Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Eustolios House, Cyprus

Eustolios House, located in Kourion (Cyprus), was excavated in 1938. Originally it was thought to be a palace. Its earliest phase dates to the early Roman period but it was drastically altered during the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The building complex, which survives to this day, is the result of extensive remodelling during the last few years of rule of the emperor Theodosius II (408-450 AD).

Early Christian symbols are scattered throughout the house, depicting various birds, crosses, fish, creation and even one specific mosaic which openly declares that his home is protected by the much venerated signs of Christ. Mosaic Inscription: This House in place of its ancient armament of walls and iron and bronze and steel, has now girt itself with the much venerated symbols of Christ.

Perched on top of Kourion's south-facing cliffs, the complex is built from massive limestone blocks, and originally contained more than thirty rooms, as well as an enclosed garden, complete with a fountain and even a fish pond. Throughout the house there can be found a multitude of beautiful mosaics, and even today it is easy to imagine how spacious, airy and above all lavish this public building must have been during its use.

As is the norm with Roman Baths, this one contains three principal areas, the frigidarium, the tepidarium and the caldarium, which were used in this sequence by the building's patrons. As well as the bath complex, the House of Eustolios also contained meeting and dining halls, where much business was no doubt discussed by the citizens of Kourion.
While the symbolism behind some of the mosaics is clear, it has become obvious to archaeologists that the meaning of others, although they are quite clearly part of an overall Christian design, has been lost through the span of ages.

The baths and public complex continued to serve Kourion's population up until the middle of the seventh century, when it was finally destroyed by the growing number of Arab raiders which began to appear at this time. Along with the rest of Kourion, it remained undiscovered until recent times.

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