Amathus or Amathous (Ancient Greek: Ἀμαθοῦς) was an ancient city and one of the ancient royal cities of Cyprus until about 300 BC. Some of its remains can be seen today on the southern coast in front of Agios Tychonas, about 24 miles (39 km) west of Larnaca and 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Limassol. Its ancient cult sanctuary of Aphrodite was the second most important in Cyprus, her homeland, after Paphos.
Archaeological work has recently been continued at the site and many finds are exhibited in the Limassol Museum.
Pre-history and ancient era
Ancient kingdoms of Cyprus
The pre-history of Amathus survives in both myth and archaeology. Archaeology has detected human activity from the earliest Iron Age, c. 1100 BC. The city’s legendary founder was Cinyras, linked with the birth of Adonis, who called the city after his mother Amathous. According to a version of the Ariadne legend noted by Plutarch, Theseus abandoned Ariadne at Amathousa, where she died giving birth to her child and was buried in a sacred tomb. According to Plutarch’s source, Amathousians called the sacred grove where her shrine was situated the Wood of Aphrodite Ariadne. More purely Hellenic myth would have Amathus settled instead by one of the sons of Heracles, thus accounting for the fact that he was worshiped there.
It was said in antiquity that the people of Amathus were autochthonous, most likely Eteocyprian or “Pelasgian”. Their non-Greek language is confirmed on the site by Eteocypriot inscriptions in the Cypriot syllabary which alone in the Aegean world survived the Bronze Age collapse and continued to be used down to the 4th century BC.