According to the Government of Cyprus Portal the island of Cyprus was given many names by the ancient and present writers, among which the most important include Akamantis, Aspelia, Kition, Khettiim, Makaria, Kryptos, Kypros, Khethima, Kyoforos, Alasia, Kerastis, Amathousia, Miionis, Sfikia, Kolinia, Tharsis, Aeria, Nea Lousiniani.

Its present name Cyprus is said to  originate from the word Kypros. Kypros is  the name of a plant, more commonly known as henna, however the plant is relatively unknown in Cyprus and therefore it is very unlikely that the island was named after it. A second explanation is that there was a town by that name, however, that town has never been traced and this explanation therefore does not carry any weight. A third explanation is Cyprus stems from Kypris, a name which Homer gave to Aphrodite, but most believe that she got her name from Kypros rather than the other way round.

However, two more explanations seem to solve the mystery, especially if they are analysed together and with some help from that universal decoder-Sanskrit! The first explanation is that Cyprus gets its name from Kypros, who was the son or daughter of a king by the name Kinyras. The second explanation is that a vast amount of copper was discovered in Cyprus during the Bronze period (2500 B.C -1050 B.C) and that Kypros was a pre-Greek word for copper, hence the island was named after it. Since the Greek word for copper is chalkos. Greek doesn’t cut it here.

The pre-Greek word comes from Sanskrit and it explains all the names above. First Kinyras should read Kaniyas (कनियस), Sanskrit for copper.  Second, as the story goes the father of  Kypros is Kaniyas. This story indicates that the etymology of Kypros lies in Kaniyas. 

But what about the other names. Most of them too can be explained by Sanskrit, and the common thread of those explanations is that they are all related to the location of Cyprus in the sea.  

Akamantis is certainly Indo-European and can be explained by the Sanskrit ‘Akatman’ (एकात्मन) or ‘isolated’, referring to its geography, as being isolated. 

Aspelia may be explained by Sanskrit ‘Asphala’ (आस्फाल)  meaning ‘flapping’ perhaps about the waves of the Mediterranean sea. 

Makaria, could be an extension of the word ‘Makara’ (मकर), and is a common word for sea animals such as dolphins, alligators, crocodiles and porpoises. 

Most other names such as Kehtima, may be explained by Khatmal (खतमाल) or ‘cloudy’, Amathousia by ‘Amati’  (अमति) or splendour,  Kolinia by ‘kalan’ (कलन) or ‘moving to and fro’ – once again a reference to the tide, however since the historical meanings of these names are lost these remain a conjecture.

But there is one name which is most appropriate for Cyprus, and that is Alishaya. Alishaya is most likely a truncated form of Jalayshaya (जलाशय), Sanskrit for ‘resting in water’.

Alashiya, the name can be explained

by Sanskrit Jalashiya or ‘resting in water’.


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