматус был известен храмом Афродиты и Адониса и был столицей административного округа, а благодаря преобладанию христианства он стал резиденцией епископа. Аматус процветал до 7 века нашей эры, а затем, вероятно, был оставлен из-за арабских набегов. Единственное, что несомненно, это то, что этот район был заселен не менее 3000 лет назад.
        Фотo: &Chi&rho&iota&sigma&tauί&nu&alpha &Nu&iota&kappa&omicron&lambdaά&omicron&upsilon Первые открытия в Аматусе были сделаны во времена франкского правления &ndash это были большие каменные сосуды, найденные в акрополе. В 1893-1894 годах под руководством британских археологов были проведены первые раскопки, а в 1930 году шведская миссия раскопала несколько древних гробниц. После получения Кипром независимости в 1960 году, Департаментом древностей была проведена серия раскопок, а с 1975 года Афинская французская археологическая школа предприняла еще одну серию раскопок в акрополе и других частях Аматуса.

        Археологические раскопки в области Аматуса, начатые в 1980 году кипрскими и французскими археологами, продолжаются до сегодняшнего дня. В морской воде видны цитадель, храм Афродиты, рынок, городские стены, базилика и древняя гавань.
        Фотo:Cyprus biodiversity

        Акрополь был естественной крепостью и в то же время функционировал как обсерватория, благодаря своему расположению (на холме). Есть некоторые нечёткие письменные ссылки древних времен и некоторые противоречивые археологические данные, согласно которым жители Аматуса были коренными аборигенами. Древний город Аматус пережил период большого процветания и имел прекрасные коммерческие отношения со своими соседями в архаический период.

        Имеются свидетельства, которые показывают, что в Аматусе также было несколько финикийских купцов. Во время восстания киприотов против персов, последовавших за Ионической революцией 499 года до нашей эры, Аматус поддерживал проперсидские отношения, что привело к его осаде повстанцами под руководством Онисилоса. Аматус был упразднен как царство, подобно царствам других городов Кипра во время эллинистического периода, 312/311 до н.э., с последующим присоединением Кипра к государству Птолемеев.

        Таким образом, акрополь был оставлен, и жизнь сосредоточилась в нижнем городе. Затем, во времена Антонина и Севериана, нижний город пережил временный подъем. В 4 веке нашей эры переход к христианству застал Аматус в упадке. Вероятно, он был окончательно оставлен в конце того же столетия, хотя и пережил первые арабские набеги в середине 7 века.

        Наиболее важными объектами и памятниками Аматуса являются:

        Базилики. В Аматусе есть 5 базилик. Самая старая из них - некропольская базилика Святого Тихона, построенная за стенами к востоку от города. Первая фаза строения памятника относится к концу 4 века и современна святому. Это небольшой одноэтажный храм, где проводились древнейшие христианские богослужения на Кипре. Вторая фаза восходит ко второй половине 5 века. Заключительная фаза здания, которая видна сегодня, - это франкский храм 14-го века. На вершине акрополя, на месте святилища Афродиты, есть вторая базилика, которая является трёхнефной, с нартексом и имеет внутренний дворик с двумя галереями. Несколько архитектурных деталей из Святилища (храма) Афродиты были использованы для строительства второй базилики, которая относится к концу 6-го или началу 7-го века. Из-за арабских набегов в последней четверти 7-го века, скорее всего, она прекратил свою деятельность. Небольшая трехнефная базилика у подножия акрополя, к западу от рынка была построена в 5 веке. Часть её северных стен была высечена в скале. Также на востоке римского рынка была раскопана большая трехнефная базилика с нартексом и внутренним двориком, но, к сожалению, сегодня она частично разрушена морем. Эта большая трехнефная базилика относится ко второй половине 5 века. Она была разрушена арабскими набегами в середине 7 века и была реконструирована чуть позже в том же веке. В восточной части восточного некрополя была построена пещерная часовня Айа (Агия) Варвара (часовня святой Варвары), а также небольшая пятинефная базилика, которая являлась частью монастыря.

