Roman Cyprus: Harbors, hinterlands, and "hidden powers"
Leonard, John Robert
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The present dissertation constitutes a case study of the economy of Roman Cyprus (mid-1 st c. BC-late 7 th c. AD), based on the archaeological and historical records of the Cypriot coasts in combination with comparative late-19 th -Century-to-ca. 1960 data concerning the late premodern Cypriot economy--especially the carob trade. Through the Cyprus Coastal Survey, a non-intensive, preliminary investigation of southern Cypriot coasts, all main and many local ports exploited in Roman times are shown to have been used also in the late premodern economy. Certain key patterns of post-antique Cypriot land use and exchange remained largely unchanged and appear to reflect basic patterns of production and local and long-distance cabotage during Roman times. Roman Cyprus is argued to have been a dynamic, resource-rich, maritime emporium that lay amidst major East-West sea lanes. Prosperity during Roman times is undisputed by contemporary historians, but as a province Cyprus has often been characterized as a somnolent, inconsequential backwater, largely unattractive to and unheeded by Roman imperial authorities. On the contrary, Cyprus held long-standing concern for Rome due primarily to its central maritime position and rich economic potential. Cyprus played a regular, influential role in the Eastern Mediterranean economy, especially between the 4 th and 7 th Centuries AD. Cypriots were commercially astute businessmen producing both desirable original products and specialized imitative lines of table wares and transport containers designed to capitalize on the commercial success of currently circulating foreign goods. Roman Cyprus' leading products included copper, timber, ships, wheat, medicines, olive oil, wine, and various other foodstuffs. Comparative evidence suggests Roman Cyprus produced abundant oil on northern and central-southern coasts. Main wine and pottery areas lay in central-southern and southwestern regions. Mining products and ships represented western specialties; wheat dominated the central plain. Roman Cyprus possessed artificial and natural ports. Harborworks existed at Paphos and Salamis, as well as at secondary main ports including Soloi, Kourion, Lapethos, and Keryneia. Natural facilities are exemplified by the commercial network of local ports that ringed the island. To fully appreciate Roman Cyprus and its economy, ports and their hinterlands must be considered together as inseparable economic units.* *This dissertation is a compound document (contains both a paper copy and a CD as part of the dissertation). The CD requires the following system requirements: Adobe Photoshop.