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European Kingdoms

Ancient Greece



According to archaeological investigation and conjecture, in the Neolithic and Bronze ages the Cypriots had an advanced, Indo-European civilisation that had a written language. In subsequent centuries, seafaring and trading peoples from the Mediterranean countries set up scattered settlements along the coast. The first Mycenaean colony is believed to have been founded by traders from Arcadia about 1400 BC, but Mycenaean culture appeared at least two centuries before that. The recorded history of Cyprus began with the occupation of part of the island by Egypt. The Phoenicians began to colonise areas of the island from about 800 BC.

Beginning with the rise of Assyria during the eighth century BC, Cyprus was under the control of each of the empires that successively dominated the eastern Mediterranean. Assyrian authority was followed by Egyptian, then Persian. For almost a thousand years thereafter control of the island passed from empire to empire until a Crusader kingdom was set up in the twelfth century AD.

c.10,000 BC

Hunter-gatherers become active on the island, especially at two pre-Neolithic sites at Nissi Beach, at Ayia Napa, and on the Aspro water causeway in the Akamas. They probably reach Cyprus from the coast of the Levant, although this is disputed. It is quite possible that they bring domesticated animals with them, and perhaps even a few wild ones, such as foxes. Early cattle dies out during the eighth millennium and is not reintroduced until at least the Sotira culture period.

Early Cultures IndexAkrotiri Culture (Early Aceramic Neolithic)
c.9000 - 7000 BC

While the first true native culture to appear on Cyprus was the later Khirokitia culture, the Akrotiri phase covers earlier hunter-gatherer appearances. Theses seem to have been fitful, arriving and leaving as conditions warranted, and it was a long time before archaeologists were able to find any evidence at all of settlement before the Khirokitia. The Aceramic Neolithic on Cyprus differed greatly from other contemporary societies in Anatolia and the Levant, showing no signs of contact between the two. There was never a land bridge to connect Cyprus to the mainland, so all arrivals had to be by sea, limiting access. Additionally, due to the insular and fragile environment of an island, hunter-gather settlements could not have survived long term, and probably only visited for periods before returning to the mainland.

Following the Akrotiri phase, there is a gap of about a thousand years before the appearance of an Aceramic Neolithic culture (which has only recently been discovered). This new period is represented by negative architecture with pot holes and cuttings into the havara bedrock and is attested at five sites: Parekklisha-Shillourokambos, Kissonerga-Mylouthkia, Kalavasos-Tenta (Level 5), Akanthou, and Asprokambos. These sites demonstrate a preoccupation with wells and cuttings in the bedrock to access underground water channels. The material evidence has strong parallels with the Levant. Early farming communities migrated to Cyprus during this period and introduced domestic plants and animals (the discovery of a previously unknown farming site at Klimonas in 2012 further confirmed this). A large amount of obsidian from these sites also suggests overseas contact, most likely with Anatolia.

Overall, it seems that the Akrotiri culture saw hunter-gatherers visit briefly to exploit the island's resources, while after a gap of a millennium the Early Aceramic Neolithic saw a period of initial settlement of the island.

c.9000 BC

The earliest solid evidence of human activity on Cyprus comes from Akrotiri-Aetokremnos, a site on the southern-central coast of Cyprus at the very tip of the Akrotiri Peninsula. This is contemporary with the Nautufian period in the Levant as well as the Epi-Paleolithic. Akrotiri is a cave shelter at the top of a cliff, about fifty metres above sea level. There are four strata inside the shelter, two with cultural remains. The lowest stratum, Level 4, is found on a clean bedrock and is a mix of animal bones and ashy material, containing 99% of the entire site's material. The majority of the remains are pygmy hippopotami bones, with most of the others being those of pygmy elephants. Level 3 is sterile, showing a period of abandonment by humans. Level 2 shows evidence of stone tools and more animal remains. The site appears to be only periodically used, being abandoned and then re-occupied.

Coast of Cyprus
While the mountainous terrain may have been daunting to early visitors, the island would have provided fairly rich pickings in both pygmy game and Mediterranean fruits

c.7500 BC

The remains of an eight month-old cat are discovered by archaeologists in 2004, dated to this period. The cat had been buried alongside its human owner in a Neolithic burial site. This find pushes back the date for the beginnings of feline domestication considerably, and predates any such finds made in Egypt.

c.8200 BC

The first settled village communities of the Early Aceramic Neolithic Period start to appear, as early settlers begin to build more sophisticated forms of shelter. This progression in the adaptation of habitation also requires advances in storage and food preparation. These advances lead to the Khirokitia culture within a millennium.

Early Cultures IndexKhirokitia Culture (Late Aceramic Neolithic)
c.7000 - 5800 BC

This was the first native culture to arise on the island of Cyprus and is represented by the site which bears its name, along with about twenty others across the island. Otherwise known as the Recent Aceramic Neolithic Period (or Choirokoitia culture), the culture arose from a long process that had started with the island's inhabitation by hunter-gatherers around 10,000 BC. A settlement was formed at Khirokitia, about six kilometres from the south coast, on the steep slopes of a hill overlooking the River Maroni and enclosed by a wall (Wall 100 has been uncovered on the western side while the rest has been calculated). The constructions on the site were circular, with flat roofs in the form of a terrace. Several of these circular constructions would be grouped together around a small inner courtyard to form a house, and there would be an installation present to grind grain.

The site's inhabitants used flint or bone tools and receptacles made of stone or basketwork in their daily lives (being a pre-pottery people). They kept domesticated animals, hunted game and gathered wild fruit, and cultivated plants. Their dead were buried in pits cut into the floors of houses, and bodies were sometimes accompanied by necklaces or stone vessels. Excavations began on the site in 1936 and again in the 1970s, and have continued almost uninterrupted ever since, steadily uncovering the lives of these early Cypriots.

At a date that still seems to be uncertain, the north slope of the hill that forms Khirokitia is abandoned. Instead, the settlement is expanded towards the west and a new enclosure wall is built to encompass it (Wall 284, the line of which much has been calculated in relation to the uncovered section). The wall is up to two and-a-half metres (yards) thick and up to three metres (yards) in height.

