A Second Dark Age in Cyprus: AD 649-965
There was a
break in direct rule of Cyprus from Constantinople in 688 when Justinian
II and the caliph Abd al-Malik signed an unusual form of treaty
neutralizing the island, which had been subject to Arab raids.
For almost 300 years Cyprus was a kind of condominium of the
Byzantine Empire and the Caliphate, and although the treaty was
frequently violated by both sides, the arrangement lasted until
965, when the emperor Nicephorus II Phocas gained Cyprus
completely for the Byzantines.
This appears to
have been a period of modest prosperity. A remarkable mosaic of
the 6th century, at Kiti, is the best example of Eastern Roman
art of that date, comparable with works at Ravenna in Italy.
Another equally remarkable mosaic of roughly the same date, is
at Lythrangomi. Wall paintings demonstrate close contact with
Constantinople: those at Asinou, in particular, are noteworthy
as being the earliest of an unparalleled series of mural
paintings showing successive developments of Byzantine art.