From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [1]

The island of Cyprus was located in the Mediterranean Sea. In former days it was called Kittim and its people were well known as sea traders ( Numbers 24:24;  Isaiah 23:1;  Isaiah 23:12;  Jeremiah 2:10;  Ezekiel 27:6;  Daniel 11:30).

Barnabas, a leading man in the early church, came from Cyprus ( Acts 4:36). When the Jews killed Stephen and drove the Christians from Jerusalem, some of those Christians took the gospel to Cyprus ( Acts 11:19). Barnabas and Paul further helped the growth of the church in Cyprus by conducting a preaching tour that stretched from one end of the island to the other. A few years later Barnabas and Mark did further work there ( Acts 13:2-6;  Acts 15:39). Paul sailed past the island on later journeys, but there is no record that he visited the island again ( Acts 21:3;  Acts 27:4).

Under the Roman administration, the capital of Cyprus was Paphos ( Acts 13:6-7). The island had a large Jewish population and many synagogues ( Acts 13:5-6). The Jews of Cyprus who became Christians had a much broader outlook than the Jews of Jerusalem, and were sympathetic to the expansion of the gospel among the Gentiles ( Acts 11:20;  Acts 13:46;  Acts 21:16).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

CYPRUS . An island in the N.E. corner of the Levant, within sight of the Syrian and Cilician coasts. Its greatest length is 140 miles, breadth 60 miles. In configuration it consists of a long plain shut in on the N. and the S.W. by mountain ranges.

In the OT the name Cyprus does not occur, but undoubtedly the island is referred to under the name Kittim , which is the same as the name of the PhÅ“nician town Kition, now Larnaka. In   Genesis 10:4 Kittim is spoken of as a son of Javan, together with Tarshish and Elishah. This probably implies that the earliest population of Cyprus was akin to the pre-Hellenic population of Greece. In   Ezekiel 27:6 the isles of Kittim are spoken of as supplying Tyre with boxwood. But the name Kittim is used also of the West generally, as in   Daniel 11:30 of the Romans (cf.   Numbers 24:24 ).

The early importance of Cyprus was due to its forests and its copper. Its copper has long ago been exhausted, and owing to neglect its forests have perished. But throughout the ‘bronze age,’ which for Ægæan countries may roughly be reckoned as b.c. 2000 to b.c. 1000, its copper was exported not only to Syria but to Egypt and to Europe, and, mixed with the tin brought by PhÅ“nicians from Cornwall and the West, it provided the metal from which both weapons and ornaments were made. Hence the name copper is derived from Cyprus. When the iron age began, this metal also was obtained from Cyprus.

Doubtless the copper was first exported by PhÅ“nicians, who early founded Kition and other towns in Cyprus, and introduced the worship of the Syrian Aphrodite who became known to the Greeks as the ‘Cyprian goddess.’ But the Greeks themselves were not long behind the PhÅ“nicians in the island, the settlers were doubtless Peloponnesians disturbed by the Dorian invasions, and they used what the Greeks called the Arcadian dialect. They brought with them the Ægæan civilization, as relics found in the island prove conclusively. Paphoe, Soli, Salamis were Greek settlements, the last being named from the island off the coast of Attica. But the Greeks soon combined with the PhÅ“nicians. They adopted what was probably in origin a Hittite alphabet, in which every syllable is represented by a separate sign, and this lasted till the 4th century.

Cyprus did not develop as an independent power. Before b.c. 1450 it was made tributary to Egypt. About b.c. 1000 it was subject to Tyre, and with PhÅ“nicia it passed into the hands of Sargon, the Assyrian, about b.c. 700. Sargon left an inscription at Kition, and later Assyrian kings record tribute received from Cyprus. About b.c. 560 Amasis of Egypt reduced the island, and it passed with Egypt to Cambyses of Persia in b.c. 525. It took part in the Ionian revolt of b.c. 501, but was quickly reduced, and supplied Xerxes with a fleet in b.c. 480. Athens made repeated attempts to secure the island, but the mixed population prevented any strong Hellenic movement, and it only passed definitely into Greek hands by submission to Alexander the Great after the battle of Issus in b.c. 333. On the division of his empire it fell to the Ptolemys of Egypt, until it was annexed by Rome in b.c. 57. It was made a separate province after the battle of Actium in b.c. 31, becoming at first an ‘imperial’ province, but being afterwards transferred to ‘senatorial’ government, so that in  Acts 13:7 St. Luke rightly describes the governor as a proconsul.