Settlement at Khirokitia
The ancient site of Khirokitia sits alongside a modern recreation of the circular modules

c.5800 BC

The Khirokitia settlement is abandoned around this time for reasons unknown, and the culture leaves no obvious successor. It is reoccupied around eight hundred years later by the people of the Sotira culture. They know about pottery and have mastered the art of making it.

Early Cultures IndexSotira Culture (Ceramic Neolithic)
c.5000 - 4000 BC

The Sotira culture of Cyprus filled the gap left by the abandonment of Khirokitia culture sites. This particular culture appears to have formed about two centuries after the first influx of pottery on the island, brought in by a new wave of settlers who arrived around 5250 BC. Some sources place the rise of the Sotira at a later date, around 4500 BC, but most seem to agree that there was a gap of about five hundred years between the fall of the Khirokitia and the very first appearance of the Sotira. Despite evidence of settlers who brought new technologies and techniques with them, there is no evidence of any external trade. Social stratification is also difficult to ascertain during this comparatively short-lived period.

The culture gained its name through the examination of a typical site at Sotira-Teppes. Like most Ceramic Neolithic sites, this was located near the coast, on high ground which was easily defendable. Another key site is at Ayios Epiktitos-Vyrsi. Ceramic sites are only found on the east of the island, showing that these newcomers did not reach either the west or the Karpass Peninsula (the long 'finger' at the north-eastern corner of Cyprus). There were regional differences, and technical improvements as the culture progressed. Of the thirty villages known to have been home to the culture, only a few were still inhabited in the next period but, as with the Khirokitia before it, why the majority of Sotira sites were abandoned is not known.

c.5000 BC

Sotira culture appears on Cyprus, with settlements at sites such as Sotira-Teppes, Ayios Epiktitos-Vrysi (which has a series of semi-subterranean houses with sunken floors), Philia-Drakos (which also has subterranean chambers), Troulli, and Khirokitia (replacing the abandoned Khirokitia culture phase). There is evidence for the household production of pottery, in buildings that are primarily rectangular with rounded corners. Burials are extramural instead of under the floor of the house.

Ceramic pots on Cyprus
Pottery was first introduced into Cyprus around 5250 BC, giving birth to the Sotira culture

c.4000 BC

The settlement of forty-seven structures at Sotira-Teppes is abandoned around this time for reasons unknown. Again on Cyprus, the disappearance of this culture leaves no obvious successor. Some scholars argue for an island-wide gap in the archaeological record, while others envision a direct transition into the Early Chalcolithic. However, there is a dearth of knowledge of the Early Chalcolithic Period, from 4000-3500 BC, which hinders any understanding of the end of the Neolithic period and the beginning of the Chalcolithic period.

Early Cultures IndexErimi Culture (Chalcolithic Age)
c.4000 - 2500 BC

The advent of the Erimi culture began one of Cyprus' longest lasting periods, one which saw copper being used across the island and trade links being developed with the mainland. The island's population increased greatly, and clear signs of the development of social strata become apparent. The Cypro-Minoan script was introduced into this growing social structure, but it was one which still failed to leave any written evidence of its existence. While copper objects have been found by archaeologists, what isn't known is whether they were made on the island or imported, probably from Crete.

Pottery was of a fairly standardised form which was produced at a small number of sites on the western side of the island and exported across the rest of it. The poor soils were probably responsible for the appearance of seals and large storage vessels in houses, from which food could be distributed under central control. It seems likely that, although there are at least five possible origins for the name 'Cyprus', the island gained it from its rich veins of copper ('kuprios' in Greek, which was passed down into Latin).

It is also during this period that the greater area of the city of Pafos, which includes the later necropolis that is known as the Tombs of the Kings, is first inhabited. This is part of a flourishing culture on the west coast of Cyprus. Unfortunately the later intensive use of the area largely rubs out the Chalcolithic occupation layer. A loom weight has been found by archaeologists in the Northern Necropolis which bears eloquent witness to life at this time

(Additional information from Digging up the Tombs of the Kings, Sophocles Hadjisavvas (2014).)

c.3800 BC

The Early Chalcolithic period on Cyprus emerges out of a hazy crossover period from the previous Sotira culture in which the latter is abandoned and disappears without offering any direct continuity to the former. No fortifications or weaponry are known for this period, which is named after a settlement on the south coast, revealing a still-peaceful island which probably has little external contact other than through its limited trade routes. Settlements are of a variable size, but nothing approaching an urban centre has been found to date. Houses return to the rounded construction style of the Khirokitia culture, replacing the Sotira's rectangular style.

c.3500 BC

The Middle Chalcolithic sees the establishment of conventional settlement and funerary practices. The island would seem to be populated by tribes with regional chiefs in a moderately hierarchical structure. The Lemba Period I is the earliest Chalcolithic site with wall foundations, which confirms the use of the roundhouse style.

Khirokitia Culture houses
Erimi culture dwellings returned to the roundhouse pattern of their Sotira predecessors

c.2800 BC

The Late Chalcolithic sees the copper-using society on Cyprus being replaced by one which uses bronze. New burial practices are introduced, pottery styles, and settlement patterns, suggesting an influx of new, more advanced people who probably subjugate the natives.

Early Cultures IndexMapPhilia Culture (Early & Middle Bronze Age)
c.2500 - 1600 BC

The Philia culture was representative of a new phase of settlement on Cyprus, probably that of Indo-European arrivals via Anatolia. From about 2800 BC bronze began to replace copper and new burial practises appeared. These changes heralded the start of the Early Bronze Age, which lasted between 2500-1900 BC. Trade links were set up, and traders found important sources of copper on the island. Beginning around 2400 BC, prospectors from Anatolia brought with them new methods of house building, cooking, spinning, and weaving. Settling on Cyprus, they introduced cattle and the ox-drawn plough, creating an agricultural revolution. Ploughing brought new ground into use, which led to a boom in food production and the population increased rapidly. The new arrivals settled across the island, especially around the copper-rich foothills of the Troodos Mountains, and gradually blended into the existing population.

