Was Cyprus Part of Ancient Greece?

Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. But was Cyprus part of ancient Greece? The answer to this question is not straightforward and requires a deeper understanding of the island’s past.

The Early History of Cyprus

The first human settlements in Cyprus date back to the 10th millennium BC. Throughout its early history, the island was colonized by various empires and civilizations such as the Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, and Romans. It wasn’t until 58 BC that Cyprus became a province of the Roman Republic.

Cyprus under Greek Influence

Although Cyprus was not part of ancient Greece, it was heavily influenced by Greek culture and civilization. In fact, many Greek myths mention Cyprus as the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. The Greeks also established many colonies on the island during their expansion in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Hellenistic Period

The Hellenistic period marked a significant influence of Greek culture on Cyprus. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, his empire was divided among his generals. Ptolemy I Soter became ruler of Egypt and Cyprus came under his control in 294 BC.

During this period, Greek language and culture flourished on the island. Many cities were founded, including Paphos which became an important religious center dedicated to Aphrodite.

Roman Rule

In 58 BC, Rome annexed Cyprus as a province. However, Greek influence continued to be strong on the island throughout Roman rule. In fact, many important figures in Roman history such as Cicero and Julius Caesar visited Cyprus for its cultural significance.

Cyprus Today

Today, Cyprus is an independent country that has been inhabited by many different civilizations throughout its long history. Greek and Turkish are the official languages, and the island is divided into two parts – the Greek Cypriot south and the Turkish Cypriot north.

In conclusion, while Cyprus was not part of ancient Greece, Greek culture and civilization have had a significant impact on the island throughout its history. From myths to language and architecture, Cyprus has been shaped by Greek influence.