- si'-prus (Kupros):
An island situated near the Northeast corner of the Levant, in an angle formed by the coasts of Cilicia and Syria. In the Old Testament it is called Kittim, after the name of its Phoenician capital Kition. The identification is expressly made by Josephus (Ant., I, vi, 1) and by the Cyprian bishop Epiphanius (Haer., xxx.25). In the tablets from Tell el-Amarna it is referred to as Alashia (E. Meyer, Gesch. des Alterthums, 12, section 499), in Egyptian records as Asi, while in the Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions it is named Yavnan.
The island is the largest in the Mediterranean with the exception of Sardinia and Sicily, its area being about 3,584 square miles. It lies in 34 degrees 30'-35 degrees 41' North latitude and 32 degrees 15'-34 degrees 36' East longitude, only 46 miles distant from the nearest point of the Cilician coast and 60 miles from the Syrian. Thus from the northern shore of the island the mainland of Asia Minor is clearly visible and Mt. Lebanon can be seen from Eastern Cyprus. This close proximity to the Cilician and Syrian coasts, as well as its position on the route between Asia Minor and Egypt, proved of great importance for the history and civilization of the island. Its greatest length, including the Northeast promontory, is about 140 miles, its greatest breadth 60 miles. The Southwest portion of Cyprus is formed by a mountain complex, culminating in the peaks of Troodos (6,406 ft.), Madhari (5,305 ft.), Papofitsa (5,124 ft.) and Machaira (4,674 ft.). To the Northeast of this lies the great plain of the Mesorea, nearly 60 miles in length and 10 to 20 in breadth, in which lies the modern capital Nicosia (Lefkosia). It is watered chiefly by the Pediaeus (modern Pedias), and is bounded on the North by a mountain range, which is continued to the East-Northeast in the long, narrow promontory of the Karpass, terminating in Cape Andrea, the ancient Dinaretum. Its highest peaks are Buffavento (3,135 ft.) and Hagios Elias (3,106 ft.). The shore-plain to the North of these hills is narrow, but remarkably fertile.
Cyprus is richly endowed by nature. Its fruits and flowers were famous in antiquity. Strabo, writing under Augustus, speaks of it as producing wine and oil in abundance and corn sufficient for the needs of its inhabitants (XIV, 684). The elder Pliny refers to Cyprian salt, alum, gypsum, mica, unguents, laudanum, storax, resin and precious stones, including agate, jasper, amethyst, lapis lazuli and several species of rock-crystal. His list includes the diamond (xxxvii.58) and the emerald (xxxvii.6, 66), but there is reason to believe that under these names a variety of rock-crystal and the beryl are intended. The chief source of the island's wealth, however, lay in its mines and forests. Silver is mentioned by Strabo (loc. cit.) among its products; copper, which was called by the Greeks after the name of the island, was extensively mined there from the earliest period down to the Middle Ages; iron too was found in considerable quantities from the 9th century until Roman times. Scarcely less important were the forests, which at an early date are said to have covered almost the whole island. The cypress seems to have been the principal tree, but Pliny tells of a giant cedar, 130 Roman feet in height, felled in Cyprus (xvi.203), and the island supplied timber for shipbuilding to many successive powers.
