None Cypro Archaic Period: 750 – 475 BC

Cypro Archaic Period

This was a prosperous  and productive period in Cyprus, despite being conquered by other empires.  Populations and literacy increased, along with monumental architecture and a ruling class who indulged in luxury and ostentation.

Early in the Archaic period Phoenicia called on Assyria (to whom they paid tribute) to help their Cypriot colony of Kition against the Greek Cypriots. As a maritime power they shipped an Assyrian army to Cyprus. The whole island ended up paying tribute to Assyria. However, under the Assyrians (709-663 BC) Cyprus remained largely independent. Then, after a short period of actual independence they had to submit in 570BC to the Egyptian Ahmose II and pay tribute, but still remained relatively independent. In 526 the Persians, having conquered Egypt, took over Cyprus and by the start of the 5th Century Cyprus was fully absorbed into the Persian empire.  The 10 kingdoms continued, however, until the late 4th century BC.

During this period Cyprus flourished and and traded widely.  Their wares still show Greek influence, but now also influence from the Phoenicians and, to some extent, the Egyptians, while Cypriot influence was also felt abroad.Goods, including pottery was exported to the Aegean and Levant.

The chief pottery styles continued from the Geometric period.  The West coast particularly favoured the Geometric decoration, featuring concentric circles, while the East favoured figurative, floral or animal designs (occasionally introducing the human figure).  Plain white or Red slip vessels show Phoenician influence from Kition.  Many, usually quite crude, pottery figurines exist from this period, many depicting everyday life.  Though some come from tombs, most were votive offerings from shrines which became common in this period though also existing in the Geometric period. The figures were offerings, often depicting the donor or priest figures, some referring back to the Mycenaean style Psi figures found in the Geometric period, in the position of worship with arms raised. There is also much finer sculpture which relates to archaic Greek style but often with protruding almond shaped eyes.  However Cyprus had no marble and these are normally carved from limestone which cannot accept the level of finish and detail which marble allows.