The Jewellery of Cyprus’s City of Gold

The town closest to Anassa is called Polis tis Chrysochous, or City of Gold

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The town closest to Anassa is called Polis tis Chrysochous, or City of Gold. The name is said to refer not to gold deposits, but to the prosperity of the region; fertile land and nearby copper deposits sustained two ancient cities here, Marion and Arsinoe. In recent years, archaeological excavations have unearthed extensive evidence of their wealth. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Marion-Arsinoe in Polis to view some of the finds—including a notable array of jewellery. The city of Marion thrived during the Archaic and Classical periods, from around 650 to 312 BCE. You can see spiral earrings from this era made of gold-plated metal with enamel; each spiral terminates with the figure of a woman’s head. A necklace from this period is made of gold with enamel and features a pendant shaped like an amphora. Both pieces were found in tombs. Ptolemy I Solter destroyed Marion in 312 BCE, but the new settlement of Arsinoe was established by a successor around 270 BCE. Jewellery uncovered from Marion includes a gold wire finger ring, two pairs of silver bracelets terminating with snakes’ heads, and a set of faience beads from a necklace. Finger rings were used to form an individual’s seal: one has a stone on its bezel, while another shows a bust of Athena. As you browse the museum’s contents, look for evidence of the stylistic influences of trading partners—especially Greeks and Egyptians. The artefacts paint the picture of a prosperous region integral to ancient Mediterranean civilisation.