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Where East met West: To What Extent do Manifestations and Conceptions of Cultural Identity on Early Iron Age Cyprus Support the Existence of a Unique Cultural Identity

Camillo P, Y12

This paper endeavours to conduct an investigation into the cultural and ethnic identity of Early Iron Age Cyprus, finding its primary influences and assessing the extent to which it can be classified as distinctly Cypriot. The time period examined lasts from roughly 1100 BC,when the cultural landscape was significantly changed by large-scale Aegean immigration, to 497 BC.This end date as been chosen because,with it, finishes the participation of Cyprus in the Ionian revolt-from then on, the island becomes more ingrained in the wider Greek political world and once more changes its cultural direction. This leaves on with a period of around 600 years where the island suffered no direct invasions and remained fairly stable.In order to undertake said examination, I examine the archaeological and material remains of the island from the aforementioned time period, the linguistic identity of Cyprus,references to identity on the island in the literature of the wider ancient world and finally the religious practices (including funerary and burial rites) on the island.This is done through an extensive literature review of relevant books, journal articles and archaeological surveys. The evidence leads one to a fairly straightforward conclusion that the cultural identity of the island was engendered from a myriad of sources and, in many ways, was somewhat of an amalgamation of the cultural expressions of the Aegean and Levanto-Egyptian worlds. However, one risks that, when examining the particular features of Cypriot expressions of identity in the Early Iron Age,most of which were imported, the entirety of the culture, which was distinctly Cypriot, is neglected. Furthermore, another key finding is that, while the island was culturally homogenous, each Kingdom maintained fiercely their own identity and the idea of a unified Cypriot culture does not seem to have existed (at least not strongly) in Cyprus itself.

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