Sunday, August 30, 2009

Remains of Aphrodite Cult Are Found

Remains of an ancient cult that worshipped the love goddess Aphrodite have been unearthed in the southern Golan Heights.

Archaeologists there have discovered a cache of three figurines of Aphrodite ~ whom the Romans called Venus ~ dating back about 1,500 years. The figurines, made of clay, are about 30 centimeters tall. They depict the nude goddess standing, with her right hand covering her private parts ~ a type of statue scholars refer to as "modest Venus."

According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite was born of the ocean foam at the place where the testicles of the Titan Uranus were cast into the sea by his son Cronus, who castrated him. According to another story, she is the daughter of Zeus, king of the gods. Aphrodite was a popular goddess, represented in statues all over the Greek and Roman world. The best known of these is is the Venus de Milo, on display at the Louvre.

"Aphrodite was the goddess of love, but also the goddess of fertility and childbirth," Professor Arthur Segal of the University of Haifa told

"Pregnant woman hoping for a safe birth would sacrifice to her, as would young girls hoping for love. Mainly, flowers, rather than animals, would be sacrificed to Aphrodite,” he said. “The figurines we found were made in a mold in rather large numbers. They would be offered to the goddess in a temple by supplicants, or kept above one's bed."

Click here for the complete article.
Photo shows a similar Aphrodite statue in the "modest Venus" pose.

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