CNRS410

This course offers an in-depth look at the fascinating past of the island of Cyprus—the legendary birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. We’ll use material culture to examine the development of Cypriot society from the island’s initial colonization in the 10th millennium BCE through the period of its rule as a province of the Roman Empire. Highlights include new discoveries that are revolutionizing our understanding of the Neolithic and the role of Cyprus in the origins and spread of agriculture in the Near East; the key role that Cyprus played in the globalized world of the Late Bronze Age, which saw Cypriot copper reach Scandinavia; the emergence of powerful city kingdoms during the early Iron Age, Archaic and Classical periods and the growing influences of Greek and Phoenician culture; and the effects on Cypriot identity and material culture as the island fell under the control of a succession of empires (Persian, Ptolemaic, and Roman). We’ll also consider how the discipline of Cypriot archaeology developed and the effects of colonialism and modern political division on the interpretation of Cyprus’s past. We’ll investigate these themes through lectures, seminar discussions and (if circumstances allow) hands-on work with Cypriot artifacts from the Museum of Anthropology, including the creation of a small exhibition. This course provides important background for students taking the archaeological field school on Cyprus (CNRS 335/535) to be held in June 2021.