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The History of Cyprus Podcast

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Welcome to the History of Cyprus Podcast. Follow us on Instagram and support the show on Patreon: I’d like to thank each and every participant (and every future guest) in this project as without their time and hard work in their respective fields of archaeology, linguistics, social and political history, this would not have been possible. Every month I will be releasing a new episode as it relates to Cypriot history. In this podcast we’ll cover Cyprus from 10,000 BCE to the 20th century – we’ll discuss language, culture, war, economy, religion, political and social history. I’m confident that there’ll be something here for everyone. If you’d like to reach me, my name is Andreas. Please feel free to send me an email at The podcast image, ”Dressed for the Gods” (250BC) is from the British Museum taken by William Warby. Check out more of his work at




Welcome to the History of Cyprus Podcast. Follow us on Instagram and support the show on Patreon: I’d like to thank each and every participant (and every future guest) in this project as without their time and hard work in their respective fields of archaeology, linguistics, social and political history, this would not have been possible. Every month I will be releasing a new episode as it relates to Cypriot history. In this podcast we’ll cover Cyprus from 10,000 BCE to the 20th century – we’ll discuss language, culture, war, economy, religion, political and social history. I’m confident that there’ll be something here for everyone. If you’d like to reach me, my name is Andreas. Please feel free to send me an email at The podcast image, ”Dressed for the Gods” (250BC) is from the British Museum taken by William Warby. Check out more of his work at




*NEW EPISODE!* 21. Tα Kυπριακά: The Cypriot Greek Dialect with Stavroula Varella

Stavroula Varella (King's College London) joins me this month to discuss the origins of the modern Cypriot Greek dialect. We explore the meaning and origins of a myriad of words (e.g., ίντα, θωρώ, έσσω, ηὗρεν and έννε...) and their possible roots. We touch on all the parent languages that inform the Cypriot vernacular including French, Italian, Turkish & English and not only identify potential etymologies (which, I learn, is notoriously difficult) but also their mode and places of transmission. You won't want to miss this!


Primary Source XXI: The Cypriot Greek Dialect: An excerpt from Leontios Machairas

Listen closely. You'll hear snippets of the Cypriot Greek dialect in this excerpt from the Chronicles of Leontios Machairas as he describes a particularly compelling event during Genoese invasion of Nicosia in the 14th century. But this excerpt was chosen not for the story per se. Rather, it was chosen for its rich Cypriot vernacular. Word use, such as θωρώ (i.e., to see) heard in this excerpt, have their roots in antiquity (see: θεωρῶ) and were preserved from the Koine into medieval Greek. Many are commonly used today in Cypriot vernacular. Other noticeable words in this recording, such as έσσω (home) and ηὗρεν (found), should be familiar to the modern ear. The Chronicles of Leontios Machairas is one of our earliest sources that both documents the historical developments in medieval Cyprus and provides us the distinct beginnings of the modern Cypriot dialect (though not the first. That would be the medieval law code, The Assizes). There are, however, roots that may go further back into antiquity. Next month, I invite Stavroula Varella (King's College London) author of the fantastic book "Language Contact and the Lexicon in the History of Cypriot Greek" to discuss the origins and evolution of the Cypriot Greek dialect! ...and if you've enjoyed this particular Primary Source, please consider becoming a Patreon member! For as little as $1 a month, your financial support helps keep the podcast ad-free, offsets the costs of hosting the podcast and funds future primary source recordings like the one you just enjoyed. All members, regardless of which tier they subscribe to, can have access to this month's primary source recording entirely in its Medieval Greek, allowing you to get a better sense of the nuances of the Cypriot dialect in full! And if you become a third tier member, you can have early access to upcoming episodes. Thank you for your support in helping make The History of Cyprus accessible to all!


20. The Dragoman: The Ottoman Period with Antonis Hadjikyriacou Part 2

A dragoman was an interpreter and guide who facilitated communication between individuals or groups who spoke different languages, particularly in the context of diplomatic, commercial, or cultural exchanges. During the Ottoman Empire, the position of dragoman was highly respected and influential. For Part 2 of my interview with Antonis Hadjikyriacou, we discuss the impact of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios in 19th century Cyprus. ***Apologies for the audio quality on my end. My external microphone refused to connect prior to the recording.


