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Salamis, Cyprus

SALAMIS, CYPRUS, the principal city of ancient Cyprus, situated on the east coast a little north of the river Pedias (Pediaeus). It had a good harbour, well situated for commerce with Phoenicia, Egypt and Cilicia, which was replaced in medieval times by Famagusta (Ammochostos), and is wholly silted now. Its trade was mainly in corn, wine and oil from the midland plain (Mesaoria),and in salt from the neighbouring lagoons. Traditionally, Salamis was founded after the Trojan War (c. 1180 B.C.) by Teucer from Salamis, the island off Attica, but there was an important Mycenaean colony somewhat earlier. The spoils of its tombs excavated in 1896 are in the British Museum.

A king Kisu of Silna (Salamis) is mentioned in a list of tributaries of Assur-bani-pal of Assyria in 668 B.C., and Assyrian influence is marked in the fine terra-cotta figures from a shrine at Toumba excavated in 1890-1891. The revolts of Greek Cyprus against Persia in 500 B.C., 386-380 B.C. and 352 B.C. were led respectively by kings Onesilaus, Evagoras (q.v.) and Pnytagoras, who seem to have been the principal Hellenic power in the island. In 306 Demetrius Poliorcetes won a great naval victory here over Ptolemy I. of Egypt. Under Egyptian and Roman administration Salamis flourished greatly, though under the Ptolemaic priest-kings and under Rome the seat of government was at New Paphos (see PAPHOS). But it was greatly damaged in the Jewish revolt of A.D. 116-117; '* also suffered repeatedly from earthquakes, and was wholly rebuilt by Constantius II. under the name Constantia. There was a large Jewish colony in Ptolemaic and early Roman times, and a Christian community founded by Paul and Barnabas in A.D. 4546. Barnabas was himself a Cypriote, and his reputed tomb, discovered in A.D. 477, is still shown, a little inland, near the monastery of Ai Barnaba. St Epiphanius was archbishop A.D. 367-402. The Greek city was destroyed by the Arabs under the Caliph Moawiya in 647, and does not seem to have revived. In later times the site was plundered for the building of Famagusta; it is now covered by sandhills, and its plan is imperfectly known. The market-place and a few public buildings were excavated in 1890-1891, but nothing of importance was found.

See W. H. Engel, Kypros (Berlin, 1841 : classical allusions) ; J. A. R. Munro and H. A. Tubbs, Journ. Hellenic Studies, xii. 59 ff., 298 ff. (site and monuments); British Museum, Excavations in Cyprus (London, 1900; Mycenaean tombs); G. F. Hill, Brit. Mus. Cat. Coins of Cyprus (London, 1904; coins). (J. L. M.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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