        Дворец. Руины значительного комплекса, которые, как представляется, принадлежат королевскому дворцу Аматуса, расположены в южной части акрополя. Дворец был построен в 8 веке до н.э. Считается, что он был разрушен примерно в 300 г. до н.э. Часть раскопанного на сегодняшний день здания была идентифицирована как складские помещения дворца.

        Святилище (храм) Афродиты в Акрополе. У входа в святилище Афродиты были две большие монолитные вазы, относящиеся к 7 веку до н.э. Одна из этих ваз сохранилась до сегодняшних дней (2018) на исконном месте, а другая была передана Лувру в 1865 году. Храм Афродиты, который мы видим сегодня, относится к римскому периоду, а его руины занимают значительную часть некрополя. Храм Афродиты был построен на руинах более раннего эллинистического храма и сохраняет тип греческого храма. В 5 в. район вокруг южной части храма Афродиты использовался как место поклонения ранних христиан. Храм был разрушен в 6-7вв. до н. э., а на его месте была построена большая трехнефная базилика.
        Фотo : &Chi&rho&iota&sigma&tauί&nu&alpha &Nu&iota&kappa&omicron&lambdaά&omicron&upsilon

        Римский рынок и купальни (бани). Римский рынок занимает площадь нижнего города, расположенного к востоку от холма акрополя. Римский рынок был организован вокруг большой площади, вымощенной камнями. На южной стороне находится главная улица нижнего города. Остальные три стороны были заняты аркадами. К югу от рынка есть также общественная баня (купальня). Это здание состоит из здания с круглым корпусом и пристроек. Общественная баня и часть западного рынка относятся к эллинистическим временам. Оба являются самыми древними зданиями в районе Аматус. В центре рынка находился монументальный фонтан. На северо-западном углу самым важным зданием является большой фонтан или Нимфион. На востоке находятся римские бани, а на юго-востоке - греческие. К западу от рынка продолжаются раскопки в комплексе зданий, включающем административные здания, начиная с римского периода и до раннего христианства. Рынок был заброшен в 7 веке из-за арабских набегов.
        Фотo: &Chi&rho&iota&sigma&tauί&nu&alpha &Nu&iota&kappa&omicron&lambdaά&omicron&upsilon

        Гавань. Перед рынком была расположена внешняя гавань Аматуса. Даже сегодня (2018) её руины заметны в море. Она была построен в конце 4-го века до н.э. Деметрием Полиоркетом для защиты Аматуса в период конфликта с Птолемеями из-за претензий на власть на Кипре. Исследования показали, что гавань быстро ушла под воду, так что продолжительность её существования была недолгой. Имелась также внутренняя гавань, куда буксировали корабли, чтобы защитить от сильных ветров - между входом на археологический объект в области рынка и нынешней дорогой.
        Фотo: Google Earth

        Стены. Город Аматус был огорожен стенами со всех сторон, начиная с архаического периода. Стены были укреплены в эллинистическую эпоху, когда был построен порт. В настоящее время юго-западный угол приморской стены с западной башней и большая часть северной стены с башнями сохранились. Северная стена присоединена к подножию акрополя в самой высокой точке нижнего города. Центральные ворота служили входом в город. Новая стена была построена на вершине акрополя из-за разрушения прибрежной стены, вызванного землетрясением 365 года нашей эры, а в 7 веке в некоторых местах стены были укреплены в связи с арабскими набегами.
        Фотo: &Chi&rho&iota&sigma&tauί&nu&alpha &Nu&iota&kappa&omicron&lambdaά&omicron&upsilon

        Некрополи. Есть два обширных и важных некрополя с резными гробницами на востоке и западе города Аматус, относящихся к геометрическому и раннехристианскому периодам. Часть экспонатов, найденных в некрополях, выставлена сегодня (2018) в Лимассольском областном археологическом музее.
        Фотo: &Chi&rho&iota&sigma&tauί&nu&alpha &Nu&iota&kappa&omicron&lambdaά&omicron&upsilon

        Древний город Аматус в наши дни (2018) доступен для посещений и доступ очень прост, так как он расположен на главной дороге туристической зоны.