4. Early History:
The original inhabitants of Cyprus appear to have been a race akin to the peoples of Asia Minor. Its vast resources in copper and timber gained for it a considerable importance and wide commercial relations at a very remote period. Its wealth attracted the attention of Babylonia and Egypt, and there is reason to believe that it was conquered by Sargon I, king of Accad, and about a millennium later by Thothmes III, of the XVIIIth Egyptian Dynasty (1501-1447 BC). But the influences which molded its civilization came from other quarters also. Excavation has shown that in Cyprus were several seats of the Minoan culture, and there can be little doubt that it was deeply influenced by Crete. The Minoan writing may well be the source of the curious Cyprian syllabic script, which continued in use for the representation of the Greek language down to the 4th century BC (A. J. Evans, Scripta Minoa, I). But the Minoan origin of the Cyprian syllabary is still doubtful, for it may have been derived from the Hittite hieroglyphs. Phoenician influences too were at work, and the Phoenician settlements--Citium, Amathus, Paphos and others--go back to a very early date. The break-up of the Minoan civilization was followed by a "Dark Age," but later the island received a number of Greek settlers from Arcadia and other Hellenic states, as we judge not only from Greek tradition but from the evidence of the Cyprian dialect, which is closely akin to the Arcadian. In 709 BC Sargon II of Assyria made himself master of Cyprus, and tribute was paid by its seven princes to him and to his grandson, Esarhaddon (681-667 BC). The overthrow of the Assyrian Empire probably brought with it the independence of Cyprus, but it was conquered afresh by Aahmes (Amasis) of Egypt (Herod. ii. 182) who retained it till his death in 526 BC; but in the following year the defeat of his son and successor Psamtek III (Psammenitus) by Cambyses brought the island under Persian dominion (Herod. iii.19, 91).
5. Cyprus and the Greeks:
In 501 the Greek inhabitants led by Onesilus, brother of the reigning prince of Salamis, rose in revolt against the Persians, but were decisively beaten (Herodotus v.104 ff), and in 480 we find 150 Cyprian ships in the navy with which Xerxes attacked Greece (Herod. vii.90). The attempts of Pausanias and of Cimon to win Cyprus for the Hellenic cause met with but poor success, and the withdrawal of the Athenian forces from the Levant after their great naval victory off Salamis in 449 was followed by a strong anti-Hellenic movement throughout the island led by Abdemon, prince of Citium. In 411 Euagoras ascended the throne of Salamis and set to work to assert Hellenic influence and to champion Hellenic civilization. He joined with Pharnabazus the Persian satrap and Conon the Athenian to overthrow the naval power of Sparta at the battle of Cnidus in 394, and in 387 revolted from the Persians. He was followed by his son Nicocles, to whom Isocrates addressed the famous panegyric of Euagoras and who formed the subject of an enthusiastic eulogy by the same writer. Cyprus seems later to have fallen once again under Persian rule, but after the battle of Issus (333 BC) it voluntarily gave in its submission to Alexander the Great and rendered him valuable aid at the siege of Tyre. On his death (323) it fell to the share of Ptolemy of Egypt. It was, however, seized by Demetrius Poliorcetes, who defeated Ptolemy in a hotly contested battle off Salamis in 306. But eleven years later it came into the hands of the Ptolemies and remained a province of Egypt or a separate but dependent kingdom until the intervention of Rome (compare 2 Macc 10:13). We hear of a body of Cyprians, under the command of a certain Crates, serving among the troops of Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria and forming part of the garrison of Jerusalem about 172 BC (2 Macc 4:29). This interpretation of the passage seems preferable to that according to which Crates had been governor of Cyprus under the Ptolemies before entering the service of Antiochus.
6. Cyprus and Rome:
In 58 BC the Romans resolved to incorporate Cyprus in their empire and Marcus Porcius Cato was entrusted with the task of its annexation. The reigning prince, a brother of Ptolemy Auletes of Egypt, received the offer of an honorable retirement as high priest of Aphrodite at Paphos, but he preferred to end his life by poison, and treasures amounting to some 7,000 talents passed into Roman hands, together with the island, which was attached to the province of Cilicia. In the partition of the Roman empire between Senate and Emperor, Cyprus was at first (27-22 BC) an imperial province (Dio Cassius liii.12), administered by a legatus Augusti pro praetore or by the imperial legate of Cilicia. In 22 BC, however, it was handed over to the Senate together with southern Gaul in exchange for Dalmatia (Dio Cassius liii. 12; liv.4) and was subsequently governed by ex-praetors bearing the honorary title of proconsul and residing at Paphos. The names of about a score of these governors are known to us from ancient authors, inscriptions and coins and will be found in D. G. Hogarth, Devia Cypria, App. Among them is Sergius Paulus, who was proconsul at the time of Paul's visit to Paphos in 46 or 47 AD, and we may notice that the title applied to him by the writer of the Acts (13:7) is strictly accurate.
