Length: 17.800 cm
Weight: 538.000 g
Gift of the Cyprus Exploration Fund
GR 1888.11-15.2 (Jewellery 1999)
Room 72: Ancient Cyprus
Gold-plated bronze pin
Cypriot, about 200-100 BC
Found in the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Kouklia (Palaepaphos or Old Paphos), Cyprus
Some of the many traditions that blended into the cult of the Paphian Aphrodite
The inscription reads: 'To the Paphian Aphrodite Eubola vowed this the wife of Aratas the kinsman and Tamisa'. The Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Paphos was situated at the site of the old city of Paphos near the modern village of Kouklia. It was the chief religious centre of the island of Cyprus in antiquity, and famous throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. The first sanctuary remains date from about 1200 BC. In the Roman period, by which time it had been remodelled, it was joined by a sacred way to the new city of Paphos to the west.
The Ptolemies of Egypt ruled Cyprus continuously, apart from a short time, for nearly two and a half centuries from 294 BC. This pin was dedicated by the wife of a member of the Ptolemaic court. It is crowned by a large gold-capped pearl surmounted by a smaller pearl with a gold knob on top. Four goats' heads in gilded bronze, separated by lotus flowers, spring from acanthus foliage. Above, four doves with outspread wings lean forward to drink from the cup of a lotus flower. Aphrodite borrowed the lotus flower from the Egyptian goddess Isis. The sacred doves of the goddess hatched Aphrodite from an egg which fell from the sky into the River Euphrates, according to one legend of her birth.
F.G. Maier and V. Karageorghis, Paphos: history and archaeolog (Nicosia, A.G. Leventis Foundation, 1984)
V. Tatton-Brown, Ancient Cyprus, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)
F.H. Marshall, Catalogue of the jewellery, Gr (London, 1911)