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Additional resources for Aphrodite and Eros The Development of Erotic Mythology in Early Greek Poetry and Cult

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91 It has been argued from fr. 92 How much Cimon identified himself with the hero becomes obvious when in 476 BC, no doubt close to the date of Bacchylides’ poem, he arranged that Theseus’ alleged bones be transferred from Scyrus back to Athens. He reinterred the hero’s relics in a marvellous shrine, the Theseion which was decorated with murals painted by leading artists of his time. 93 Pausanias’ political myth of Theseus’ synoecism, reflects a process rather than a heroic exploit of an individual.

Plato’s distinction of two Aphrodites in the Symposium (180c1-185c3) reflects these institutions of Aphrodite’s worship on the Acropolis. But his philosophical interpretation does not seem to reflect the nature of the actual cults. It is indeed paradoxical and, in a sense, a reversal of the cult reality that he interprets Aphrodite Οὐρανία as the “Heavenly” responsible for the spiritual aspect of love, and Aphrodite ΠάνδημοϚ as the “Vulgar”, presiding over sexuality. In cult, however, Οὐρανία is worshipped under the aspect of reproduction, whereas ΠάνδημοϚ is associated with a rather abstract, political principle civic harmony.

79 There is, as we have seen, a sanctuary in the agora in which Aphrodite Οὐρανία was worshipped (dated circa 500 BC). The foundation myth and the recently discovered premarital offerings suggest that at some point Aphrodite was associated with marriage and reproduction there (see ch. 3). 80 This widespread cult epithet indicates a specifically Greek political interpretation of an aspect of Aphrodite’s traditional sphere of influence. It is significant that neither the cults nor any myths related to them have been mentioned in any of our literary sources from the 5th century BC—possibly because this “political myth” was not considered as particularly attractive for literary elaboration.

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Aphrodite and Eros The Development of Erotic Mythology in Early Greek Poetry and Cult by BREITENGERGER, B.


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