Facts about Cyprus

Area: 9,251 sq km
Capital: Nicosia
Language: Greek, Turkish
Currency: Euro
  Turkish Lira
Population: 784,301
Coastline: 648 sq km

Home > General Info > History > Persian Rule

Persian Rule

After the Persian Empire took control of Cyprus, the right to mint the coinage in such city-states as Lapithos (Lapta), Soli and Salamis was permitted. It was also during this period, that the Cypriots were allowed to retain their own rulers, yet the kings in Cyprus had an obligation to pay tribute to Persia by supplying their king with an army and ships for his foreign affairs. Two political movements were formed in Cyprus at the beginning of the 5th century B.C. The one was pro-Persian, the other pro-Greek. The pro-Greek movement was strengthened by the discontent of Cypriots to pay relevant amounts of money as tribute. The most important kingdom in Cyprus during this period was Salamis; Onesilos and Evagoras were the first kings. Becoming the hero, Onesilos united the Cypriots and fought against the Persians, though he died in the end at Amathous.

The Classical Period

The Classical period (435-325 B.C.) is closely connected with the wars of the Greeks to freed Cyprus from the Persians. The Greeks, considering Cyprus a rich source of timber and other materials, attempted to maintain only a tenuous hold on the island until the arrival of Evagoras. The attempts of the Athenians failed. Evagoras, who managed to join up the kingdoms of Cyprus, amass a fleet of 200 triremes and set up allies, especially with Athens, fought for ten years against Persians in an unequal strife, showing a unique heroism. As a descendent of Teucer, the founder of Salamis, Evagoras declared himself the head of the throne of Salamis. After deposing the pro-Persian ruler Abdemon, he continued in the development of Salamis as a commercial centre and a prosperous city, and yet succeeded in promoting good trading relations with the Persian Empire. Moreover, he started minting coinage at Salamis again. Unfortunately for him, as he stretched too far, the Persians took strong measures preventing him from seizing the whole island. However, finally, he was constrained to sign an agreement as king to king, left all the Cypriot cities behind, and agreed to pay tribute to the Persians. He was murdered in about 374 B.C. The islanders attempted to throw off the rule of Persia, as there were large areas defeated in rebellion, and only parts of the island freed.

Alexander the Great

The leading name in this period, yet, remains Alexander the Great, whose crusades and successful victories over the Persians conditioned the Cypriots to assistance him fully, a gesture much appreciated at the time. He liberated the island from the yoke of tyranny and the kings were given undisputed possession.

Early settlers

Expansion and trade

The Iron Age

Persian Rule

Hellenistic Period

Roman period

Byzantine rule

Three Hundred years of French Rule

Venetian Rule

Ottoman Rule

British Control

Union with Greece

The country remains divided

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