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Aphrodite in Ancient Greek Art

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Thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch, this ideal of feminine beauty dates from the Hellenistic Age. Also known as Aphrodite of Milos, it was discovered in 1820 within the ancient city of Milos. Our version is cast in designer resin to capture the statue s stunning beauty and is set atop a faux ebony museum mount for display.


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Aphrodite in Ancient Greek Art

Index


Aphrodite Defined

(Image) Aphrodite, Goddess of Love (a statue after the Venus de Milo in the Louvre)

Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty, sex appeal, and fertility. She can charm everyone, even the gods. She was called the laughter loving goddess because she would laugh sweety or mockingly at those her charms had conquered. Her charms are so powerful that she can turn even wise men to talking foolishly.

Homer states in Book V: "Indeed the prince (Aeneas) would have perished there and then, but for the quickness of his Mother, Zeus' Daughter Aphrodite, who had conceived him for Anichises when he was looking after the cattle. Seeing what had happened, she threw her white arms round her beloved son, and drew a fold of her shimmering robe across him to protect him.... Diomedes himself had gone off in relentless pursuit of Cyprian Aphrodite, realising that this was some timid goddess.... He made a lunge at her and with his sharp spear cut her gentle hand at the base of her palm. The point, tearing the imperishable robe which the Graces had made for her, pierced the flesh where the palm joins the wrist. ...while the lovely Aphrodite went to her Mother Dione and sank down at her knees. But he (Zeus) called Golden Aphrodite to his side and said: 'Fighting, my child, is not for you. You are in charge of wedlock and the tender passions."

I provide the following quote from Empedocles (Porphyrius de abstinentia II, 21):

They had no god Ares nor Kudoimos,
nor king Zeus nor Kronos nor Poseidon,
but Kupris as queen.
Her did they propitiate with holy images,
with images of living creatures,
with perfumes of varied fragrence 
and with sacrifice of pure myrr and sweet-scented frankincense,
casting to the ground libations of golden honey.
Their altar was not steeped in the pure blood of bulls,
but rather was this the greatest abomination among men,
to tear out the life from the goodly limbs and eat them.

Kupris is Aphrodite (Cypris is named after her). Empedocles is referring to a rule of love followed by a rule of strife with Ares being equated with strife. Ancient astrology seems to provide appropriate symbology and a timetable for this quote.

This information is presented not as truth, but as a suggestion to lead to more important truths. In the Odyssey of Homer it is Athena who predominates, not Aphrodite, not Ares, and not Zeus. At the time of Homer Aphrodite is more a goddess of rape, and a true consort of Ares, the god of war. Only later is Aphrodite associated with romantic love.

In the Iliad Homer says "When she(Helen) observed the beauty of her (Aphrodite's) neck and her lovely breasts and sparkling eyes, she was struck with awe." This comment suggests that Aphrodite was dressed in the garb of the Minoan snake goddess, with breasts exposed. An image of the snake goddess is at: Click Here

"At Thebes are three wooden images of Aphrodite, so very ancient that they are actually said to be votive offerings of Harmonia, and the story is that they were made out of the wooden figure-heads on the ships of Cadmus. They call the first Heavenly, the second Common, and the third Rejecter. Harmoina gave to Aphrodite the surname of Heavenly to signify a love pure and free from bodily lust; that of Common, to denote sexual intercourse; the third, that of Rejecter, that mankind might reject unlawful passion and sinful acts. For Harmonia knew of many crimes already perpetrated not only among foreigners but even by Greeks, similar to those attributed later by legend to the mother of Adonis, to Phaedra, the daughter of Minos, and to the Thracian Tereus." Pausanius, Description of Greece, 9.16.3-4

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Birth of Aphrodite

The birthday of Aphrodite was celebrated on the fourth day of every month. Goddesses were born before humans kept track of time so the year of her birth is not known.

Homer mentions Dione as the mother of Aphrodite in the Iliad. Dione is a titaness not often mentioned in other literature. A more popular legend of the birth of Aphrodite is that she was born of the foam of the sea, as expressed in the following Homeric poem: Homeric Hymn (VI. 2)

Click to see Aphrodite rising from the foam.

