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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations - Statue of Aphrodite
Map of eastern Mediterannean featuring Cyprus and its surrounding countries

The fived-domed church of Agia Paraskevi at Yeroskipou.
Byzantine period

In AD 330 the Roman Empire was divided into East and West. Cyprus became part of the Eastern Empire, ruled from the city of Byzantium (later called Constantinople). It was a peaceful, prosperous province of the new empire.

Christianity had spread very early on Cyprus, planted by Saint Paul himself and by the Cyprus-born apostle Barnabas, who is considered the founder of the Church of Cyprus. The island entered an unstable period in the seventh century as it became a battleground between the Byzantine Empire and the Arab Caliphate.

In 649 Cyprus suffered the first attack by Arab invaders. Twenty more raids followed until 961. Prosperous cities such as Salamis, Lambousa, and Soloi were destroyed; the economic and cultural life of the island was disrupted; and political instability followed. At various times, Cyprus was partially or completely occupied by the Arabs, until the Byzantine Empire reasserted control in 965.

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Metallurgy and Byzantine Metalwork
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