Primary Source XX: Cabi Omer Efendi and the Execution of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios 1809

Cabi Omer Efendi was an Ottoman statesman and military commander who lived from 1750 to 1814. He served as the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire three times, and was known for his military successes, administrative skills, and political influence. For this month's primary source, he provides a direct account of the execution of Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios in 1809 and as a springboard for Part 2 of my interview with Professor of Ottoman and Turkish Studies, Antonis Hadjiantoniou. The text in full: "The dragoman of Cyprus caused sedition and discord by performing a great deal of villainy to the Muslim worshippers. He escaped from Cyprus, and when he arrived at Istanbul he was then arrested and executed in front of the Sublime Gate. His corpse was put upside-down in the basket of a broom-seller, carried around, and left outside the gate of the fish market. He thus became a warning to others. He was going to escape to Russia by converting his property and cash to bills of exchange. His house in Beşiktaş was given to the Chief tax inspector. It was rumored that all his property and cash totaled 5,500,000 kurush." -Cabi Omer Efendi 1809


19. Osmanlı Kıbrısı: The Ottoman Period with Antonis Hadjikyriacou Part 1

The Ottoman Period in Cyprus, which lasted from 1571 to 1878, was a significant era in the island's history as it had a lasting impact on its culture, society, and economy. During this period, the Ottoman Empire brought Islam to the island and established a system of local administration through appointed governors and officials. This resulted in a diverse population with a mix of Greek Orthodox Christians and Turkish Muslims. The Ottomans also left their mark on the island's architecture, art, and cuisine. The Ottoman Period also saw significant economic development, with the introduction of new crops such as tobacco and the establishment of trade links with other parts of the Ottoman Empire. This is part one of two part interview with Panteion & Stanford University Professor of Ottoman and Turkish Studies, Antonis Hadjikyriacou. ***Apologies for the audio quality on my end. My external microphone refused to connect prior to the recording.


Primary Source XIX: Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmet Pasha 1571

Sokullu Mehmed Pasha was a prominent Ottoman statesman who served as the grand vizier (chief minister) of the Ottoman Empire for over a decade during the 16th century, under the reigns of Suleiman the Magnificent and Selim II. In this excerpt, he addresses the Venetian Ambassador, acknowledging their recent defeat at the Battle of Lepanto but reminding them that they now have Cyprus in their hands. Next month we have a two part interview with Professor of Ottoman and Turkish History, Antonis Hadjikyriacou. Here is the text in full: "I am sensible, Ambassador. You have desired this audience with no other intention than to show the pretentiousness natural to your countrymen. I advise you as a friend, to lay aside those vain airs and consider that though you have indeed shaved us pretty close in Lepanto, we have shaved off your arms. And as the beard, when shaved, grows bigger than before, so our fleet, unless our woods fails us, will in a short space become larger and more numerous, whilst you can’t so much as think of recovering your arms -- for so I call the spacious and famous kingdom of Cyprus." - Grand Vezier Sokullu Mehmet Pasha addressing the Venetian Ambassador, 1571


18. Felis Cypria: Felid Domestication in Prehistoric Cyprus? with Jean-Denis Vigne

My guest this month is Dr. Jean-Denis Vigne, Emeritus Director of Research from the Natural History Museum in Paris. In this episode, we discuss the oldest farming village in a Mediterranean island (i.e., Klimonas) in addition to the significance of the Chirokitia Culture to the Neolithic Period and, of course, the earliest possible evidence of felid domestication: his finds in Shillourokambos.