The breath of the west wind bore her
Over the sounding sea,
Up from the delicate foam,
To wave ringed Cyprus, her isle.
And the Hours golden-wreathed
Welcomed her joyously.
They clad her in raiment immortal,
and brought her to the gods.
Wonder seized them all as the saw
Violet-crowned Cytherea."

An image that may represent the birth of Aphrodite is: Ludovisi throne

(THE THEOGONY ll. 176-206) also describes her birth: "And Heaven came, bringing on night and longing for love, and he lay about Earth spreading himself full upon her (7). Then the son from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and in his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth, and swiftly lopped off his own father's members and cast them away to fall behind him. And not vainly did they fall from his hand; for all the bloody drops that gushed forth Earth received, and as the seasons moved round she bare the strong Erinyes and the great Giants with gleaming armour, holding long spears in their hands and the Nymphs whom they call Meliae (8) all over the boundless earth. And so soon as he had cut off the members with flint and cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were swept away over the main a long time: and a white foam spread around them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden. First she drew near holy Cythera, and from there, afterwards, she came to sea-girt Cyprus, and came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet. Her gods and men call Aphrodite, and the foam-born goddess and rich-crowned Cytherea, because she grew amid the foam, and Cytherea because she reached Cythera, and Cyprogenes because she was born in billowy Cyprus, and Philommedes (9) because sprang from the members. And with her went Eros, and comely Desire followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the assembly of the gods. This honour she has from the beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods, -- the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness."

A summary of this passage follows:

The location of the birth of Aphrodite is most commonly given as the sea. The question is whether it is the sea off Cytherea or the sea off Paphos, Cyprus. Either is possible, and she seems to have connections with both sites.

Scholars doubt that there is any real relation between Aphrodite and 'aphros' or foam. A similarity between the words is merely suggestive and no real translation is possible.

Unfortunately images representing the birth of Aphrodite from the foam do not begin before the mid fith century BCE. They are quire a bit more popular during and after the Roman period:

Aphrodite born from the Foam

"Aphrodite from the Water Born" a woodcut by Frederick John Kluth, 10 cm by 10 cm. Copies of this print may be obtained for $5 by inquiring below in the 'Ask a Question' section.

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Daily Life of Aphrodite

Question: What was Aphrodite's daily life

Answer: Bathing in the Aegean sea probably came first. Aphrodite liked the feel of the salt spray on her naked body. When she walkd out of the sea two Nymphs waited with her gown. Dressing came next. Imperishable gowns woven by Athena and washed by Nymphs at play would be layed out. She had handmaids (nymphs) to arrange her hair. She spent her morning studying the possibility of love between men and women. She experimented with cosmetics, perfumes, and costumes to use for inflaming love. Her big meal was a brunch which consisted of ambrosia and nectar and any other delicacies that the nymphs could devise. Her afternoon was spent spreading love around the world but first she would check to see what kind of trouble her son Eros had stirred up. Sometime the love she inspired was delicate and sweet while other times a more passionate variety was needed. She would flit from wedding to wedding with flowers and good cheer. Another meal of ambrosia, nectar, fruits and nuts would end her day. Often she would eat with some of the other deities. She would then put on her nightgown. The nymphs would pull her gossamer curtains around her and she would sink into dreamland on a bed laid with down pillows. Goddesses never sleep, but they do have a period of reverie during which they review activities and refocus their powers.

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Family of Aphrodite

Question: is there a family tree of aphrodite? one that is just parents, spouses, liaisons, children, and grandchildren?

Answer: Aphrodite's parents were either Cronus and Gaea or Zeus and Dione. She is often given as the husband of Hephaestus. She was the mother of Eros an Harmonia by Ares. She was the mother of Priapus by Dionysus. She loved Anchises and bore him Aeneas and Lyrus. Harmonia married Cadmus. These two found the ruling family of Thebes. Their children included Autonoe, Ino, Agave, Semele, and Polydorus.

Aphrodite's lovers were Ares, Hermes, Dionysus, Poseidon,etc. And they all had children with her. Not only did Apollo not have children with her, he wasn't portrayed as Aphrodite's lover in ANY myth. Apollo did not have much a problem with his sex-life and sired many children. But Aphrodite and Apollo were incorporated into the Greek Religion from different directions. It is possible that his trysts are a clue to this past.

