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Cypriot literature

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Title: Cypriot literature  
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Subject: Cyprus, Frisian literature, Luxembourg literature, Ossetian literature, Finnish literature
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Cypriot literature

Cypriot literature covers literature from Cyprus found mainly in Greek, and/or other languages, including French. The modern Cypriot Greek dialect belongs to the Southeastern group of Modern Greek dialects.

Ancient / Medieval

Literary production from antiquity includes the Cypria, an epic poem, probably composed in the late 7th century BC and attributed to Stasinus.[1] The Cypriot Zeno of Citium was the founder of the Stoic School of Philosophy, followed by his friend and disciple Persaeus.

Cyprus also figures in early Christian literature such as the Acts of the Apostles according to which the Apostles Barnabas and Paul preached on the island. Byzantine/medieval Cypriot writers include Leontios of Neapolis, Altheides and Patriarch Gregory II of Constantinople. Byzantine Epic poetry, notably the "acritic songs", flourished during the Middle Ages.

Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance

The legislation of the Kingdom of Cyprus in the Middle Ages, known as the Assizes of Jerusalem, was written in the local dialect of the time, as well as in French. The Assizes were translated into Italian by 1531 and remain the largest collection of surviving medieval laws.

As far as French influences.

A great collection of sonnets in the manner of Francesco Petrarca and of Poèmes d'amour written in medieval Greek Cypriot date back from the 16th century, when Cyprus was a possession of the Republic of Venice. Some of them are actual translations of poems written by Petrarch, Bembo, Ariosto and Sannazzaro.[2] The majority of the play Othello by William Shakespeare is set on Venetian Cyprus.


Modern literary figures from Cyprus writing in Greek include the poet and writer Kostas Montis, poet Kyriakos Charalambides, novelist Panos Ioannides, poet Michalis Pasiardis, poet/translator Stephanos Stephanides, writer Nicos Nicolaides, Stylianos Atteshlis, Loukis Akritas[3] and Demetris Th. Gotsis. Dimitris Lipertis, Vasilis Michaelides and Pavlos Liasides are folk poets who wrote poems mainly in the Cypriot-Greek dialect.[4][5] The local dialect has been traditionally used for folk songs and poetry, including τσιαττιστά (battle poetry, a form of Playing the dozens) and the tradition of ποιητάρηες (bards).

Neşe Yaşın is a well known Cypriot Turkish poet and author, who mainly writes in Turkish although a considerable number of her works of prose have been translated into Greek and English. In 2002 her novel Secret History of Sad Girls was banned in the TRNC and Turkey and she received multiple threats from Turkish nationalists.[6][7] Sevgül Uludağ is an investigative reporter [8] who besides being instrumental in uncovering information on thousands of missing Cypriots [9] she has also authored a number of books.[10] Urkiye Mine Balman has written in a wide variety genres, but her works are mostly romantic poems describing sometimes a lonesome village girl or country life and long-distance romances. Balman has published her works in Yesilada, Türk Dili, and Türk'e Dogru literary magazines in Turkey.[11]

Cyprus-based writers in other languages include the Armenian Cypriot poet Nora Nadjarian and British novelist Paul Stewart.


Cyprus has also been a place of inspiration and literary production for non-native authors during the 20th century.

Lawrence Durrell lived in Cyprus from 1952 until 26 August 1956 and wrote the book Bitter Lemons concerning his time there, which earned him the second Duff Cooper Prize in 1957.

Giorgos Seferis was heavily influenced by Cyprus. He wrote one of his most famous works (Log Book III - initially entitled Cyprus, where it was ordained for me…) while working for the Greek diplomatic mission on the island.

See also


  1. ^ "An indication that at least the main contents of the Cypria were known around 650 BCE is provided by the representation of the Judgment of Paris on the Chigi vase" (Burkert 1992:103). On the proto-Corinthian ewer of ca. 640 BCE known as the Chigi "vase", Paris is identified as Alexandros, as he was apparently called in Cypria.
  2. ^ Th. Siapkaras- Pitsillidés, Le Pétrarchisme en Cypre. Poèmes d' amour en dialecte Chypriote d' après un manuscript du XVIe siècle, Athènes 1975 (2ème édition)
  3. ^ "Cyprus Stamp Issue: Loukis Akritas". 
  4. ^ "Cyprus Stamp Issue: Cyprus Poets". 
  5. ^ "Cyprus Stamp Issue: Centenary Birthday Anniversary of Poet Pavlos Liasides". 
  6. ^ Poet battles abuse from Turkish nationalists
  7. ^ Goodbye to Freedom
  8. ^ The Global Network for Women in the NewsMedia
  9. ^ missing Memories of Cyprus
  10. ^
  11. ^
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