Jews first settled in Cyprus under the Ptolemys, and their numbers there were considerable before the time of the Apostles. Barnabas is described as a Cypriot Jew, and when he and St. Paul started from Antioch on the First Missionary Journey, they first of all passed through Cyprus ( Acts 13:4-12 ). They landed at Salamis, then a Greek port flourishing with Syrian trade, now deserted with its harbour silted up three miles from Famagusta. Here they preached in the synagogue, where their message was probably not entirely new (  Acts 11:19 ), and then journeyed through ‘the whole island’ (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) to New Paphos in the W. a three or four days’ journey, even if they preached nowhere on the way. New Paphos, like Old Paphos, was the seat of the worship of Aphrodite (see Paphos), and was at this time the Roman capital. (For the incidents connected with the proconsul and the magus , see artt. Sergius Paulus and Bar-jesus.)

Besides Barnabas we have mention of Mnason, an ‘original convert,’ as coming from Cyprus ( Acts 21:16 ), but we have no knowledge of how the Church grew in the island until it included 15 bishoprics. The Jews of Cyprus took part in the great rising of their race which took place in a.d. 117 (when Trajan was busy with Parthia), and they are said to have massacred 240,000 of the Gentile population. The revolt was suppressed without mercy, and all Jews were expelled from the island.

Under the Byzantine emperors Cyprus suffered much from their misrule, and from the Saracens. Seized in 1191 by Richard CÅ“ur de Lion, it was sold to the Knights Templars. From 1479 to 1570 it was held by the Venetians. After three centuries of Turkish rule it passed under British rule in 1878, by a convention which still requires it to pay tribute to the Sultan. But it has scarcely recovered prosperity. Various causes have lessened the rainfall, it is troubled with malaria, its mineral resources were long ago worked out and its forests destroyed. There are no good roads, and communication is kept up by bullock-carts and mules. Its best ports (Larnaka and Limasol) are open roadsteads.

A. E. Hillard.

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

 Isaiah 23:1 Jeremiah 2:10 Daniel 11:30 Isaiah 138

Historically Cyprus was important as a source for timber used in shipbuilding and copper, both vital commodities in the ancient world. The strategic position of Cyprus just off the coasts of Asia Minor and Syria coupled with the presence of favorable currents and reliable summer winds encouraged wide-ranging trade contacts. Evidence of trade with Cyprus between 2000,1000 B.C. has been found in Asia Minor, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria; contacts also were maintained with Crete, the Aegean Islands, and Greece. After 1500 B.C., Cyprus was influenced heavily by the Mycenean culture of mainland Greece which left an indelible stamp.

After 1000 B.C., several city-states, each ruled by a king, were the basis of the political structure on Cyprus. Among the most important cities were Salamis and Kition. The Phoenicians, a Semitic people who established a trading empire throughout the Mediterranean, colonized Kition about 850 B.C. Tyre and Sidon were the center of Phoenician trade, and the Old Testament underscores the connection between these cities and Cyprus in several passages ( Isaiah 23:1-2 ,  Isaiah 23:12;  Ezekiel 27:4-9 ).

From the time the kings of Cyprus submitted to Sargon II of Assyria in 707 B.C., the political fortunes of the island were determined by successive empires which dominated the Near East. Egyptian and Persian kings controlled Cyprus prior to the coming of Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. After his death, Cyprus became a part of the Ptolemaic Empire (294-258 B.C.). During this period many Jews settled on the island, forming an important part of the population. In 58 B.C., Rome annexed Cyprus; with the establishment of the Roman Empire under Augustus, the island became a Senatorial Province in 22 B.C. governed by a proconsul from Paphos.