7. Cyprus and the Jews:
The proximity of Cyprus to the Syrian coast rendered it easy of access from Palestine, and Jews had probably begun to settle there even before the time of Alexander the Great. Certainly the number of Jewish residents under the Ptolemies was considerable (1 Macc 15:23; 2 Macc 12:2) and it must have been increased later when the copper mines of the island were farmed to Herod the Great (Josephus, Ant, XVI, iv, 5; XIX, xxvi, 28; compare Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, 2628). We shall not be surprised, therefore, to find that at Salamis there was more than one synagogue at the time of Paul's visit (Acts 13:5). In 116 AD the Jews of Cyprus rose in revolt and massacred no fewer than 240,000 Gentiles. Hadrian crushed the rising with great severity and drove all the Jews from the island. Henceforth no Jew might set foot upon it, even under stress of shipwreck, on pain of death (Dio Cassius lxviii.32).
8. The Church in Cyprus:
In the life of the early church Cyprus played an important part. Among the Christians who fled from Judea in consequence of the persecution which followed Stephen's death were some who "travelled as far as Phoenicia, and Cyprus" (Acts 11:19) preaching to the Jews only. Certain natives of Cyprus and Cyrene took a further momentous step in preaching at Antioch to the Greeks also (Acts 11:20). Even before this time Joseph Barnabas, a Levite born in Cyprus (Acts 4:36), was prominent in the early Christian community at Jerns, and it was in his native island that he and Paul, accompanied by Barnabas nephew, John Mark, began their first missionary journey (Acts 13:4). After landing at Salamis they passed "through the whole island" to Paphos (Acts 13:6), probably visiting the Jewish synagogues in its cities. The Peutinger Table tells us of two roads from Salamis to Paphos in Roman times, one of which ran inland by way of Tremithus, Tamassus and Soil, a journey of about 4 days, while the other and easier route, occupying some 3 days, ran along the south coast by way of Citium, Amathus and Curium. Whether the "early disciple," Mnason of Cyprus, was one of the converts made at this time or had previously embraced Christianity we cannot determine (Acts 21:16). Barnabas and Mark revisited Cyprus later (Acts 15:39), but Paul did not again land on the island, though he sighted it when, on his last journey to jerus, he sailed south of it on his way from Patara in Lycia to Tyre (Acts 21:3), and again when on his journey to Rome he sailed "under the lee of Cyprus," that is, along its northern coast, on the way from Sidon to Myra in Lycia (Acts 27:4). In 401 AD the Council of Cyprus was convened, chiefly in consequence of the efforts of Theophilus of Alexandria, the inveterate opponent of Origenism, and took measures to check the reading of Origen's works. The island, which was divided into 13 bishoprics, was declared autonomous in the 5th century, after the alleged discovery of Matthew's Gospel in the tomb of Barnabas at Salamis. The bishop of Salamis was made metropolitan by the emperor Zeno with the title "archbishop of all Cyprus," and his successor, who now occupies the see of Nicosia, still enjoys the privilege of signing his name in red ink and is primate over the three other bishops of the island, those of Paphos, Kition and Kyrenia, all of whom are of metropolitan rank.
9. Later History:
Cyprus remained in the possession of the Roman and then of the Byzantine emperors, though twice overrun and temporarily occupied by the Saracens, until 1184, when its ruler, Isaac Comnenus, broke away from Constantinople and declared himself an independent emperor. From him it was wrested in 1191 by the Crusaders under Richard I of England, who bestowed it on Guy de Lusignan, the titular king of Jerusalem, and his descendants. In 1489 it was ceded to the Venetians by Catherine Cornaro, widow of James II, the last of the Lusignan kings, and remained in their hands until it was captured by the Ottoman Turks under Sultan Selim II, who invaded and subjugated the island in 1570 and laid siege to Famagusta, which, after a heroic defense, capitulated on August 1, 1571. Since that time Cyprus has formed part of the Turkish empire, in spite of serious revolts in 1764 and 1823; since 1878, however, it has been occupied and administered by the British government, subject to an annual payment to the Sublime Porte of ?92,800 and a large quantity of salt. The High Commissioner, who resides at Nicosia, is assisted by a Legislative Council of 18 members. The estimated population ia 1907 was 249,250, of whom rather more than a fifth were Moslems and the remainder chiefly members of the Greek Orthodox church.
