|Goddess o luve, brawness an sexuality|
|Symbol||Dowphin, Rose, Scallop Shell,|
Myrtle, Dove, Sparrae,
Girdle, Mirror, an Swan
|Consort||Hephaestus, Ares, Poseidon,|
Hermes, Dionysus, Adonis,
|Childer||Eros, Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia,|
Pothos, Anteros, Himeros,
Hermaphroditos, Rhode, Eryx,
Peitho, Tyche, Eunomia,
The Graces, Priapus an Aeneas
|Parents||Uranus or Zeus an Dione|
|Siblins||The Tree Nymphs, The Furies an The Gigantes|
Accordin tae Hesiod's Theogony, she wis born whan 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 thair rivalry ower her wad interrupt the peace amang thaim an lead tae war, sae Zeus marriet her tae Hephaestus, wha, acause o his ugliness an deformity, wisnae seen as a threat. Aphrodite haed mony luvers—baith gods, lik Ares, an men, lik Anchises. She played a role in the Eros an Psyche legend, an later wis baith Adonis's luver an his surrogate mither. Mony lesser beings wis 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 tae be her place o birth. Myrtle, doves, sparrows, horse, 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, lik Acidalia, Cytherea an Cerigo, ilkane uised bi a different local cult o the goddess in Greece. The Greeks recognisit aw o thir names as referrin tae the single goddess Aphrodite, in maugre o the slicht differences in wha thir local cults believit the goddess demandit o thaim. The Attic philosophours o the fowert century, housomiver, 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).
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 Scots pronunciation o Aphrodite is [ˌafrɵˈdəite].
The etymologie o Greek Ἀφροδίτη is unkent.
Ither possible etymologies, mony o thaim no Greek, hae been suggestit in bursarship. Housomiver, Janda (2010) considers the connection wi "faem" genuine, an pynts tae the story o Aphrodite's birth, in whilk she arises frae the sea faem efter Cronus defeats Uranus, as a mytheme o Proto-Indo-European age.
Accordin tae this interpretation, the name is frae aphrós "faem" 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 bursarship.
The connection tae Phoenicie releegion claimit bi Herodotus (I.105,131) haes inspired attempts tae shaw that the Greek Aphrodite is derivit frae a Semitic wird, Aštoret, bi wey o a hypothetical Hittite transmission, but thir 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 likely means "she who (comes) at dusk," that wad be an appropriate appellation for Aphrodite, gien 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 centre o worship, Paphos, on the island o Cyprus, whilk is why she is whiles cried "Cyprian", enspecially in the poetic wirks o Sappho. housomiver, 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, sae thir 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 o a castration: Cronus severed Uranus' genitals an threw thaim ahint him intae the sea. The foam frae his genitals gae rise tae Aphrodite (hence her name, meanin "foam-arisen"), while the Erinyes (furies) emergit frae the drops o his bluid. 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 pentin bi Apelles, nou lost, but descrivit 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 whase oracle wis at Dodona. Aphrodite hersel wis whiles referred tae as "Dione" an aw. "Dione" seems tae be a feminine form o "Dios", the genitive form case o Zeus, an coud be takken tae mean simply "the goddess" in a generic sense. Aphrodite micht, then, be an equivalent o Rhea, the Yird Mither, wham Homer relocate 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 whase actions is a major contributin cause o the Trojan War: she offers Helen o Troy tae Paris, an as the goddess o desire, she is responsible for Paris becomin sae 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 acome violent wi ilkane ither in thair rivalry tae possess her. Tae forestall this, he forces her tae mairy Hephaestus, the dour, humourless god o smithin. In anither version o the story, Aphrodite mairries 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 gien Aphrodite's haund in mairriage.
Hephaestus is owerjoyed tae be mairriet 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 whiles Adonis an aw.
Aphrodite wis Adonis' luver 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 sae her faither canna kill her. Eventually, Cinyras taks his awn life in an attempt tae restore the faimily's honour.
