Former French Ambassador Publishes Book on Cyprus
Nicosia, May 9 – The ancient Greek mythological sculptor Pygmalion of Cyprus who fell in love with his statue, priestesses of Goddess Aphrodite, Saints Hilarion and Epiphanios, paganism and Christianity meet in the book of Ambassador Jean Dominique Paolini, which was presented on Monday in Nicosia.
The book, titled “D’Aphrodite a Jesus”, is really a crossroads of peoples and civilizations, just like Cyprus, where the author served as the French Ambassador (1985-1989) and which he praises in his paintings and poems “Choses de Chypre” (1989) as the island inspired him more than any other of his diplomatic posts.
The eleven narratives in the collection, published in 2005 in French and now in Greek, were awarded the Medaille de vermeil of the Academy Jeux Floraux of Toulouse. They unfold in the 4th century AD, a period during which paganism and Christianity co-existed in the island.
This coexistence, Mr. Paolini stated in an interview, is what inspired him and started as he gazed on the Rock of Aphrodite, believed to be the birthplace of the Goddess of love. Inspiration for the collection came also one day in 1985, when the then director of the Antiquities Department Vasos Karagiorgis unveiled before him the mosaic of Aion at Paphos.
These two images could not leave him and inspired his studies and his work, adding that in his book historical and mythical persons meet with modern characters as he tries to revive the life of the people on the island at that period.
During his time in Cyprus, Mr. Paolini had also contributed to the creation of an advisory committee for French Scholarships, which has helped many Cypriot artists at the start of their career.
Mr. Paolini agreed that he belongs to the diplomats who elevated the Greek elements of Cyprus, noting the importance of the island for Greek Mythology.
Responding to other questions, he expressed his admiration for the economic development of the island in the past years.
On the Cypruss issue, he expressed the certainty that it would be feasible for the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots to negotiate a solution without foreign intervention, to reunite their country which has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.