The History of Cyprus Podcast

Welcome to the History of Cyprus Podcast. Follow us on Instagram! https://instagram.com/thehistoryofcyprus I’d like to thank each and every participant (and every future guest) in this project as without their time and hard work in their respective fields of archaeology, linguistics, social and political history, this would not have been possible. I’ve released three episodes that I know you will find as fascinating to listen to as it was for me to record – Dr. Alan Simmons, professor Emeritus from the University of Nevada shares with us his seminal research on Akrotiri-Aetokremnos where the first occupants of Cyprus hunted pygmy elephants and hippopotami. Dr. Pippa Steele from the University of Cambridge discusses early languages in pre-Roman Cyprus, from the late Bronze Age to the Ptolemaic and Dr. Drew Wilburn from Oberlin College will discuss magic and curses from Ancient Amathus. And there are more to come. Every month I will be releasing a new episode as it relates to Cypriot history. In this podcast we’ll cover Cyprus from 10,000 BCE to the 20th century – we’ll discuss language, culture, war, economy, religion, political and social history. I’m confident that there’ll be something here for everyone. If you’d like to reach me, my name is Andreas. Please feel free to send me an email at cyprusthepodcast@gmail.com

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Episodes

Monday Aug 01, 2022

Let's start with the end in mind. The end of the fourth century BCE was a tumultuous period in Cypriot history. According to Diodorus Siculus, "Ptolemy...crossed with an army from Egypt into Cyprus against those of the kings who refused to obey him."  (Diod Sic 79.4) The ruler of Kition, Pygmalion, was put to death. King Praxippus of Lapethos was arrested. The city of Marion was razed. And King Nicocles of Paphos, seeing the writing on the wall, chose to hang himself. His wife, Axiothea, tragically killed her daughters and then herself before burning the palace down in defiance. Their deaths, among others, brought an end to the Cypriot City-Kingdoms and ushered in the Ptolemaic Age. However, for centuries, the Cypriot City-Kingdoms (i.e., poleis) thrived on the periphery of Assyrian, and later, Persian rule. Though never truly "independent," Cypriot Kings skillfully wielded their political currency. But just how did they navigate the changing geo-political landscape? Let us be clear: Cyprus, as a whole, was never passive. In fact, these poleis were as dynamic as their rulers. City-Kingdoms forged and severed alliances; willfully provoked and pacified regional powers; and even dared to defy Achaemenid (Persian) will in the Eastern Mediterranean. In this month's episode, Christian Körner, from the University of Bern, discusses with us "Cyprus Between the Assyrian and Persian Empires."

Wednesday Jul 13, 2022

I'm excited to introduce a NEW FEATURE to the History of Cyprus Podcast! Rather than simply recording a short teaser, I'd instead post a dramatic rendition of a primary source as it relates to the following month's episode. In this case, you'll hear an excerpt from Isocrates', The Evagoras. These short readings will be posted on the 15th of every month and will hint at the next episode.  Primary sources are invaluable as they give us direct insight into the period in question -- but they also need to be treated with caution. Let's take today's reading for example: Isocrates' The Evagoras is one of our principal sources for the Classical Period in Cyprus. For Isocrates, Evagoras was the model ruler. It depicts the king through the lens of Isocrates’ personal beliefs, which, however, need to be critically analyzed. He is a rhetorician and a sophist. Ostensibly, Isocrates wants there to be unity between Spartans and Athenians -- but under Athenian hegemony. For Isocrates, to truly be a Hellene one must learn to think and live as a Hellene, i.e., possess Athenian education. Athens to Isocrates is, of course, the pinnacle of Greek culture to which a great debt is owed.   Evagoras of Salamis, then, fits the Isocratean mould and we can see what makes his character so appealing to Isocrates. According to Isocrates, Evagoras “inspired respect, not by the frowning of his brow, but by the principles of his life” (Isoc. Evagoras 9.44). Not only is Evagoras philhellenic, he is more specifically phil-Athenian. As king he “observed Greek institutions,” “the liberal arts” and “[Greek] education” (Isoc. Evagoras 9.50). He possessed all the qualities that made him a Philosopher King in his own right but most importantly, in the view of Isocrates, he was a true philhellene.  We must be cautious though; the Evagoras was written as an encomium (a eulogy) and according to Plutarch, was commissioned by his son and heir, Nicocles. Evagoras’ qualities are showed as unparalleled, if not, divinely bestowed -- inherited from his ancestors, endowed by nature and willed by Zeus himself. It presents a romanticized -- and idealized -- philhellenic king. Isocrates tells the reader that, lamentably, in the years preceding Evagoras “the best rulers were those who treated the Greeks in the most cruel fashion” (Isoc. Evagoras 9.49). Yet Evagoras paradoxically campaigned against other philhellenic city-states on Cyprus. We must remember that historically, Cyprus had been fragmented politically into quasi-city kingdoms as each vied for its own independence (even the term "city-kingdoms" can be somewhat problematic). They were hardly driven by nationalistic or patriotic Hellenic sentiment, but by self-preservation. The Evagoras makes no mention of this, nor does it navigate the questionable Persian/Athenian alliance during the Corinthian War. That, of course, would be inconsistent with the story Isocrates weaves. Isocrates is decisively not an historian. But I’m far from an expert on this time period. That’s why I hope you join me on August 2nd  as Professor Christian Körner from the University of Bern discusses "Cyprus Between the Assyrian and Persian Empires." For more frequent updates, follow The History of Cyprus on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thehistoryofcyprus/   

