The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th century BC Mycenaean Greek ku-pi-ri-jo, meaning "Cypriot", written in Linear B syllabic script. The classical Greek form of the name is Κύπρος Kýpros.
The etymology of the name is unknown. Suggestions include:
- the Greek word for the Mediterranean cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens), κυπάρισσος (kypárissos)
- the Greek name of the henna plant (Lawsonia alba), κύπρος (kýpros)
- an Eteocypriot word for copper. Georges Dossin, for example, suggests that it has roots in the Sumerian word for copper (zubar) or for bronze (kubar), from the large deposits of copper ore found on the island.
Through overseas trade, the island has given its name to the Classical Latin word for copper through the phrase aes Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum.
Cyprus, more specifically the seashore at Paphos, was also one of the birthplaces given in Greek mythology for Aphrodite, who was known as Kýpria. This was because Astarte, goddess of love and beauty in Phoenician mythology, for whom Cyprus was an important cult centre, was later identified with Aphrodite.
The standard demonym relating to Cyprus or its people or culture is Cypriot. The terms Cypriote and Cyprian are also, less frequently, used.
Read more about this topic: Cyprus
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