Primary Source XVIII: Friar Francesco Suriano’s Observations on the Cats of Cyprus 1484

If you have ever visited Cyprus, you would have certainly noticed the abundance of cats on the island. On his way to Jaffa in 1484, the Venetian Friar, Francesco Suriano, noticed the same thing. His observations on the number of cats on the island is a perfect springboard in introducing my next month's guest: Dr. Jean-Denis Vigne, esteemed paleozoologist and Emeritus Director of Research at the Natural History Museum in Paris. His digs in Cyprus have changed our understanding of prehistory on the island and it is his work at Shillourokambos that revealed the earliest evidence of tamed cats. Please join me next month as I interview Dr. Vigne and discuss Cyprus and the first cats! Don't forget to follow the History of Cyprus Podcast on Instagram and support the Channel through Patreon!


17. Venexia e l’ixola de Zipro: Venetian Cyprus with Benjamin Arbel

The Venetian period in Cyprus has been characterized as one of decline and decay. But was it? In this month's episode, Benjamin Arbel (Professor Emeritus Tel Aviv University) and leading historian on Venetian Cyprus challenges the "Black Legend" and discusses the social, economic and political impact of La Serenissima on the island of Cyprus.


Primary Source XVII: George Boustronios and the Last Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro

George Boustronios, in his Narrative of the Chronicle of Cyprus 1456–1489, documents the transition from the Lusignan dynasty to Venice. In this month's excerpt, you'll hear a dramatized reading of last Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, as she abdicates her throne, bequeathing Cyprus to the Republic of Venice, and departing Cyprus forever. Next month I invite Benjamin Arbel (University of Tel Aviv) to discuss Cyprus under Venetian rule.


16. Eύώδεα Κύπρον: Perfumery Production in Ancient Cyprus with Maria Rosaria Belgiorno

There are seven olfactory families to categorize fragrances. Yet of the seven, only one is named for a place: Chypre. It's no surprise, then, that Cyprus' importance in perfumery has been known throughout antiquity. Maria Rosaria Belgiorno (Senior Associate Researcher of the Institute for Applied Technology to Cultural Heritage of the Italian National Research Council) has published dozens of articles on the Pyrgos-Mavroraki site in Cyprus, an industrial complex known for its metallurgical, viticultural, and for the purposes of this month's episode, its perfumery production. Her experimental work in recreating the techniques, scents and processes involved in ancient perfumery have been integral in our understanding of Cyprus' role in the production of perfume and its role in ancient life. Cyprus is, after all, Eὐώδεα Κύπρον (Fragrant Cyprus).


Primary Source XVI: Hymn to Aphrodite

The Homeric Hymns -- named for their "Homeric" style -- are a collection of anonymously authored hymns dedicated to the major gods and goddesses in the Hellenic Pantheon. This particular excerpt, from the Hymn to Aphrodite, was chosen as this month's Primary Source to emphasize Aphrodite's and Cyprus' connection to "sweet-smelling temples" "heavenly oils," and "fragrant altars." For my next episode, I invite archaeologist Maria-Rosaria Belgiorno (ITABC-CNR) to discuss Cyprus' integral role in perfumery from the Bronze Age to the present and the archaeological finds at Pyrgos in Limassol.


15. Le Coeur de Lion: King Richard’s Conquest of Cyprus with Angel Nicolaou-Konnari

In 1191, during the Third Crusade, King Richard I of England, also known as Richard the Lionheart, led his army to capture the island of Cyprus. The island was controlled by an illegitimate, self-styled emperor, Isaac Komnenos (Comnenus). Richard would rout Isaac's forces and, as legends have it, bind him in silver chains. The island remained under English rule until Richard sold it to the Knights Templar in 1192. Richard's conquest of Cyprus provided a valuable base for his military operations in the Eastern Mediterranean and allowed him to resupply his troops and ships. But what exactly transpired? What were Richard's motivations? And who was this usurper, Isaac Komnenos? Today, I welcome Dr. Angel Nicolaou-Konnari from the University of Cyprus to discuss King Richard the Lionheart's Conquest of Cyprus.


UPDATE: How you can support The History of Cyprus Podcast...!

