Maternity in Ancient Cyprus

Authored by: Stephanie Lynn Budin

Women in Antiquity

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138808362
eBook ISBN: 9781315621425
Adobe ISBN: 9781317219910


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This chapter examines the iconographic and archaeological evidence for motherhood in Cyprus from the Chalcolithic (3800–2300 bce) through the Archaic Ages (sixth to third centuries bce). The focus on physical evidence is demanded by the source materials available for this island. Unlike its neighbors to the east and south, Cyprus did not begin using writing until the mid-second millennium, when contacts with the Aegean introduced a script known as Cypro-Minoan onto the island. As is the case with its forbear—Minoan Linear A—Cypro-Minoan is currently not translatable, just as the indigenous language that followed it on the island—Eteocypriot—also cannot yet be read. As such, written documentation of motherhood is not available for much of Cyprus’s early (pre-)history.

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