The Middle Bronze Age on Cyprus lasted between 1900-1600 BC and produced several styles of pottery. Bronze-work was advanced and trade flourished between the island and the Hittites in Anatolia, Minoan Crete, Egypt, and the city states of Syria. Cyprus was a vital source of copper for all of the major states of this period, and the island's culture flourished as a result of the rich trade. It is probably these extensive trade links that account for the foundation of new settlements on the east of the island. These gradually developed into early cities which acted as major trade hubs.

c.1900 BC

The Necropolis of Karmi, in Kyrenia in northern Cyprus, is probably brought into use from around this point and perhaps remains so for the remainder of the Middle Bronze Age. Archaeologists find a number of rich chamber tombs, and a crude relief of a human figure survives on an access wall, making it the earliest relief of a human figure discovered on the island to date.

Karmi necropolis
The necropolis at Karmi shows Bronze Age Cyprus at the height of its fortunes

c.1600 BC

Mycenaean culture appears on Cyprus, gradually displacing Minoan culture. The change heralds the start of the Late Bronze period on the island.

Early Cultures IndexLate Bronze Age
c.1600 - 1050 BC

The Late Bronze evolved out of the Middle Bronze period on Cyprus. It witnessed the end of Minoan influence on the island and the beginning of Mycenaean influence. It also saw disruption by the Hyksos, who commanded lower Egypt at the beginning of this period. The Hyksos may have launched raids against Cyprus from time to time. From about 1400 BC, the Mycenaean Greeks were freed from domination by Crete and they flourished, making much of the eastern Mediterranean a Greek sea. They arrived on Cyprus probably as merchants, introducing their culture and gradually displacing Minoan culture.

During the twelfth and eleventh centuries BC, several waves of Achaean Greeks settled on the island, bringing with them Greek language, religion, and customs. These migrants were escaping a Greece that was gradually being overrun by Doric invaders who eclipsed the Achaeans in their homeland. On Cyprus, and on many other islands in the eastern Mediterranean, they built new cities, such as Kition, Kourion, Paphos, and Salamis. The island was now an Hellenic domain, and for much of the period it was dominated by the island kingdom of Alashiya.

1580 BC

Egypt is freed from Hyksos rule by Pharaoh Kamose. Nubia is soon regained, and normal trade relations are subsequently restored between North Africa and Cyprus. Larger trading centres begin to flourish on the island, most notably at Enkomi, immediately to the north-west of the modern port of Famagusta.

Mycenaean cups
Mycenaean one-handled cups such as these examples appeared on Cyprus during the Late Bronze Age, when Achaean culture dominated parts of the eastern Mediterranean

1450 BC

Egypt takes control of Cyprus during the reign of Thutmose III, and the pharaoh imposes a land tax. It is around this time that the kingdom of Alashiya first emerges, perhaps as an Egyptian sub-kingdom or a reaction against Egyptian dominance. That dominance is brief, and the island soon regains its independence. The Cypriot Bronze Age continues with the island dominated by Alashiya.

MapKingdom of Alashiya / Alasiya (Enkomi) (Late Bronze Age)
c.1450 - c.1050 BC

The eastern Cypriot state of Alashiya (or Alasiya) appeared by the mid-fifteenth century BC, during the Late Bronze period on the island. It had a capital at Enkomi, immediately to the north-west of the modern port of Famagusta, approximately three kilometres (two miles) inland. Evidence points to it having controlled the entire island during at least part of its existence. A contributor to the Amarna letters, it played an important role in trade with the great states of the period, the Hittites, Mitanni, Egypt, Babylon and Elam, with goods being shipped from a prosperous port protected by massive stone walls. At least one of its rulers was counted amongst the great kings of the day, mainly because the island controlled the region's copper trade - vital to all the major states. Its coastline was subjected to various raids, however, notably by the tribal Lukka, and later by the Hittites.

(Additional information from Ancient Israel and Its Neighbours: Interaction and Counteraction. Collected Essays Vol 1, Nadav Na'aman, and from The Cambridge Ancient History, edited by I E S Edwards.)

c.1430s BC

Arzawa concludes a treaty with the Hittite king, Tudhaliya II (I). However, according to an internal Hittite memo, the 'Indictment of Madduwattas', by Tudhaliya's heir, Arnuwanda I, one Madduwattas appears to be in regular conflict with Kupanta-Kurunta from his Hittite-supported mountain kingdom of Zippasla in western Anatolia.

Regularly defeated by the Arzawan king, a Hittite army is moved into Zippasla to provide a permanent garrison. With the kingdom at last secure against Kupanta-Kurunta, Madduwattas apparently now decides that he is never again going to suffer such indignities as his many defeats. When Dalawa (Tlawa of the Lukka, classical Tlos) and Hinduwa rebel, Madduwattas suggests to the Hittite army commander, Kisnapili, that he takes Hinduwa while Madduwattas takes Dalawa. But while Kisnapili is on his way to Hinduwa, Madduwattas allies himself to Dalawa and, with its help, he ambushes and kills Kisnapili.

Subsequently he marries the daughter of Kupanta-Kurunta of Arzawa and then wins the Arzawan throne itself (the circumstances are unclear). Then he moves his capital into Arzawa proper and enlarges this state in its western Anatolian holdings. When Tudhaliya orders Madduwattas to put down a revolt in Happalla, he does so, but then forces Happalla to switch its loyalty to him. Then he bullies Pitassa into his kingdom, which brings Arzawa's borders even closer to the Hittite heartland. Under Tudhaliya's hapless successor, Arnuwandas I, Madduwattas even allies himself to his old foe, Attarsiyya of Ahhiyawa, and invades Alashiya. Madduwattas now holds the whole of western Anatolia.

fl 1430s BC


Defeated by Ahhiyawa. Fled to Hittites. Contested for Arzawa.

c.1420s BC

Attarsiyya of Ahhiyawa conquers Alashiya for himself, re-igniting the enmity between him and Madduwattas. The latter flees back to Anatolia, leaving the island of Cyprus briefly in Ahhiyawan hands. The Hittites under Arnuwanda soon take Alashiya for themselves however, but for how long they hold it is unknown.

c.1370s BC

The Lukka are mentioned in the Armana letters from Egypt, in which they are accused of attacking the Egyptians in conjunction with the Alashiyans. In their defence the latter state that the Lukka are seizing their villages.

fl 1360s BC


Name unknown.

The king refers to himself as the 'brother' of the Egyptian king in the Amarna letters, revealing the fact that he is considered to be a ruler of equal standing (and not literally his brother). The clay in the Amarna tablets that are sent by the Alashiyan king is a good match for that of Cyprus, further tying the kingdom to the island (a subject that had been a matter of some debate right up until the end of the twentieth century).