Myrrha gies 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 sae Persephone can care for him. Adonis grows intae a strikingly handsome young man, an Aphrodite eventually returns for him. Persephone, housomiver, is loath tae gie him up, an wishes Adonis wad stay wi her in the unnerwarld. The twa goddesses begin sic 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 tho Aphrodite isnae naturally a hunter, she taks up the sport juist sae she can be wi him. Thay spend ivery wakkin oor wi ane anither, an Aphrodite is enraptured wi him. housomiver, her anxiety begins tae grow ower her neglectit duties, an she is forcit tae leave him for a short time. Afore she leaves, she gies Adonis ane warnin: dinnae attack an ainimal whilk shaws 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 muckle wild boar, hintle lairger than ony he haes iver seen. It is suggestit that the boar is the god Ares, ane o Aphrodite's luvers made jealous throu her constant dotin on Adonis. Tho boars is dangerous an will chairge a hunter gif provokit, Adonis disregards Aphrodite's warnin an pursues the giant creatur. Suin, housomiver, Adonis is the ane bein pursued; he is nae match for the giant boar.
In the attack, Adonis is castrate bi the boar, an dees frae a loss o bluid. Aphrodite rushes back tae his side, but she is too late tae save him an can anerlie mourn ower his body. Wharever Adonis' bluid 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 honour.
On his daith, Adonis gaes 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 wha is alloued tae keep Adonis till Zeus intervenes. This time, he says Adonis maun spend sax month wi Aphrodite an sax month wi Persephone, the wey it shoud hae been in the first place.
The Judgement o ParisEedit
The gods an goddesses, as weel as various mortals, wis invitit tae the marriage o Peleus an Thetis (the eventual parents o Achilles). Anerlie the goddess Eris (Discord) wisnae invitit, but she arrivit wi a gowden aiple inscrivit wi the wird kallistēi ("tae the fairest ane"), whilk she threw amang the goddesses. Aphrodite, Hera, an Athena aw claimit tae be the fairest, an sicweys the richtful awner o the aiple.
The goddesses chose tae place the matter afore Zeus, wha, no wantin tae favor ane o the goddesses, pit 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, bein gien 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 coudna decide, as aw three wis ideally bonnie, sae 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, wha wis, unfortunately for Paris, awready marriet tae Keeng Menelaus o Sparta. The ither twa goddesses wis enragit bi this, an throu Helen's abduction bi Paris, thay brocht aboot the Trojan War.
Consorts an childerEedit
- 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 in maugre o the consequences.
Theseus then cursed his son, a curse Poseidon wis boond tae fulfill, sae 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 horse mad an thay tore him apairt. His ghost wis said tae frichten horse in 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 sae jealous, she cursed thaim.
Forms o AphroditeEedit
Bi the late 5t century BC, certain philosophours haed begun tae draw a distinction atween twa separate "Aphrodites" (as opposed tae a single Aphrodite whase characteristics variet slichtly in different local cults o the goddess): Aphrodite Ourania, the celestial Aphrodite, born frae the sea faem 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, thair 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), descrive 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 dochter of Zeus an 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, shawin her connection tae Ares, the god o war, wham she haed extramarital relations wi. As a result, she wis, tae some extent, made intae a goddess o war. This is enspecially true in Sparta.
Auncient Near Eastren parallelsEedit
The releegions o the Auncient Near East hae a nummer o luve goddesses that can be argued tae be seemilar tae certain aspects o Aphrodite.
Pausanias states the first tae estaiblish a cult o Aphrodite wis 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 bursarship. Authors sic 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 quaisten 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 in 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 o the fore-nuin an the fore-nicht starns, as weel as its identification as Ishtar/Aphrodite, in the fowert century BC, alang wi ither items o Babylonie astrologie, lik the Zodiac (Eudoxus o Cnidus).
Comparison wi the Indo-European dawn goddessEedit
It haes lang been acceptit in comparative meethologie that Aphrodite (regairdless 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 pynts 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 AphroditeEedit
The epithet Aphrodite Acidalia wis occasionally addit tae her name, efter the spring she uised for bathin, locate 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 celebrate 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 wisnae rebuilt whan the ceety wis re-establisht unner Roman rule in 44 BC, but the growthiness rituals lik eneuch 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, whase 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 centre o her cult, Cythera, Corinth an in Sicily (Marcovich 1996:49); the practice housomiver isnae attested in Athens. Aphrodite wis awaur the patroness o the hetaera an courtesan. In Ionia on the coast o Asie Minor, hierodoulai servit in the temple o Artemis.
- Eros is usually mentioned as the son of Aphrodite but in other versions he is born out of Chaos
- Hesiod, Theogony, 188
- Homer, Iliad 5.370.
- 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 wis represent in the same temple ridin on a gait, seembol 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 wis takken up again efter 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.
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