In most of the stories she is the wife of Hephaestus. Anichises fathered Aeneas by her. Ares was her lover. In spite of all this all she had to do to return to being a virgin was to bathe in the ocean off Paphos, Cyprus.

All the gods and goddesses are fairly closely related but Aphrodite has no true sisters or brothers. There are many half-sisters and brothers depending on who you take her parents to be. Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite act like sisters.

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Aphrodite and Hephaestus

Question: It is recorded that Aphrodite married a lame (not so good looking) smith God by the name of Hephaestus, some say it was because Zeus was so worried that the Gods might fight over the hand of Aphrodite so in a moments notice he automatically gave it to Hephaestus. I, however, disagree with this idea, I believe that if Aphrodite agreed to those terms of marriage as any Beauty Goddess, it would have been for a statement that perhaps love is entitled to all people ranging attractive and the unattractive, without this aspect it would probably be like saying that only beautiful people are worthy of Love and Beauty (by Aphrodite) But what was her attitude towards this approach?

Answer: I doubt that the marriage to Hephaestus was permanent. Aphrodite was forced to marry Hephaetus against her will and rebelled against the marriage. Eventually they were divorced I think. I also think your idea is essentially correct. Love is beautiful but not only beautiful people are worthy of love. A greater love is required to love the unloveable and this love is in the realm of the heavenly Aphrodite. Mortal beauty is in the realm of the earthly Aphrodite, the Aphrodite of lust.

Question: what is the love story of Aphrodite and Hephaestus

Answer: A version of this is found in the Iliad.

Question: The ancient Greeks abhorred deformity and valued beauty, so then how can the marriage of Aphrodite and Hephaestus be reconciled?

Answer: Hephaestus is in the tradition of the lame king who was hobbled to make him more erotic. The hobbling was with special high-healed boots called buskins that gave the king a sexy swagger.

Question: I believe that Aphrodite is just as confused as we are on love. I think she has two aspects of it... (1. She's married to Hephaestus for the moral reasons of love and the supreme rule that it's whats on the inside that counts. (2. She is attracted to Ares to prove that looks are also or can be important because infatuation can be the first stepping stone to love and that first stepping stone can also be lust. So Ares might stand for earthly lust, while Hephaestus has the more complicated prefered term of what true love should be defined as. I think Aphrodite is torn between the two...which is why mankind today is so torn between the personality of a person as absolute beauty,or a person's looks, then sparks the "Love at first sight" gig which I believe is overstated. The question is Aphrodite has the crown or coronet of love but in her mind, shouldnt she know the answers of true love in order to know what is ethical for her husband in the first place?

Answer: Though you are on track with Ares, you are off with Hephaestus. Hephaestus is related to the lame kings that are associated with fertility. We talk of true love but the ancient Greeks did not. Nor did they determine a lasting set of ethical rules which could apply. Sexual attraction is not immoral, but acts that result can be moral or immoral. Lack of sexual attraction is moral but the result is a situation that society does not tolerate. Furthermore, the morality of a sexual act that occurs may include an unborn child who is difficult to include in the ethical equation simply because he is yet to be born.

Question: why did she marry the ugly god Vulcan?

Answer: Hephaestos was not ugly, he was lame. And he was lame because he was sexy. Instead of being a tough warrior who went off to battles he stayed home and had sex. He also made pretty things which made Aphrodite happy.

Question: why did Aphrodite marry Hephaestus

Answer: Aphrodite may have temporaily married Hephaestus just so Hephaestus could be made to release his mother Hera from a chair he had trapped her in. It is likely that she did not marry him for long.

Robert Graves suggests that The lameness of Hephaestus suggests something else. He suggests that Hephaestus was a Pelasgian diety while Aphrodite was a Cretan one. What we get is a marriage of a love god and a love goddess from two cultures. Hephaestus is a love god like a lame partridge decoy that attracts female prtridges to him. This lameness is like the swagger of a gigolo.

