Location: Present Kato Pafos

Founder & Date: Nikokles, last king of Palaepafos, towards the end of the 4th century BC.

History: It was a walled city that became the main administrative centre of the area and significant parts of its walls survive today. Soon after the city was founded, Cyprus came under Ptolemaic rule where it remained for the whole of the Hellenistic period. The Ptolemies placed special importance on it and by the 2nd century BC Nea Pafos became the capital of the island.

Excavations: Excavations of Hellenistic rending show a wealthy city following mainstream artistic traditions. The early 3rd century BC mosaic of Scylla, the sea monster, is made of natural pebbles in what was then a fairly new decorative technique in the Greek world. The theatre of Pafos also dates to this period as well as two underground rock-cut sanctuaries including one at "Toumballos". The "Tombs of the Kings" reflect the wealth and sophistication of Hellenistic Pafos. These have parallels in Alexandria whereas other tombs, such as those from Ammoi, retain important remains of painted decoration.

The city reached its peak around the Severan period (late 2nd – early 3rd century AD), from which date most of the affluent residences excavated. The most well-known of these, with almost its entire mosaic decoration intact, is the "House of Dionysos". Iconographically speaking, the most important, is the House of Aion of around the mid-4th century.

Saints Paul and Barnabas arrived on the island in AD 45 and Cyprus became the first Roman province with a Christian governor. The 4th century saw the advent of Christianity and after the Edict of Milan, basilicas appeared in Cyprus. That of Chrysopolitissa of Pafos was rebuilt in the 6th century, but underwent several rebuildings, resulting in Agia Kyriaki which stands till today. They were decorated with mosaics with geometric motifs, animals and plants, while the human form was strictly forbidden.

During the 4th - 5th centuries, pagans and Christians developed side-by-side and Christian mosaics took elements from pagan mosaics. Those in basilicas became almost entirely geometric with the occasional small animal, bird or fish.

After the earthquakes of the 4th century Nea Pafos ceased to be the capital of Cyprus and although still prosperous for a couple of centuries, gradually sank into oblivion.

Nea Pafos - Tombs of the KingsNea Pafos - Tombs of the Kings Nea Pafos - Tombs of the Kings 	Dionysos and Icarios, House of Dionysos, 3rd Century A.D. Theseus and the Minotaur, mosaic in the villa of Theseus 34.jpg

Dimitrios Michaelides

 
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