By BREITENGERGER, B.
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Extra info for Aphrodite and Eros The Development of Erotic Mythology in Early Greek Poetry and Cult
Graf suggests that Aphrodite’s Eastern provenance cannot alone account for the fact that an armed Aphrodite has been preserved for centuries at Sparta. 37 Beyond our literary sources there is iconographical and epigraphical evidence to endorse the idea that Aphrodite kept her affinity to war and weapons as an inheritance from her Eastern predecessor in certain places in Greece, particularly in those regions which were under a strong Eastern influence. The actively performed rituals suggest that an armed Aphrodite is not just an imitation of an iconographical feature, but part of cult.
125 The earliest datable inscription to confirm Aphrodite’s protection of magistrates goes back to the 2nd half of the 5th century BC and was found at Carthaia on the island of Ceos. A certain Theocydes makes a dedication after having been an archon. 126 That the magistrates’ dedications were to Aphrodite as donor of civic unity and harmony, is not only to be inferred from the actual meaning of the cult titles, but also suggested by the category of magistrates who particularly worshipped her; for these magisterial colleges concord and harmony were essential when they carried out their duty.
In the Iliad, Aphrodite becomes active not, as one might expect, in love, but in the business of arms and war. The result of her complaint to Zeus is not, as in Ishtar’s case, support in taking revenge on the mortal Diomedes who has wounded her physically, but gentle mockery (Il. indb 24 4/25/07 10:38:21 AM Some Aspects of Mythmaking and Cults of Aphrodite 25 Aphrodite’s failure in the works of war and her being reprimanded by Zeus do not come as a surprise in the literary context of the Iliad, considering the poet’s ironic tone throughout this scene.