Department of Antiquities

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Ancient Cyprus
in the Ashmolean Museum
  Highlights of the Collection: Aphrodite, Female Figurines and Cyprus
  Aphrodite, Female Figurines and Cyprus: The temple of Aphrodite
  Temple of Aphrodite at PaphosThe Temple to Aphrodite at Paphos was one of the most famous religious centres of the Greek and Roman worlds because of its antiquity and fabulous wealth. There were other sanctuaries dedicated to Aphrodite but Paphos was unique as the birthplace of the goddess. The oldest structures, found on the same site as the Roman sanctuary, date back to the Late Bronze Age on Cyprus. There was unbroken continuity of cult from that time until 391 AD when the Roman Emperor Theodosius I outlawed all pagan religions and the sanctuary fell into the ruins in which we find it today. The cult at the sanctuary blended Aegean and Oriental ritual. Cypriots worshipped a fertility deity at Paphos and on Cyprus in general before the arrival of the Greeks or the Romans and perhaps this explains the association of the Greek goddess of love and fertility with the island. The Ashmolean collections offer illustration of the long tradition of female figurines and fertility deities associated with Cyprus, even before the founding of a sanctuary at Paphos.
  Temple of Aphrodite at Paphos
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