MOSAICS OF ANCIENT KOURION: HOUSE OF EUSTOLIOS IN THE ANCIENT CITY-STATE IN CYPRUS

The house of Eustolios in the ancient city-state of Kourion in Cyprus is one of the most important archaeological sites in Limassol. 

This is a real gem of the ancient  world, preserved to this day in the area of ​​Episkopi.

When planning to visit the ancient Kourion, plan at least half a day, because the excavation area is really impressive – you can walk for a long time, and there are many buildings worthy of your attention. 

The ancient world left a rich legacy in later times. 

For a long time, in antiquity , the city-state of Kourion in Cyprus was the center of life, one of the most glorious cities in Cyprus. Together with the ancient city of Amathus, they were today’s Limassol.

The house of Eustolios in ancient Kourion with many rooms and courtyards was built in the late IV – early V century:

It is located at the archaeological site of Kourion on the southeastern edge of the hill. It offers breathtaking views of the vast expanses and the Mediterranean Sea:

The identity of the owner of the House of Eustolios who built it remains unknown, but it is documented that he gave this house to the citizens of Kourion.

According to the mosaics preserved to this day, Eustolios wanted to help rebuild the city after a strong earthquake that occurred in 365 AD.

When he saw that the residents of Kourion who had been left homeless after the earthquake left the city, he decided to give them this house.

The house of Eustolios was transformed into a large complex of buildings with Roman baths, kitchen facilities, dormitories and other premises for various purposes.

Roman baths in the House of Eustolios.

It became a public place, a territory freely used by the inhabitants of ancient Kourion and an excellent refuge for all residents of the city-state that suffered from the earthquake, who did not leave it. The citizens of Kourion considered Eustolios himself their protector.

Intricate mosaic patterns covered the floors of the Eustolios House throughout.

The most famous mosaic in the Eustolios House is “Ktisis” (Greek “ΚΤΙΣΙΣ”) with the image of a girl holding a measuring device:

This mosaic belongs to the personifications that were very popular throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. She is the personification of the World Creation.

Especially interesting in the House of Eustolios are the most ancient and amazingly beautiful mosaics with Christian symbols, which depict fish and birds – a goose, partridge,  guinea fowl,  pheasant:

Early Christian symbolism in the House of Eustolios – Fish (Greek ΙΧΘΥΣ):

Each letter of the Greek word ΙΧΘΥΣ means the abbreviation of the Greek words   Ἰησοῦς, Χριστός, Θεοῦ, Υἱός, Σωτήρ (Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior).

The central mosaic in the House of Evstolios with the image of a guinea fowl. Guinea fowl are monogamous,  are excellent guards and warn of danger: 

Early Christian mosaic depicting a partridge in the House of Eustolios:

Details of a cruciform Christian mosaic in the House of Eustolios in ancient Kourion:

The preserved patron of the House of Eustolios calls Jesus Christ:

These symbolic images, reflecting the emerging Christian theology, were in the nature of cryptography, allowing fellow believers to know each other. They testify that around the 4th century AD, the inhabitants of Kourion had already adopted Christianity.