Palea (“Old”) Pafos sits on the site of ancient Kouklia and Sanctuary of Aphrodite. It was here, well apart from the Athenian metropole, where the worship of Aphrodite—the ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation—centred. Apart from Athens, Aphrodite was most admired at one of the three “C”‘s: Cythera; Cyprus; and Corinth (the latter, of course, gave the Apostle Paul much heartache).

For while the Spartans themselves claimed Aphrodite’s mantle as warrior goddess, both the Kythereans and Cypriots claimed Aphrodite as their own. And so arise two of her many epithets—Lady of Cythera and Lady of Cyprus.

She was, however, no less than yet another derivative of the Phoenician goddess Astarte, cognate of the East Semitic Ishtar based on the Sumerian cult of Inanna. (Something about “Mystery Babylon”, no doubt).

Map of Cyprus [Wikimedia Commons]


But Nea (“New”) Pafos, on the other hand, is at the ancient city of Pafos, founded in late 4th century BC, peaking in the second and third centuries, and later forming an important strategic outpost for Ptolemaic dynastic rule centred at Alexandria. Encircled by massive walls, it was nonetheless ceded to Rome in 58 BC. Yet it remained the centre of all political and administrative life in Cyprus, celebrated for mosaics based on ancient Greek myths.

These Pafos mosaics date to the city’s pre-Ptolemaic zenith, part of the Golden Age of Greece, in which its most opulent public buildings were erected. A 4th century (AD) earthquake, centred on Pafos, then afforded Salamis, in the east, capital-city status and Nea Pafos relegated to that of a bishopric, before seventh century Arab raids confirmed its demise despite even later Lusignan and Venetian iterations.

Early Greek settlements of Cyprus [Wikimedia Commons]
The Phoenician Cypriot, Zeno, founded the Athenian Stoic school of philosophy from about 300 BC. Of a Cynical morality, Stoicism lauded the goodness and peace of mind from living a virtuous life in accordance with Nature. It flourished as one of the major schools of philosophy from the Hellenistic period through to the Roman era. [6]

Zeno of Citium [Wikimedia Commons]
According to Bill Cooper, as quoted at Lambert Dolphin,

Kittim is the collective name of a people who are spoken of in the Old Phoenician inscriptions as the kt or kty, and who settled on the island of Cyprus. They were to give their name to the ancient Cypriot city of Kition (modern-day Larnaka). The Romans preserved the name when they named the city Citium, and Josephus gave the name as Cethimus. [5]

Despite a 15th century BC Mycenaean Linear B inscription referencing “Cypriot” (Gk: Κύπριος / Κύπρος), the etymology of Cyprus remains disputed, be it from the Greek for the Mediterranean Cyprus, κυπάρισσος (kypárissos),  the henna plant Lawsonia alba, κύπρος (kýpros), or an Eteocypriot word for copper

Cyprus was a major source of copper in antiquity [Wikimedia Commons]

With overseas trade, the island lent its name to the Classical Latin word for copper through the phrase aes Cyprium, “metal of Cyprus”, later shortened to simply Cuprum

Middle Ages – Lusignan, Venetian, Ottoman Rule

Naturally, Cyprus became part of the Hellenistic East Roman (Byzantine) Empire. In 649 it was captured by the emerging Arabian-Muslim caliphate. During the Third Crusade of 1191, Richard I of England captured the island protectorate from the Saracens, before selling it to the Knights Templar. Following a bloody revolt, the Templars on-sold the island to Guy of Lusignan, whose brother and successor, Aimery, was recognised King of Cyprus by Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI.

Lusignan French aristocracy remained the dominant social class (1192–1489) throughout the middle ages. The Republic of Venice assumed control of the island soon after the death, in 1473, of the last Lusignan king, James II, and upon abdication of the late king’s Venetian widow, Queen Catherine Cornaro, in 1489. (Shakespeare’s Othello is set, apart from Venice, on the island of Cyprus.) Venetian fortifications, the Walls of Nicosia, protected the commercial hub from frequent Ottoman raids. In 1539, the Ottomans destroyed Limassol prompting also Venetian fortification of Famagusta and Kyrenia

Piri Reis map of Cyprus [Wikimedia Commons]


Cyprus finally broke the British yoke in 1960, affording latitude for pent-up resentment between a Greek majority and Turkish minority to spill over. Turkish military retaliation to a Greek-government initiated presidential coup gave the former control of a third of the island and, gradually, found itself in a position, in 1983, to declare a hitherto internationally unacknowledged “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”).

Lymassol Port, the largest in Cyprus [Wikimedia Commons]
The Republic of Cyprus entered the EU in 2004. While Turkish Cypriots documenting their eligibility for citizenship enjoy the same rights accorded to other EU citizens, Turkish Cyprus officially remains outside the body of common rights and obligations despite ongoing UN-mediated talks.