An exhaustive bibliography will be found in C. D. Cobham, An Attempt at a Bibliography of Cyprus, Nicosia, 4th edition, 1900. The following works may be specially mentioned: E. Oberhummer, Aus Cypern, Berlin, 1890-92; Studien zur alten Geographic yon Kypros, Munich 1891; A. Sakellarios, Ta Kupriaka, Athens, 1890-91. References in ancient sources are collected in J. Meursius, Cyprus, Amsterdam, 1675, and W. Engel, Kypros, Berlin, 1841. For Cyprian archaeology see P. Gardner, New Chapters in Greek History, chapter vi, London, 1892; J. L. Myres and M. OhnefalschRichter, Catalogue of the Cyprus Museum, Oxford, 1899; M. O. Richter, Kypros, die Bibel und Homer, Berlin, 1893; D.G. Hogarth, Devia Cypria, London, 1889; and J. L. Myres' article on "Cypriote Archaeology" in Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, VII, 697 ff. For excavations, Journal of Hellenic Studies, IX, XI, XII, XVII, and Excavations Cyprus, London (British Museum), 1900; for art, G. Perrot and C. Chipiez, Art in Phoenicia and Cyprus, English translation, London, 1885; for coins, B. V. Head, Historia Numorum, Oxford, 1911; for inscriptions, Sammlung der griech. Dialekt-Inschriften, I, Gottingen, 1883; for the Cyprian church, J. Hackett, History of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, London, 1901; for authorities on medieval and modern history, CL. D. Cobham, Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition), 11th edition, VII, 701.
Marcus N. Tod
- kit'-im (kittim, Isa 23:12
; Jer 2:10
; kittiyim, apparently plural of kitti (not found, but compare (4) below); Ketioi, Kitioi, Ketieim, Jer 2:10
; Chettieim, Chettein):ntified with Sepphoris, which is represented by the modern village of Seffuriyeh].
1. Two Usages of the Name:
In Gen 10:4 the word is applied to the descendants of Javan, and indicates, therefore, the Greek-Latin races, whose territory extended along the coasts of the Mediterranean, and included its islands. By the side of Kittim are mentioned Elisha, Tarshish, and Dodanim ( = Rodanim of 1 Ch 1:7), generally explained respectively as Sicily with Southern Italy, Spain and Rhodes. In its narrower sense Kittim appears simply to have stood for the island of Cyprus--it is mentioned between Bashan ( = Pal) and the isles of Elisha in Ezek 27:6,7, and with this Isa 23:1,12 agree, Kittim occurring in these passages between Tarshish, Tyre and Sidon.
2. In Its Limited Sense:
The oldest etymology is apparently that of Josephus, who connects Kittim with the well-known old Cypriote city Kition (Citium) (Ant., I, vi, 1), testifying to the settling of the Kittim on the island. This word he further connects with Chethima, from Chethimus, and states that it was on account of Cyprus being the home of those people that all islands were called Chethim by the Hebrews. The derivation of an ancient Chethim from Chethimus, however, would make the m to be a radical, and this, with the substitution of Ch ( = Kh) for Kittim, renders his proposed etymology somewhat doubtful.
3. In Its Extended Sense:
The statement of Josephus, that "all islands, and the greatest part of the sea-coast, are called Chethim ( = Kittim) by the Hebrews," on the other hand, must be taken as the testimony of one well acquainted with the opinions of the learned world in his time. In Jer 2:10 and Ezek 27:6 the isles of Kittim are expressly spoken of, and this confirms the statement of Josephus concerning the extended meaning of the name. This would explain its application to the Roman fleet in Dan 11:30 (so the Vulgate), and the Macedonians in 1 Macc 1:1 (Chettieim) and 8:5 ([@Kitians). In the latter passage the Greek writer seems to have been thinking more of the Cyprian Kition than of the Hebrew Kittim.