Cyprus is first mentioned in the New Testament as the birthplace of Joseph surnamed Barnabas, a Hellenistic Jewish convert who later accompanied Paul ( Acts 4:36-37 ). As a result of the persecution associated with the martyrdom of Stephen in Jerusalem, Jewish Christians journeyed to Cyprus and preached the gospel to the Jewish community on the island ( Acts 11:19-20 ). In A.D. 46 or 47, Paul undertook his first missionary journey accompanied by Barnabas and John Mark ( Acts 13:1 ). Arriving at Salamis on the eastern side of Cyprus, the group crossed the island to Paphos preaching the new faith. The reference to Paphos is to Neapaphos, “New Paphos,” founded in the fourth century B.C., and the center of Roman government on Cyprus. The conversion of the deputy, Sergius Paulus, was brought about in part by the blinding of the magician Bar-jesus. Whether Paul visited Paleapahos, “Old Paphos,” is unclear; Paleapaphos was an ancient city associated with the worship of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, who reputedly emerged from the foam of the sea nearby.

John Mark and Barnabas returned to Cyprus a second time after parting company with Paul ( Acts 15:39 ). Later, Paul twice passed by the island on voyages, once on a return to Jerusalem ( Acts 21:3 ) and finally while traveling to Rome ( Acts 27:4 ). See Kittim; Phoenicians.

Tommy Brisco

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

The Chittim of  Ezekiel 27:6. Citium, one of its towns, is a kindred name. This island in easternmost part of the Mediterranean runs from N.E. to S.W., 148 miles long, about 40 broad for the most part, facing Phoenicia and Lebanon on the E., and Cilicia with the Taurus range on the N.; containing the mountain range of Olympus. Notorious for its licentious worship of Venus, or the Assyrian Astarte. Yet in this unpromising soil Christianity took early root, the Jews having prepared the way. Its copper mines in the mountains were once farmed to Herod the Great; hence, the number of Jews on the island was natural. Barnabas was born there, and "being a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith" was keen to impart to his countrymen that gospel which he so much loved ( Acts 4:36).

Moreover those scattered abroad in the persecution whereby Stephen suffered "traveled as far as Cyprus, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only." Some of the men of Cyprus too preached the Lord Jesus to the Greeks effectually at Antioch ( Acts 11:19-20). Moreover, when Barnabas and Paul were there "separated for the Lord's work" by the Holy Spirit ( Acts 13:1-13), Cyprus was their first destination. With John Mark as their minister they preached in the Jews' synagogue at Salamis; and then passing by the Roman road to Paphos, the proconsular residence in the W., at his request they preached before Sergius Paulus the "proconsul," KJV "deputy." A delicate mark of truth. Cyprus had been an imperial province, and governed by the emperor's "lieutenants"; but the emperor transferred it to the senate, and so Luke accurately designates its governor, as under the senate, "proconsul," Anthupatos (Dion Cassius, 53:12; 54:4).

Coins and inscriptions confirm this (one on the lintel of a doorway with the name of the very officer referred to by Luke, confuting Beza's doubt). Elymas or Barjesus, a sorcerer and false prophet, a Jew, withstood Paul and Barnabas, "seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith"; but on his being struck with blindness at Paul's word the deputy was astonished and believed. Barnabas visited his native island again, with his nephew Mark, when Paul had refused to allow Mark's attendance because of his former departure from them from Pamphylia, instead of going forward with them to the work ( Acts 15:36-39). Mnason, "an old disciple" of Cyprus, is mentioned in  Acts 21:16 as the appointed entertainer of Paul at Jerusalem. In sailing from Rhodes and Patara Paul's ship "sighted" Cyprus, leaving it on the left in going to Phoenicia ( Acts 21:3). In sailing from Sidon on their way to Rome they went N. of it, to be under lee of land, and to take advantage of the current, which flows northward along Phoenicia and westward along Cilicia ( Acts 27:4).

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Cyprus ( Sî'Prus ). A large fertile island of the Mediterranean Sea, triangular in form, 150 miles long, and from 50 to 60 miles broad. Venus was its chief goddess—hence her name Cypria. It contained two prominent cities, Salamis and Paphos, and 17 towns. Salamis was at the east and Paphos at the west end of the island.  Acts 13:4-5. Barnabas was a native of Cyprus, and its people are noticed in apostolic history.  Acts 4:36;  Acts 13:4;  Acts 15:39. Sergius Paulus, proconsul of Cyprus, was converted by Paul on his first missionary tour,  Acts 13:7 ff., and thus became the first Christian ruler on record. Cyprus was colonized by the Phœnicians at a very early date. It was the Chittim, or Kittim, of the Old Testament.  Numbers 24:24. Copper mining and the production of swords, armor, and other articles in bronze were its principal industries. There was also an extensive commerce. In literature, Cyprus boasted of very early distinction. After belonging to Egypt, Persia, and Greece, it became a Roman possession 58 b.c., and is now under the English government.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

