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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cyprus to seek ancient shipwrecks

Here's an interesting article from Reuters:

Cyprus to seek ancient shipwrecks

By Michele Kambas

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus is to launch sea surveys in an area where dozens of vessels led by warring successors to Alexander the Great are believed to have sunk in battle for control over the island in 306 BC.

Encouraged by the discovery of one wreck from a later Roman era, the survey slated for the summer of 2008 will extend into deep waters from the south-east tip of the island, known as Cape Greco, the island's Antiquities Department said.

"Cyprus is a crossroads and is very rich in ancient shipwrecks," said Pavlos Flourentzos, director of Cyprus's Department of Antiquities.

Historical accounts suggest that the Cape Greco region -- a rocky outcrop between the now popular tourist resorts of Agia Napa and Protaras, saw one of the biggest naval battles of the ancient world.

According to the ancient Greek historian, Diodorus of Sicily, in 306 BC Demetrios the Poliorketes (Besieger) triumphed over Ptolemy I of Egypt in a naval engagement off Cyprus, with dozens of vessels sunk as the result of combat.

"It is well known that there was a naval engagement in the region in 306 BC, so there is a potential of finding wrecks, or parts of wrecks, in deeper waters," Flourentzos told Reuters on Thursday.

Ptolemy I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, lost control of Cyprus for a period of 10 years after his defeat at the hands of Demetrios Poliorketes. Demetrios was son of Antigonus, a Macedonian nobleman who later ruled Asia Minor
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