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Symbols of Aphrodite

There are a number of symbols of Aphrodite:

Robert Graves has the following fascinating passage in his book The White Goddess:

"A familiar disguise of this same Marian (Robin Hood's maid Marian) is the merrymaid, as'mermaid' was once written. The conventional figure of the mermaid--a beautiful woman with a round mirror, a golden comb and a fish-tail-- expresses "The love-goddess rises from the sea.'...The round mirror, to match the comb, may be some bygone artist's mistaken substitute for the quince, which Marian always held in her hand as a love-gift; but the mirror did also form part of the sacred furniture of the Mysteries, and probably stood for 'know thyself'. The comb was originally a plectrum for plucking lyre-strings. The Greeks called her Aphrodite ('risen from sea-foam') and used the tunny, sturgeon, scallop and preiwinkle, all sacred to her, as aphrodisiacs. Her most famous temples were built by the sea-side, so it is easy to understand her symbolic fishtail. ... Botticelli's Birth of Venus is an exact icon of he cult. Tall, golden-haired, blue-eyed, pale-faced, the Love-goddess arrives in her scallop-shell at the myrtle-grove, and Earth, in a flowery robe, hastens to wrap her in a scarlet gold-fringed mantle..." (p439)

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Similar goddesses to Aphrodite

The following goddesses from other cultures are similar to the goddess Aphrodite:

In addition there are goddesses from Greek myth who are similar to Aphrodite:

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Powers of Aphrodite

Answer: Here are some quotes from Hesiod:

The powers that all goddesses have include:

The power to change or tranform mortals is not necessarily common to the goddesses. Both Circe and Athena accomplish this with the aid of a wand. The power of the wand probably comes from a caterpillar who the goddess has recruited. It is not clear that a mortal can recruit a caterpillar in this way. Aphrodite's situation is different. She is able to shoot arrows and act at a distance. She may be able to transform mortals because it is part of her realm. Every goddess has a realm and they are all different. The realm of the goddess is not only the territory that she rules but also her personality. This territory can be physical but it can also be spiritual.

Aphrodite is the goddess of love and sex so clearly her territory is not physical. Since the appearance of a person has to do with their sex appeal clearly Aphrodite controls this. She controlls her realm by setting up the rules by which it operates. Some of these rules are natural and others she must enforce. In some cases she can change the rules or make exceptions. She also listens to prayers and decides on their merit. She can take action within her realm to respond to prayers.

Sometimes the work of Aphrodite presents a challenge to mortals as expressed by Aeschylus in , line 997:

"Therefore I would have you bring no shame upon me, now when your youthful loveliness attracts men's gaze. The tender ripeness of summer fruit is in no way easy to protect; beasts despoil it—and men, why not?— [1000] and brutes that fly and those that walk the earth. Love's goddess spreads news abroad of fruit bursting ripe. . . . So all men, as they pass, [1005] mastered by desire, shoot an alluring arrow of the eye at the delicate beauty of virgins. See to it, therefore, that we do not suffer that in fear for which we have endured great toil and ploughed the great waters with our ship; and that we bring no shame to ourselves and exultation to our enemies."
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Interesting Stories about Aphrodite

Question: Is there any intersting facts about Aphrodite?

Answer: Beautiful women seem to have been used by the ancient Greeks as bait for the gods. If one of your parents was a god or goddess, as was the case with Achilles, Helen, Castor, Pollux, and others, you were a powerful person with many talents. If you had a beautiful daughter she might attract the attentions of a god and you would be blessed with the offspring of a god. This may be one of the interpretations of the sacrifice of a virgin. Virgins would be presented in a temple, perhaps of Aphrodite, a gift in hopes that a god would become attracted to them. They would then sacrifice their virginity to the god. Of course there would be no offspring if the virgins were actually killed. Unfortunately some people had the idea that to transport the virgin to the spiritual world to be the gift of the god the virgin had to be killed. An extreme example of the use of a women as bait is the case of Andromeda. In her case her parents had her chained naked to a rock by the sea shore as bait for a monster. Naturally it was her beauty that got her into this trouble so the picture of her so chained is quite a popular image. Fortunately she attracted Perseus who saved her from the monster. One could say that Aphrodite got her into the mess and Aphrodite got her out. Had Perseus not saved her she would have ended up raped and killed by a sea monster. This would have been the work of Aphrodite's lover Ares.

The ancient Greeks did not picture Andromeda as naked when she was tied to the rock: Click Here. Modern artists such as Ingres were more inclined to paint her naked: Click here. Rubens also painted her naked: Click here

Aphrodite had a similar role with Ariadne, though Ariadne was never staked out. In the case of Ariadne she fell in love with Theseus through the intervention of Aphrodite. She became an ally of Theseus and allowed him to kill the Minotaur. But it was not hapily ever after as Theseus abandoned Ariadne on the island of Naxos.