A large island in the Mediterranean, situated in the northeast part of that sea between Cilicia and Syria. It is about one hundred and forty miles long, and varies from five to fifty miles in breadth. Its inhabitants were plunged in all manner of luxury and debauchery. Their principal deity was Venus, who had a celebrated temple at Paphos. The island was extremely fertile, and abounded in wine, oil, honey, wool, copper, agate, and a beautiful species of rock crystal. There were also large forests of cypress-trees. Of the cities in the island, Paphos on the western coast, and Salmis at the opposite end, are mentioned in the New Testament. The gospel was preached there at an early day,  Acts 11:19 . Barnabas and Mnason, and other eminent Christians, were natives of this island,  Acts 11:20   21:16 . The apostles Paul and Barnabas made a missionary tour through it, A. D. 44,  Acts 13:4-13 . See also  Acts 15:39   27:4 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [7]

Cy'prus. An island of Asia, in the Mediterranean. It is about 140 miles long and 50 miles wide at the widest part. Its two chief cities were Salamis, at the east end of the island, and Paphos, at the west end.

"Cyprus occupies a distinguished place in both sacred and profane history. It, early, belonged to the Phoenicians of the neighboring coast; was, afterwards, colonized by Greeks, passed successively under the power of the Pharaohs, Persians, Ptolemies and Romans, excepting a short period of independence in the fourth century B.C. It was one of the chief seats of the worship of Venus, hence, called Cypria. Recently, the discoveries in Cyprus by Cesnola have excited new interest." - Appleton's American Encyclopedia.

It was the native place of Barnabas,  Acts 4:36, and was visited by Paul.  Acts 13:4-13;  Acts 15:39;  Acts 21:3. See also  Acts 27:4.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

Large island in the east end of the Mediterranean. It is the same as the CHITTIMof the O.T. where its commerce and its relation to Tyre are spoken of.  Isaiah 23:1,12;  Ezekiel 27:6;  Daniel 11:30 . It was visited by Paul and Barnabas, the latter of whom, with Mnason, came from thence.  Acts 4:36;  Acts 11:19,20;  Acts 13:4;  Acts 15:39;  Acts 21:3,16;  Acts 27:4 . It has always been a place of importance and has been owned by the Syrians, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Persians, the Romans, and latterly is divided between Greece and Turkey.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [9]

a large island in the Mediterranean, situated between Cilicia and Syria. Its inhabitants were plunged in all manner of luxury and debauchery. Their principal deity was Venus. The Apostles Paul and Barnabas landed in the isle of Cyprus, A.D. 44,

 Acts 13:4 . While they continued at Salamis, they preached Jesus Christ in the Jewish synagogues; from thence they visited all the cities of the island, preaching the Gospel. At Paphos, they found Bar-Jesus, a false prophet, with Sergius Paulus, the governor: Paul struck Bar-Jesus with blindness; and the proconsul embraced Christianity. Some time after, Barnabas went again into this island with John, surnamed Mark,  Acts 15:39 . Barnabas is considered as the principal Apostle, and first bishop, of Cyprus; where it is said he was martyred, being stoned to death by the Jews of Salamis.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Numbers 24:24Camphire

It is first mentioned in the New Testament ( Acts 4:36 ) as the native place of Barnabas. It was the scene of Paul's first missionary labours (13:4-13), when he and Barnabas and John Mark were sent forth by the church of Antioch. It was afterwards visited by Barnabas and Mark alone (15:39). Mnason, an "old disciple," probaly one of the converts of the day of Pentecost belonging to this island, is mentioned (21:16). It is also mentioned in connection with the voyages of Paul ( Acts 21:3;  27:4 ). After being under the Turks for three hundred years, it was given up to the British Government in 1878.

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(n.) A thin, transparent stuff, the same as, or corresponding to, crape. It was either white or black, the latter being most common, and used for mourning.

