Cultures > Cyprus

Cyprus

Background

The island was conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 BC. Following his death and the subsequent division of his empire and wars among his successors, Cyprus became part of the Hellenistic empire of Ptolemaic Egypt. It was during this period that the island was fully Hellenized. In 58 BC Cyprus was acquired by the Roman Republic.

Cyprus, an island located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, played a significant role in the campaigns of Alexander the Great, although it was not a primary target of his conquests. Cyprus held strategic significance due to its location as a crossroads of trade routes in the eastern Mediterranean. Its harbors served as important naval bases, facilitating communication and commerce between Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, and the Levant.

Conquest by Alexander:

During his campaign in Asia Minor, Alexander the Great planned to secure Cyprus to prevent it from being used as a base by his enemies.In 333 BCE, after his victory at the Battle of Issus against the Persian king Darius III, Alexander sent his general Parmenion to conquer Cyprus.Most of the city-states on the island surrendered without resistance, fearing Alexander's might. However, the city of Citium resisted but eventually fell to Parmenion's forces.

Alexander treated Cyprus leniently after its conquest, allowing the local rulers to maintain their positions in exchange for their submission and loyalty. He appointed pro-Macedonian officials to govern the island and placed it under the control of his satrap of Cilicia. Cyprus served as a strategic military and naval base for Alexander's operations in the eastern Mediterranean. The island provided a secure anchorage for his fleet and a staging ground for his campaigns in the Levant and Egypt.

After Alexander's death in 323 BCE, Cyprus came under the control of his successors, known as the Diadochi. The island was contested among the Successor Kingdoms, particularly the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt and the Seleucid Empire. Eventually, Cyprus fell under the control of the Ptolemies, who ruled it until the island was annexed by the Roman Republic in 58 BCE.

In summary, Cyprus played a strategic role in Alexander the Great's military campaigns, serving as a naval base and securing his control over the eastern Mediterranean. While not a primary target of his conquests, the island's capture contributed to Alexander's broader strategy of consolidating his power in the region.

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