Likewise Medea fell in love with Jason through the intervention of Aphrodite. Medea saved Jason but later fell out of favor with him. Medea got back at Jason by killing his children.

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Aphrodite and the Trojan War

No one knows who started the Trojan war and why. All we know is what the myths tell us. Herodotus puts Helen in a class with Ino, Europa, and Medea. First Ino was a Greek princess stolen by Asians. Then Europa was an Asian princess stolen by Greeks. Then Medea was an Asian princess stollen by the Greeks. Helen was a Greek princess stolen by Asians. When the Greeks launched an army to regain Helen then the trading stopped. Herodotus relates that the priests of Egypt gave this account ot the Trojan war: "After the rape of Helen, a great force of Greeks came to the Trojan land on Menelaus' behalf. After disembarking and disposing their forces, they sent messengers to Ilion, one of whom was Menelaus himself. [3] When these were let inside the city walls, they demanded the restitution of Helen and of the property which Alexandrus had stolen from Menelaus and carried off, and they demanded reparation for the wrongs; but the Trojans gave the same testimony then and later, sworn and unsworn: that they did not have Helen or the property claimed, but all of that was in Egypt, and they could not justly make reparation for what Proteus the Egyptian had. [4] But the Greeks, thinking that the Trojans were mocking them, laid siege to the city, until they took it; but there was no Helen there when they breached the wall, but they heard the same account as before; so, crediting the original testimony, they sent Menelaus himself to Proteus." (Herodotus, The Histories, 2.118.1)

The myths say that Aphrodite started the Trojan war by giving Helen, a married woman to Paris, prince of Troy. Then she supported Paris and her son Aeneas as best she could. She saved the life of her son and prolonged the war as long as she could, about ten years. In the end Troy was destroyed but she was able to save the life of her son Aeneas. A number of the other deities sided with her including Ares, Artemis, and Apollo

A short summary of what happened in the Trojan War according to various myths including characters that were involved.

On the ground the Trojans fought the warriors from the Greek mainland. In the air Aphrodite fought Hera and Athena. The Trojans had the favor of Aphrodite, and the disfavor of Hera and Athena. You might say that the Trojan war was fought between the reason of Athena, the honor of Hera, and the passion of Aphrodite. Fortunately reason and honor won over passion.

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History of Aphrodite

In Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.14.1, he states: "Hard by is a sanctuary of the Heavenly Aphrodite; the first men to establish her cult were the Assyrians, after the Assyrians the Paphians of Cyprus and the Phoenicians who live at Ascalon in Palestine; the Phoenicians taught her worship to the people of Cythera. Among the Athenians the cult was established by Aegeus, who thought that he was childless (he had, in fact, no children at the time) and that his sisters had suffered their misfortune because of the wrath of Heavenly Aphrodite. The statue still extant is of Parian marble and is the work of Pheidias."

All goddesses such as Aphrodite were born before historic time and, being immortal, as still as much alive as they always were. Thus their age, birthdate, and death date are all indeterminate. The early venuses that have been found, the so-called fat Venuses are from perhaps 25,000 BCE and so the idea of a goddess is perhapes 25 to 50 thousand years old. A goddess named Aphrodite was worshipped from about 1500 BCE to about 125 AD, though people who call themselves Pagans still purport to worship her. Some say strip joints are modern temples of Aphrodite while beauty pageants are festivals to her. Of the ancient goddesses she is the most relevant to modern life.

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Temples of Aphrodite

Her most famous temples were built by the sea-side, so it is easy to understand her symbolic fishtail.

