|Seembol||Dowphin, Rose, Scallop Shell,
Myrtle, Dove, Sparrae,
Girdle, Mirror, an Swan
|Consort||Hephaestus, Ares, Poseidon,
Hermes, Dionysus, Adonis,
|Parents||Uranus or Zeus an Dione|
|Siblins||The Tree Nymphs, The Furies an The Gigantes|
|Childer||Eros, Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia,
Pothos, Anteros, Himeros,
Hermaphroditos, Rhode, Eryx,
Peitho, Tyche, Eunomia,
The Graces, Priapus an Aeneas
Accordin tae Hesiod's Theogony, she wis born when Cronus cut aff Uranus's genitals an threw thaim intae the sea, an she arose frae the sea foam (aphros). Accordin tae Homer's Iliad, she is the dochter o Zeus an Dione.
Acause o her brawness, ither gods feared that their rivalry ower her wad interrupt the peace amang thaim an lead tae war, so Zeus marriet her tae Hephaestus, who, acause o his ugliness an deformity, wis no seen as a threat. Aphrodite haed mony lovers—baith gods, such as Ares, an men, such as Anchises. She played a role in the Eros an Psyche legend, an later wis baith Adonis's lover an his surrogate mither. Many lesser beings wur said tae be childer o Aphrodite.
Aphrodite is kent as Cytherea (Lady o Cythera) an Cypris (Lady o Cyprus) efter the twa cult steids, Cythera an Cyprus an aw, which claimed to be her place o birth. Myrtle, doves, sparrows, horses, an swans wur said tae be sacred tae her. The auncient Greeks identifeed her wi the Auncient Egyptian goddess Hathor.
Aphrodite haed mony ither names, such as Acidalia, Cytherea an Cerigo, each uised bi a different local cult o the goddess in Greece. The Greeks recognisit aw o these names as referrin tae the single goddess Aphrodite, despite the slicht differences in wha these local cults believit the goddess demandit o thaim. The Attic filosophers o the fowert century, housomeivver, drew a distinction atween a celestial Aphrodite (Aprodite Urania) o transcendent principles, an a separate, "common" Aphrodite who wis the goddess o the fowk (Aphrodite Pandemos).
Table o contents
- 1 Etymologie
- 2 Meethologie
- 3 Forms o Aphrodite
- 4 Comparative meethologie
- 5 Cult o Aphrodite
- 6 References
- 7 Freemit airtins
The archaic (Homeric) pronunciation o the name Ἀφροδίτη wis approximately [apʰrodíːtɛː]. In Koine Greek, this became [afroˈdiːteː], chyngin further ae [afroˈðiti] in Byzantine Greek bi iotacism. The maist common Inglis pronunciation o Aphrodite is //.
The etymologie o Greek Ἀφροδίτη is unkent.
Ither possible etymologies, mony o thaim no Greek, hae been suggestit in scholarship. Housomeivver, Janda (2010) considers the connection wi "foam" genuine, an points tae the story o Aphrodite's birth, in which she arises frae the sea foam efter Cronus defeats Uranus, as a mytheme o Proto-Indo-European age.
Accordin tae this interpretation, the name is frae aphrós "foam" an déatai "[she] seems" or "shines" (infinitive form *déasthai), meanin "she who shines frae the foam [ocean]", a biname o the dawn goddess (Eos). J.P. Mallory an D.Q. Adams (1997) hae proposed an etymologie based on the connection wi the Indo-European dawn goddess an aw, frae *abhor- "vera" an *dhei "tae shine".
A nummer o possible nan-Greek etymologies hae been suggestit in scholarship.
The connection tae Phoenicie releegion claimit bi Herodotus (I.105,131) haes inspired attempts tae show that the Greek Aphrodite is derivit frae a Semitic wird, Aštoret, bi wey o a hypothetical Hittite transmission, but these attempts hae been inconclusive.
