The Ancient city of Marion
Following the example of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies founded several new cities. In Cyprus the city of Marion was rebuilt in the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. after its total destruction by Ptolemy I and was re-named Arsinoe in honour of Arsinoe II, sister and wife of Ptolemy Philadelphos. Two other cities were founded in the name of Arsinoe, one in the east of Cyprus at Salamis, and the second in the district of Pafos, between New and Old Pafos. This town which, according to Strabo, had anchorage (προσόρμιον), a sanctuary (ιερό), and a sacred grove (άλσος), has not been identified. Its sanctuary was probably dedicated to queen Arsinoe who, on her death (in 270 B.C.) was deified and worshipped in Paphos equally with Aphrodite, as were many other Ptolemeic kings and queens.
The Ancient city of Marion, Paphos was one of the ten famed city-kingdoms found on the island of Cyprus. It was positioned in the north-west part of the Mediterranean Island, within the Akamas Peninsula region very near to the island’s present town named Polis. The city was initially founded in the 7th century BC and flourished due to the copper and gold mines in its vicinity. The city also served as an imperative trading port, where locals exported both metal and timber. The post found today at Latchi was actually built on the foundations of the initial ancient port and the ruins are also visible at present!
Before 449 BC the prosperous Marion City was under the Persian rule, as were the majority of city-kingdoms on the island. In 449 BC a courageous Athenian general liberated the city from the Persians. In the years that followed the city-kingdom was referred to as Marion Ellinikon, meaning the Hellenic Marion. This is when the ancient city prospered from the gold and copper mines in the nearby Limni Mines. The natural wealth led the city to prosper due to trade. The majority of gold and copper was exported to Athens, and in turn Athens sent Attic pots which samples can be viewed today at Polis Archaeological Museum.
According to folklore, Theseus’ son, Akamas anchored near Polis after the end of the Trojan War and named Akamas Peninsula after himself. He also named the great city of Akamantis after himself, which is the celebrated city that has never been found. In the past the present city of Polis was part of Marion, and is said to have initially been founded by Akamas. In fact, Marion was one of the multiple city-kingdoms created by the Mycenaean civilisation or otherwise known as the Achaeans, which were the founders of the Mycenaean empire in Greece. The Mycenaean reigned in Cyprus from 1400 BC and 1100 BC.
Marion was later led to destruction after the battle between Antigonus (successor of Alexander the Great) and Ptolemy. Ptolemy was victorious and regarded the city of Marion insignificant due to the fact the King of Marion at the time had sided with Antigonus and as a result he ordered the local residents of Marion to be transferred to Paphos. Five Kings that are known today to have reigned in Marion are the following, Doxandros, Sasmas, Stasioikos I, Timocharis and Stasioikos II.
After several years, another member of the Ptolemy Empire, revived the city-kingdom of Marion and founded a new city on the remains. He named the new city Arsinoe, after his wife which prospered again during the Hellenistic and Roman Ages.
According to historic scripts, the ancient Marion city-kingdom was not mentioned until the end of the Middle Ages. In the late Middle Ages, Marion was referred to as Chrysohou and Polis Chrysohou which today, the city of Polis is the centre of administration that is in charge of twenty-three communities.
The local Museum of Marion-Arsinoe is located in Polis tis Chysochous, about 35km. north of the town of Pafos.
It was erected by the Government of Cyprus with the financial support of Nicos Shakolas for storing and exhibiting finds from the ancient city of Marion (renamed Arsinoe in the 3rd century BC), its cemeteries and the surrounding area.
The Museum consists of two rooms and an atrium where architectural members are displayed.
Address: Archiepiskopou Makariou III Avenue
Opening hours: Monday – Friday : 8.00-16.00
Saturday: 9.00 – 15.00
Tickets € 2,50
Special rest rooms: available