FRAL - Appel Franco-allemand en sciences humaines et sociales

Kition-Idalion-Tamassos: cities and territories within Cypriot kingdoms during the first millennium BC – KIT

KIT. Kition-Idalion-Tamassos: cities and territories within Cypriot kingdoms during the first millennium BC

The project aims to cross-study the history of the three neighboring kingdoms of Kition, Idalion and Tamassos (Cyprus) at the time of the kingdoms by mobilizing all available sources.<br />The goal is to constitute a solid case study at the regional scale that can be compared to existing conceptual models, but also reproducible for other regional studies, as close as possible to the primary evidence.

A regional study based on hard evidence to renew our knowledge of the cities and territories of the kingdoms of Cyprus

The main objective is to renew the study of the Cypriot kingdoms of Cyprus by carrying out the analysis on a regional scale, on three well-documented kingdoms on which the project partners are working: Kition (Lyon team), Idalion (team from Berlin) and Tamassos (Frankfurt team).<br />The change in scale aims to go beyond generalizations, which are often abusive (we use what we know about one kingdom to complete what we do not know about another). The three chosen kingdoms are neighboring but diverse: a coastal kingdom (Kition) and two inland kingdoms (Idalion and Tamassos); two Cypro-Greek kingdoms (Idalion and Tamassos) and a Cypro-Phoenician kingdom (Kition). Furthermore, their history gradually became common from the 5th century BC, the kingdom of Kition becoming master of the other two. How and when are questions that are still largely imprecisely answered.<br />The change in approach aims to go beyond the debate of models (be they ethnic or economic). By reversing the perspective and starting from hard evidence, we will observe the organization of cities and territories in their spatial materiality, over the long term of their existence. We will compare the three kingdoms (common points and differences), paying attention to their respective developments.<br />The objective is therefore to propose a holistic study (mobilizing all sources) and a diachronic study, on a regional scale, which can be reproduced for other case studies.

The method is based on the crossi-study of three types of evidence: historical / archaeological / spatial data.
Literary and numismatic sources
Literary and epigraphic sources (in all languages ??and scripts) will be collected and published in a digital format (XML-TEI encoding). Unpublished documents (Phoenician ostraca from recent French excavations) will be integrated into the corpus.
Likewise, the coinage of Idalion and Kition (no coinage is attributed to Tamassos) will be compiled and classified by wedge in order to refine the dating and attributions.
Archaeological sources
The project aims to publish several previously unpublished assemblages, from ancient or recent excavations (in collaboration with our colleagues from the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus for discoveries from emergency excavations). The contexts are diverse (sanctuaries, necropoleis, settlement), in order to obtain a representative assemblages and to allow comparisons. Furthermore, the selected assemblages cover the entire period of the kingdoms, from the very beginning of the Iron Age to the Classical period.
In order to compare the artisanal productions of each kingdom and their circulation within the territories, we decided to characterize the fabric of the terracotta figurines discovered in each kingdom using a portable XRF. The aim is to compare the results obtained with the classifications made according to technical, typological and stylistic criteria.
Spatial analyzes
The last approach aims to take advantage of GIS technology to produce evolving maps of each city and their territories. We will enrich the existing GIS (Kition) and develop others by integrating all data from old and recent excavations and we will question them in terms of spatial analysis (circulations, visibility, etc.).

work in progress

to be completed when the programme is achieved.

P. MAILLARD, Les cultes des Salines à Kition : étude des terres cuites d’époque classique, Kition-Bamboula IX, Archéologies(s) 9, Lyon, 2023
S. G. SCHMID (éd.), The Topography of ancient Idalion and its territory, to be published.With contributions from partners to the KIT programme, on Kition, Idalion and Tamassos.