Anither proposed Semitic etymologie compares Aphrodite tae the Assirie barīrītu, the name o a female demon that appears in Middle Babylonie an Late Babylonie texts.
The name probably means "she who (comes) at dusk," which wad be an appropriate appellation for Aphrodite, given her role as the personification o the fore-nicht starn—a role that, significantly, she shares wi a parallell Mesopotamie goddess, Ishtar.
Anither nan-Greek etymologie, suggestit bi M. Hammarström, leuks tae Etruscan, comparin (e)pruni "laird", an Etruscan honorific loaned intae Greek as πρύτανις. This wad mak the theonym in oreegin an honorific, "the lady". Hjalmar Frisk rejects this etymologie as implausible.
The learned medieval wirk Etymologicum Magnum affers a pseudoetymology claimin that "Aphrodite" is derivit frae the compund ἁβροδίαιτος habrodiaitos ("she who lives delicately" frae ἁβρός habros + δίαιτα diaita). The alteration frae b tae ph is explained as a "familiar" characteristic o Greek "obvious frae the Macedonies".
Aphrodite is uisually said tae hae been born near her chief center o worship, Paphos, on the island o Cyprus, which is why she is sometimes cried "Cyprian", especially in the poetic wirks o Sappho. Housomeivver, ither versions o her meeth hae her born near the island o Cythera, hence anither o her names, "Cytherea". Cythera wis a stoppin place for trade an cultur atween Crete an the Peloponesus, so these stories mey preserve traces o the migration o Aphrodite's cult frae the Middle East tae mainland Greece.
In the maist famous version o her meeth, her birth wis the consequence of a castration: Cronus severed Uranus' genitals an threw thaim ahint him intae the sea. The foam frae his genitals gave rise tae Aphrodite (hence her name, meanin "foam-arisen"), while the Erinyes (furies) emergit frae the drops o his blood. Hesiod states that the genitals "wur carriet ower the sea a lang time, an white foam arose frae the immortal flesh; wi it a girl grew." The girl, Aphrodite, floatit ashore on a scallop shell. This iconic representation o Aphrodite as a matur "Venus risin frae the sea" (Venus Anadyomene) wis made famous in a hintle-admired paintin bi Apelles, nou lost, but describit in the Natural History o Pliny the Elder.
In anither version o her oreegin, she wis considered a dochter o Zeus an Dione, the mither goddess whose oracle wis at Dodona. Aphrodite hersel wis sometimes referred tae as "Dione" an aw. "Dione" seems tae be a feminine form o "Dios", the genitive form case o Zeus, an coud be taken tae mean simply "the goddess" in a generic sense. Aphrodite micht, then, be an equivalent o Rhea, the Yird Mither, whom Homer relocatit tae Olympus.
Aphrodite is consistently portrayed, in ivery image an story, as haein haed nae bairnheid, an insteid bein born as a nubile, infinitely desirable adult. She is aften depictit nude. In mony o the later meeths, she is portrayed as vain, ill-tempered an easily affendit. Awtho she is marriet—she is ane o the few gods in the Greek Pantheon who is—she is frequently unfaithful tae her husband.
Aphrodite's husband Hephaestus is ane o the maist even-tempered o the Hellenic deities, but in the Odyssey she is portrayed as preferrin Ares, the volatile god o war acause she is attractit tae his violent natur. Aphrodite is ane o a few characters in the Odyssey whose actions are a major contributin cause o the Trojan War: she affers Helen o Troy tae Paris, an as the goddess o desire, she is responsible for Paris becomin so inflamit wi desire for Helen at first sicht that he is muivit tae abduct her.
Accordin tae ane version o Aphrodite's story, acause o her immense brawness Zeus fears that the ither gods will become violent wi each ither in their rivalry tae possess her. Tae forestall this, he forces her tae marry Hephaestus, the dour, humorless god o smithin. In anither version o the story, Aphrodite marries Hephaestus efter his mither, Hera casts him aff Olympus, deemin him too ugly an deformit tae inhabit the hame o the gods. His revenge is tae trap his mither in a magic throne. In return for her release, he demands tae be given Aphrodite's haund in marriage.