        Посетители имеют возможность осмотреть место и увидеть редкие археологические сокровища возрастом во много тысяч лет. Разнообразные артефакты были найдены в разных гробницах и относятся к архаическому, римскому и христианскому периодам.

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        Early history of the area Edit

        The earliest identified occupation within the Kouris River valley is at the hilltop settlement of Sotira-Teppes, located 9 km northwest of Kourion. [1] [2] This settlement dates to the Ceramic Neolithic period (c. 5500–4000 BCE). Another hilltop settlement from the same era has been excavated at Kandou-Kouphovounos on the east bank of the Kouris River. In the Chalcolithic period (3800–2300 BCE), settlement shifted to the site of Erimi-Pamboules near the village of Erimi. Erimi-Pamboules was occupied from the conclusion of the Ceramic Neolithic through the Chalcolithic period (3400–2800 BCE).

        In the Late Cypriot I-III (1600–1050 BCE), the settlements of the Middle Cypriot period developed into a complex urban centre within the Kouris Valley, which provided a corridor in the trade of Troodos copper, controlled through Alassa and Episkopi-Bamboula. In the MCIII-LC IA, a settlement was occupied at Episkopi-Phaneromeni. Episkopi-Bamboula, located on a low hill 0.4 km west of the Kouris and east of Episkopi, was an influential urban centre from the LC IA-LCIII. [4] [5] The town flourished in the 13th century BCE before being abandoned c.1050 BCE. [6] [7]

        Kingdom of Kourion Edit

        The Kingdom of Kourion was established during the Cypro-Geometric period (CG) (1050–750 BCE) though the site of the settlement remains unidentified. Without Cypro-Geometric settlement remains, the primary evidence for this period is from burials at the Kaloriziki necropolis, below the bluffs of Kourion. At Kaloriziki, the earliest tombs date to the 11th century BCE. (Late-Cypriot IIIB) with most burials dating to the Cypriot-Geometric II (mid-11th to mid-10th centuries BCE). These tombs, particularly McFadden's Tomb 40, provide a picture of an increasingly prosperous community in contact with mainland Greece. [8]

        Although Cyprus came under Assyrian rule, in the Cypro-Archaic period (750–475 BCE) the Kingdom of Kourion was among the most influential of Cyprus. Damasos is recorded (as Damasu of Kuri) as king of Kourion on the prism [9] (672 BCE) of Esarhaddon from Nineveh.

        Between 569 and ca. 546 BCE, Cyprus was under Egyptian administration.

        In 546 BCE, Cyrus I of Persia extended Persian authority over the Kingdoms of Cyprus, including the Kingdom of Kourion. During the Ionian Revolt (499–493 BCE), Stasanor, king of Kourion, aligned himself with Onesilos, king of Salamis, the leader of a Cypriot alliance against the Persians. In 497, Stasanor betrayed Onesilos in battle against the Persian general Artybius, resulting in a Persian victory over the Cypriot poleis and the consolidation of Persian control of Cyprus.

        In the Classical Period (475–333 BCE), the earliest occupation of the acropolis was established, though the primary site of settlement is unknown. King Pasikrates (Greek: Πασικράτης ) of Kourion is recorded as having aided Alexander the Great in the siege of Tyre in 332 BCE. Pasikrates ruled as a vassal of Alexander, but was deposed in the struggles for succession amongst the diadochi. In 294 BCE, the Ptolemies consolidated control of Cyprus, and Kourion came under Ptolemaic governance. [10]

        Roman history Edit

        In 58 BCE, the Roman Council of the Plebs (Consilium Plebis) passed the Lex Clodia de Cyprus, annexing Cyprus to the province of Cilicia. Between 47 and 31 BC, Cyprus returned briefly to Ptolemaic rule under Marc Antony and Cleopatra VII, reverting to Roman rule after the defeat of Antony. In 22 BC, Cyprus was separated from the province of Cilicia, being established an independent senatorial province under a proconsul.

