Ancient Mythology Lec. 04
• Artemis and Athena are Zeus' children. Aphrodite, Hestia and Demeter
are not Zeus's children, however Aphrodite in some myths is depcited
as the daughter of Zeus.
• Aphrodite: Comes before Zeus, comes from Uranus' genitals fall into
the sea and turn into foam, to form Aphrodite. Comes out of a shell,
and Eros, greek god of desire is seen with her.
• The seasons and graces give Aphrodite clothing and the 'winds' push
her toward Cythera
• Eros is seen as either philosophical or erotic
- Aphrodite Urania or Aphrodite Pandemous
• Aphrodite is represented as more powerful than Zeus.
• Socrates sess Eros as an inbetweener (Poor -- Wealth)
• Aphrodite is seen with magic girdle which is seen as sexual when Hera
was seducing Zeus. All things shes depicted with, and represents her
power over men. Aphrodite rides a goose.
• Each of the three goddesses offer Paris something: Athena - To be
strongest man, Hera - To be royalta, Aphrodite - To have the most
beautiful women in the world. This leads to the abduction of Helen of
Troy which leads to the Trojan war -
Greek institution of marriage was thoroughly disgraced by this,
because of all the contradictions with it
• Representations: Myrtle associated with marriage, wedding and bride.
Aphrodite associated with armor because she loves Ares. Eros appears
in wedding scenes to increase attractiveness of brides. He also appears
often as tying someone's sandals, crowning women with garlands,
holding vases etc. Nude depictions depict sexual intercourse about to
happen so Artemis and Athena are never nude.
• Once Aphrodite is in the greek Pantheon, she is the goddess of
weddings, She is the one who governs the wedding, in between the
realm of Artemis/Athena and tat of Hera
• Sappho wrote a lot to Aphrodite, she mostly did wedding songs: Prayer
to Aphrodite - 6th century B.C.
• Myth of Pygmalion: In Ovid's 'Metamorphoses'. Involves a man of Cyprus (where there is a shrine to Aphrodite), Pygmalion, and he didnt
like women. So he created an ivory maiden (Galatea), and he falls in
love with her. He prayed to Aphrodite to grant her life and she does
and they have a child named Paphos (the name of the main city in
Cyprus). - Conflict between the difference of
Hephaestus and Aphrodite shown here. He can create lifeless things
but she can make them
• Myth of Adonis: In Ovid's 'Metamorphoses'. Paphos has a son, Cinyras,
and he has a daughter Myrrha. Myrrha claims to be more beautiful
than Aphrodite (Hubris - Claiming to be better than gods). Aphrodite
makes her fall in love with her father. She goes to her fathers bed in
the night and has sexual intercourse until he realizes its her daughter.
He turns her into a myrrh tree but she is pregnant with Adonis and is
born from the tree. Adonis grows up to be very beautiful and Aphrodite
falls in love with him. One day when Adonis is gone hunting, a boar
attacks him and castrates him, and Adonis dies from blood loss. Out of
the blood rose the short-lived flower anemone. Aphrodite mourns his
death. -Now there is a corresponding festival called
Addonia, that lasts for two or three days. In this festival, Hethaerae
(prositute), participate by putting flowers in clay pots, and put it on
the roofs of the buildings. In a couple of days, the plants wither.
This ritual represents the short-lived love affairs represented by
Aphrodite as oppose to the long lived wedding.
-Becauses Adonis is castrated he is
represented as very feminine with long hair etc.
• Similar myth in the Phrygian tradition. Cybele is a nature goddess who
has a lover Attis who becomes castrated. She mourns over him and his
death. In the cult of Cybele the priests castrate themselves.
• Myth: In the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite in 7th century B.C. Aphrodite
seduces a shephard from Troy, Anchises. She takes the form of a
maiden and seduces him and gives birth to Aeneas. He is the hero who
will survive the fall of Troy and will play an important role in the
founding of Rome. After having intecourse, Aphrodite reveals herself,
and Anchises is frightened that he wont be able to have sexual
intercourse with anyone else.
• Originally a fertility goddess from A