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Idalium (Greek: Ιδάλιον Idalion) was an ancient city in Cyprus, in modern Dali, Nicosia District. The city was founded on the copper trade in the 3rd millennium BCE. Its name in the 8th century BCE was "Ed-di-al" as it appears on the Prism of Essarhaddon and the Stele of Sargon. There is also an inscription of Ramses III in Egypt referring to a number of Cypriote polities in the 13th century BCE, one of which appears as "Ithal"...undoubtedly later Idalion. The original inhabitants were the natives of the island, known to scholars as the "Eteocypriotes." Recent excavations have unearthed Cypro-Minoan inscriptions dating back to the 11th century BCE. There are also Cypro-syllabic inscriptions dating from the Archaic Period (ca. 8th century BCE)down to the Hellenistic period (2nd century BCE)that are not Greek, thus substantiating the accounts of ancient authors who report that the indigenous inhabitants of Cyprus spoke "Eteo-Cypriote." The original city lay on the northern side of the Yialias River in modern "Ayios Sozomenos." During the 13th century BCE the people of Ed-di-al (or "Ithal") began manufacturing operations on the south side of the river in what is now modern Dhali. From there the city grew to the major urban and copper-trading center found by the Assyrians at the end of the 8th century BCE. Idalion was the first among seven city kingdoms listed on the Stele of Sargon (701 BCE) and first among the Ten city-kingdoms of Cyprus listed on the prism (many-sided tablet) of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (680–669 BCE). The ancient city was independent until it was conquered by the Kitians in 450 BCE. The first evidence of non-Cypriote presence (Greek, Phoenician, and others) appears in the Archaic Period (c. 550 BCE) in inscriptions found in the Adonis Temenos on the East Acropolis. "Rosemary scented Idalium" appears in the poetry of Propertius and others as the place where Venus (the original pre-Greek Queen of Heaven, sometimes referred to by scholars as the "Mistress of Animals") met Adonis (the original pre-Greek consort of the Queen of Heaven, or 'Lord' sometimes referred to by scholars as the "Master of Animals"). The city was the center of the worship of the Great Goddess of Cyprus, the "Wanassa" or Queen of Heaven and her consort the "Wanax" or Lord. This worship appears to have begun in the 12th or 11th century BCE and continued down through the Roman Period.
2008:P. Gaber "The History of History: Excavations at Idalion and the Changing History of a City-Kingdom" NEA Vol.71, Nos. 1&2, pp. 51–63; L. Stager, A. Walker, American Expedition to Idalion Cyprus 1973-1980, Oriental Institute Press, Chicago 1989; 1974: L.Stager, A. Walker, and G.E. Wright, eds. American Expedition to Idalion: First Preliminary Reports: Seasons of 1971 and 1972. ASOR, Cambridge, MA.
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