Thank you for listening to the History of Cyprus Podcast. I'm incredibly grateful for your support, and I'm thrilled to have you as a listener. Creating this podcast is a labor of love. It's not monetized -- and I'd like to keep it that way, ad free and accessible to all. With that said, it also comes with real costs -- from hosting fees to equipment, research materials, producing the Primary Sources and editing expenses. If you enjoy the podcast and want to help continue to produce new episodes, I kindly ask that you consider supporting The History of Cyprus Podcast through Patreon. Your financial support will allow me to continue bringing you fascinating stories and insights into the rich history of Cyprus and offset the costs involved in producing the episodes. Thank you again for your support -- I couldn't do it without you!


Primary Source XV: King Richard’s Letter on the Conquest of Cyprus 1191

In this primary source, King Richard of England (The Lionheart) addresses his judiciary, providing us a firsthand account of the events leading up to the capture of the Cyprus and sheds light on the political and military strategies employed by King Richard. This is a valuable source as it is one of only two letters that come from King Richard himself. Contrary to popular belief, Richard -- although King of England -- would have spoken French as his first language (hence the voice-over). This recording is a springboard to next month's interview with Dr. Angel Nicolaou-Konnari (University of Cyprus) as we discuss King Richard's Conquest of Cyprus in 1191.


14. The Copper Island: Copper Production in Ancient Cyprus with Lina Kassianidou

For thousands of years, Cyprus exploited its richest resource: copper. The copper trade was, after all, synonymous with Cyprus and integral for its wealth. While the importance of copper is known, certain questions remain: how did ancient Cypriots source copper? What processes were involved in its extraction? What were the risks and dangers involved with mining? How was copper refined and exactly how much was produced? Archaeologist Lina Kassianidou (University of Cyprus) joins us to answer these questions and more in this month's episode.


Primary Source XIV: Aristotle on Cyprus’ Natural Resources

Although many of Aristotle's observations on Cyprus' natural resources have proven to be false or misleading, this excerpt certainly speaks to Cyprus' perceived wealth in natural resources -- renowned for centuries. Next month, my guest is Lina Kassianidou (University of Cyprus) who shares with us the history of Copper Production on Cyprus and how it was sourced, extracted and refined in antiquity. If you haven't had a chance yet, you can also check out "Primary Source VII: The Hand of Nergal" for another look at the Copper Trade in the period.


13. Halloumi & Ethnoarchaeology with Rafael Laoutari

Rafael Laoutari (Cambridge University) shares a lesser known aspect of archaeology, namely, that of ethnoarchaeology, using it as a lens to explore cheese-making in antiquity. We discuss cheese-making on Cyprus in the archaeological record and the earliest literary references to Halloumi that we know of. By studying how Halloumi is produced in rural settings and recreating its traditional methods, Rafael gives us insight into our past and helps us better understand the act of dairying culture in Cyprus and beyond.


Primary Source XIII: Richard Pococke & Cypriot Cheese 1738

Richard Pococke (18th century) was an avid traveler providing us with one of the earliest literary allusions to Halloumi. Though not the first reference (that honour may go to the Doge of Venice, Leonardo Dona, who lived in Cyprus for a period during the Venetian era), it does show that Halloumi was well known throughout the Levant. Next month, I invite Rafael Laoutari (Cambridge University) to discuss Halloumi as a lens in which to explore cheese-making in antiquity, and specifically, in Cyprus.


12. Travelling Artists in Cyprus: 1700-1960 with Rita Severis

The canvas isn't simply a medium that the artist uses to capture an image. The paintbrush can be loaded with preconceived notions, biases and agendas. What is more, it can be revealing in ways never considered and provide a unique lens into the past. Rita Severis (the Co-Founder of the Costas & Rita Severis Foundation and Honorary Consul of Canada) is this month's guest. And for this month's episode, Rita shares with the History of Cyprus Podcast, a new lens in which to explore Cypriot history: that of the travelling artist. To borrow from her book jacket, her research "examines these works through the prism of the political, historical and social context, spanning three centuries...and throws light on the changes from the Ottoman/Oriental to the British/Occidental in the portrayal of both domestic and public scenes." Please visit the CVAR website to learn more about the cultural history of Cyprus: The heart of the Foundation, the Centre of Visual Arts & Research, which houses thousands of books, works of art, textiles and memorabilia, is a "non-profit organisation for the promotion of Cypriot culture, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence."