polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: aphrodite

Strabo, Geography 15.3

“The Persians therefore do not erect statues and altars, but sacrifice on a high place, regarding the heaven as Zeus; and they honour also the sun, whom they call Mithra, and the moon and Aphrodite and fire and earth and the winds and water.” – Strabo, Geography 15.3

Nicetas Choniates, Historia 647-51

“Even now they were still desirous of money, for absolutely nothing can satiate the avarice of the barbarians. They eyed the bronze statues and threw them into the fire. And so the bronze statue of Hera, standing in the agora of Constantine, was broken into pieces and consigned to the flames. The head of this statue, which could hardly be drawn by four oxen yoked together, was brought to the great palace. The statue of Paris, also called Alexander, opposite it was cast off its base. This statue was connected with that of the goddess Aphrodite to whom the apple of Eris was depicted as being awarded by Paris. These barbarians – who do not appreciate beauty! – did not neglect to overturn the statues standing in the Hippodrome or any other marvelous works. Rather, these too they turned into coinage, exchanging great things for small, thus acquiring petty coins at the expense of those things created at enormous cost. They then threw down the great Hercules Trihesperus, magnificently constructed on a base and girded with the skin of a lion, a terrifying thing to see even in bronze. He was represented as standing, carrying in his hands neither quiver nor arrows nor club, but having his right foot and right hand extended and his left foot bent at the knee with the left hand raised at the elbow. He was very broad in the chest and shoulders and had thick hair, plump buttocks, and strong arms, and was of such huge size, Ι think, as Lysimachus considered the real Hercules to have been – Lysimachus who sculpted from bronze this first and last great masterpiece of his hands. The statue was so large that the rope around his thumb had the size of a man’s belt and the lower portion of the leg, the height of a man. But those who separate manly vigour from other virtues and claim it for themselves (considering it the most important quality) did not leave this Hercules (although it was the epitome of this attribute) untouched.” – Nicetas Choniates, Historia 647-51

Lucian, On Sacrifices 10-13

“That is the way the gods live, and as a result, the practices of men in the matter of divine worship are harmonious and consistent with all that. First they fenced off groves, dedicated mountains, consecrated birds and assigned plants to each god. Then they divided them up, and now worship them by nations and claim them as fellow-countrymen ; the Delphians claim Apollo, and so do the Delians, the Athenians Athena (in fact, she proves her kinship by her name), the Argives Hera, the Mygdonians Rhea, the Paphians Aphrodite. As for the Cretans, they not only say that Zeus was born and brought up among them, but even point out his tomb. We were mis­taken all this while, then, in thinking that thunder and rain and everything else comes from Zeus ; if we had but known it, he has been dead and buried in Crete this long time! Then too they erect temples, in order that the gods may not be houseless and hearthless, of course; and they fashion images in their likeness, sending for a Praxiteles or a Polycleitus or a Phidias, who have caught sight of them somewhere and represent Zeus as a bearded man, Apollo as a perennial boy, Hermes with his first moustache, Poseidon with sea-blue hair and Athena with green eyes ! In spite of all, those who enter the temple think that what they behold is not now ivory from India nor gold mined in Thrace, but the very son of Cronus and Rhea, transported to earth by Phidias and bidden to be overlord of de­serted Pisa, thinking himself lucky if he gets a sacrifice once in four long years as an incident to the Olympic games. When they have established altars and formulae and lustral rites, they present their sacrifices, the farmer an ox from the plough, the shepherd a lamb, the goatherd a goat, someone else incense or a cake ; the poor man, however, propitiates the god by just kissing his own hand. But those who offer victims (to come back to them) deck the animal with gar­lands, after finding out far in advance whether it is perfect or not, in order that they may not kill some­thing that is of no use to them; then they bring it to the altar and slaughter it under the god’s eyes, while it bellows plaintively—making, we must suppose, auspicious sounds, and fluting low music to accom­pany the sacrifice! Who would not suppose that the gods like to see all this ? And although the notice says that no one is to be allowed within the holy-water who has not clean hands, the priest himself stands there all bloody, just like the Cyclops of old, cutting up the victim, removing the entrails, plucking out the heart, pouring the blood about the altar, and doing everything possible in the way of piety. To crown it all, he lights a fire and puts upon it the goat, skin and all, and the sheep, wool and all; and the smoke, divine and holy, mounts upward and gradually dissipates into Heaven itself.” – Lucian, On Sacrifices 10-13

Lucian, De Dea Syria 6

“I saw too at Byblos a large temple, sacred to the Byblian Aphrodite: this is the scene of the secret rites of Adonis: I mastered these. They assert that the legend about Adonis and the wild boar is true, and that the facts occurred in their country, and in memory of this calamity they beat their breasts and wail every year, and perform their secret ritual amid signs of mourning through the whole countryside. When they have finished their mourning and wailing, they sacrifice in the first place to Adonis, as to one who has departed this life: after this they allege that he is alive again, and exhibit his effigy to the sky. They proceed to shave their heads, too, like the Egyptians on the loss of their Apis. The women who refuse to be shaved have to submit to the following penalty: to stand for the space of an entire day in readiness to expose their persons for hire. The place of hire is open to none but foreigners, and out of the proceeds of the traffic of these women a sacrifice to Aphrodite is paid.” – Lucian, De Dea Syria 6