4. Colonization of Cyprus:
According to Herodotus (vii.90), Cyprus was colonized from Greece, Phoenicia, and Ethiopia. Referring to the plundering of the temple of Aphrodite at Askalon by the Scythians (i.105), he states that her temple in Cyprus was an offshoot from that ancient foundation, as reported by the Cyprians themselves, Phoenicians having founded it at Cythera, on arriving from Syria. The date of the earliest Phoenician settlements in Cyprus is unknown, but it has been suggested that they were anterior to the time of Moses. Naturally they brought with them their religion, the worship of the moon-goddess Atargatis (Derceto) being introduced at Paphos, and the Phoenician Baal at Kition. If Kition be, then, a Semitic word (from the same root as the Hebrew Kittim), it has been transferred from the small band of Phoenician settlers which it at first designated, to the non-Sem Japhethites of the West. Kition occurs in the Phoenician inscriptions of Cyprus under the forms K(i)t(t) and K(i)t(t)i, the latter being by far the more common (CIS, I, i, 10,11,14,19, etc.).
5. Its Successive Masters:
The early history of Cyprus is uncertain. According to the Assyrian copy of Sargon of Agade's omens, that king (about 3800 BC in the opinion of Nabonidus; 2800 BC in the opinion of many Assyriologists) is said to have crossed "the sea of the setting sun" (the Mediterranean), though the Babylonian copy makes it that of "the rising sun"--i.e. the Persian Gulf. Be this as it may, General Cesnola discovered at Curium, in Cyprus, a seal-cylinder apparently inscribed "Mar-Istar, son of Ilu-bani, servant (worshipper) of Naram-Sin," the last named being the deified son of Sargon. In the 16th century BC, Cyprus was tributary to Thothmes III. About the year 708 BC, Sargon of Assyria received the submission of the kings of the district of Ya', in Cyprus, and set up at Citium the stele bearing his name, which is now in the Royal Museum at Berlin. Esarhaddon and his son Assur-bani-apli each received tribute from the 10 Cyprian princes who acknowledged Assyrian supremacy. The island was conquered by the Egyptian king Amasis, and later formed part of the Persian empire, until the revolt of Evagoras in 410 BC. The Assyrians knew the island under the name of Yad(a)nanu, the "Wedan" (Vedan) of Ezek 27:19 Revised Version (British and American) (Sayce, PSBA, 1912, 26).
6. The Races Therein and Their Languages:
If the orthodox date for the composition of Gen be accepted, not only the Phoenicians, but also the Greeks, or a people of Greek-Latin stock, must have been present in Cyprus, before the time of Moses, in sufficient number to make them the predominant portion of the population. As far as can be judged, the Phoenicians occupied only the eastern and southern portion of the island. Paphos, where they had built a temple to Ashtoreth and set up an 'asherah (a pillar symbolizing the goddess), was one of their principal settlements. The rest of the island was apparently occupied by the Aryans, whose presence there caused the name of Kittim to be applied to all the Greek-Latin countries of the Mediterranean. Greek and Phoenician were the languages spoken on the island, as was proved by George Smith's demonstration of the nature of the non-Phoenician text of the inscription of King Melek-yathon of Citium (370 BC). The signs used in the Greek-Cyprian inscriptions are practically all syllabic.
7. The Testimony of Cyprian Art:
The many influences which have modified the Cyprian race are reflected in the ancient art, which shows the effect of Babylonian, Egyptian Phoenician and Greek contacts. Specimens are to be found in many museums, but the finest collection of examples of Cyprian art is undoubtedly that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Some of the full-length figures are life-size, and the better class of work is exceedingly noteworthy.
T. G. Pinches