Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cyprus and Egypt in the 6th Century B. C.

Fig. 1 - A Cypriote stela form the 6th century B. C.
     Egypt had long had relationships with Cyprus. In New Kingdom tombs there are representations of Cypriotes bringing copper to the court of the Egyptian Pharaoh.

     In the sixth century B. C. the relationship changed as Egypt, during the reign of Ahmose II (also known as Amasis II) conquered Cyprus in 570. Cyprus had a high level of independence under Egyptian rule and there was a noticeable upsurge in the influence of Egyptian motifs in the art of Cyprus at this time.

     One particularly common motive is that of the Egyptian goddess Hathor. Representations of her are very common, particularly at Amathus. The limestone stela shown here, and dating to the mid-sixth century, is said to be from the necropolis of Golgoi and is a typical representation of Hathor with her usual cow ears and unique wig. The stela is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Fig. 2 - Detail of the stela showing a very typical representation of Hathor

     In 545, Cyprus became a part of the Persian Empire under the rule of Cyrus the Great. In 526 Ahmose passed away and was succeeded by his son Psammetichus III. A year later Cambyses, who had succeeded Cyrus to the Persian throne, was planning an invasion of Egypt and Cyprus sided with the Persian king. The battle of Pelusium resulted in a complete victory for the Persians and Egypt joined Cyprus a part of the Persian Empire.


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