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ΚΟURION - HISTORICAL TIMES

The cemetery of Kaloriziki (Ayios Ermogenis' valley) was used constantly over the subsequent periods, which are not represented by any other architectural remains. Tombs of the Geometric, Archaic and the Classical phase of the kingdom testify in the same cemetery the continuity of the settlement. According to the finds of the tombs dating to these periods, the remains of the architectural style of the Mycenaean tombs is considered the same as the one applied while building the tombs of the seaports of Minet and Beida of the adjoining the city of Ugarit. 

This cemetery was extended to the northern cliff side, which is known as Gerokarka. 

Tombs dating mainly to the Late Cypro-Geometric and Cypro-Archaic periods have also been identified in the Hellinika and Finitzi area and some of them in the Mosque area. 

In the Ayios Ermogenis' valley there are also tomb assemblages of the Hellenistic and Roman phases. Near the east gate of the city, the excavations have revealed some tomb loculi and arcosolia hewed out of a rock dating mainly to the Late Roman period. This area used to be a quarry previously. 

The most ancient reference to the Kingdom of Kourion (Kir) is inscribed on the walls of a Temple at Medinet Habu with certain reservations dating to the period of the reign of Ramsis III (1198/1167 B.C.). According to some safer archaeological sources, the settlement of the reign dates to the 11th century. 

The reference made to the city in the light of the reign of Esarhaddon (673/72) is safer. In this text King Damasus of Kourion (Kuri) is in in the list of the vassals of the Assyrian kings. Only Stassanor, who is related to the treason, occurred in the struggle organised by Onesilos of Salamis against the Persians in 499 B.C., is known among the posterior kings. With this gesture, Stasanor acquires most probably important privileges of autonomy for his kingdom. 

According to subsequent sources, the name of the city is attributed to its founder, Kourea, son of the legendary king Kinyras, while no renowned hero is recorded as founder by the tradition regarding the Argives. 

The close relation between the city and Argolis is shown not only in the common cult of Apollo and Hera but also in the known and not negligible subsidy of Kourion to Argos amounting to 172 drachmas and 4 mites. This subsidy is destined most probably to support financially a sanctuary, maybe the Heraeum. The kingdom has already its own mint dating to the early 5th century A.D. 

Despite the lack of precise references, it is considered almost certain that Alexander the Great abolishes the kingdom of Kourion at the same time with other kingdoms. With the island joining the Macedonian State, new democratic institutions are introduced. The Parliament or the City Secretary for whom there is precise inscription testimony according to which there existed local authorities as it happened in each city of the Hellenistic State under the city commander of the Ptolemaic guard. 

The hellenization of the institutions was accompanied with a particular cultural prosperity, which is expressed in the art of that epoch. A typical element of these trends of full hellenization is the absence in the Hellenistic period of any inscription written in the Cypro-syllabic script.

The most ancient architectural remains found on the same cliff of Kourion (325-50 B.C.) date to this period. Regular excavation researches began in 1934 by the American University of Pennsylvania and continued since then by American University missions and the Cyprus Department of Antiquities. 

The Hellenistic phase of the Kourion city has mainly been identified in the Roman Forum (Hellenistic burials, public building) while the first constructive phases of the house of Eustolios and the Theatre date to the end of this period (late 2nd century B.C.). 

Cyprus joining the Roman State (50 B.C.) was a smooth process without any direct drastic changes. This period was marked by a series of devastating earthquakes (15 B.C., 75 B.C., 332 B.C., 342 B.C. 360 B.C. and 364 B.C.), which resulted to the materialization of far-reaching constructive programs in the 1st and 2nd century A.D. and in the late or in the early 5th century A.D.

It should be noted that in the 2nd century A.D. with the division of the island in four regions, Kourion was annexed and became part of the Amathus region most probably with Kition. 
Kourion became the shelter of the Apostles following their deportation from Paphos. On this occasion, we are informed about the existence of a powerful Judaic community, which had impeded the entrance of the Apostles in the city. Its presence is also testified by the worship of Lord God found in inscribed Roman cipi and Judaic coins of the early centuries B.C. and A.D. 

In the early 4th century there was testimony about the existence of the Episcopal See with Filonides (303-305 A.D.) being the first known bishop. Filonides, who is among the martyrs of Diocletian's era because he preferred to fall down the cliffs instead of renouncing his faith. His successor Bishop Zenon was more renowned. He is also among the Cypriot Bishops declared Saints of the late Christian era with Saint Tychon, Saint Epifanios, and Saint Spyridon etc. He participated in the Ephesus Synod in 431 and met successfully the claims of the Patriarch of Antioch regarding the autocephalous of the Church of Cyprus.


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