North Cyprus
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Ancient Names of Cyprus, Cyprus Names

The island was given many names by the writers, either ancient or present ones. Here are some of the most important: Akamantis, Aspelia, Kition, Khettiim, Makaria, Kryptos, Kypros, Khethima, Kyoforos, Alasia, Kerastis, Amathousia, Miionis, Sfikia, Kolinia, Tharsis, Aeria, Nea Iousiniani.

In addition, with Cyprus many adjectives were closely associated, like chalkoessa (because of the copper veins), asselia (for its fishing activity), iera nisos (for the many saints), evinos (for the variety of wines), eveleos (for its olive oil and many olive trees), dasoessa (for its forest), nisos eroron (meaning island of love), perikallis (beautiful), Afrodisia (island of Aphrodite), and a lot more.

Island's name interpretation

The current etymology of island's name has been portrayed variously by many specialists, either ancient writers or present-day historians, philologists, linguists, etymologists or other researchers.

There are five main interpretations of the origin of Cyprus :

•  From copper that was discovered on the island during the Bronze period (2500 B.C -1050 B.C). Launching of copper mines and production represented a revolutionary and significant era in the history of Cyprus . Thanks to copper, Cyprus became a well-known country at that time. For the nearby countries the island and its strategic position at the cross-roads of the Mediterranean was remarkably attractive. Copper became a product that determined the raise of export and trade. Mycenean people, who made their settlements in Cyprus in the 14 th century B.C, were those firstly tempted by the copper trade and subsequently hellenized the island. Although the name Kypros appeared in Homeric times in 8 th century B.C., there is even an earlier evidence of the name, according to Knossos and Pylos tablets from the 13 th century B.C. As a matter of fact, Cyprus belonged to the oldest copper producing countries in the Near East, and it is believed that this production was launched by the pre-Greek population. As K. Hadjioannou asserts, the word " kypros " meaning "copper" was a pre-Greek word, and most likely an Eteocypriot one. Eteocypriots were the aboriginal Cypriots. If this is true, he concludes, the name of island is justly derived from copper. At present time, the word copper which derived from the Latin word " cuprum ", has a similar form in many European languages (English = copper, German = Kupfer, French = cuivre, Swedish = Koppar, Danish = Kobber).

•  From a plant, called kypros (henna) . For a long period it was believed that Cyprus acquired its name from a shrub called kypros ( Lawsonia alba ). The plant which is native to North Africa, Arabia, Persia and India, has never been found in Cyprus in a big number, and today one can hardly find a shrub of kypros here. It is rather odd that a relatively large island with such a rich history and a civilization dating back to a few millennia obtained its name from a non-native shrub.

•  From Kypros, the son or daughter of Kinyras . Relying on older sources, Evstathios claims that the name of the island is derived from Kypros, the son of Kinyras, while Stephanos Byzantios and K. Porphyrogennitos drawing from old sources as well, ascribe the name to the daughter of Kinyras, Kypros. Recorded by Homer, Kinyras was a historical person, but his genealogy is lost in the myths of antiquity. What we learn from ancient writers including Homer is that Kirynas was the king of the whole Cyprus, not only the king of Paphos, as some sources declare. It was a habitual matter to name the islands after the sons of kings, mythological persons or some other personalities, like Samos, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Andros etc in Greece . Therefore, it is no wonder that the son or daughter of the most renowned, rich and eminent kings of Cyprus is connected with the name of the island.

•  From a town of Cyprus named Kypros . As claimed by Onorios and Isidoros the name of the island is derived from a town lying between Kyrenia and Akanthou now in North Cyprus . However, such a town has never been unearthed or historically traced, and the probability of existence of such a town is minimal.

•  From Kypris, a name which many of the ancient writers, including Homer gave to Aphrodite . Although a few writers believe that Kypros ( Cyprus ) owes its name to Kypris (Aphrodite), it is Kypris that has derived the name from Kypros ( Cyprus ), as she was the Goddess of Kypros ( Cyprus ).

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