  1. Rhodes, The temple of Aphrodite
  2. Paphos --The Temple to Aphrodite at Paphos was one of the most famous.
  3. Temple of Aphrodite's Fourteen Columns Dating from 1st Century BC, Nazilli, Aydin, Turkey In ancient Greek sources, the name of the city is given as "Anthea" and "Euanthia". During the Seleucid period, it received the name "Antiochia" It has also borne the names "Seleucia ad Maeandrum" and "Erynina". It was known in the Roman and Empires as "Tralles" or "Tralleis", and for a time as "Caesarea" (also "Kaisareia").
  4. San Cipirello The Temple of Aphrodite. Supposed to have been founded by the Elymians or, possibly, by the Sicans, as early as the 1st millenium BC, the city of Iaitas (then Ietas in Roman times and Giato in the Middle Ages
  5. Syracuse, Sicily -- Temple of Aphrodite/Templi Ferali -Palazzo Acreide)
  6. Aphrodite Temple at Aphrodisias
  7. Temple of Aphrodite, Knidos -- Temple of Aphrodite, a circular Doric temple, excavated by Iris C. Love in 1970
  8. temple of Aphrodite [at Athens]
  9. Aphrodite, sanctuary, shrine, Corinth, Temple. In Corinth there were more than a thousand temple slaves dedicated to her most degraded form as the goddess of love. Wealthy men made it a point of honor to dedicate the most beautiful slaves.
  10. Cytheria, where Aphrodite’s temple was.
  11. Sanctuary of Aphrodite on Sacred Way to Eleusis
  12. Epidauros Peloponnesos, Greece contains a Temple of Aphrodite:

Question: What is the name of the temple of Aphrodite that was on the eastern tip of Cyprus, and which gives an eastward view to Astarte's Syria? It was built on a rocky (dangerous) headland. Thanks heaps.

Answer: Temple of Aphrodite at Paphos, Cyprus Illustrated: Click here

Question: Where is Aphrodite's temple located?

Answer: There is a temple of Aphrodite at Epidauros.

Question: Do you have a description of the temple of Aphrodite Porne at Corinth?

Answer: "The important cult of Aphrodite had its center in a shrine on Akrokorinthos; the architectural remains are meager, but the sanctuary appears to have originated at least in the period of the tyrants." Click here

"The Acrocorinthus is a mountain peak above the city, assigned to Helius by Briareos when he acted as adjudicator, and handed over, the Corinthians say, by Helius to Aphrodite. As you go up this Acrocorinthus you see two precincts of Isis, one if Isis surnamed Pelagian (Marine) and the other of Egyptian Isis, and two of Serapis, one of them+ being of Serapis called in Canopus." Click here

Question:

Answer:

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Titles of Aphrodite (Epithets)

Answer:

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Children of Aphrodite

Aphrodite's children were:

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Aphrodite of Knidos

This is one of the most famous statues of the ancient world. Unfortunately the original statue is lost and we can only estimate what it looked like from copies made of it. Fortunately it was so famous that many copies were made.

Question: Why was the statue Aphrodite of Cnidos so important for the residents of Cneidos? What reason did Praxiteles have for making the statue? Was Cnidus an important town ?

Answer: The statue of Apohrodite was an important tourist attraction. Many peaple traveled to Cnidus to see the statue. Praxites was a sculptor. It was common for sculptors of the day to make statues that would be used in a temple dedicated to a goddess. The community was successful enough to be able to pay for the statue. After they got the statue the community was much more famous because of it. More information about this subject is available at: Click here

Question: what is praxitiles

Answer: Praxiteles was a sculptor who flourished between 370 and 330 BCE. He was one of the most influential artists who ever lived. He was the first to carve a totally nude statue of a goddess. His Aphrodite of Cnidus is still copied today.

Question: what are the differences between the Aphrodite of Knidos and the Venus de Milo? And if asked to trace the developement of the female nude in classical sculpture, where would you start and would Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Knidos be the end?

Answer: We have the original of the Venus de Milo but we have only copies of the Aphrodite of Cnidos. We know Praxitiles sculpted the Aphrodite but we do not know the sculptor of Venus.

Praxiteles began the sculpture of the classical female nude, but many came after.

Pictures of copies of Aphrodite of Knidos

Stages in the development of the nude in sculpture.

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Aphrodite of Melos

(Image) Aphrodite, Goddess of Love (a statue after the Venus de Milo in the Louvre)

Question: when was the Venus de Milo made?

Answer: The Venus de Milo was made sometime during the second century BCE.

Question: Why isThe Venus de Milo considered a model for feminine beauty.

Answer: Once it was discovered it became the most popular statue in the world. Everyone loves it and thinks it is beautiful.

Question: Who was Venus de Milo and what is the story behind the armless sculpture?