Tushratta tablet to Amenhotep III
The clay used to make tablets for those of the Amarna letters that were sent from Alashiya contained clay that can be matched closely to deposits on Cyprus

c.1250? BC

Later Hittite kings invade the kingdom and establish pro-Hittite rulers, but they never fully control the island. The harbour town of Bamboula thrives from this period until the eleventh century. It sits along a highway on the outskirts of the modern village of Episkopi, along the south-western coast of Cyprus and near the modern harbour town of Limassol. The area thrives in part because the overshadowing Troodos Mountains contain copper, and the river below is used to transport the mined materials. A nearby fortress may function to protect the urban economic centre further inland, which does not seem to be fortified.

fl c.1250 BC


Hittite vassal. Name(s) unknown.

1200 - 1195 BC

The Hittite empire is destroyed by the Kaskans and the Sea Peoples. Other important Hittite cities, such as Emar, also disappear after a period of troubles which are characterised by attacks by seaborne raiders. There may be a severe attack on Ugarit in around 1195 BC, as some sources date this as the city's last days.

fl c.1182 BC


King, or high steward/grand supervisor.

c.1182 BC

The king of Alashiya advises Ugarit to defend itself in the face of continuing attacks on Syria by the Sea Peoples. The advice comes too late and, with Ugarit's fleet away and probably lost, many sites in Alashiya are also sacked and burned, including Enkomi, Kition, and Sinda (perhaps twice) before being abandoned. A number of other sites are also abandoned, leaving behind hidden caches of wealth which suggest that their owners are enslaved or killed. This event separates the Late Cypriot (LC) II period from the LCIII period. However, despite this setback, the state is one of the few to actually recover and prosper during this period, perhaps due to the removal of Mycenaean dominance in the region. There is increased urban expansion and metal production, improved contacts with Egypt, the Levant, and the central Mediterranean.

fl c.1050 BC


A local queen, mentioned by Wenamun.

The kingdom is mentioned in the Chronicle of Wenamun, an eleventh-century Egyptian priest who journeys throughout the Levant. His vessel is blown off course between Byblos and Egypt, and when stepping foot on the island he records that he is almost killed by an angry mob, before being rescued by the town's 'princess', Habti.

Map of Canaan and Syria c.850 BC
When the Neo-Assyrian empire threatened the various city states of southern Syria and Canaan around 853 BC, they united to protect their joint territory - successfully it seems, at least for a time (click or tap on image to view full sized)

774 - 750 BC

The Phoenician city state of Tyre founds a trading colony on Cyprus called Kition (Latin Citium, or modern Larnaca which is nearby the site). The site had originally been founded as Kittim by Mycenaeans for copper mining purposes in the thirteenth century BC, but this had died out around two centuries later. It is the Phoenician settlement that creates a permanent town. Its sea port becomes a major trading centre until it is destroyed by an earthquake in AD 332. This date also marks the end of the Cypro-Archaic I period.

709 - 669 BC

The king of Tyre, Elulaios, petitions Sargon the Great, claiming that the kings of Cyprus are not paying the tribute that he feels he is owed. As a result, it seems that the Assyrian empire conquers the island for this reason alone. Assyrian inscriptions refer to Cyprus as Yadnana or Adnana. Three other inscriptions mention Sargon either in the third or first person (the translation is flexible) as the 'subduer of the seven kings of the land of Ia, a district of the land of Yadnana'. The use of 'seven kings' may be a stock phrase learned by the scribes during their schooling, and the individual names are not mentioned.

670s BC

There are ten vassal kings of Yadnana in this decade, shortly before it reclaims its independence, as detailed in the annals of Esarhaddon of Assyria. These vassals all participate in the building of the royal palace at Ninevah, although Assyria's control of the island is purely for profit and is fairly distant. Tribute is collected either by a resident overseer at Kition, the main Tyrian port, or by visiting representatives. No Assyrian-influenced artefacts ever seem to be erected on the island.

fl c.670s BC


Assyrian vassal king of Idalium (Assyrian Edi-al).

fl c.670s BC


Assyrian vassal king of Chytri (Assyrian Kitrusi).

fl c.670s BC


Assyrian vassal king of Salamis (uncertain)? (Assyrian SillŻa).

fl c.670s BC


Assyrian vassal king of Paphos (Assyrian Pappa).

fl c.670s BC


Assyrian vassal king of Soli (Assyrian Sillu).

fl c.670s BC


Assyrian vassal king of Curium (Assyrian KurÓ).

fl c.670s BC


Assyrian vassal king of Tamassus (Assyrian Tamesu).

fl c.670s BC


Assyrian vassal king of Ledrae (Assyrian Lidir).

fl c.670s BC


Assyrian vassal king of ? (Assyrian Nure).

fl c.670s BC


Assyrian vassal king of ? (Assyrian Kartihadast = New City).

Three of the kings are probably Pylagoras (uncertain, from the Assyrian Pil‚gura), Eteander (almost fully certain, from ItŻandar), and Damasus (from Damasu).

550 BC

Egypt re-occupies the island after the Assyrian collapse. Client kings continue to govern the city state of Salamis.

Kingdom of Salamis

Small Nav - Persian & Greek Empires

The Cypriot city of Salamis was to the immediate north of modern Famagusta, on the eastern coast, with the city state kingdom legendarily being founded by Teukros. Most of the client kings of this and the other Cypriot cities are relatively poorly documented. The first of them for Salamis (or at least the earliest-known) may have existed around the 670s BC, but the translation of an Assyrian inscription to produce the name Salamis is extremely uncertain and open to much deliberation.

During the late fifth century Persian occupation, Evagoras, pro-Hellenic ruler of the Cypriot city of Salamis, made the first recorded attempt to unify the many city states of Cyprus. In 391 BC Evagoras, with the aid of Athens, led a successful revolt against Persia and temporarily made himself master of the island. However, Cyprus soon became a Persian possession again.

(Additional information from Digging up the Tombs of the Kings, Sophocles Hadjisavvas (2014), from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), and from External Links: Encyclopśdia Britannica, and History Extra.)