Herodotos, The Histories 2.181

“Amasis made friends and allies of the people of Kyrene. And he decided to marry from there … so he married a certain Ladike but whenever Amasis lay with her, he became unable to have intercourse, though he managed with every other woman. So Ladike, when the king did not relent at all in accusing her of witchcraft although she denied it, vowed in her heart to Aphrodite that, if Amasis could have intercourse with her that night, since that would remedy the problem, she would send a statue to Kyrene to her. And after the prayer, immediately, Amasis did have intercourse with her. And whenever Amasis came to her thereafter, he had intercourse, and he was very fond of her after this.Ladike paid her vow to the goddess; she had an image made and sent it to Kyrene, where it stood safe until my time, facing outside the city.” – Herodotos, The Histories 2.181

Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana 6.3

“Apollonios asked, ‘Do you sacrifice to Aphrodite, my boy?’ And Timasion answered: ‘Yes, by Zeus, every day; for I consider that this goddess has great influence in human and divine affairs.'” – Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana 6.3

Aelian, On Animals 10.50

“I have heard it said that in Eryx, where of course the famous temple of Aphrodite is (the pigeons there and their peculiarities I mentioned earlier on), there is a store of gold, and immense store of silver, necklaces, and finger-rings of great price; and that dread of the goddess renders them safe from robbers and untouched; and that men in ancient times always regarded the aforesaid goddess and her treasures with veneration and awe. But I learn that Hamilkar the Carthaginian looted these objects, melted down the silver and gold, and then distributed an infamous largesse to his troops. And for these deeds he suffered the most painful and grievous torments and was punished with crucifixion, while all his accomplices and partners in that unholy sacrilege died violent and terrible deaths. And his native land which till then was so prosperous and which was reputed enviable above most lands, after these sacred objects had been imported, was reduced to slavery … On every day throughout the whole year the people of Eryx and strangers too sacrifice to the goddess. And the largest of the altars is in the open air, and upon it many sacrifices are offered, and all day long and into the night the fire is kept burning. The dawn begins to brighten, and still the altar shows no trace of embers, no ashes, no fragments of half-burnt logs, but is covered with dew and fresh grass which comes up again every night. And the sacrificial victims from every herd come up and stand beside the altar of their own accord; it is the goddess in the first place who leads them on, and in the second place it is the ability to pay, and the wish, on the part of the sacrificer. At any rate should you desire to sacrifice a sheep, lo and behold, there is a sheep standing at the altar, and you must begin the ceremonial washing. But if you are a man of substance and wish to sacrifice one cow or even more than one, then the herdsman will not mulct you by charging too much, nor will you disappoint him, for the goddess sees that the sale-prices are just, and if you pay fairly you will win her favour. If however you want to buy at a cheaper rate than is proper, you will pay down your money in vain – the animal departs and you are unable to sacrifice.
So much then for this peculiarity of animals at Eryx in addition to those which I have mentioned earlier on.” – Aelian, On Animals 10.50

P. Tebt. 1.6

“King Ptolemy and Queen Kleopatra the sister and Queen Kleopatra the wife to the strategoi and the garrison commanders and the superintendents of police and chiefs of police and epimeletai and oikonomoi and basilikoi grammateis and the other royal functionaries, greeting. The priests of…  and of the Brother-and-Sister Gods and the Benefactor Gods and the Father-Loving Gods and the Manifest Gods and the God Eupator and the Mother-Loving Gods and the Benefactor Gods have written to us concerning the sacred land …  with that which has been dedicated by the cleruchs, and the profits from the honorable offices and posts as prophet or scribe and all the religious duties purchased for the temple and …  from properties and the sums paid in accordance with the decrees for …  and the several associations and the sacred slaves from trades and manufactures and salaries, and the sums collected by men and women at Alexandria and in the country for treasuries and bowls and cups, and the proceeds of the so-called aphrodisia and their revenues in general for … are registered, (stating that) certain persons who lease lands and other properties for a long period, and some who even take forcible possession without any contracts, fail to pay the rents due, and do not contribute the full amount of the profits of the honorable offices or posts as prophet or scribe, while others steal the sums paid and collected, and setting up aphrodisia without the authorization of the priests receive. . . for the sake of collecting the dues to the goddess, and other try to mix themselves up with the revenues and lay hands upon them and manage the temple contrary to custom. In accordance therefore with our previous ordinances concerning the dues which belong to the temples, so long as the aforesaid revenues of the goddess remain let them be (?) undisturbed, and permit no one under any circumstances to exact payment of any of the above-mentioned revenues or to drive away by force the agents of the priests engaged in collecting them; and compel those who disobey to pay all the sums regularly, in order that the priests may obtain all their receipts in full, and may be able without hindrance to pay the customary offerings to the gods on behalf of us and our children. Farewell. [Year] 31, Panemos 10 (?).” – P. Tebt. 1.6

