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John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985

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Bronze Age

BRONZE AGE (2500 - 1050 BC)

The Bronze Age is subdivided into the early (2500-1900 BC), middle (1900-1650 BC) and late (1650-1050).

Copper became the most extensively exploited metal bringing wealth to Cyprus and some argue is where the name originates. Others argue that it is just the opposite - that copper is a corruption of the Greek word for Cyprus. Historians have used various names in writing about Cyprus such as Kypros, Kriptos, Kerastia, Amathusia, Akamantis, Myonis, Makaria, Sphykis, Kition, Aeria and many more. The most popular derivation was from the Greek word "Kypros" the translation of the Hebrew "Kopher" meaning "Henna" a plant that flourished on the island.

Trade started developing with the neighbouring Eastern countries. Newcomers arrived from Anatolia who knew the handicraft of copper and they resulted in settling in the copper belt, found at the base of the Troodos Mountains.

The introduction of bronze gradually replaced copper. It put Cyprus right on the map for the attentions of the Eastern Mediterranean powers. This was the commencement of a form of colonisation which was to last many centuries. It was the result of the ability of the dominant power asserting itself over its smaller neighbour without resorting to violence.

Evidence of this is in Egyptian and Hettite tablets of the 15th and 14th century BC where records have been found showing payments made in copper to the feudal landlord of Egypt. Throughout the Bronze Age Cyprus continued as a tributary, under the guidance of Egypt. But although Egypt structured and planned the path of development of the island, the overlords did not overpopulate it. The real colonists were the Greeks and the Phoenicians, who came to the island in the late Bronze Age and settled down.

The first to arrive were mainly the Greeks from Mycenae (the heroes from the Trojan War). They brought along their language, religion and way of life that was to become the basis of Greek-Cypriot culture. They enforced their system of kingship, in which each settlement became a city-state with its own rulers, like the democracy of Athens. Salamis, Soli, Polis, Curium (Palea) and Paphos were the most prominent city-kingdoms founded by the Greeks. Paphos has a special significance as it was the centre of the cult of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Her legendary birthplace (known as Aphrodite's rock or the Stones of Romios near Kouklia - Old Paphos) was off the coast nearby and was the island's most popular deity. The annual pilgrimage to her temple was one of the most cherished events in the ancient world.

But although Greek influence was extremely important there was no need for any political connection with the Greek state itself. Most of the Greeks who came to Cyprus - especially after the downfall of the Mycenaean empire in the late 13th century BC had more commercial motives. They were traders and so understood the potential of Cyprus as a focal point for the sea-routes between Greece and the Levant, between Egypt and Anatolia. Their main dwelling was at Kition (Larnaca), which like the Greek settlements became a city-kingdom.

Above all, the Mycenaean presence in Cyprus is associated with the Hellenization of the island.

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