... Didn't you ask travelers ...
(Book of Job 21: 29)
(Book of Job 21: 29)
We have not seen anything for a long time about the events of the Bronze Age. And we stopped just at the time when copper gradually began to be replaced with bronze, that is, with copper alloys with various other metals. But what nevertheless caused the fact that the Eneolithic in Cyprus, by the way, which completely satisfied its inhabitants, was replaced there by a real Bronze Age? And the reason is very simple. Again, everything is to blame for migrants from Anatolia, around 2400 BC. er arrivals, that is, sailed by sea from the continent and laid the foundation for the archaeological culture of Philia, the earliest culture of the Bronze Age on the island. Monuments of this culture found on its territory almost everywhere. And the immigrants already knew exactly what they needed to look for here, and soon they settled, primarily in the places where copper ores were found, and above all on the Troodos hill. The houses of the new inhabitants of the island became rectangular, they began to use a plow and a loom, they had cattle in the household, that is, they brought cattle and donkeys with them to the island. These migrants knew how to make bronze and knew how to alloy it with other metals. This period of the Bronze Age on the land of Cyprus is considered by scholars to be early, but the Middle Bronze Age followed, also leaving monuments and continuing from 1900 to 1600 BC. er
Bronze armor V-IV centuries. BC. It is clear that in Cyprus of the Early Bronze Age the armor was slightly different, but the fact of the widest use of bronze armor in the Mediterranean region for about a millennium is an indisputable fact. These armor were presented at a European auction of antiquities. The starting price is 84000 euro.
The Middle Bronze Age in Cyprus was a relatively short period, and its beginning was marked by peaceful development. Archaeological excavations in various parts of the island showed that there were many rooms in the rectangular houses of that period, and the streets in the villages ensured the free movement of people. However, at the end of the Middle Bronze Age, the construction of fortresses began in Cyprus, which most vividly indicates that its inhabitants at that time had something to protect and to defend against. Cyprus itself at that time was called Alasia - the name known to us from the Egyptian, Hittite, Assyrian and Ugaritic documents.
Stone anchors and a millstone are the obligatory attributes of the Cypriot civilization. Archaeological Museum in Larnaca, Cyprus.
It was at this time that ingots of copper in the form of lamb skins were actively exported from Cyprus, and it is clear that this was a very important article of its export, and of all world trade at that time. That is, if we marked the ways of the advancement of metallurgy with the help of arrows, then they would come from Anatolia region and ancient Chatal-Hyuyuk by land to Troy and further to the territory of ancient Thrace, and to the Carpathians, one more arrow - to the Sumerians to the east, another - on the lands of modern Syria, Palestine and Israel to the south, to Egypt, and, by sea, ancient navigators could sail to the Cyclades, to Crete, and even to Spain, and to the British Isles. That is, almost all of Europe was covered by the influence of the peoples who recognized copper and who belonged to the Atlantic culture. Although the last statement is of a relative nature, since the spread of metallurgy took place both by land, and there representatives of continental cultures could be carriers of its secrets. The main thing is that a certain event would force them to withdraw from their homes and go to distant lands in search of a better life. And here, meeting with the natives who did not know the metal, they got a clear advantage in fights with them and went further, leaving behind themselves legends and traditions, and it is possible that the samples of their technologies, which for the survivors turned into role models.
Although the sea, of course, was "expensive number one." For example, on the same Cycladic islands, on some Cycladic vessels, there is an image of a fish that served as the emblem of one of the pre-dynastic nomes in the Nile Delta, and not preserved in historical period. This gives reason to believe that when Pharaoh Menes conquered these lands, their population, bearing the emblem of a fish, fled to the Cyclades. But this could only be done by sea. After all, the Cyclades are islands. Moreover, the Egyptian origin is also seen in some other samples of the material Cycladic culture - for example, tweezers for pulling hair, the widespread use of stone amulets, the use of stone tiles for grinding paints (although the Cycladic samples have a recess larger than that of the Egyptians and Minoans and, finally, in preference, given to stone rather than ceramic vessels, characteristic of the pre-dynastic culture of Egypt.
Characteristic vessels with images of fish. Museum of the Sea in Ayia Napa, Cyprus.
However, although the links between certain areas of the then Oikumena were very important, the successes of the settlers, that is, migrants, so to speak, “on the ground” were no less significant. And here to get acquainted with how they settled in new places, we will help another settlement in Cyprus - the ancient city of the late Bronze Age Enkomi.