Orthographic projection of Cyprus shows it very much in Turkey’s shadow [Wikimedia Commons]

Biblical References [7]

The Kittim (Chittim) are mentioned among the sons of Javan, son of Japheth, son of Noah (Genesis 10:4). Balaam mentions their ships (Numbers 24:24) and Jeremiah mentions their praiseworthy religious fidelity, despite their gods not being divine (Jeremiah 2:10).

The alternative plural form כתיים, Kittiyyiym, occurs in Isaiah 23:12 and Jeremiah 2:10. Both Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and BDB Theological Dictionary note that the ethnonym Kittim applies to the people of Cyprus most specifically, but often generally refers to the coast-lands and islands of the Mediterranean Sea. The name of the Kittim’s ancestor, Javan, is the Biblical name for Greece.

The verb כתת (katat) means to beat or hammer, but with the footnote that the result is usually a heap of fragments. Most famously, the golden calf was “beaten” so violently by Moses that he converted it to potable powder (Deuteronomy 9:21). This same verb is used in the famous cry to beat swords into plowshares (Isaiah 2:4), and also when the opposite is proposed, namely to beat plowshares into swords (Joel 3:10). Potter’s vessels get pummeled to dust (Isaiah 30:14), testicles may end up crushed (Leviticus 22:24), and a gate or two is ruined (Isaiah 24:12). Nations crush each other (2 Chronicles 15:6), warriors do likewise (Jeremiah 46:5), even man in general by the sheer nature of life (Job 4:20).


  • adjective: כתית (katit), meaning beaten, but occurs only in the combination “beaten oil,” denoting a costly olive oil (Exodus 29:40, Leviticus 24:2).

  • feminine noun: מכתה (mekitta), meaning the crushed or pulverized (Isaiah 30:14).

    Genesis 10:4 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.

    1 Chronicles 1:7 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.

    All the Men of the Bible: Kittim [Kĭt’tim]—they that bruise. A son of Javan, son of Japheth (Gen. 10:4; 1 Chron. 1:7). His descendants covering Cyprus and the adjacent coasts and islands are called Chittim.

    Kittim: Oxford Bible Studies Online A son of Javan (Gen. 10: 4), whose supposed descendants settled in Cyprus and became sea traders (Num. 24: 24). In the Dead Sea scrolls the Chaldeans (Kittim) are named as the last of the oppressing Gentile powers against whom the faithful ‘Sons of Light’ wage war. The Kittim of the scrolls are probably to be identified as the Romans.

    Kittim (Kit´im): Bible Odyssey

    1 The descendant of Javan, the fourth son of Japheth who was a son of Noah, and Elishah’s brother (Gen 10:4; 1Chr 1:7). 2 A place-name that, in the OT, appears to include all islands of the Aegean Sea. (Jer 2:10) mentions isles of Kittim as the symbol of the western extremity of the world. Kittim is mentioned in connection with Tyre and Sidon as the mother of western maritime colonies (Ezek 27:6). Various passages indicate a connection between Kittim and Assyria (Num 24:24). 3 A figurative name for Rome in the apocalyptic book of Daniel (Dan 11:30). 4 Macedonia in (1 Macc 1:1). 5 A people mentioned briefly in the pseudepigraphal books The Testament of Simeon (6:3) and Jubilees (24:28). In a number of texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls the Kittim appear as the last gentile world power to oppress the people of God.

    Metaphysical meaning of Kittim: Truth Unity

    Kittim (in A. V., every instance except Genesis 10:4 and I Chronicles 1:7, Chittim), kit’-tim (Heb.)–the cut off; the rejected, outsiders; islanders; schismatic; barbarous; uncivilized; terrible; gigantic; reprobate; damned.

    a Son of Javan and grandson of Japheth, Noah’s son (Gen. 10:4). b Descendants of Javan; and their country, Cyprus, and islands and parts of the coast of the Mediterranean (Num. 24:24).

    Meta. A phase of the outer, sense-reasoning mind in man, as opposed to the inner, true spiritual understanding. This phase of thought must be cut off, rejected, by the individual who would progress spiritually, since it is an outsider, uncivilized, and reprobate so far as Truth is concerned.

    Daniel 11:30, Verse-by-verse Bible commentary

    “For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.