A. CANNAVO, « Kition de Chypre : du royaume phénicien à la cité hellénistique », Ktèma 47, 2022, p. 155-174.
A. GEORGIOU, A. GEORGIADOU, S. FOURRIER, « Traditions and innovations during the 12th-to-11th century BC transition in Cyprus: new data from Kition-Bamboula », dans A. GEORGIOU, L. RECHT et K. ZEMAN-WISNIEWSKA, Acts of the 27th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA): Cypriot section, CCEC 52-53, 2022-2023, p. 117-151.
S. FOURRIER, « Reconstructing the history of Kition: New evidence from recent excavations », CCEC 54, 2024, to be published.
A. GEORGIOU, A. GEORGIADOU, C.M. DONNELLY, S. FOURRIER, « Maritime transport containers from Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age Cyprus: Preliminary results from the excavations at Kition-Bamboula », in T. PEDRAZZI (ed.), Transformations and Crisis in the Mediterranean IV, to be published.
D. SUMMA, St. G. SCHMID, « A recently found inscribed base of a statue of a female votary from Idalion-Mouti tou Avrili », CCEC 54, 2024, to be published.
S. G. SCHMID, « Membra disjecta of information concerning the necropoleis of Kition », CCEC 54, 2024, to be published.

Contributions to collective volumes
P. MAILLARD, « Retouches et modelage : pratiques coroplathiques dans l’atelier de Kition au IVe siècle », in H. AURIGNY, L. ROHAUT (dir.), Quand on a la terre sous l’ongle. Le modelage dans le monde grec antique, Aix-en-Provence, 2022, p. 281-289.
Oxford Handbook of Ancient Cyprus From the Early Iron Age to the End of Antiquity, ed. E. Walcek Averett et D. B. Counts, à paraître : chapters on Kition (P. Maillard), Idalion (St. G. Schmid) and Tamassos (M. Recke).

During the first half of the first millennium BC, Cyprus was divided in about ten autonomous polities, attested by primary sources (inscriptions and coins) as well as by secondary sources (Greek and Near Eastern texts). While the time of their emergence remains disputed, their disappearance can be dated towards the end of the 4th c. BC when the unified island became a province of Ptolemaic Egypt.
Paradoxically, the political fragmentation of the island, which has characterized its long history, has hardly been analysed in its concrete aspects: the territories of the various kingdoms, their limits, their mode of organization (most notably their relationship with the capital-cities) and their diachronic evolution. Researching a regional case study through a multidisciplinary approach, our project aims to go beyond theoretical models. It brings together historians and archaeologists (specialists of material culture and of spatial analysis) for an entirely unique project based on ongoing, interconnected studies of three different kingdoms and tackles the complex issue of cultural and political territories on a new, regional scale. The polities of Kition, Idalion and Tamassos constitute a particularly relevant case study for several reasons. First, the three kingdoms are well documented by historical sources (literary texts and inscriptions): we know that during the Classical period (5th-4th c. BC) the kings of Kition, gained control over Idalion and Tamassos. They are also three singular kingdoms: according to traditional historiography, Kition is the model of the "Phoenician" kingdom; Idalion and Tamassos are "Greek" inland kingdoms without direct access to maritime trade. Furthermore, the three cities and their immediate surroundings are well explored by archaeology, with varied contexts (necropoleis, sanctuaries, domestic areas, palaces, secondary settlements) and abundant material evidence. Finally, they are sites where French and German teams lead field projects.
In order to comprehend the history of the three kingdoms, their interrelations as well as the organization of their territorial space in the longue durée, we will mobilize all archaeological and historical sources, by crossing them and by resorting to various disciplinary approaches. The aim is to establish a first milestone for a renewed history of Cyprus in the Iron Age that is attentive to the complexity of regional developments. This first, thorough and comparative study of three neighbouring polities will pave the way for future research on Cypriot kingdoms.

Project coordination

Sabine Fourrier (Histoire et Sources des Mondes Antiques - UMR 5189)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


HiSoMA Histoire et Sources des Mondes Antiques - UMR 5189
HUB Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Help of the ANR 591,488 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2022 - 36 Months

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