We were all very fortunate that in the past, people used to decorate their ceramics with patterns characteristic only of a certain territory and time, which helps both the typing and localization of ancient cultures. Museum of the Sea in Ayia Napa, Cyprus.
Enkomi - Late Bronze Age City
The city of Enkomi - and this was indeed a city, was also known as Alazia, and it should be noted that its location was chosen by its builders just perfectly. Here, in the western part of the island, there were fertile lands, a river flowed along the plain, there was a convenient natural harbor and - most importantly, there were rich deposits of copper located nearby. All this contributed to the fact that Enkomi in 1300-1100 BC. turned into a rich and prosperous city, which actively traded with Egypt, Palestine, the island of Crete, and the whole Aegean world.
Pedias, on the bank of which Enkomi was located, was the largest river on the island, even if its length was only about 100 km. It took its beginning in the mountains of Troodos and flowed to the east, through the area of modern Nicosia, descended to the plain of Mesaoria, and then flowed into the sea (and even now) in the Gulf of Famagusta.
Glass incense vessels found in Cyprus. Archaeological Museum in Larnaca. Cyprus.
The city was surrounded around the perimeter by a powerful fortress wall of “cyclopean” masonry, and in the middle it had a large square-shaped area, around which there were public buildings, also made of large hewn stone blocks. The residential buildings consisted of several rooms located around the inner courtyard, which had a complex drainage system. The architects of Enkomi were practical people, that is, they proceeded from the available material, but were demanding and did not allow any promise in building the city. Therefore, the gates in the city were located symmetrically within the walls, and the streets intersected only at a right angle and represented in the plan exactly the lined "lattice". Interestingly, the construction of cities along such “lattice” plans in the ancient world was practiced in Egypt, and the city of Ugarit, one of the oldest cities in the world, located on the Syrian coast just opposite the city of Enkomi, was built according to the same plan.
Well, they traded in Enkomi, above all, copper smelted here and magnificent Cypriot cypress wood, which at that time even competed with Lebanese cedar. It was these goods that made Enkomi rich and powerful and provided various products derived from other lands. As for the metalworking, in Enkomi it was put on stream: copper ore mined in the mines was transported to the city, where it was enriched, then subjected to smelting, after which the finished ingots were offered for sale. It was in Enkomi that the production of the famous Mediterranean daggers was set up, and also bronze drafts “cnemids” were produced here, repeating the contours of the human leg from the knee to the foot, which was a chased bronze plate fastened to the leg with leather straps made of bronze wire. That is, the division of production and its specialization are obvious: helmets were better off somewhere and, apparently, there was a corresponding equipment, muscular cuirass was made somewhere, but Enkomi became the center of production of Knemid!
Knemida from the Thracian burial on the territory of modern Bulgaria.
The first archaeological excavations at Enkomi by the British Museum were made back in 1896, and they found a forge with a large supply of bronze that was buried as a result of one of the geological disasters that occurred on the island in the 12th century BC. A large number of graves were also found that contained jewelery items of amazing beauty and a large number of everyday items of people living in the Bronze Age, which are on display today among other treasures of the British Museum. However, British archaeologists have not realized that these burials lie under the houses of the city, so that the city itself was found later during the excavations already conducted by the French expedition in 1930 year. Archaeological excavations continued here until the 1974 year, when the Enkomi area became inaccessible to researchers due to the occupation of the island by Turkish troops.
Left knnemide VI. BC. from the Walters Museum collection.
However, the British archaeological expedition found a large number of artifacts that vividly demonstrate the influence of nearby countries on the civilization of ancient Cyprus, and, of course, this influence was primarily affected by the Minoan or Crete-Mycenaean civilization. How else to explain the found elegant ceramic vessels, painted with typical for the Cretan art "sea" scenes depicting fish, dolphins and algae?
Crater with a picture of an octopus from Enkomi. Ceramics. XIV century BC
One of the most frequently encountered motifs in a vase painting was an image of an octopus, whose tentacles twisted around the rounded surface of the vessel. Some of the samples of ceramics found here even got their own names, for example, “Crater of Zeus”. In which the ancient master portrayed the famous episode from Homer's Iliad (or a similar plot), in which the god Zeus holds the scales of fate in front of the warriors preparing to go into battle. The second motif, which was also used very often in vazopisi Enkomi, is the image of a bull, which was the object of worship for the Cretans and also symbolized Zeus, the father of King Minos and the founder of the Cretan civilization itself. And why it was so, it is clear - after all, there were many colonies on the island, founded by immigrants from the island of Crete, and the trade with the Cretans itself was at that time in full bloom.
