Salamis in Cyprus. Homeric, Hellenistic and Roman

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Description

The site of ancient Salamis, on the Levant coast of Cyprus, has been extensively excavated for the past fifteen years. Throughout its history the city served as an important link between the Greek world and the Near East. The ‘finds’ exhibit a mingling of ‘Homeric’ funerary customs with burial furniture of Assyrian and Phoenician character, including a number of superb ivories. The city’s greatness extended over two millenia but it is the early period and in particular the outstanding discoveries in the great Necropolis that form the major part of the book. Dramatic new information has come from the early cemetery, with its burials of animals, chariots and wagons, its bronze horse-gear, ivory-inlaid furniture, etc., which will astonish readersunfamiliar with the specialist journals to which, up till now, any accounts of these discoveries have been confined. Though as late as the eighth century BC, the tombs preserve echoes from the Trojan epic of an earlier age. To take another instance of the manner in which archaeology and the historical record come together and make the former live – one of the later tombs excavated was in fact only a cenotaph, almost certaintly to King Nicocreon, last king of Salamis, who, with his family, committed suicide in 311 BC rather than submit to Ptolemy I of Egypt. The finds indicate a date at the end of the fourth century and particular note may be taken of the superb clay sculptured heads in the Lyssippan style from the remains of the pyre. Continuity is seen in the use of a Mycenaean-type building, complete with dromos or entrance-passage, as a prison in Roman times and subsequently venerated as a chapel to St Catherine. Its antiquity was revealed only by its complete excavation and by the discovery of burials of horses in the dromos in true ‘Homeric’ style. These are but a few of the exciting new finds described and superbly illustrated by Dr. Karageorghis. Since the culture of Salamis was, to a great extent, that of Cyprus as a whole, this book forms a valuable introduction to one of the liviest and most individual civilisations of the ancient Mediterranean.

Additional information

Weight 1.112 kg
Dimensions 19.5 × 25.5 cm
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Sir Mortimer Wheeler

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