NEW ITEMS IN OUR ONLINE SHOPS…

We’ve added some new items to our online shops, including the following:

In our Amazon.com bookstore, we’ve added a couple of new titles –

In our Etsy shop, some fine antiquities-related 19th Century prints –

Bizarre antiquities-related political feud erupts on Cyprus

Recent news reports out of the City of Paphos, Cyprus describe a clash between the Mayor of Paphos on the one hand and the Cyprus  antiquities department and its local Museum in Paphos on the other, with official pronouncements, competing press conferences and plenty of mudslinging. The Mayor indirectly accuses staff at the Museum and organized crime (directly) of being involved in trafficking antiquities and the Museum of not completing a long term project to catalog and digitize their collection of some 20,000 0bjects. In a surprising twist, the Museum staff and antiquities department head have denied there is any illicit trade in antiquities in the area, despite police evidence to the contrary. Something is fishy on the coast of Cyprus.

This row is in many respects a manifestation of long term problems in antiquities-rich nations involving how to store, record and care for countless archaeological and casual finds. Many Mediterranean nations have found themselves increasingly pressed to adequately store and preserve the wealth of archaeological materials excavated or accidentally unearthed in their territories. The situation has been described as “a crisis in curation” and  a problem that “continues to be widespread and serious.” At the same time, local governments are eager to benefit financially from tourist revenue generated through the display of antiquities in Museums or in situ. An excellent paper on this issue is: Kersel, Morag M. “Storage Wars: Solving the Archaeological Curation Crisis?”  Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 3.1 (2015): 42-54.

Here are two articles on this ongoing clash, one from The Committee for Cultural Policy website: https://committeeforculturalpolicy.org/cyprus-mayor-accuses-museum-staff-of-stealing-antiquities/

The other from the “incyprus” news site: http://in-cyprus.com/fedonos-organised-crime-behind-antiquities-looting/

All links open in a new tab or window.

Roman Chariot Race Mosaic Found on Cyprus

Roman chariot race mosaic revealed in Cyprus, best collection of pics and a video from the “incyprus” news site (opens in a new tab or page) – http://in-cyprus.com/unique-akaki-ancient-mosaic-revealed-pictures

Introducing a New Feature: Clio’s Object of the Week

Today we are launching a new feature, entitled “Clio’s Object of the Week.” In this feature we plan to highlight a single antiquity or ancient coin from our stock and explore the object in more detail than is normally permitted in our commercial listings. A link will be included for those interested in purchasing the item.

Sierra Exif JPEG

Cypriot Black on Red Ware Large Pottery Bowl 7th Century BC

Our choice for the first object in this weekly feature is a superb Cypriot Black on Red Ware pottery bowl. This deep bowl dates to the 7th Century BC, which on the Island of Cyprus would correspond the Iron Age and specifically what is referred to in archaeological terms as the Cypro-Archaic Period. This last term is intended to suggest a linkage to the Archaic Period of the Greek mainland and islands, a time when Greek civilization was beginning to fully emerge from the so-called “dark age” that followed the collapse of earlier Bronze Age civilizations in Greece and many parts of the eastern Mediterranean. By the Cypro-Archaic Period, most of Cyprus was Greek speaking. The Island’s small city states had recently freed themselves from a period of Assyrian rule, though they would later be controlled briefly by Egypt and Persia, before becoming fully integrated into the Hellenistic world.

Cypriot Black on Red Ware, also sometimes known as Cypro-Phoenician Ware, typically has a burnished red slip with added decoration in thin black lines. The motifs used are typically “bulls eye” designs and parallel lines forming concentric circles in varying thicknesses. Evidence suggests that it was produced only on the Island of Cyprus at multiple production centers beginning around 850 BC, and had a long life, continuing into the 5th Century BC. Although a great deal of Cypriot pottery of all periods was legally exported from the Island during the period of Ottoman rule, especially in the 19th Century, and during the British colonial period from 1914 through 1960, deep bowls of this type are much less common than the juglets and other closed form containers available on the antiquities market today.

CA09174_stitch

Of special interest on this example are the fingerprints of the potter who made it – two smudged finger marks in black slip. These are visible in the first image at the top of this article, inside the bowl at upper left, and again in the image above, directly alongside the handle but inside the bowl. These marks are a remarkable survival from antiquity. They remind us that pottery such as this was intended primarily as utilitarian ware, not as art, and that modern collectors and art historians have redefined such objects as art based on rarity and beauty.

To view this object on our Etsy store, go here (opens in a new tab or window): https://www.etsy.com/listing/280649766/cypriot-black-on-red-ware-large-pottery?ref=shop_home_active_8

To view this object on our eBay store, go here (opens in a new tab or window): http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cypriot-Black-on-Red-Ware-Large-Pottery-Bowl-7th-Century-BC-/131793379127?hash=item1eaf7f5f37:g:yP8AAOSw8d9UsZhX

To learn more about ancient Cyprus, we recommend the following books —

Clio Ancient Art Kourion Cyprus

A Visit to Ancient Kourion, Cyprus

Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art

Kourion. remains of the Temple of Apollo Hylates from the south.