During the excavations, items such as scarabs made of gold rings and necklaces were found, which could either be brought from Egypt or made here by local craftsmen according to their Egyptian designs. Very interesting are the bronze statues of various deities, in which you can trace the influence of both Eastern and local Mediterranean cults. For example, a bronze statue of the “Horned God” - height 35 cm, found in one of the shrines of Enkomi, clearly bears traces of Hittite influence and, most likely, was the subject of a cult.
The sanctuary at Enkomi consisted of three rooms: a hall in which there was a sacrificial altar, and two small internal rooms. At the altar during the excavations, many cattle skulls were found - oxen and also deer, ritual vessels for libation, but the bronze figure of the “Horned God” was in one of its internal rooms. There is an assumption that this is a statue of the god of abundance and the patron of cattle, which is identified with the later Apollo.
Statue "The God of Metal". Bronze. XII century BC The height of 35, see the 1963 excavation of the year. Archaeological Museum in Nicosia.
In another sanctuary, archaeologists discovered a bronze statuette, called the “God of metal”. “God” is represented by an armed spear and shield, on his head is a helmet with horns, and he himself stands on the basis, having the form of talent (a rectangular ingot of copper, similar to a stretched bull skin). A similar female statuette (based also in the form of a copper ingot), made in Cyprus in the same era, is located today in a museum in Oxford. And the presence of such an obvious compositional similarity made it possible for the researchers to see in these two sculptures ... a married couple - the blacksmith God Hephaestus and the goddess Aphrodite - depicting in such a symbolic form the wealth of the copper mines of the island of Cyprus.
Here, archaeologists also found the 12-centimeter bronze statuette of the god Baal, which used to be completely covered with thin sheets of gold, now preserved only on the face and chest. This shows that the population of Enkomi was not ethnically homogeneous, and that various Eastern deities were also worshiped here. Since Baal was revered both in Syria and Palestine, and in Ugarit, Phenicia, Canaan and Carthage, and also in Babylon, it can be assumed that migrants from all these cities and lands could live here. Moreover, Baal was also depicted as a warrior, holding a spear in his hand (as well as the aforementioned “God of metal”), and as a man in a helmet with horns (“The horned god”) or in the form of the same bull.
Such a copper pot in which it was possible to cook food for many people in the Ancient world at once was a great value. Archaeological Museum of Anapa.
Interestingly, one of the main plots of almost all biblical texts is the fight against the cult of this deity, although about him and the rituals associated with his veneration, practically no information has reached our days, except for indicating the great pomp of all ceremonies ending in human sacrifice. However, the very fact of such a long and uncompromising struggle against the Baal cult in all its manifestations speaks only of its wide distribution throughout the whole of Asia Minor; and moreover, that in its original form it was one of the most important elements of beliefs for more than a thousand-year epoch of the development of the peoples of the Mediterranean, who assimilated not only Asian people, but also their religion.
The bronze axes of the Mediterranean were usually small in size and rather resembled nineteenth-century Indian tomahawks. Archaeological Museum of Anapa.
Well, at the end of the late Bronze Age, the city of Enkomi began to gradually decline, and lost its former significance. The role in this sad event was first played by the people - “the peoples of the sea”, who committed their devastating raids along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea around 1200 BC. Nevertheless, Enkomi existed for another century, until it was destroyed by a strong earthquake, after which the city was finally abandoned by its inhabitants.
People always sought to live beautifully, and therefore tried to decorate their homes. For example, such a low-key floor mosaic that can be seen today in front of the archaeological museum in the city of Larnaca, Cyprus.
Well, and the conclusion? The conclusion is this: already then immigrants from different cultures sailed here from the continent. Their goal was metal, and here on the spot they mastered its mining and processing. That is, although there was still no written language, the exchange of information between peoples remote from each other took place, was well-established, and no cultural, ethnic or religious barriers interfered with it! Although the wars and raids at that time also occurred almost constantly ...
1. From stone to metal: ancient cities (part 1)
2. The first metalwork and ancient cities: Chatal-Hüyuk - "the city under the hood" (part 2)
3. “Real Copper Age” or from the old paradigm to the new (part of 3)
4. Ancient metal and ships (part 4)