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Historical Cyprus Coins

Cyprus ancient coins bore the images of bull, lion, Medusa, the ram, sphinx, and some floral compositions. During the 4th century, the style of Cyprus coins broke away from its previous oriental influences and began to adapt the designs and iconography of Greek coins. After Rome annexed Cyrus in 58 BC, Cyprus coins depicted distinct Cypriot character of either Zeus or the temple of Aphrodite at Paphos. During the Byzantine period Cyprus coins were largely minted at Constantinople or other large mints throughout the empire.

The 1191 conquest of Cyprus by Richard the Lionheart king of England resulted in radical changes to Cyprus coins. The island’s new numismatic system consisted of Byzantine’s bezants and deniers circulated extensively over Jerusalem. Towards the end of 13th century King Henry II introduced silver Cyrprus coins called gros which later which the official Coinage of Cyprus kingdom. During the Venetian period Cyprus coins were struck at Venice. The gold sultani, silver akce, kurus and copper para were struck in the Ottoman period. They often inscribed legends in Persian scripts bearing the sultan’s name and title.

In 1878 Britain took control of Cyprus and established a distinct currency based on the copper piastre with 180 piastre being equal to one pound. In 1955 this system was replaced with one Cyprus pound being equal to 1000 mils. The Republic of Cyprus established in 1960 issued first Cyprus coins in 1963. Cyprus retained the British numismatic system until 1983 where one Cypriot pound was divided into 100 cents, in order to adapt to the demands of modern international transactions. In 2008 Cyprus euro coins were issued after it became a eurozone member four years earlier. The Central Bank of Cyprus in the later years has issued a number of Cyprus euro coins which depict the island’s history.

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