Legendary founder of Salamis.

569 - 525 BC


First ruler following the Assyrian collapse.

525 BC

The Persians conquer Egypt in 525 BC, creating the 27th Dynasty, although according to the Behistun inscription of Darius the Great it is known to the Persians as Mudraya. Gaining Egypt also meant gaining Cyprus, as it seems to have been under Egyptian control for the previous half century. In fact, Herodotus mentions the Cypriots submitting voluntarily and sending ships to aid Cambyses. The Achaemenids also gains a host of Greek islands which are known collectively to them (as recorded on the Behistun inscription) as Yauna (Ionia to the Greeks).

fl c.525 BC


Persian vassal.

fl c.515 BC


Persian vassal.

500 - 499 BC


Persian vassal. Removed from office during the Ionian Revolt.

499 - 498 BC


In revolt against Persia.

499 - 494 BC

The Ionian Greeks of western Anatolia and the islands of the eastern Aegean who are under Persian hegemony now rise in the Ionian Revolt. The Carians join in and, with the Ionians being led by Aristagoras, tyrant of Miletus, they inflict heavy losses on the Persians. Similar revolts arise in Aeolis, Salamis, and Doris as the Greeks see a chance for freedom. Athens sends troops to aid the Ionian islands but the Persians gradually gain the upper hand and the revolt crumbles. Cyprus is taken about a year after joining the revolt and Gorgos is restored to his position as ruler of Salamis.

498 - 480 BC


Restored, and later declared independence from Persia.

480 - 479 BC

FeatureInvading Greece in 480 BC, the Persians subdue the Thracian tribes, and they join his forces, all except the Satrai, precursors to the Bessoi, who refuse to succumb. The Macedonians are also subdued but continue to supply aid in the war against the Persians. Then the vast army of the Persian King Xerxes makes its way southwards and is swiftly engaged by Athens and Sparta in the Vale of Tempe. The Persians are subsequently stymied by a mixed force of Greeks led by Sparta at Thermopylae. (These events are depicted somewhat colourfully - but no less impressively for that - in the 2007 film, 300.)

Athens, as the leader of the coalition of city states known as the Delian League, then defeats the Persian navy at Salamis, and after Xerxes returns home, his army is decisively defeated at the Battle of Plataea and kicked out of Greece. (The naval battles of Artemisium and Salamis are shown to superb graphic effect in the 2014 sequel film, 300: Rise of an Empire, although it does contain a great many historical inaccuracies.)

480 - 465 BC


Freed of Persian vassalage in 478 BC.

465 - 450 BC



fl c.450 BC


? - c.415 BC


Name unknown, and of Phoenician origin.

c.415 BC

The Phoenician ruler of Salamis is killed by Abdemon, who rules both Salamis and Tyre. Evagoras, who is a Cyprian Greek, is forced to leave the island at the same time, heading into exile on Soloi.

c.415 - 411 BC

Abdemon / Avdimon

King of Salamis & Tyre, and of Phoenician origin.

411 BC

Evagoras returns to Salamis with his followers and deposes Abdemon. As a descendant of the island's old Greek royal family which claims descent from Ajax' brother, Teucer, Evagoras is a worthy candidate. He declares independence from Persia and unifies Cyprus. He also retains control of the Phoenician city of Tyre.

Coins issued by Evagoras
Shown here are the two sides of a silver coin which was issued by the Cyprian Greek King Evagoras during his Athenian-supported rebellious reign of Salamis

411 - 374 BC

Evagoras I / Eugoras

King of Salamis & Tyre.

c.410 BC

The city state of of Amathus has been independent since about 450 BC, with at least one unknown king prior to Timonax. Located on the south coast near modern Limassol, it is now absorbed by Salamis.

381 - 374 BC

Evagoras miscalculates his advantage in a naval battle against the Persians, and the commander, Glos, wins a great victory. Persia effectively regains control of Cyprus in 381 BC after ten years of effort, and Salamis is besieged. Evagoras sues for peace (probably in 380 BC) and manages to negotiate a continuation of his position as (client) king of Salamis, apparently also continuing to rule the entire island. In 374 BC he is murdered by a eunuch who is seeking revenge for personal reasons. From this point, the city of Amathus is given its own governors.

374 - 368 BC


368 - 351 BC

Evagoras II

351 BC

Very shortly after his accession as dynastic satrap of Kark‚, Idrieus is required to assemble troops for an invasion of Cyprus. Once again the Cypriot king has rebelled against Persian authority. Despite not quite having the iron nerve of his late brother, Idrieus and an Athenian general work together to stifle the uprising.

351 - 332 BC


334 - 333 BC

Pamphylia in Anatolia is conquered by Alexander the Great's Greek empire. A friend of Alexander, Nearchus is appointed satrap of Lycia and Pamphylia in 333 BC, being responsible for the ports in southern Anatolia. This forces the Persian navy to sail across open waters between Cyprus and the Aegean Sea. The Persian commanders Memnon of Rhodes and Pharnabazus are active in Aegean waters in 333 BC but receive no reinforcements, possibly due to Nearchus' efforts.

332 - 310 BC

Alexander the Great forces take control of Cyprus, although the island's various client kings are retained, including Pnytagoras. The sub-king provides Alexander with great service in naval actions before the city of Tyre. His own quinquereme is sunk during the action, although he survives and is granted an extension of his kingdom as a result.

331 - 310 BC


Son. Forced to commit suicide by Ptolemy I of Egypt.

312 BC

The town of Marion is destroyed by Ptolemy Soter, and the population is transferred to the recently-founded city of Pafos. The growth of the city and the erection of its fortifications, a direct consequence of the events that follow the death of Alexander the Great, are instrumental to the removal of cemeteries to some distance outside the walls.

310 - 306 BC


Last king of Salamis, claimed independence during Greek wars.

306 - 301 BC

Cyprus falls under the control of the Empire of Antigonus. When Antigonus is killed at the end of the Fourth War of the Diadochi, the island again becomes an Egyptian possession, under the Ptolemies of Egypt.

