Polis and Amathus

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working my way through Richard Maguire’s recent dissertation on the Late Antique Basilicas of Cyprus. While he dedicates the  main body of his dissertation to a series of nuanced case studies, the real jewel of his dissertation is the gazetteer of Cypriot churches. As long time readers of this blog know, I’ve been piddling about with a catalogue of churches on the island (it was really just a list) for years.. Maguire’s dissertation has put an end to that project (thankfully)!

One of the most immediately useful observations in Maguire’s gazetteer is that the church on the Acropolis of Amathus has a 13 x 13 square as its core. The basilica is #6 in his gazetteer and coins have dated the building to the final quarter of the 6th century.

AmathusAcropolis

Its 13 x 13 m core consists of the nave and aisles and is roughly similar to the core of our church in the area of EF2 at Polis. Of course, the 13 x 13 square does not align perfectly with our church, but then again, our church is a good bit rougher than the elaborate Amathus church.

EF2PolisBasilica13m

What makes this parallel more compelling is that, like the Amathus Acropolis basilica, our church has south porch with four piers. It joins with a narthex that extends beyond the southern aisle. More importantly, our church appears to date – on the basis of ceramic evidence, to no earlier than the final decades of the 6th century. So our church and the church at the Acropolis at Amathus are more or less contemporary.

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