King James Dictionary [12]

CYPRUS, n. A thin transparent black stuff.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

sı̄´prus ( Κύπρος , Kúpros ):

1. Name

An island situated near the Northeast corner of the Levant, in an angle formed by the coasts of Cilicia and Syria. In the Old Testament it is called Kittim , after the name of its Phoenician capital Kition. The identification is expressly made by Josephus ( Ant. , I, vi, 1) and by the Cyprian bishop Epiphanius ( Haer ., xxx.25). In the tablets from Tell el-Amarna it is referred to as Alashia (E. Meyer, Gesch. des Alterthums , 12, section 499), in Egyptian records as Asi, while in the Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions it is named Yavnan.

2. Geography

The island is the largest in the Mediterranean with the exception of Sardinia and Sicily, its area being about 3,584 square miles. It lies in 34 degrees 30´-35 degrees 41´ North latitude and 32 degrees 15´-34 degrees 36´ East longitude, only 46 miles distant from the nearest point of the Cilician coast and 60 miles from the Syrian. Thus from the northern shore of the island the mainland of Asia Minor is clearly visible and Mt. Lebanon can be seen from Eastern Cyprus. This close proximity to the Cilician and Syrian coasts, as well as its position on the route between Asia Minor and Egypt, proved of great importance for the history and civilization of the island. Its greatest length, including the Northeast promontory, is about 140 miles, its greatest breadth 60 miles. The Southwest portion of Cyprus is formed by a mountain complex, culminating in the peaks of Troödos (6,406 ft.), Mádhari (5,305 ft.), Papoútsa (5,124 ft.) and Máchaira (4,674 ft.). To the Northeast of this lies the great plain of the Mesoréa, nearly 60 miles in length and 10 to 20 in breadth, in which lies the modern capital Nicosia (Lefkosia). It is watered chiefly by the Pediaeus (modern Pediás ), and is bounded on the North by a mountain range, which is continued to the East-Northeast in the long, narrow promontory of the Karpass, terminating in Cape Andrea, the ancient Dinaretum. Its highest peaks are Buffavénto (3,135 ft.) and Hagios Elías (3,106 ft.). The shore-plain to the North of these hills is narrow, but remarkably fertile.

3. Products

Cyprus is richly endowed by nature. Its fruits and flowers were famous in antiquity. Strabo, writing under Augustus, speaks of it as producing wine and oil in abundance and corn sufficient for the needs of its inhabitants (XIV, 684). The elder Pliny refers to Cyprian salt, alum, gypsum, mica, unguents, laudanum, storax, resin and precious stones, including agate, jasper, amethyst, lapis lazuli and several species of rock-crystal. His list includes the diamond (xxxvii.58) and the emerald (xxxvii.6, 66), but there is reason to believe that under these names a variety of rock-crystal and the beryl are intended. The chief source of the island's wealth, however, lay in its mines and forests. Silver is mentioned by Strabo (loc. cit.) among its products; copper, which was called by the Greeks after the name of the island, was extensively mined there from the earliest period down to the Middle Ages; iron too was found in considerable quantities from the 9th century until Roman times. Scarcely less important were the forests, which at an early date are said to have covered almost the whole island. The cypress seems to have been the principal tree, but Pliny tells of a giant cedar, 130 Roman feet in height, felled in Cyprus (xvi.203), and the island supplied timber for shipbuilding to many successive powers.

