Aphrodite - Greek gods

Posted by 2018  •  article

Many scholars believe Aphrodite’s worship came to Greece from the East, and many of her characteristics must be considered Semitic. Although Homer called her “Cyprian” after the island chiefly famed for her worship, she was already Hellenized by the time of Homer, and, according to Homer, she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione , his consort at Dodona. In Book 8 of the Odyssey , Aphrodite was mismatched with Hephaestus , the lame smith god, and she consequently spent her time philandering with the handsome god of war, Ares (by whom she became the mother of Harmonia , the warrior twins Phobos and Deimos, and Eros , the god of love).

Of Aphrodite’s mortal lovers, the most important were the Trojan shepherd Anchises , by whom she became the mother of Aeneas , and the handsome youth Adonis (in origin a Semitic nature deity and the consort of Ishtar-Astarte), who was killed by a boar while hunting and was lamented by women at the festival of Adonia. The cult of Adonis had underworld features, and Aphrodite was also connected with the dead at Delphi.

Early Greek art represented Aphrodite either as the Oriental, nude-goddess type or as a standing or seated figure similar to all other goddesses. Aphrodite first attained individuality at the hands of the great 5th-century- bce Greek sculptors. Perhaps the most famous of all statues of Aphrodite was carved by Praxiteles for the Cnidians; it later became the model for such Hellenistic masterpieces as the Venus de Milo (2nd century bce ).

Many scholars believe Aphrodite’s worship came to Greece from the East, and many of her characteristics must be considered Semitic. Although Homer called her “Cyprian” after the island chiefly famed for her worship, she was already Hellenized by the time of Homer, and, according to Homer, she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione , his consort at Dodona. In Book 8 of the Odyssey , Aphrodite was mismatched with Hephaestus , the lame smith god, and she consequently spent her time philandering with the handsome god of war, Ares (by whom she became the mother of Harmonia , the warrior twins Phobos and Deimos, and Eros , the god of love).

Of Aphrodite’s mortal lovers, the most important were the Trojan shepherd Anchises , by whom she became the mother of Aeneas , and the handsome youth Adonis (in origin a Semitic nature deity and the consort of Ishtar-Astarte), who was killed by a boar while hunting and was lamented by women at the festival of Adonia. The cult of Adonis had underworld features, and Aphrodite was also connected with the dead at Delphi.

Early Greek art represented Aphrodite either as the Oriental, nude-goddess type or as a standing or seated figure similar to all other goddesses. Aphrodite first attained individuality at the hands of the great 5th-century- bce Greek sculptors. Perhaps the most famous of all statues of Aphrodite was carved by Praxiteles for the Cnidians; it later became the model for such Hellenistic masterpieces as the Venus de Milo (2nd century bce ).

The mirror is an often-seen attribute of Aphrodite; it is as linked to her as Dionysos’ wine or Zeus’ thunderbolts. The mirror is a key part in unlocking exactly who Aphrodite is – as the myths told in Ancient Greece are oftentimes man-made, even if they may be divinely inspired.

The astrological symbol for the planet Venus—named for the Roman’s goddess of love, Venus, who was often identified with the Greek Aphrodite—is the same symbol as that used for the biological female: a circle with a small cross beneath. In alchemy, the Venus symbol also stands for the metal copper, and this provides an interesting link between copper, females and mirrors – in antiquity, polished copper or bronze was used in mirrors. The Venus symbol is also thought to represent the very mirror of Venus or Aphrodite: therefore the connection between Aphrodite and mirrors becomes ever more pronounced.

In conclusion, then, Aphrodite’s mirror is not merely a symbol of pride or vanity, but rather of the truth of survival – sometimes harsh, sometimes gentle. It symbolises the truth of the human body, the imagination of humans and gods, and the nature and prolonged existence of all that there is and ever was.


Goddess Symbols: Aphrodite symbols and myths.

Posted by 2018  •  article

 
 

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