P. Oxy. 27.2465.7-23

“.. let no one walk .. to the basket bearer .. of Arsinoe Philadelphus.. [together with] the prytaneis, the priests, [the gymnasiarchs], the ephebes and the rod-[bearers. Those who] wish to sacrifice to Arsinoe Aphrodite shall sacrifice in front of their [private doors] or on their [houses] or [on the] / road along which the basket-bearer walks; everyone should sacrifice either a bird [or whatever victim] each wishes except for a male or female goat; everyone shall construct [the] altars out of sand; should any persons / [have] altars made of bricks they shall spread sand on top of them, and shall place [on] it the firewood on [which] they shall burn the pulses …” – P. Oxy. 27.2465.7-23

P.Enteux. 13

“To King Ptolemy, greetings from Asia. I am wronged by Poöris, the owner of our billet. My husband Machatas was billeted in the village of Pelousion. He made a division with Poöris and built a shrine to the Syrian goddess and Aphrodite Berenike in his part. There was a half-finished wall between Poöris’ part and that of my husband. When I wanted to complete the wall to prevent access to our part of the house, Poöris stopped the building. It was not that the wall concerned him, but he despised me since my husband has died. I take refuge with King, and pray that I may receive justice.” – P.Enteux. 13

Malalas, Chronicle 284-5

“Likewise Commodus set aside a specific quantity of gold for torches, lights, and other expenses for the celebration of the nocturnal dramatic festival, held every three years and known as Orgies or the Mysteries of Dionysos and Aphrodite, which some call Maioumas because it is celebrated in the month of May-Artemisios.” – Malalas, Chronicle 284-5

Lucian, Amores 13-14

“When we had enjoyed the plants to our fill we entered into the temple. The goddess is sited in the middle, a most beautiful artistic work of Parian marble, smiling a little sublimely with her lips parted in a laugh. Her whole beauty is uncovered, she has no clothing cloaking her and is naked except in as far as with one hand she nonchalantly conceals her crotch. The craftsman’s art has been so great as to suit the opposite and unyielding nature of the stone to each of the limbs. Kharikles, indeed, shouted out in a mad and deranged way. ‘Happiest of all gods was Ares who was bound for this goddess’, and with that he ran up and stretching his neck as far as he could kissed it on its shining lips. But Kallikratidas stood silently, his mind numbed with amazement.

“The temple has doors at both ends too, for those who want to see the goddess in detail from the back, in order that no part of her may not be wondered at. So it is easy for men entering at the other door to examine the beautiful form behind. So we decided to see the whole of the goddess and went around to the back of the shrine. Then, when the door was opened by the keeper of the keys, sudden wonder gripped us at the beauty of the woman entrusted to us. Well, the Athenian, when he had looked on quietly for a little, caught sight of the love parts of the goddess, and immediately cried out much more madly than Kharikles, ‘Herakles! What a fine rhythm to her back! Great flanks! What a handful to embrace. Look at the way the beautifully delineated flesh of the buttocks is arched, neither too wanting and drawn in too close to the bones themselves, nor allowed to spread out excessively fat. No one could express the sweetness of the smile of the shape impressed upon the hips. How precise the rhythms of thigh and shin extending right straight to the foot. Such a Ganymede pours nectar sweetly for Zeus in Heaven! For I wouldn’t have received a drink if Hebe had been serving.’ As Kallikratidas made this inspired cry, Kharikles was virtually transfixed with amazement, his eyes growing damp with a watering complaint . . .” – Lucian, Amores 13-14

P.Mich.inv. 4219

“Of Idios Logos. Of Pheneb(ythis). The 2nd year of Antoninus Caesar the lord. Harsies, the third, son of Kolanth(os), grandson of Orsenouphis, his mother being Senpeteminis, (paid) for admission to the priesthood of the famous temple of Aphrodite and Apollon and the associated gods 20 silver drachmas, total 20 drachmae, through Ploutog( ), son of Ket( ). The 3rd year, Thoth 6.” – P.Mich.inv. 4219

P.Mich.inv. 2458

“Aphrodite, Venus
Artemis, Diana
Charon, Orcus
Daimon, Genius
Demeter, Ceres
Eileithyia, Juno Lucina
Enypnion, Somnium
Ge Meter, Terra Mater
Hemitheoi, Indigetes
Hera Basilissa, Juno Regina
Hera, Juno
Heroes katoikidioi , Lares familiares
Hestia, Vesta
Hygieia, Salus
Leto, Latona
Meter Megale, Mater Magna
Nemesis, Ultrix
Phersephone, Proserpina
Sarapis, Serapis
Semele, Libera
Thanatos, Mors
Tyche, Fortuna” – P.Mich.inv. 2458

PSI 4.328

“The priests of Aphrodite to Apollonios [the dioiketes] greeting. In accordance with what the king has written to you, to give one hundred talents of myrrh for the burial of [the Hesis], please order this [to be given]. For you know that the Hesis is not brought up to the nome unless we have in readiness everything required for the burial, because [the embalming is done (?)] on the day (of her death). Know that the Hesis is Isis, and may she give you favor in the eyes of the king. Farewell. Year 28, Hathyr 15.” – PSI 4.328