The archaeological site of Kourion, on the south coast of the modern Republic of Cyprus, has a long history by any standard. Herodotus, writing in the 5th Century BC, records that the site was founded by Achaean colonists from Argos in Greece, a claim that is supported by modern archaeological excavations revealing Mycenaean expansion in the Late Bronze Age (13th Century BC). The settlement developed rapidly and is attested in 12th Century Egyptian inscriptions. Kourion, along with the other kingdoms of Cyprus, later underwent occupation or political domination by the Assyrian, Egyptian and Persian Empires between the 8th and 5th Centuries BC. Under Ptolemaic and Roman rule, Kourion, (Curium in Latin) remained a prosperous but provincial center. The tragic recent events in Haiti serve as a reminder of how devastating a major earthquake can be to a relatively isolated island community. Badly damaged by the great quake of about 365 AD that devastated so much of the Eastern Mediterranean, the City was rebuilt and served as the seat of a bishopric in the Christian era. It was eventually abandoned after a series of Arab raids from North Africa in the 7th and 8th Centuries.

The excavated parts of Kourion, situated on high ground overlooking the sea, today straddle two kilometers of spectacular coastline. The modern visitor typically approaches the site from the town of Limassol, on Akrotiri Bay, traveling west for just a few kilometers along the coastal road. Along the way one may observe many rock cut tombs, mainly of the early Iron Age, in the local limestone hillsides. At the westernmost end of the site is the famous Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates (Apollo of the woodlands) and its many associated buildings, while at the eastern end of the site is the impressive Theatre and the House of Eustolios. Between these are the Roman Forum, an early Christian Basilica and several late Roman houses famed for their mosaics. In this Travelogue installment, I will describe the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Theatre and House of Eustolios.

The Sanctuary of Apollo seems to have been a sacred place even before the cult of that god was imported by the Greeks, as votive offerings of the 7th Century BC have been found. The term “Hylates” was not applied to the sanctuary until the mid-3rd Century BC. In its heyday during the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD, the sanctuary would have included a palaestra (exercise court), a bath, several buildings that may have served as dormitories for pilgrims, and a colonnaded processional street that led directly to the Temple of Apollo. The partly reconstructed remains of this building are thought to date to the reign of Nero. To either side of the processional street were an Archaic altar and an early tholos building enclosed in a small sacred grove.

Temple of Apollo, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion. Colonnade, South Building,Sanctuary of Apollo

Roman Bath, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion. Sub-floor heating, the Roman baths, Sanctuary of Apollo

For the modern archaeological visitor, it is difficult to imagine a more picturesque setting. The Temple complex stands on high ground with a view out to the shore and the Mediterranean almost directly below. The skies are free of pollution and the ruins often bathed in brilliant sunshine. While the partly reconstructed ruins of the Temple are impressive for their simplicity of line and solitude on the highest point of ground, one should not overlook the subsidiary buildings. The bath is especially well preserved, and one may observe in detail the sub-floor and interior wall heating technology (hypocaust system) used in a typical Roman bath. There are no real amenities at this part of the site but there is ample parking for those who have rented a car.

At the east end of the site is Kouion’s Theatre and several important associated residential structures. The Theatre itself seems to have originated in the 2nd Century BC but was greatly enlarged around AD 50. After suffering damage in an earthquake in AD 77, the structure was repaired and took on the form the visitor sees today. It continued in use until the great earthquake of AD 365 and was then gradually stripped of much of its stone, including most of the seats, the colonnade and the stage building. Partly restored by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities in 1961, the building is still used today for plays and concerts. The setting is, like so much of Kourion, spectacular.

Roman Theater, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion, The Roman Theater

Roman Theater, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion. Spirally fluted column of imported
marble from the scenae frons of the Theater

Adjacent to the Theatre at Kourion is an important private residence dating from the late 4th to mid-7th Century AD. This structure, built upon the ruins of an earlier palatial residence, is the House of Eustolios, named for its builder / owner. Eustolios seems to have been a major patron of Kourion in the Christian period and contributed significantly to reconstruction of the town. Among his contributions were repairs to the Theatre and construction of a public bathing facility. Upon entering the House, one sees a Greek mosaic inscription welcoming the visitor with “Enter for the good luck of the house.” The House’s east hall features a fine and well preserved mosaic panel featuring fish and various birds (all early Christian symbols) amid geometric motifs and an inscription proclaiming the Christian nature of the residence. The bathing facilities provided by Eustolios are well preserved and contain one of Kourion’s most famous mosaic panels. This is in the frigidarium or cold room of the baths and depicts a medallion with the head of a young woman holding in her right hand a measure equivalent to one Roman foot. The inscription reads “KTICIC”, meaning Creation or Founding Spirit. This is a highly unusual representation in mosaic art and may be a direct reference to the rebirth of the City following the great earthquake of AD 365.

Kouse of Eustolios, KTISIS mosaic, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion. Detail of The famous ktisis mosaic
in the frigidarium, House of Eustolios.

Roman mosaics, House of Eustolios, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion. Late Roman mosaic pavement with birds, fish & inscription,
SE courtyard, House of Eustolios.

House of Eustolios, Roman House, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Detail of in-house plumbing and water supply drains, House of Eustolios, Kourion

House of Eustolios, Roman Mosaics, Late Antiquity, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Detail of mosaic border from the House of Eustolios, Kourion

This end of the site has excellent amenities, including plenty of parking, restrooms, a small gift and bookshop, and snack bar. There is much more to see at Kourion, including many more fine mosaics, and many important finds housed in the site museum at the nearby village of Episkopi. Signage is generally good throughout the site and access from Paphos or Limassol is easy. I definitely recommend a visit. For an excellent review of Kourion’s history and excavation, I suggest David Soren and Jamie James, Kourion, The Search for a Lost Roman City, Anchor Press Doubleday, NY, 1988. Also very useful is the site guide by Dr. Demos Christou of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, Kourion, Its Monuments and Local Museum, Filokipros Publishing, Nicosia, 1996.