The port city of Nea or New Pafos, founded either by Nikocles or Nicocreon (sources seem confused) and sometimes given a date of 320 BC, now becomes the seat of government, replacing Salamis thanks to its good harbour and easy access to Alexandria. It is here that the Ptolemies install a strategos (governor-general) who rules on their behalf. serving as commander-in-chief, high priest, and admiral of the fleet. A circle of non-Cypriots close to the royal family govern the island from the luxury villas and administrative centres of Nea Paphos. In time they come to be buried in the great rock-cut cemeteries that spread out from the city walls, put to rest in great atrium-style house tombs just like those found in Alexandria and Cyrene.

170 - 168 BC

Antiochus IV of the Seleucid empire mounts a pre-emptive attack on Egypt, triggering the Sixth Syrian War. Pelusium is taken after the first battle and much of Egypt is occupied in 169 BC. Urged on by the citizens of Alexandria, the siblings of Ptolemy VI of Egypt - Ptolemy VII and Cleopatra II - form a rival government. Ptolemy VI joins them and the war is re-ignited. Early in 168 BC, Antiochus captures Cyprus from them and re-invades Egypt, but Rome orders Antiochus out of Egypt. Humiliated, he does so, but maintains his territorial holdings outside of Egypt.

Macedonian (Ptolemaic) Cyprus

Small Nav - Persian & Greek Empires


132 - 131 BC

Cleopatra II makes the most of an Alexandrine revolt against her cousin-husband, Ptolemy Euergetes. he and Cleopatra III flee to Cyprus while she is left in sole command in Egypt. Ptolemy Memphitis is the son of both parties, named after the location of his birth. He is proclaimed pharaoh by Cleopatra II. Ptolemy Euergetes still manages to have him killed and cut into quarters, with the remains being sent to Cleopatra. Civil war ensues, along with a general collapse of central government.

? - 116 BC

Philometer Soter / Ptolemy IX

Egyptian governor of Cyprus. Became co-ruler in Egypt.

116 BC

The death of Ptolemy Euergetes ends a highly eventful and unsettled period of Ptolemaic history in Egypt. His nominated successors are Cleopatra III and one of her sons, with the choice of which of them being hers. She prefers the younger of them, Alexander, but the Alexandrines want Philometer Soter, current governor of Cyprus. She reluctantly complies, and Philometer becomes Ptolemy IX, while Alexander takes his place on Cyprus.

116 - 114 BC

Ptolemy X Alexander I

Egyptian governor of Cyprus. Involved in Seleucid civil war.

115 - 113 BC

Antiochus IX, a son of Cleopatra Thea and her marriage to Antiochus VII, attempts to seize the Seleucid throne. He gains an army in 115 BC when he marries Cleopatra IV, who has just learned that her husband, Ptolemy Soter, has divorced her. He revolts against his half-brother, occupying southern Syria. In 112 BC Antiochus VIII defeats his opponents, and Cleopatra IV is captured and killed. However, later in the same year Antioch is again in the hands of Antiochus VIII. Both Seleucid rulers now find allies (or further allies) in Egypt, with Antiochus VIII being joined by Ptolemy Alexander, governor of Cyprus, and Antiochus IX being supported by Ptolemy Soter Lathyros.

114 - 107 BC

Ptolemy X Alexander I

Restored as governor? Co-ruler in Egypt (110-109 BC).

107 - 89 BC

Ptolemy IX Soter II Lathyros

Egyptian governor of Cyprus. Co-ruler in Egypt (109-107/88-81 BC).

89 - 88 BC

With Ptolemy Soter being restored as co-ruler of Egypt by Cleopatra III, Cyprus remains under his command as governor until Ptolemy Alexander succeeds him on the island.

88 BC

Ptolemy X Alexander I

Retook control. Co-ruler in Egypt (107-88 BC). Killed in battle.

88 - 80 BC

Cyprus is seemingly controlled directly by Egypt during the restored reign of Ptolemy IX Lathyros. His death in 81 BC sees him succeeded by his daughter, Berenice III. In 80 BC she is forced to marry Ptolemy Alexander II, and then is murdered on his orders just nineteen days later. Ptolemy Alexander II himself rules for just eighty days before being lynched by his subjects for killing the popular Berenice.

To ensure continuity of succession and also civil order, Egyptian nobles invite two of Ptolemy Lathyros' illegitimate sons to return from exile in Pontus. The eldest takes the throne as Ptolemy Auletes while the younger becomes (seemingly) king of Cyprus rather than governor (all that is now left of Egypt's former empire). The succession is even more important than usual because Ptolemy Alexander II has willed Egypt to Rome, although the Senate is unwilling to take it on.

80 - 58 BC

Ptolemy of Cyprus

Egyptian king of Cyprus. brother of Ptolemy XII Auletes. Suicided.

58 BC

Ptolemy of Cyprus has made the mistake of angering Rome by not gaining its confirmation of his position as king and also by not aiding Publius Clodius Pulcher when he is captured by Cilician pirates. Pulcher becomes tribune in 58 BC, and uses Roman law to drive out Ptolemy and create a Roman province from Cyprus. Ptolemy refuses to submit despite being completely unprepared to resist a Roman invasion, and instead commits suicide. Back in Egypt, the lack of response by Ptolemy's brother encourages a popular revolt which drives him out.

AD 332

The rich trading port of Kittim (or Citium to Latin speakers) is destroyed by an earthquake.

Palestinian bracelets
Two bangles of dark glass which were possibly made in Palestine were discovered on Cyprus, and they have been dated to between AD 200-300

AD 383

It comes under Byzantine control at the division of the Roman empire.

647 - 649

The island is commanded by the Arab empire. Salamis is sacked by the invaders, never to be rebuilt.

649 - 653

Cyprus falls under Byzantine control again.

653 - 680

The island is again commanded by the Arab empire. In 680, the Byzantine empire reclaims it and for the most part manages to hold onto it until the twelfth century. Between this point and the mid-tenth century, a treaty agrees that tax revenues generated by the island are divided between the Byzantines and the Islamic empire.


The island is conquered by the Arabs for the Islamic empire, who sack and destroy Salamis.


The Byzantine empire recovers Cyprus.

fl 965

Vikram the Armenian

Byzantine governor of Cyprus.

1040 - 1042

Theophilos Erotikos

Byzantine governor of Cyprus.