Hephaestus is owerjoyed tae be marriet tae the goddess o brawness, an forges her bonnie jewelry, includin the cestus, a girdle that maks her even mair irresistible tae men. Her unhappiness wi her marriage causes Aphrodite tae seek ither male companionship, maist aften Ares, but sometimes Adonis an aw.
Aphrodite wis Adonis' lover an a surrogate mither tae him. Cinyras, the Keeng o Cyprus, haed an intoxicatingly bonnie dochter namit Myrrha. When Myrrha's mither commits hubris against Aphrodite bi claimin her dochter is mair bonnie than the famit goddess, Myrrha is punished wi a niver-endin lust for her awn faither. Cinyras is repulsed bi this, but Myrrha disguises hersel as a prostitute, an secretly sleeps wi her faither at nicht.
Eventually, Myrrha becomes pregnant an is discovered bi Cinyras. In a rage, he chases her oot o the hoose wi a knife. Myrrha flees frae him, prayin tae the gods for mercy as she runs. The gods hear her plea, an chynge her intae a myrrh tree so her faither canna kill her. Eventually, Cinyras taks his awn life in an attempt tae restore the faimily's honor.
Myrrha gives birth tae a baby boy namit Adonis. Aphrodite happens bi the myrrh tree an, seein him, taks pity on the infant. She places Adonis in a box, an taks him doun tae Hades so Persephone can care for him. Adonis grows intae a strikingly handsome young man, an Aphrodite eventually returns for him. Persephone, housomeivver, is loath tae give him up, an wishes Adonis wad stay wi her in the unnerwarld. The twa goddesses begin such a quarrel, Zeus is forcit tae intercede. He decrees that Adonis will spend a third o the year wi Aphrodite, a third o the year wi Persephone, an a third o the year wi whomiver he wishes. Adonis, o course, chooses Aphrodite.
Adonis begins his year on the yird wi Aphrodite. Ane o his greatest passions is huntin, an awtho Aphrodite is no naturally a hunter, she taks up the sport juist so she can be wi him. They spend ivery wakkin oor wi ane anither, an Aphrodite is enraptured wi him. Housomeivver, her anxiety begins tae grow ower her neglectit duties, an she is forcit tae leave him for a short time. Afore she leaves, she gives Adonis ane warnin: dae no attack an animal which shows nae fear. Adonis grees tae her advice, but, secretly doutin her skills as a huntress, quickly forgets her warnin.
No lang efter Aphrodite leaves, Adonis comes athort an enormous wild boar, hintle lairger than ony he haes iver seen. It is suggestit that the boar is the god Ares, ane o Aphrodite's lovers made jealous throu her constant dotin on Adonis. Awtho boars are dangerous an will chairge a hunter if provokit, Adonis disregards Aphrodite's warnin an pursues the giant creatur. Suin, housomeivver, Adonis is the ane bein pursued; he is nae match for the giant boar.
In the attack, Adonis is castratit bi the boar, an dees frae a loss o blood. Aphrodite rushes back tae his side, but she is too late tae save him an can anerlie mourn ower his body. Wharever Adonis' blood faws, Aphrodite causes anemones tae grow in his memory. She vous that on the anniversar o his daih, ivery year thare will be a festival held in his honor.
On his daith, Adonis goes back tae the unnerwarld, an Persephone is delichtit tae see him again. Eventually, Aphrodite realizes he is thare, an rushes back tae retrieve him. Again, she an Persephone bicker ower who is alloued tae keep Adonis till Zeus intervenes. This time, he says Adonis must spend sax months wi Aphrodite an sax months wi Persephone, the wey it shoud hae been in the first place.
