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date: 20 August 2019


  • Nicoletta Demetriou,
  • Vasilis Kallis,
  • Katy Romanou
  •  and Kenneth Owen Smith


Country in the eastern Mediterranean. With an area of 9251 km² it is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. In the common era, Cyprus – fully Hellenised under Ptolemaic rule – has been part of the Roman (from 58) and the East Roman Empire (from 395). Thereafter, Franks (from 1191), Venetians (from 1473), Ottomans (from 1571), and British (from 1878) occupied the island. In 1960 Cyprus became an independent state. Natives, occupiers, and continuously migrating populations from Europe, Asia, and Africa formed a multicultural environment, where languages, religions and dogmas, ethnic traditions, education, and living standards have been diverse, but in constant interaction and transformation.

Katy Romanou

While part of Byzantium, Cyprus was inhabited by Christian Orthodox Greeks and Syrians, and by Armenians, Nestorians, and Jews (whose synagogue services, at least in the 14th century, were said in Greek), as well as Venetian and Genovese merchants. It seems likely that Byzantine liturgical music had no distinct local character prior to the Venetian period. Furthermore, and this was true for all social classes, there would have been little or no perceived distinction between sacred and secular music, or between art music and what we now call ‘folk music’....

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Journal of the American Musicological Society
Musica disciplina
S. Sadie and J. Tyrell, eds.: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2/London, 2001)