4. Early History

The original inhabitants of Cyprus appear to have been a race akin to the peoples of Asia Minor. Its vast resources in copper and timber gained for it a considerable importance and wide commercial relations at a very remote period. Its wealth attracted the attention of Babylonia and Egypt, and there is reason to believe that it was conquered by Sargon I, king of Accad, and about a millennium later by Thothmes III, of the 18th Egyptian Dynasty (1501-1447 bc). But the influences which molded its civilization came from other quarters also. Excavation has shown that in Cyprus were several seats of the Minoan culture, and there can be little doubt that it was deeply influenced by Crete. The Minoan writing may well be the source of the curious Cyprian syllabic script, which continued in use for the representation of the Greek language down to the 4th century bc (A. J. Evans, Scripta Minoa , I). But the Minoan origin of the Cyprian syllabary is still doubtful, for it may have been derived from the Hittite hieroglyphs. Phoenician influences too were at work, and the Phoenician settlements - C itium, Amathus, Paphos and others - go back to a very early date. The break-up of the Minoan civilization was followed by a "Dark Age," but later the island received a number of Greek settlers from Arcadia and other Hellenic states, as we judge not only from Greek tradition but from the evidence of the Cyprian dialect, which is closely akin to the Arcadian. In 709 bc Sargon Ii of Assyria made himself master of Cyprus, and tribute was paid by its seven princes to him and to his grandson, Esarhaddon (681-667 bc). The overthrow of the Assyrian Empire probably brought with it the independence of Cyprus, but it was conquered afresh by Aahmes (Amasis) of Egypt (Herod. ii. 182) who retained it till his death in 526 bc; but in the following year the defeat of his son and successor Psamtek Iii (Psammenitus) by Cambyses brought the island under Persian dominion (Herod. iii.19, 91).

5. Cyprus and the Greeks

In 501 the Greek inhabitants led by Onesilus, brother of the reigning prince of Salamis, rose in revolt against the Persians, but were decisively beaten (Herodotus v.104ff), and in 480 we find 150 Cyprian ships in the navy with which Xerxes attacked Greece (Herod. vii.90). The attempts of Pausanias and of Cimon to win Cyprus for the Hellenic cause met with but poor success, and the withdrawal of the Athenian forces from the Levant after their great naval victory off Salamis in 449 was followed by a strong anti-Hellenic movement throughout the island led by Abdemon, prince of Citium. In 411 Euagoras ascended the throne of Salamis and set to work to assert Hellenic influence and to champion Hellenic civilization. He joined with Pharnabazus the Persian satrap and Conon the Athenian to overthrow the naval power of Sparta at the battle of Cnidus in 394, and in 387 revolted from the Persians. He was followed by his son Nicocles, to whom Isocrates addressed the famous panegyric of Euagoras and who formed the subject of an enThusiastic eulogy by the same writer. Cyprus seems later to have fallen once again under Persian rule, but after the battle of Issus (333 bc) it voluntarily gave in its submission to Alexander the Great and rendered him valuable aid at the siege of Tyre. On his death (323) it fell to the share of Ptolemy of Egypt. It was, however, seized by Demetrius Poliorcetes, who defeated Ptolemy in a hotly contested battle off Salamis in 306. But eleven years later it came into the hands of the Ptolemies and remained a province of Egypt or a separate but dependent kingdom until the intervention of Rome (compare 2 Macc 10:13). We hear of a body of Cyprians, under the command of a certain Crates, serving among the troops of Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria and forming part of the garrison of Jerusalem about 172 bc (2 Macc 4:29). This interpretation of the passage seems preferable to that according to which Crates had been governor of Cyprus under the Ptolemies before entering the service of Antiochus.

6. Cyprus and Rome

In 58 bc the Romans resolved to incorporate Cyprus in their empire and Marcus Porcius Cato was entrusted with the task of its annexation. The reigning prince, a brother of Ptolemy Auletes of Egypt, received the offer of an honorable retirement as high priest of Aphrodite at Paphos, but he preferred to end his life by poison, and treasures amounting to some 7,000 talents passed into Roman hands, together with the island, which was attached to the province of Cilicia. In the partition of the Roman empire between Senate and Emperor, Cyprus was at first (27-22 bc) an imperial province (Dio Cassius liii.12), administered by a legatus Augusti pro praetore or by the imperial legate of Cilicia. In 22 bc, however, it was handed over to the Senate together with southern Gaul in exchange for Dalmatia (Dio Cassius liii. 12; liv.4) and was subsequently governed by ex-praetors bearing the honorary title of proconsul and residing at Paphos. The names of about a score of these governors are known to us from ancient authors, inscriptions and coins and will be found in D. G. Hogarth, Devia Cypria , App. Among them is Sergius Paulus, who was proconsul at the time of Paul's visit to Paphos in 46 or 47 ad, and we may notice that the title applied to him by the writer of the Acts ( Acts 13:7 ) is strictly accurate.