        Under the Romans, Kourion possessed a civic government functioning under the oversight of the provincial proconsul. Inscriptions from Kourion attest elected offices that including: Archon of the City, the Council, Clerk of the Council and People, the Clerk of the Market, the various priesthoods including priests and priestesses of Apollo Hylates, and priesthoods of Rome.

        In the first to third centuries, epigraphic evidence attests a thriving elite at Kourion, as indicated by a floruit of honorific decrees (Mitford No.84, p. 153) and dedications, particularly in honour of the emperor, civic officials and provincial proconsuls. In the first and second centuries, Mitford suggests excessive expenses by the Council of the City and Peoples of Kourion on such honours, resulting in the sanctions and oversight of expenditures by the proconsul (Mitford 107), particularly during the Trajanic restorations of the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates.

        Local participation in the imperial cult is demonstrated not only by the presence of a high priesthood of Rome, but also the presence of a cult of Apollo Caesar, a veiled worship of Trajan as a deity alongside Apollo Hylates. Epigraphic honors of the imperial family are particularly notable during the Severan Dynasty in the late third and second century AD.

        As one of the most prominent cities in Cyprus, the city is mentioned by several ancient authors including: Ptolemy (v. 14. § 2), Stephanus of Byzantium, Hierocles and Pliny the Elder.

        During the Diocletianic Persecution, Philoneides, the Bishop of Kourion, was martyred. In 341 CE, the Bishop Zeno was instrumental in asserting the independence of the Cypriot church at the Council of Ephesus. In the later-4th century (c. 365/70), Kourion was hit by five strong earthquakes within a period of eighty years, as attested by the archaeological remains throughout the site, presumably suffering near complete destruction. [11] In the late fourth and early fifth centuries, Kourion was reconstructed, though portions of the acropolis remained abandoned. The reconstruction included the ecclesiastical precinct on the western side of the acropolis. In 648/9, Arab raids resulted in the destruction of the acropolis, after which the center of occupation was relocated to Episkopi, 2 km to the northeast. Episkopi was named for the seat of the Bishop (Episcopus). [10] [12] [13]

        The site of Kourion was identified in the 1820s by Carlo Vidua. In 1839 and 1849, respectively, Lorenzo Pease and Ludwig Ross identified the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates to the west of the acropolis. In 1874–5, Luigi Palma di Cesnola, then American and Russian consul to the Ottoman government of Cyprus, extensively looted the cemetery of Ayios Ermoyenis and the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates. [14] [15] Between 1882 and 1887 several unauthorized private excavations were conducted prior to their illegalization by British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Bulwer in 1887.

        In 1895, the British Museum conducted the first quasi-systematic excavations at Kourion as part of the Turner Bequest Excavations. [16] [17] P. Dikaios of the Department of Antiquities conducted excavations in the Kaloriziki Cemetery in 1933.

        Between 1934 and 1954, G. McFadden, B.H. Hill and J. Daniel conducted systematic excavations at Kourion for the University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania. Following the death of G. McFadden in 1953, the project and its publication stalled. The excavations of the Early Christian Basilica on the acropolis were continued by A.H.S. Megaw from 1974–9. [18] [19] [20]

        The Cyprus Department of Antiquities has conducted numerous excavations at Kourion including: M. Loulloupis (1964–74), A. Christodoulou (1971–74), and Demos Christou (1975–1998). [21]

        Between 1978 and 1984, D. Soren conducted excavations at the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, and on the acropolis between 1984 and 1987. D. Parks directed excavations within the Amathus Gate Cemetery between 1995 and 2000. [22] [23] [24] Since 2012, the Kourion Urban Space Project, under director Thomas W. Davis of the Charles D. Tandy Institute of Archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has excavated on the acropolis. [25]

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