Theophilos leads a rebellion against Byzantine control of the island. He is captured by loyalists and is taken to Constantinople, where he is publicly humiliated in the Hippodrome. His estates and money are confiscated, but Theophilos is set free after his public humiliation.

c.1093 - 1112

Eumathios Philokales

Byzantine governor of Cyprus, Peloponessus & Megas Doux.


Agios Neophytos Monastery is founded by Neophytos when he flees into the hills of Cyprus following a jail term for his pursuit of an ascetic life. He finds a small, natural cave and begins to hollow it out. Some time later he is persuaded to take a pupil by the bishop of Paphos. He eventually gains between fifteen and eighteen monks at the monastery, although his strict avoidance of outside bother or disturbance keeps the number from climbing much above this.

Agios Neophytos Monastery on Cyprus
The Holy, Royal and Stavropegic Monastery of Saint Neophytos (the Recluse) was founded in 1159 by a hermit who was looking for a quiet life

1185 - 1191

Isaac Komnenos

Byzantine governor of Cyprus. Self-titled emperor of Cyprus.

1191 - 1192

Fresh from freeing his sister from the clutches of Tancred on Sicily, King Richard of England arrives on Cyprus to free his intended bride from the clutches of Isaac. The ship carrying Princess Berengaria of Navarre had been forced to put in during a storm, on its way to join Richard's forces in the Third Crusade. Isaac has already seized and plundered two wrecked crusader ships, but this time he has picked the wrong adversary. Richard storms and takes Limassol, marries Berengaria in the chapel of St George, and proceeds to conquer the entire island with the help of Guy de Lusignan shortly after the latter's arrival on the island from Jerusalem. The island remains under the control of the Knights Templar and Guy de Lusignan.

Christian Kingdom of Cyprus
AD 1192 - 1489

On his way to the Third Crusade in Outremer, Richard the Lionheart of England seized Cyprus from the Byzantine empire and sold it to the king and queen of Jerusalem, who were by this time residing at Acre. Guy de Lusignan was his vassal anyway, thanks to his lands in Poitiers which was part of Richard's Angevin empire. But Richard wanted him kept away from Poitiers thanks to his family's reputation for rebelliousness. The island would serve as a highly important supply base for the campaigns on the mainland, protected by superior European ships from any thought of attack by the forces of Saladin.

1192 - 1194

Guy of Lusignan

King of Jerusalem (1186-1192) with Sibylla, his wife.

1192 - 1193

The choice of Conrad de Montferrat as king of Jerusalem at Acre is a contentious one. Despite being a major player in the Third Crusade and being the rightful successor to the throne through his marriage to Isabella, younger sister of Queen Sibylla, Conrad is opposed by Richard of England. However, all the barons support Conrad, as do his cousins, Leopold V of Austria and Philip II of France.

Satisfied, Philip returns home, meaning that Richard is now the leader of the Third Crusade. Manoeuvring politically against Richard for supremacy, Conrad is attacked in the street by assassins and dies of his wounds. Richard himself leaves the Holy Land, to be captured and imprisoned by Leopold of Austria. The pregnant Isabella, now heir to the throne of Jerusalem by near-universal agreement, is quickly married off to Henry de Champagne.

1194 - 1205

Amalric I de Lusignan

Almaric II of Jerusalem (1197-1205).

1205 - 1218

Hugh I

1218 - 1253

Henry I of Cyprus

1253 - 1267

Hugh II of Cyprus

1267 - 1284

Hugh III of Cyprus

King of Jerusalem (1269-1284).

1284 - 1306

Cyprus is united with the kingdom of Jerusalem.

Christian kingdom-era bowl
Items made on Cyprus after it was seized by Crusader forces show Byzantine influences, such as this earthenware bowl which was decorated with characteristic incised designs

1284 - 1285

John I

King of Jerusalem.

1285 - 1306

Henry II

King of Jerusalem, which was lost at this time.

1306 - 1310

Amalric II of Tyre

Usurped Henry II. Father of Guy of Armenia.

1310 - 1324

Henry II


1324 - 1359

Hugh IV

Hugh II of Jerusalem.

1359 - 1369

Peter I

1369 - 1382

Peter II

1382 - 1398

James I

1398 - 1432



Janus attacks Egypt. Unable to capture the island, Egypt nevertheless forces the Cypriots to acknowledge the overlordship of Sultan Barsbay.

1432 - 1458

John II

1458 - 1464

Queen Charlotte

1464 - 1473

James II the Bastard


1473 - 1474

James III


1474 - 1489

Queen Caterina Cornaro

Wife of James II. d.1510.


Cyprus is handed over to the republic of Venice by Queen Caterina, although the kingdom, and those of Armenia and Jerusalem, continues to be claimed by the House of Savoy through Duke Charles I, relative and successor to the titles of the deposed Queen Charlotte.

1489 - 1491


Name(s) unknown.

1491 - 1493

Hieronimus Pisauro

1493 - 1506


Name(s) unknown.


Although the titular claim to Cyprus and Jerusalem has legally passed out of the hands of the Savoyards, Charles decides to perpetuate Duke Philibert's claim to them, as does his successors. The true heirs are the lords of La Tremoille, princes of Talmond and Taranto.

1506 - 1508

Cristoforo Moro

fl 1525

Francesco Bragadino

1556 - ?

Giovanni Battista Donŗ

Father of Venetian Doge Leonardo Donŗ delle Rose (1606-1612).

? - 1570

Niccolo Dandolo

Killed in the Ottoman siege of Nicosia.

1570 - 1571

Marco Antonio Bragadino

Captain-general of Famagusta. Last (unofficial) governor.

1570 - 1573

With the death of Niccolo Dandolo during the siege of Nicosia, Bragadino, the de facto captain-general of Famagusta, takes command of the Venetian defence of Cyprus. When the invading Ottomans finally capture Famagusta, they seize Bragadino and flay him alive. Cyprus is subsumed by the Ottoman empire and walis (governors) are appointed to administer the island.

Colonial Cyprus (Ottoman Empire / British Empire)
AD 1571 - 1960

(Additional information from External Link: World Statesmen.)

1571 - 1572

Koca Sanan Pasha 'the Great'

Ethnic Albanian. Former governor of Egypt. Returned there.


Hadim Hafiz Ahmed Pasha

Later governor of Egypt. Died 1613.

