Cypro-Archaic Period (750-480 BC)
Large portions of the Cypriote ceramics at Bryn Mawr are from the Cypro-Archaic period. Many of the objects displayed in the exhibition were originally in the MET and part of the Cesnola Collection. The exhibition is arranged by ware type.
Cypro-Archaic I (750-600 BC)
Cypro-Archaic II (600-480 BC)
Period overview: The "Royal Tombs" at Salamis are recognized as one of the most important archaeological discoveries from the end of the Geometric and beginning of the Archaic periods. The Stele of Sargon II, found in Larnaca, is an Assyrian monument that mentions tribute given to the Assyrians by the 7 kings of Cyprus. Another inscription in the reign of Esarhaddon in the early 7th century lists tribute from 10 Cypriote kings. These Assyrian inscriptions and especially the exact numbers must be treated with caution, however it seems safe to conclude that the city-kingdoms of Cyprus were well established by the end of the 8th century BC. The Archaic period marks an era of external interest in the affairs of the island. Assyrian, Egyptian and Persian powers gain control of the island at various times. Furthermore, contact with the Aegean became more frequent and certain Greek characteristics are more noticeable in the Archaic period than the Geometric. This includes the worship of Greek divinities and the rise of sanctuaries on the island. Large-scale sculpture made of limestone appears during the Archaic period, and although these peices retain a distinct Cypriote characteristic there are clear Greek influences that are apparent by the end of the Archaic period. Greek characteristics often blend together with Phoenicians ones on the island, and the so-called Cypriote Herakles best demonstrates this phenomenon. The divine hero on Cyprus is a combination of the Greek Herakles and the Phoenician Melquart. This mixture allows for the Cypriote Herakles to appear with the attributes of the Greek Herakles such as the lion skin and club in addition to the eastern motif type known as the "master of animals" where the hero grasps a miniature lion. The Cypriote Herakles is a wonderful example of the processes occurring during the Cypro-Archaic period.
For more information on Cypriote Herakles and Cypro-Archaic sources please consult Professor Derek Counts' (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) informative website on Cypriote Sculpture.