In the course of history

Cyprus map

για να διαβάσετε το κείμενο στα Ελληνικά κάνετε κλικ εδώ

Informative bulletin of the Paphos Latin Parish . June 2017 /  II

A long time ago

Salamis was the capital of Cyprus for about one thousand years and, according to tradition, it was founded by Teukros, son of Telamon— king of the island of Salamis (in Attica, near Athens), and brother of Ajax, who arrived to Cyprus with other Greeks at the end of the Trojan war.

During the Roman era, Salamis was part of the Roman province of Cilicia and the seat of the governor was moved to the city of Paphos.

Although Salamis ceased to be the capital of the island, having been replaced by Paphos, its wealth and importance did not diminish.

In the 4th century A.D. great earthquakes destroyed Salamis.

The city was rebuilt by Emperor Constance (337-361 A.D.) and became episcopal see. Its most famous bishop is Saint Epiphanius (315-403 A.D.) one of the Fathers of the Church.

It was exempt from taxes for a certain period so it could be rebuilt, however, at a smaller scale.

Over time, the debris carried to the sea by the river Podieos blocked the port and was detrimental to the future of the city.

Salamis was gradually abandoned in the 7th century, due to the Arab invasions.

Its inhabitants founded nearby the city of Arsinoe, which became the modern-day Famagusta.

Salamis of Cyprus

Salamis of Cyprus

At times the midday sun, at others handfuls of light rain and the coast full of shards of pottery. Insignificant columns—only Saint Epiphanius pointing, in the grayness, buried, the golden empire’s power.

Then I heard steps upon the gravel. No faces did I see-they were gone as I turned. But a voice heavy as a walk in the blazing heat lingered there in the veins of the sky, in the rolling sea, among the pebbles again and again.

Now, it is better to forget upon this gravel– no use in speaking– the opinion of the powerful; who can change? Who can listen? Everyone separately dreams and does not hear the other person’s nightmare.

Yes, but the herald runs-no matter how long the road might be. He will bring to those who tried Hellespont to chain the terrible message of Salamis: the voice of the Lord upon the waters.

It is an island.

George Seferis, Salamis, Cyprus, November ‘53, excerpts

Did you know…

waves at the beach

The word Salamis (Modern Greek Salam-ina) is etymologically derived from the ancient Greek roots als (sal) (=sea) + min-ys (= small).

The root als gives us the Greek alas (modern Greek alati) (=salt). This root exists in all European languages as sal hence we get the English word salt, the French sel, the Dutch zout etc.

In the ancient Greek Doric dialect we have the word salassa (=thalassa) which means the sea, saleuomai (=I move in waves) and saleia (wave-like movement.

One has but to attentively listen to the sound the wave makes as it breaks at the beach moving as it does the gravel and sand; it is a periodical saars… (l=r)

for Greek click here


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