Cyprus has been settled since the early Neolithic period in the 9th millennium BC. During the 2nd millennium BC cities were built and extensive trading developed: Greek colonies were established and Greek culture predominated. Cyprus then came under Assyrian and Egyptian rule, subsequently becoming part of the Persian Empire. In the 2nd and 1st centuries BC the island was Hellenized. It became a Roman province in 58 BC and remained within the Roman Empire for most of the next three centuries, during which time it was Christianized.
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