Answer: The Venus de Milo is a sculpture of the goddess Aphrodite. It was sculpted in the second century BCE by an unknown sculptor. It probably was a sculpture used in a religious temple in Melos. The statue was discovered in a stone yard in the 19th century by Frenchmen who purchased it and took it to the Lourve. Originally the statue had arms, but they were broken off long ago. It probably even was painted in lifelike colors when it was placed in a temple.

Question: venus de milo, is statue of greek or roman origin?

Answer: It is Hellenic Greek made after the conquest of Greece Alexander but before the conquest by Rome. Melos is an island in the Aegean sea south of Athens. If it is called the Aphrodite of Melos, it sounds more Greek.

Question: Are there any ancient references to the Venus di Milo, was it as famous as the 'Aphrodite of Cnidos'?

Answer: There are no ancient references to the Venus de Milo.

Question: Why was Venus de milo named Venus de milo?

Answer: She was found by French scholars on Melos in 1820 among other marbles intended for a limekiln.

Question: Is Venus de Milo Aphrodite?

Answer: yes

Question: Are Aphrodite and venus de milo the same person?

Answer: Not exactly. Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love who was worshipped for thousands of years until about 125 AD. Venus was a Roman equivalent goddess. The Venus de Milo was a sculpture of Aphrodite that was produced on the Island of Melos in the second century BCE. Though it was originally a Hellenistic statue, it was easily adapted to the Roman religion.

Question: how did venus di milo's arms fall off.

Answer: When Christianity took over the decorations for the old religion were consigned to the dump. When statues are pitched in the dump their arms fall off.

Question: I am having so much trouble trying to come up with the answer to my question. So could you please help me? I have been trying to find information on the sesuality of the venus de milo, and have found nothing but sculpture references. I need to find out this information. I have a report do Friday, and I am stuck. so if you could please answer this for me, It would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: The sensuality of this statue results from the fact that it is of a beautifully proportioned and partly naked female twisting in space.

Question: Where Aphrodite and Venus de Milo the same person, or just different in terms of one was Greek and the other Roman?

Answer: The Venus de Milo is more properly termed Aphrodite of Melos as the statue was Hellenistic Greek.

Question: What are the measurements (bust, waiste, hips, height) of Aphrodite based on the statue Aphrodite of Melos (Venus de Milo)?

Answer: The Louvre Museum in Paris may be able to give you the measurements of the statue but they have little applicability to the goddess herself. Aphrodite can assume any measurements she wants. When she appears before you she will have whatever you think is ideal.

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Roman Venus

The Romans adopted the Greek stories and merged them with their own. The Roman deities sometimes had their own stories, but the Greek ones are more common and lengthy. Since Venus had little myth and literature of her own the merged goddess is quite similar to the Greek Aphrodite. But there was a difference in emphasis. The Romans were more interested in Venus Genetrix because in this mode Venus was the mother of Aeneus, their founder. The constellations as we know them were named by the Romans. They were quite fond of Venus and named the brightest star in the sky after her.

Julius Caesar is as close to devine as any man, I suppose. He recently received a lot of press because it was he who installed the calendar that we use. It takes a powerful man to put a new calendar in place, as is attested by the fact that we still live with his, and most of his arrangements. But is his mother Love herself as he claimed? This seems to be the kind of notion of religion and they had to deal with a lot of religions. The Romans were able to compare one to the other and pick and chose to their own advantage. The emperors were not above manipulating worship to their own benefit, and I suspect this is what Julius was doing.

It is certainly possible for a modern person to be related to Aphrodite. Zeus had Aphrodite fall in love with Aniches to temper her wanton ways. From this union Aeneas was born. The Romans believed that when Troy fell Aeneas went on to found Rome. Many Romans were able to trace their ancestry to Aeneas. Many modern Europeans can trace their ancestry to Rome and so the possibility exists. But pedigrees are in fact hard to establish and involve long lists of documented proof. The best pedigrees usually relate to the royalty of England and they only go back a thousand years. To get to Aphrodite you may have to go back 3500 years. If you find some DNA of Aeneas or Aphrodite you could shortcut the proceedure. But I know of no one who has gotten DNA from a goddess.

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Presenting Aphrodite

Question: Do you have any suggestions or ideas on how I could present information on Aphrodite in front of my class in a interesting way?