The Judgement o Paris
- Main airticle: Judgement o Paris
The gods an goddesses, as well as various mortals, wur invitit tae the marriage o Peleus an Thetis (the eventual parents o Achilles). Anerlie the goddess Eris (Discord) wis no invitit, but she arrivit wi a gowden apple inscribit wi the wird kallistēi ("tae the fairest ane"), which she threw amang the goddesses. Aphrodite, Hera, an Athena aw claimit tae be the fairest, an thus the richtful awner o the apple.
The goddesses chose tae place the matter afore Zeus, who, no wantin tae favor ane o the goddesses, put the choice intae the haunds o Paris. Efter bathin in the spring o Munt Ida (whaur Troy wus situatit), the goddesses appeared afore Paris. Paris, haein been given permission bi Zeus tae set ony condeetions he saw fit, required the goddesses tae undress an allou him tae see them nakit. (Anither version o the meeth says the goddesses thairsels chose tae undress.) Still, Paris coud no decide, as aw three wur ideally bonnie, so the goddesses resortit tae bribes.
Hera tree'd tae bribe Paris wi control ower aw Asie an Europe, while Athena affered wisdom, fame, an glory in battle, an Aphrodite affered the maist bonnie mortal wumman in the warld as a wife, an he accordinly chose her. This wumman wis Helen, who wis, unfortunately for Paris, awready marriet tae Keeng Menelaus o Sparta. The ither twa goddesses wur enragit bi this, an throu Helen's abduction bi Paris, they brocht aboot the Trojan War.
Consorts an childer
- Phaethon (son o Eos)
- unkent faither
- Meligounis + several mair unnamit dochters
In ane version o the story o Hippolytus, she wis the catalyst for his daith. He scorned the wirship o Aphrodite for Artemis an, in revenge, Aphrodite caused his stepmither, Phaedra, tae faw in luve wi him, knawin Hippolytus wad reject her.
In the maist popular version o the story, as tauld in the play Hippolytus bi Euripides, Phaedra seeks revenge against Hippolytus bi killin hersel an, in her suicide note, tells Theseus, her husband an Hippolytus' faither, that Hippolytus haed rapit her. Hippolytus wis oath-boond no tae mention Phaedra's luve for him an nobly refused tae defend hissel despite the consequences.
Theseus then cursed his son, a curse Poseidon wis boond tae fulfill, so Hippolytus wis laid law bi a bull frae the sea that caused his chariot-team tae panic an wreck his vehicle. Hippolytus forgives his faither afore he dees an Artemis reveals the truth tae Theseus afore vouin tae kill the ane Aphrodite luves (Adonis) for revenge.
Glaucus o Corinth angered Aphrodite. When he wis competin in the chariot race at the funeral games o Keeng Pelias she drove his horses mad an they tore him apairt. His ghost wis said tae frichten horses durin the Isthmian Games.
In ane Greek meeth, Aphrodite placit the curse o snakes for hair an the stane-gaze upon Medusa an her sisters. Aphrodite wis jealous o the three sisters' brawness, an she grew so jealous, she cursed thaim.
Forms o Aphrodite
Bi the late 5t century BC, certain filosofers haed begun tae draw a distinction atween twa separate "Aphrodites" (as opposed tae a single Aphrodite whose characteristics variet slichtly in different local cults o the goddess): Aphrodite Ourania, the celestial Aphrodite, born frae the sea foam efter Cronus castratit Uranus, an Aphrodite Pandemos, the common Aphrodite "o aw the fowk", born frae the union o Zeus an Dione. Amang the neo-Platonists an, later, their Christian interpreters, Aphrodite Ourania is associatit wi spiritual luve, an Aphrodite Pandemos wi pheesical luve (desire). A representation o Aphrodite Ourania wi her fuit restin on a tortoise came tae be seen as emblematic o discretion in conjugal luve. (We knaw o this representation, said tae hae been a chryselephantine sculptur made bi Phidias for Elis, anerly frae a parenthetical comment bi the geografer Pausanias).