7. Cyprus and the Jews

The proximity of Cyprus to the Syrian coast rendered it easy of access from Palestine, and Jews had probably begun to settle there even before the time of Alexander the Great. Certainly the number of Jewish residents under the Ptolemies was considerable (1 Macc 15:23; 2 Macc 12:2) and it must have been increased later when the copper mines of the island were farmed to Herod the Great (Josephus, Ant , Xvi , iv, 5; Xix , xxvi, 28; compare Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum , 2628). We shall not be surprised, therefore, to find that at Salamis there was more than one synagogue at the time of Paul's visit ( Acts 13:5 ). In 116 ad the Jews of Cyprus rose in revolt and massacred no fewer than 240,000 Gentiles. Hadrian crushed the rising with great severity and drove all the Jews from the island. Henceforth no Jew might set foot upon it, even under stress of shipwreck, on pain of death (Dio Cassius lxviii.32).

8. The Church in Cyprus

In the life of the early church Cyprus played an important part. Among the Christians who fled from Judea in consequence of the persecution which followed Stephen's death were some who "travelled as far as Phoenicia, and Cyprus" ( Acts 11:19 ) preaching to the Jews only. Certain natives of Cyprus and Cyrene took a further momentous step in preaching at Antioch to the Greeks also ( Acts 11:20 ). Even before this time Joseph Barnabas, a Levite born in Cyprus ( Acts 4:36 ), was prominent in the early Christian community at Jerns, and it was in his native island that he and Paul, accompanied by Barnabas nephew, John Mark, began their first missionary journey ( Acts 13:4 ). After landing at Salamis they passed "through the whole island" to Paphos ( Acts 13:6 ), probably visiting the Jewish synagogues in its cities. The Peutinger Table tells us of two roads from Salamis to Paphos in Roman times, one of which ran inland by way of TremiThus, Tamassus and Soil, a journey of about 4 days, while the other and easier route, occupying some 3 days, ran along the south coast by way of Citium, AmaThus and Curium. Whether the "early disciple," Mnason of Cyprus, was one of the converts made at this time or had previously embraced Christianity we cannot determine ( Acts 21:16 ). Barnabas and Mark revisited Cyprus later ( Acts 15:39 ), but Paul did not again land on the island, though he sighted it when, on his last journey to jerus, he sailed south of it on his way from Patara in Lycia to Tyre ( Acts 21:3 ), and again when on his journey to Rome he sailed "under the lee of Cyprus," that is, along its northern coast, on the way from Sidon to Myra in Lycia ( Acts 27:4 ). In 401 ad the Council of Cyprus was convened, chiefly in consequence of the efforts of Theophilus of Alexandria, the inveterate opponent of Origenism, and took measures to check the reading of Origen's works. The island, which was divided into 13 bishoprics, was declared autonomous in the 5th century, after the alleged discovery of Matthew's Gospel in the tomb of Barnabas at Salamis. The bishop of Salamis was made metropolitan by the emperor Zeno with the title "archbishop of all Cyprus," and his successor, who now occupies the see of Nicosia, still enjoys the privilege of signing his name in red ink and is primate over the three other bishops of the island, those of Paphos, Kition and Kyrenia, all of whom are of metropolitan rank.

9. Later History

Cyprus remained in the possession of the Roman and then of the Byzantine emperors, though twice overrun and temporarily occupied by the Saracens, until 1184, when its ruler, Isaac Comnenus, broke away from Constantinople and declared himself an independent emperor. From him it was wrested in 1191 by the Crusaders under Richard I of England, who bestowed it on Guy de Lusignan, the titular king of Jerusalem, and his descendants. In 1489 it was ceded to the Venetians by Catherine Cornaro, widow of James II, the last of the Lusignan kings, and remained in their hands until it was captured by the Ottoman Turks under Sultan Selim II, who invaded and subjugated the island in 1570 and laid siege to Famagusta, which, after a heroic defense, capitulated on August 1, 1571. Since that time Cyprus has formed part of the Turkish empire, in spite of serious revolts in 1764 and 1823; since 1878, however, it has been occupied and administered by the British government, subject to an annual payment to the Sublime Porte of £92,800 and a large quantity of salt. The High Commissioner, who resides at Nicosia, is assisted by a Legislative Council of 18 members. The estimated population in 1907 was 249,250, of whom rather more than a fifth were Moslems and the remainder chiefly members of the Greek Orthodox church.