Answer: There are a number of ways to present Aphrodite. At the lowest level you could compare Britney Spears to Aphrodite. Britney has an enormous attractive value and her fans have made her the number one sought after subject on the internet. This is likely because she has been able to incorporate the most powerful aspects of Aphrodite into her personality: From Hesiod: "This honour she has from the beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods, -- the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness." THE THEOGONY(ll. 176-206) He also refers to her as "laughter-loving", "rich", "golden", "charming" i"garland-loving" nand beautiful. And he also says "Meanwhile the rich-tressed Graces and cheerful Seasons dance with Harmonia and Hebe and Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, holding each other by the wrist." while men toil and suffer. The other gods and goddesses have lost their appeal, while Aphrodite still works her magic, especially through agents such as Britney Spears.

Another approach deals with the so-called fat venuses such as the Venus of Willendorf. These figures represent a different attitude toward women which was prevalent in the neolithic times. Life was hand-to-mouth yet women had to deal with birth as a miracle of life that would make extra demands upon them. The benefits were enormous including all the security that you would ever get, especially in old age. Pictures and an article are found at: The Venus of Willendorf

Finally there is the philosophic approach. Empedocles wrote that "Motive power belongs to the great polar principles of attraction and repulsion, variously called Love and Strife, Aphrodite and Neikos." More about Empedocles can be found at: Click Here.

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Resources

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Myths about Aphrodite

Myths of Aphrodite:

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Pictures of Aphrodite

For Aphrodite any image of a beautifully attractive woman will do. A picture from ancient Greece would be a very attractive Greek woman dressed in clothes of the time, if she had any clothes on at all. Praxiteles carved a statue of Aphrodite that was totally nude. He used a very famous courtesan Phryne as the model. But you can tell that his model was ancient Greek because of her hair style. He even included a ribbon in her hair. Marilyn Monroe could have modeled for a statue of Aphrodite. Would you want to put a Greek hair style on Marilyn Monroe? Aphrodite does have attributes by which she is recognized. Feminine beauty is the most important. Because she won the judgement of Paris and was given the golden apple, she is sometimes seen with a love apple. She is also associated with a dove, no doubt because this is a passionate bird. So with an apple in her hand and a dove in her hair she needs no clothes to hide her beauty.

Most people already have an image of Aphrodite in their head. Women have this image of the ideal woman so they can compare it to their own bodies. They use this comparison to improve their attractiveness through the use of cosmetics and jewelry. Men have an image of the ideal woman that they use to determine what women they should be attracted to. They have the desire to see the woman totally nude so they can consumate the sex act with with the beautiful woman. Women take advantage of this image in men. By careful arrangement of their cosmetics and dress they can suggest beauty in the minds of the men. The men use their image to fill in the details and then think of the woman as desirable. This mechanism has been fully active since the time of the ancient Greeks. The Greek men and women worshipped Aphrodite because they felt she was in control of it.

There are many sources for images of Aphrodite. Women's magazines are full of models who are beautiful. Each could be Aphrodite. The playmates in the men's magazine's will also sometimes serve. Advertisements often contain beautiful women, some nude or almost nude. There are many works of art that picture beautiful, nude women. In Ancient times there were Praxiteles' Venus of Cnidos, an Aphrodite of Cyrene, and an Aphrodite of Syracuse, all nude. The Cleveland Museum of Art has a lovely nude Aphrodite if you visit there.

There are other art subjects which present the image of Aphrodite. Depictions of Adam and Eve, for example, usually show Eve as a beautiful and naked young woman with an apple in her hand. A dove is often present because it is a symbol of peace. The snake in the garden of Eden does not represent Aphrodite, but it represents a common male response to Aphrodite. Andromeda can be taken as Aphrodite as well. In modern times such pictures as Olympia by Eduard Manet and Goya's La Maja Desnuda can also be taken as representations of Aphrodite.

Not all images of naked women are images of Aphrodite. One expects that from the image of a goddess some good would come. Likewise, the image should inspire good in you. There are many images of naked women on the net that speak to more purient interests. These are not images of Aphrodite. Sometimes there is quite a challenge deciding which is which however.

A listing of images of Aphrodite is at: Click here

Ancient images of Aphrodite:

Recent images of Aphrodite:

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