Plato, in his Symposium, haes ane o his characters, an Athenian namit Pausanias (nae relation tae the geografer Pausanias), describe Aphrodite as twa goddesses, ane aulder, the ither younger. The aulder ane, Urania, is the dochter o Uranus, an inspires homosexual male (an mair specifically, ephebic) luve/eros; the younger is namit Pandemos, the daughter of Zeus and Dione, an aw luve for weemen comes frae her. The speech o Pausanias distinguishes twa manifestations o Aphrodite, representit bi the twa stories: Aphrodite Ourania ("heivenly" Aphrodite), an Aphrodite Pandemos ("Common" Aphrodite).
Aphrodite is kent as Areia an aw, showin her connection tae Ares, the god o war, whom she haed extramarital relations wi. As a result, she wis, tae some extent, made intae a goddess o war. This is especially true in Sparta.
Auncient Near Eastren parallels
The releegions o the Auncient Near East hae a nummer o luve goddesses that can be argued tae be similar tae certain aspects o Aphrodite.
Pausanias states the first tae establish a cult o Aphrodite wur the Assiries, efter the Assiries the Paphians o Cyprus an then the Phoenicies at Ascalon. The Phoenicies, in turn, taucht her wirship tae the fowk o Cythera.
An oreegin o (or significant influence on) the Greek luve goddess frae Near Eastren tradeetions wis seen wi some skepticism in classical 19t century scholarship. Authors such as A. Enmann (Kypros und der Ursprung des Aphroditekultes 1881) attemptit tae portray the cult o Aphrodite as a native Greek development.
Scholarly opinion on this question haes shiftit significantly syne the 1980s, notably due tae Walter Burkert (1984), an the significant influence o the Near East on early Greek releegion in general (an on the cult o Aphrodite in pairticular) is nou widely recognisit as datin tae a period o orientalisation durin the aicht century BC, when archaic Greece wis on the fringes o the Neo-Assirie Empire.
In native Greek tradeetion, the planet haed twa names, Hesperos as the fore-nicht starn an Eosphoros as the fore-nuin starn. The Greeks adoptit the identification of the fore-nuin an the fore-nicht starns, as well as its identification as Ishtar/Aphrodite, durin the fowert century BC, alang wi ither items o Babylonie astrologie, such as the Zodiac (Eudoxus o Cnidus).
Comparison wi the Indo-European dawn goddess
It haes lang been acceptit in comparative meethologie that Aphrodite (regardless o possible oriental influences) preserves some aspects o the Indo-European dawn goddess *Hausos (properly Greek Eos, Laitin Aurora, Sanskrit Ushas).
Janda (2010) etymologises her name as "she who rises frae the foam [o the ocean]" an points tae Hesiod's Theogony accoont o Aphrodite's birth as an archaic reflex o Indo-European meeth. Aphrodite risin oot o the watters efter Cronus defeats Uranus as a meetheme wad then be directly cognate tae the Rigvedic meeth o Indra defeatin Vrtra, leeberatin Ushas.
Cult o Aphrodite
The epithet Aphrodite Acidalia wis occasionally addit tae her name, efter the spring she uised for bathin, locatit in Boeotia (Virgil I, 720). She wi cried Kypris or Cytherea efter her birth-places in Cyprus an Cythera, respectively an aw, baith centres o her cult. She wis associatit wi Hesperia an frequently accompaniet bi the Oreads, nymphs o the muntains.
Her festival, Aphrodisia, wis celebratit athort Greece, but pairticularly in Athens an Corinth. At the temple o Aphrodite on the summit o Acrocorinth (afore the Roman destruction o the ceety in 146 BC), intercourse wi her priestesses wis considered a method o wirshipin Aphrodite. This temple wis no rebuilt when the ceety wis re-establisht unner Roman rule in 44 BC, but the growthiness rituals likely continued in the main ceety near the agora.