1581 - 1582

Koca Sanan Pasha 'the Great'

Second term of office. Later in Damascus.


The capable Koca Sanan Pasha leaves Cyprus for the final time to serve once again as governor of Egypt, which also appears to coincide with him being governor in Damascus in 1586. He has also served once as Ottoman grand vizier, and does so a further four times between 1589 and his sudden death to natural causes in 1596. He is sometimes accused of helping fellow ethic Albanians at the expense of other Ottomans.

1702 - 1715

Spain is involved in the War of Succession as Austria, Britain, and Portugal dispute the Bourbon accession. The conclusion of the war sees Spain giving up Milan, Naples, Sardinia, and the Spanish Netherlands (modern Belgium) to Austria, and Sicily to the duchy of Savoy. The Papal States are forced to hand over the territories of Parma and Piacenza to Austria, a definite blow to the papacy's prestige. Philip, duke of Anjou, is recognised as the Bourbon King Philip V of Spain, but only on the condition that the Bourbon crowns of Spain and France can never be united under a single ruler. Savoy's claim to the crowns of Cyprus, Armenia, and Jerusalem are now legally confirmed by France and Spain, both of which had also claimed them since 1499.


Muhammad (Rami) Pasha

Later governor of Egypt (1704).


The Berlin Congress of 1878 is held between the main European powers as they decide how to deal with the 'sick man of Europe' - the ailing Ottoman empire. Britain is opposed to the Russian desire to dismantle the empire entirely, but does agree to French domination in Tunisia in exchange for unopposed governance of Cyprus. The island is leased to Britain as a result of the Cyprus Convention, which confirms British control in return for support of the Ottoman empire in the Russo-Turkish War.


The island is formally annexed by Britain in the run-up to the First World War, as the Ottoman empire has already joined the German-led Central Powers.


Cyprus achieves independence from Britain, becoming a Commonwealth republic the following year. Britain retains administrative authority over the districts of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

Modern Cyprus
AD 1960 - Present Day

With a strategically-important location in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus has spent much of recorded history being occupied by various major powers. Today its independent republic governs two-thirds of an island which is largely peaceful after a tense and destabilising period in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The island is neighboured across the waters of the Mediterranean by Turkey to the north, Syria to the east, Lebanon and Israel to the south-east, Egypt to the south, and the islands of Greece (especially Crete and Rhodes) to the west.

Emerging from its Bronze Age, Cyprus was controlled by the state of Alashiya from the mid-fifteenth century BC. It played an important and prosperous role in trade with the great states of the period. The island controlled the region's copper trade - vital to all the major states - so it was subject to invasion and occupation. In the first millennium BC another powerful Cypriot state emerged in the form of Salamis, but this was the last of the native states. The age of great empires meant that it was occupied by Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. Then, on his way to the Third Crusade in Outremer, Richard the Lionheart of England seized Cyprus and sold it to the king and queen of Jerusalem. The island would serve as a highly important supply base for Crusader campaigns, but its lingering decline meant that it was eventually taken by the Ottoman empire.

In turn, Ottoman decline saw the British control it and seize it from 1878 and 1913 respectively. British governance was less intrusive than perhaps previous masters had been. Following the conclusion of the Second World War British colonial possessions were gradually given independence. On Cyprus, between 1955-59, the EOKA was created by Greek Cypriots to encourage 'enosis' (the island's union to mainland Greece) by means of guerrilla warfare against the British. Instead, in 1960 the islanders were presented with an independent republic of their own. Sadly, attempts to govern it on an equal basis between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot populations quickly proved impossible, and the island has remained divided ever since.

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from Ancient Israel and Its Neighbours: Interaction and Counteraction, Nadav Na'aman (Collected Essays Vol 1), from The Cambridge Ancient History, edited by I E S Edwards, from Civil-military relations, nation building, and national identity: comparative perspectives, Constantine Panos Danopoulos (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004), and from Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive, Vincent Morelli (Diane Publishing, 2011).)

1960 - 1964

The 1960 constitution enables a type of power-sharing government which makes concessions to the Turkish Cypriot minority to ensure a peaceful transition to republic. Archbishop Makarios III of the Church of Cyprus becomes the island's first president. However, one of the constitution's articles involves the creation of separate local municipalities so that Greek and Turkish Cypriots are together able to manage their own municipalities in large towns. In reality the opposite seems to happen, with internal rivalries generating fully-fledged armed fighting between the island's two communities The United Nations is forced into sending in a peacekeeping force in 1964, although it generally proves to be powerless.

Nicosia being bombed in 1974
The failure by Greek and Turkish Cypriots to cooperate in 1964 led directly to the 1974 bloodshed which involved a Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus and the bombing of Nicosia shown here


The Battle of Tylliria involves Greek Cypriot forces storming the Turkish-held Kokkina enclave. Mainland Turkey immediately intervenes militarily, launching air strikes against the Greek forces, although Soviet pressure prevents the Turks from going any further. Four days later the battle draws to a close, with the Kokkina enclave having been reduced to a little under half of its original size.

1974 - 1975

With the Turkish Cypriots having emerged from their enclaves in 1973, the violence has been renewed between them and Greek Cypriots. Now an attempted Greek Cypriot coup is sponsored by the mainland Greek military junta. President Makarios is overthrown and the goal of forcibly unifying the island is pursued. Turkey invades the island and occupies the north-eastern third of its territory. Hundreds of thousands of Cypriots are displaced by the invasion. In 1975 the occupied territory is organised into a de facto state by the name of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus.


On 15 November 1983 the name of the Turkish-occupied north-eastern third of the island is changed to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Only Turkey recognises its existence, with all other nations still considering the territory to be part of the republic of Cyprus.

2002 - 2004

The United Nations begins a fresh round of negotiations with the intention of enabling the reunification of the island. A unification plan finally emerges in 2004, supported by United Nations, European Union, and United States. The nationalists on both sides campaign for the plan to be rejected so that, while unconvinced Turkish Cypriots accept it, Greek Cypriots unanimously reject it.

In the same year - 2004 - the republic of Cyprus becomes a member of the European Union. It adopts the euro as its currency on 1 January 2008, replacing the previously-used Cypriot pound (introduced by the British in 1879 and equal to the British pound sterling until 1972). Northern Cyprus continues to use the Turkish lira.