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This is an extract from the Wikipedia entry.


Amathus or Amathous as an ancient city and one of the ancient royal cities of Cyprus until about 300 BC. Some of its impressive remains can be seen today on the southern coast in front of Agios Tychonas, about 24 miles (39 km) west of Larnaca and 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Limassol. Its ancient cult sanctuary of Aphrodite was the second most important in Cyprus, her homeland, after Paphos. Archaeological work has recently been continued at the site and many finds are exhibited in the Limassol Museum.

Pre-history and ancient era Ancient kingdoms of Cyprus:
The pre-history of Amathus survives in both myth and archaeology. Archaeology has detected human activity from the earliest Iron Age. The city's legendary founder was Cinyras, linked with the birth of Adonis, who called the city after his mother Amathous. According to a version of the Ariadne legend noted by Plutarch, Theseus abandoned Ariadne at Amathousa, where she died giving birth to her child and was buried in a sacred tomb. According to Plutarch's source, Amathousians called the sacred grove where her shrine was situated the Wood of Aphrodite Ariadne. More purely Hellenic myth would have Amathus settled instead by one of the sons of Heracles, thus accounting for the fact that he was worshiped there. It was said in antiquity that the people of Amathus were autochthonous, most likely Eteocyprian or "Pelasgian". Their non-Greek language is confirmed on the site by Eteocypriot inscriptions in the Cypriot syllabary which alone in the Aegean world survived the Bronze Age collapse and continued to be used down to the 4th century. Amathus was built on the coastal cliffs with a natural harbour and flourished at an early date, soon requiring several cemeteries. Greeks from Euboea left their pottery at Amathus from the 10th century. During the post-Phoenician era of the 8th century, a palace was erected and a port was also constructed, which served the trade with the Greeks and the Levantines. A special burial ground for infants, a tophet served the culture of the Phoenicians. For the Hellenes, high on the cliff a temple was built, which became a worship site devoted to Aphrodite, in her particular local presence as Aphrodite Amathusia along with a bearded male Aphrodite called Aphroditos. The excavators discovered the final stage of the Temple of Aphrodite, also known as Aphrodisias, which dates approximately to the 1st century. According to the legend, it was where festive Adonia took place, in which athletes competed in hunting wild boars during sport competitions; they also competed in dancing and singing, all to the honour of Adonis. The earliest remains hitherto found on the site are tombs of the early Iron Age period of Graeco-Phoenician influences (1000-600). Amathus is identified with Kartihadasti (Phoenician "New-Town") in the Cypriote tribute-list of Esarhaddon of Assyria (668).
It certainly maintained strong Phoenician sympathies, for it was its refusal to join the philhellene league of Onesilos of Salamis which provoked the revolt of Cyprus from Achaemenid Persia in 500-494, when Amathus was besieged unsuccessfully and avenged itself by the capture and execution of Onesilos. Herodotus reports "Because he had besieged them, the Amathusians cut off Onesilos’ head and brought it to Amathous, where they hung it above the gates. As it hung there empty, a swarm of bees entered it and filled it with honeycomb.[13] When they sought advice about this event, an oracle told them to take the head down and bury it, and to make annual sacrifice to Onesilos as a hero, saying that it would be better for them if they did this. The Amathusians did as they were told and still perform these rites in my day." (Histories 5.114) Amathus was a rich and densely populated kingdom with a flourishing agriculture (grain[14] and sheep) and copper mines situated very close to the northeast Kalavasos.

Hellenistic era:
About 385-380, the philhellene Evagoras of Salamis was similarly opposed by Amathus, allied with Citium and Soli; and even after Alexander the city resisted annexation, and was bound over to give hostages to Seleucus. Its political importance was now ended but its temple of Adonis and Aphrodite Amathusia remained famous in Roman times. The epithet Amathusia in Roman poetry often means little more than "Cypriote," but attesting to the fame of the city. From the 4th century the pedestals of two sculptures donated by the last Basileus of Amathous, Androkles, representing his two sons, Orestheus and Andragoras, have survived. Their inscriptions are in both Eteocyprian and Greek languages. The decline of Amathus is often measured by the Ptolemaic gifts to Argos, where Amathus donated only 40 drachmas in 170-160, but Kition and Salamis gave 208, Kourion 172, and Paphos 100. However, this figure contradicts the archaeologic evidence of new buildings in this period including a balneion, a bath, a gymnasium, as well as fortifications of the Acropolis, including a new tower. The port of Paphos appears to have lost traffic compared to Amathus in the Ptolemaic period, an indication that Paphos, as the capital of the island, perhaps offered fewer drachmas than the other cities for different reasons, like Amathus.


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