Cyrene; the history of the founding as a Greek immigrants from the Island ( modern Santorin ) has been handed to us as a mixture of legend and historical tradition.
The date to this event is 631 B.C. king Battus the First ruled for 40 years over his tiny immigrant community wisely and moderately, Cyrene has been through different eras from the Republican era 414 B.C to Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic rulers 332 B.C, to the Romans,96 B.C to the Byzantine since the late 324 A.D and finally to the Arab invasion in 635 A.D.
Some of Cyrene famous Men are Synesius 370-413 a member of a cyrenean family and was an ambassador to Constantinopole and proclaimed Bishop of Ptolemais in 410A.D, the excavation of both Apollonia and Cyrene started by Lemaire in 1705, and the ruins visible before excavation began were documented by Beechey in 1822 and by Pacho in 1824.
Visiting Cyrene; The Forum and Agora, the Forum of Proculus or Caesareum a great rectangular enclosure with internal porticoes, the original function of this building is still matter of dispute. The Agora which host many of Cyrene remains as the Naval Monument, the Capitolium and most important the Tomb of Battus the Founder of the City. The Acropolis Hill which still yet to be excavated, continue downhill to visit the Fountain and the Sanctuary of Apollo, which were for most their history, distinct zones.
The Fountain of Apollo was the prime cause of the City’s foundation on this site, and was linked in legend, with the nymph Kura or Kurana a Greek maiden, whom Apollo wooed and brought to Libya as his pride, the fountain is a torrent of water emerging from cavern’s mouth on the upper terrace.
The true spring lies at the end of 300 yards tunnel, in the heart of the hillside, on the left hand side of the fountain 5 circular Byzantine lime-kilns which consumed many of the pagan statues., moving down here is the mighty Sanctuary of Apollo its Greek and Roman Propylea, inside the sanctuary we find the Temple of Apollo the most important monument which incorporate the remains of three buildings. The sanctuary also includes the temple of Jason Magnus, the fountain of Cyrene, semi-circular construction surmounted by a statue of the nymph strangling a lion, the Temple of Isis in which a statue of the Egyptian goddess has been found and the Grotto of the Priests, in the same area there also the Greek Theatre transformed by the Roman in an Amphitheatre.
Then we move to the Great Temple of Zeus - alongside the Necropolis of Cyrene one of the most extensive cemeteries in the ancient world, and covers many square miles. The visible multiple grave tombs number over 1200 and there are also several thousand of sarcophagi – the largest temple of Cyrene. It is an Octostyle building of gigantic dimension slightly larger than the Parthenon of Athens and the temple of Zeus at Olympia constructed in an archaic Doric style around the 6th century
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