Cythera is akin to Cyprus or the Greek island Kythira. In the Kushielverse, it is controled by Khebbel-im-Akkad, though it has been controlled by many different nations in the past. Its capitol is Paphos. It is ruled by governor Ptolomy Solon, nicknamed the Wise Ape for his ugliness and wisdom. Solon apparently brought peace to the island that inhabited by so many different peoples always at each other's throats. Hellene is spoken on the island. Imriel travels there in Kushiel's Mercy. Slaves on Cythera are required to be paid a wage so that they may buy their freedom in seven years. Castration of slaves is prohibited.
Cythera is said to be the place Aphrodite, the Hellene goddess of love and desire, first set foot on land. Melisande's presence fed the legend, locals saying that she is the embodiment of the Hellene goddess who came back to be with her husband Hephaestus, the deformed god of fire (an allusion to Solon's ugly appearance).