Ane aspect o the cult o Aphrodite an her precedents that Thomas Bulfinch's hintle-reprintit The Age of Fable; or Stories o Gods an Heroes (1855 etc.) elidit wis the practice o ritual prostitution in her shrines an temples. The euphemism in Greek is hierodoule, "sacred slave." The practice wis an inherent pairt o the rituals awed tae Aphrodite's Near Eastren forebears, Sumerie Inanna an Akkadian Ishtar, whose temple priestesses wur the "weemen o Ishtar," ishtaritum.
The practice haes been documentit in Babylon, Sirie an Palestine, in Phoenicie ceeties an the Tyrian colony Carthage, an for Hellenic Aphrodite in Cyprus, the center o her cult, Cythera, Corinth an in Sicily (Marcovich 1996:49); the practice housomeivver is not attested in Athens. Aphrodite wis awwhaur the patroness o the hetaera an courtesan. In Ionia on the coast o Asie Minor, hierodoulai servit in the temple o Artemis.
- Hesiod, Theogony, 188
- Homer, Iliad 5.370.
- Eros is usually mentioned as the son of Aphrodite but in other versions he is born out of Chaos
- Reginald Eldred Witt, Isis in the ancient world (Johns Hopkins University Press) 1997:125. ISBN 0-8018-5642-6
- Hesiod, Theogony, 176ff.
- Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary (2002)
Oxford Grammar Of Classical Greek (2001)
- Janda, Michael, Die Musik nach dem Chaos, Innsbruck 2010, p. 65
- Mallory, J.P. and D.Q. Adams. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishing, 1997.
- see Chicago Assyrian Dictionary vol. 2 p. 111
- In Glotta: Zeitschrift für griechische und lateinische Sprache 11, 21 5f.
- Etymologicum Magnum, Ἀφροδίτη
- Homer, Odyssey viii. 288; Herodotus i. 105; Pausanias iii. 23. § 1; Anacreon v. 9; Horace, Carmina i. 4. 5.
- Αναδυόμενη (Anadyómenē), "risin up".
- Iliad (Book V)
- Hesychius o Alexandria s. v. Μελιγουνίς: "Meligounis: this is wha the island Lipara wis cried. An aw ane o the dochters o Aphrodite."
- Hyginus, Fabulae 250.3, 273.11; Pausanias, Guide to Greece 6.20.19
- E.g. Plato, Symposium 181a-d.
- Pausanias, Periegesis vi.25.1; Aphrodite Pandemos was represented in the same temple riding on a goat, symbol of purely carnal rut: "The meaning of the tortoise and of the he-goat I leave to those who care to guess," Pausanias remarks. The image was taken up again after the Renaissance: see Andrea Alciato, Emblemata / Les emblemes (1584).
- Plato, Symposium 180e.
- Richard L. Hunter, Plato's Symposium, Oxford University Press: 2004, p. 44
- T.T. Kroon, art. Areia (1), in T.T. Kroon, Mythologisch Woordenboek, ’s Gravenshage, 1875.
- Wunderlich (R. Winston, tr.).The secret of Crete (1987:134)
- C.L. Whitcombe.Minoan snake goddess.8.Snakes, Egypt magic and women.Minoan Snake Goddess
- Pausanias, Description of Greece, I. XIV.7
- see Burkert in his introduction to The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age (1992), especially in pp 1-6.
- Dumézil.Ouranos-Vàruna:Ètude de mythologie compáree indo-européene. Paris Maisonneuve.1934
- "Our work is not for the learned, nor for the theologian, nor for the philosopher, but for the reader of English literature, of either sex, who wishes to comprehend the allusions so frequently made by public speakers, lecturers, essayists, and poets, and those which occur in polite conversation." Bulfinch's obituary in the Boston Evening Standard noted that the contents were "expurgated of all that would be offensive".
- Miroslav Marcovich, "From Ishtar to Aphrodite" Journal of Aesthetic Education 30.2, Special Issue: Distinguished Humanities Lectures II (Summer 1996) p 49.