    Chittim, Kittim: Smith’s Bible Dictionary

    “Chittim, Kittim ” means bruisers

    Chittim, Kittim : a family or race descended from Javan. (Genesis 10:4; 1 Chronicles 1:7) Authorized Version KITTIM. Chittim is frequently noticed in Scripture. (Numbers 24:24; Isaiah 23::1,12; Jeremiah 2:10; Ezekiel 27:6; Daniel 11:30) In the above passages, the “isles of Chittim,” the “ships of Chittim, the “coasts of Chittim,” are supposed to refer to the island of Cyprus. Josephus considered Cyprus the original seat of the Chittim. The name Chittim, which in the first instance had implied to Phoenicians only, passed over to the islands which they had occupied, and thence to the people who succeeded the Phoenicians in the occupation of them.

    Kittim (Genesis 10:4) – Institute for Creation Research

    10:4 Kittim. Kittim is another name for Cyprus. The name “Ma-Kittim” (land of Kittim) is possibly preserved as Macedonia.

  • Fresh Snapper: 65 Euros / kilogram
  • Dinner for two: 90 euros (without wine)
  • Traditional Dessert: Orange cake with mastic ice cream


Population:² 1,221,549 [159] (July 2017 est.)

[Source: CIA World Factbook]
Officially, Cyprus is 98.8% Greek ethnicity, leaving only a trickle for Maronite, Armenian, and Turkish. These official statistics reflect only the government-controlled (Greek) part of Cyprus, citing only 0.2% Turkish-speaking compared to 80% speakers of Greek. English commands a handy 4.1%, then Romanian, Russian, and Bulgarian, followed by Arabic (1.2%) and Filipino (1.1%).² The unofficial situation likely reflects much closer the unofficial religious affiliation also.

Religious affiliation, in the government-controlled areas at least, is almost 90% Orthodox Christian with a small percentage of Roman Catholic (2%) and Protestant/Anglican (2%) and Muslim (1.8%). A smaller percentage still accounts for Buddhism, Maronite, Armenian Church and Hindu.² The unofficial estimate by Pew Research is significantly different and much more realistic, taking into account the Turkish part of the country.

Map of Cyprus: Note the U.N. Green partition Zone between Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus, and the two U.K. military bases (shown at slightly higher magnification in the map following). [Wikimedia Commons]
The highest point, Mount Olympus, stands at 1,951 metres above the Mediterranean Sea.

The island is partitioned into the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Republic of Southern Cyprus [Wikimedia Commons]

Cyprus has four exclaves that lie within the British Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia, divided by road into a northern EAC refugee settlement and a southern part. Pictured is Dhekelia’s Power Station [Wikimedia Commons]

Economic exclusion zones:

North Cyprus v Turkey

Cyprus v Israel

[Wikimedia Commons]
 See Cyprus gas field to produce 8 bcm a year with pipeline to Egypt

Maritime claims²
  • Territorial sea: 12 nm
  • Contiguous zone: 24 nm
  • Continental shelf: 200-m depth (or to the depth of exploitation)
Land Use (2011 est.)²
  • Agricultural land: 13.4%
    • Arable land 9.8%
    • permanent crops 3.2%
    • permanent pasture 0.4%
  • Forest: 18.8%
  • Other: 67.8%
Other metrics²
  • Infant Mortality rate: 7.9 deaths / 1,000 live births
  • Maternal Mortality rate: 7 deaths / 100,000 live births (2015 est.)
  • Fertility rate: 1.47 children born / woman (2017 est.)
  • Health Expenditure: 7.4% of GDP (2014)
  • Physician ratio: 2.5 physicians / 1,000 population (2014)
  • Literacy rate (≥ 15 years old can read and write): 99.1%
  • Military expenditure: 1.78% of GDP (2016)
  • GDP: $31.19 billion (2017 est.)
    • 87% Service Industry (2017 est.)
    • GDP per capita: $36,600 (2017 est.)
  • Imports of goods and services: -66.4% (2017 est.)
  • Current Account Balance: -$798 million (2017 est.)
  • Population below poverty line: NA%
  • Foreign Exchange / Gold Reserves: $879.1 million (31 December 2017 est.)
  • External debt: $95.28 billion (31 December 2013 est.)


Kittim: כתים

  1. Aphrodite – Wikipedia, 3 April 2018
  2. Europe: Cyprus – Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook
  3. Cyprus – Wikipedia, 4 April 2018
  4. Pafos – Lonely Planet
  5. After the Flood. Appendix 3: The Nations of Japheth, Bill Cooper – Lambert Dolphin
  6. Zeno of Citium – Wikipedia, 4 April 2018
  7. Kittim meaning – Abarim Publications Biblical Name Vault
  8. Kittim: Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception vol. 1, pp. 384-386. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/Boston, 2017.

Further Reading
  • How Kittim became “Rome”: Dan 11:30 and the Importance of Cyprus in the Sixth Syrian War, Benjamin Scolnic and Thomas Davis. Published Online: 2015-06-28 | DOI:
Featured Image

National Flag of the Republic of Cyprus [Wikimedia Commons]

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