Architectural reconstruction of Ptolemy tomb and Doric Temple in Paphos, western Cyprus. (Handout photo)
NICOSIA, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The tomb of a Ptolemy king has been discovered in the complex of a necropolis at Paphos, western Cyprus, a professor of classical history at the University of Cyprus said Wednesday.
"There is no doubt that this is a royal tomb belonging to one of the kings of the Ptolemaic dynasty who succeeded Alexander the Great...This is important because no other burial sites of the Ptolemy kings were found, even in Egypt," Theodoros Mavroyiannis told state radio.
He said an official announcement would be made later in the day at an international conference on Cypriot history at Paphos.
Mavroyiannis said that final evidence which proved the tomb was a royal one was provided by Michalis Lefatzis, an archaeological architect at the Greek ministry of culture who helped in the excavation of the famed Vergina, Greece burial site of King Philippos, father of Alexander the Great.
Mavroyiannis said Lefatzis established that over the tomb there was a temple in the Doric style, a sign of the Ptolemy Dynasty and an honor reserved for kings who were named gods.
He said the tomb was the burial site of boy-king Ptolemy Efpator, who was made a co-king with authority to rule over Cyprus by his father Ptolemy sixth Philomitor.
The young king ruled from 152 to 150 B.C. and died at the age of 12.
Mavroyiannis said he traced an inscription of two Greek letters that are the first letters of the word Theos, or god. He believes that the words which preceded it were the full name of the king.
The royal tomb is one of hundreds of tombs carved out in the rock which cover about 1.5 sq km, collectively known as the "Tombs of the Kings," an impressive site visited by tens of thousands of tourists each year.
However, the name was a misnomer as up to now it was believed that no kings were buried there, because the royal institution had been abolished in Cyprus in 312 BC. But the impressive character of the underground tombs supported by Doric columns, which was reserved for distinguished Ptolemaic personalities and members of their families, led to the place getting its royal name.
Lefatzis said he determined there were signs that indicated the base of Doric columns as well as other cuttings in the rock, which, along with fragments of findings strewn nearby, led him to the conclusion that a temple had stood over the place.
Mavroyiannis said that other signs that led him to his conviction of the site being a royal tomb were two damaged sculpted eagles which were found when the area was excavated in 1977.
He explained that the eagle was the symbol of the Ptolemy kings and the twin eagles was the symbol of two kings ruling at the same time.
The Ptolemy Dynasty in Egypt ended in 30 BC with the death of the last royal member, Queen Cleopatra, after the conquest of the Ptolemaic kingdom by Rome.