An exhaustive bibliography will be found in C. D. Cobham, An Attempt at a Bibliography of Cyprus , Nicosia, 4th edition, 1900. The following works may be specially mentioned: E. Oberhummer, Aus Cypern , Berlin, 1890-92; Studien zur alten Geographic yon Kypros , Munich 1891; A. Sakellarios, Τὰ Κυπριακά , Athens, 1890-91. References in ancient sources are collected in J. Meursius, Cyprus, Amsterdam, 1675, and W. Engel, Kypros , Berlin, 1841. For Cyprian archaeology see P. Gardner, New Chapters in Greek History , chapter vi, London, 1892; J. L. Myres and M. Ohnefalsch Richter, Catalogue of the Cyprus Museum , Oxford, 1899; M. O. Richter, Kypros , die Bibel und Homer , Berlin, 1893; D.G. Hogarth, Devia Cypria , London, 1889; and J. L. Myres' article on "Cypriote Archaeology" in Encyclopedia Britannica , 11th edition, VII, 697ff. For excavations, Journal of Hellenic Studies , IX, XI, Xii , Xvii , and Excavations in Cyprus , London (British Museum), 1900; for art, G. Perrot and C. Chipiez, Art in Phoenicia and Cyprus , English translation, London, 1885; for coins, B. V. Head, Historia Numorum , Oxford, 1911; for inscriptions, Sammlung der griech. Dialekt-Inschriften , I, Göttingen, 1883; for the Cyprian church, J. Hackett, History of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus , London, 1901; for authorities on medieval and modern history, CL. D. Cobham, Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition), 11th edition, VII, 701.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

Cy´prus, the modern Kebris, one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, and next to Sicily in importance. It is about 140 miles in length, and varies in breadth from 50 to 5 miles. From its numerous headlands and promontories, it was called Kerastis, or the Horned; and from its exuberant fertility, Macaria, or the blessed. Its proximity to Asia Minor, Phoenicia, and Egypt, and its numerous havens, made it a general rendezvous for merchants. 'Corn, wine, and oil,' which are so often mentioned in the Old Testament as the choicest productions of Palestine , were found here in the highest perfection. The forests also furnished large supplies of timber for ship-building, which rendered the conquest of the island a favorite project of the Egyptian kings. It was the boast of the Cyprians that they could build and complete their vessels without any aid from foreign countries. Among the mineral products were diamonds, emeralds, and other precious stones, alum, and asbestos; besides iron, lead, zinc, with a portion of silver, and, above all, copper.

Cyprus was originally peopled from Phoenicia [CHITTIM]. Amasis I, king of Egypt, subdued the whole island. In the time of Herodotus the population consisted of Athenians, Arcadians, Phoenicians, and Ethiopians. Under the Persians and Macedonians the whole island was divided into nine petty sovereignties. After the death of Alexander the Great it fell to the share of Ptolemy, the son of Lagus. It was brought under the Roman dominion by Cato. Under the Emperor Augustus it was at first an imperial province, and afterwards, with Gallia Narbonensis, made over to the senate. When the empire was divided it fell to the share of the Byzantine emperors. Richard I of England conquered it in 1191, and gave it to Guy Lusignan, by whose family it was retained for nearly three centuries. In 1473 the republic of Venice obtained possession of it; but in 1571 it was taken by Selim II, and ever since has been under the dominion of the Turks. The majority of the population belong to the Greek church; the archbishop resides at Leikosia. Cyprus was one of the first places out of Palestine in which Christianity was promulgated, though at first to Jews only , by 'those who were scattered abroad' after Stephen's martyrdom. It was visited by Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary tour , and subsequently by Barnabas and John Mark . Paul sailed to the south of the island on his voyage to Rome . [[[Elymas; Paphos; Sergius Paulus; Salamis]]]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [15]

A fertile, mountainous island in the Levant, capital Nicosia; geographically connected with Asia, and the third largest in the Mediterranean, being 140 m. long and 60 m. broad; government ceded to Great Britain in 1878 by the Sultan, on condition of an annual tribute; is a British colony under a colonial governor or High Commissioner; is of considerable strategic importance to Britain; yields cereals, wines, cotton, &c., and has 400 m. of good road, and a large transit trade.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [16]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Cyprus'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.