Friday Jul 01, 2022

Worried about indigestion? We might have an amulet for that. Well...at least ancient Cypriots did. Cypriot doctors were renowned – not just in treating patients but producing treatises and even their own schools. With us today is Professor Emeritus, Demetrios Michaelides, who shares with us his knowledge of ancient medicine and its function in Cyprus.

Friday Jun 03, 2022

Hello everyone. My name is Andreas Charalambous and welcome to the History of Cyprus Podcast. Several months ago, I took it upon myself to host a podcast with the broad aim of discussing the various facets of Cypriot history. At first I thought that maybe I could do the research myself and present it in a narration of sorts, but for an island the size of Cyprus, cataloging its history was a full time job and certainly not something I could undertake on my own. And then I had the thought of reaching out to the experts – those in the fields of archaeology, linguistics, social and political history – to share their research, their finds and their insight into the vast history of Cyprus. And this is just that. As far as I am aware, it is the first such English podcast dedicated to Cypriot history while providing a platform for academics to share new and exciting research in their respective fields. After months of hard work, I'm happy to say that the History of Cyprus has truly turned out to be an interdisciplinary podcast.  I’d like to thank each and every participant (and every future guest) in this project as without their time and hard work in their respective fields, this would not have been possible. I’ve released three episodes that I know you will find as fascinating to listen to as it was for me to record – Dr. Alan Simmons, professor Emeritus from the University of Nevada shares with us his seminal research on Akrotiri-Aetokremnos where the first occupants of Cyprus hunted pygmy elephants and hippopotami. Dr. Pippa Steele from the University of Cambridge discusses early languages in pre-Roman Cyprus, from the late Bronze Age to the Ptolemaic and Dr. Drew Wilburn from Oberlin College discusses magic and curses from Ancient Amathus. And there are more to come. Every month I will be releasing a new episode as it relates to Cypriot history. In this podcast we’ll cover Cyprus from 10,000 BCE to the 20th century – we’ll discuss language, culture, war, economy, religion, political and social history. I’m confident that there’ll be something here for everyone. If you’d like to reach me, or have any comments or questions. Please feel free to send me an email at cyprusthepodcast@gmail.com.

Thursday Jun 02, 2022

𐠊𐠒𐠫𐠥𐠨𐠮 Make sure you read that from right to left. Cypriot Syllabary preceded the Greek alphabet by several centuries but it certainly wasn’t the only script (or language) in use in Cyprus at the time. Our guest today is Dr. Pippa Steele, Senior Research Associate at the Faculty of Classics from the University of Cambridge where we will be discussing Cyprus’ first recorded languages and their scripts.Check out Charles "Pico" Rickleton's work on Speculative Syllabic. He uses his visual communication background to reimagine Cypriot Syllabary in the 21st century. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRL_OLgisNg&t=5s

Thursday Jun 02, 2022

I invoke you demons… dead by violence and dead before your time and deprived of burial...you who lie here below, dead before your time and nameless…If you lived in Cyprus 2,000 years ago, you may have been the target of just such a curse. Dr. Drew Wilburn discusses spells, magic and curses in ancient Cyprus and the Amathusian Curse Tablets.*Apologies, folks. The microphone quality on my end is a bit subpar for this recording. Will try and fix that for future episodes

Thursday Jun 02, 2022

Pygmy elephants and dwarf hippos, oh my! Professor Emeritus, Alan Simmons, from the University of Nevada, shares with us his experiences excavating at Akrotiri-Aetokremnos where we have the evidence of the Cyprus' earliest occupants.

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The History of Cyprus Podcast

This podcast has broad aim of discussing the various facets of Cypriot history in a monthly episodic format. My guests range from archaeologists, linguists, anthropologists and social and political historians -- experts in their respective fields. This, as far as I am aware, is the first such English podcast dedicated to the various facets of Cypriot history while providing a platform for academics to share new and exciting research in their respective fields.

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