Early Iron Age (1100 - 750BC)

LEARN Wednesday, 17 June, 2015

Early Iron Age (1100 - 750BC)

In the ensuing Early Iron Age (1100-750 BC) Cyprus becomes predominantly Greek. Pottery shapes and decoration show a marked Aegean inspiration although Oriental ideas creep in from time to time. New burial customs with rock-cut chamber tombs having a long 'dromos' (a ramp leaning gradually towards the entrance) along with new religious beliefs speak in favour of the arrival of people from the Aegean. The same view is supported by the introduction of the safety pin that denotes a new fashion in dressing and also by a name scratched on a bronze skewer from Paphos and dating between 1050-950 BC. This name (O-pe-le- ta-u) is in the Greek language but it is written in the Cypriot syllabary that remained in use down to the 3rd century BC. The alphabetic writing that was adopted from the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC in Greece was introduced to Cyprus as late as the early 4th century BC.

In the period under discussion, and in particular in the 9th century BC we witness the arrival of the Phoenicians in Cyprus, who probably came here from their land (modern Lebanon) because they were harassed by the Assyrians.

The Phoenicians brought with them their deities and made their presence felt in minor arts, pottery-shapes and ornamentation.