Department of Antiquities
|Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology|
in the Ashmolean Museum
|Highlights of the Collection: Aphrodite, Female Figurines and Cyprus|
|Aphrodite, Female Figurines and Cyprus: The Iron Age, Aphrodite and Paphos|
During the Iron Age (c.1050-325 BC) there was an influx of foreign influences in Cyprus (the Phoenicians, Greeks, Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians). All brought elements of their cultures to the island, including the Greek gods Zeus, Hera, Artemis, Athena, Apollo and Aphrodite. It was at this stage in the history of Cyprus that the sanctuary at Paphos was dedicated to Aphrodite. Homer and Hesiod recount how she arose out of the sea there. Her Greek name even means 'the foam risen', aphro meaning 'foam' in Greek. Later Greek and Roman writers explain that the cult of Aphrodite at Paphos was aniconic (meaning it had simple shapes representing the deity and not human likenesses). Other temples dedicated to Aphrodite in Cyprus are Tamasses, Amathus and Golgoi.
Vases such as this, with long narrow necks, are known as lekythoi (oil-flasks).
They came to Cyprus as a result of trade links with the Greek mainland.
This lekythos, from Polis tis Khrysokhou, dates to the 5th century BC
when Cyprus was under Persian control. The pottery type is called Athenian
red-figure ware and the design on it depicts Aphrodite riding over waves
on a swan or goose. The goddess is wearing Ionic style clothing and
her hair is tied back under a diadem. The Second Homeric hymn to Aphrodite
|Attic red-figure lekythos with image
of Aphrodite riding a swan,
from Tomb 57 at Arsinoe (Marion)
donated by Cyprus Exploration Fund (AN1891.451)
Late Bronze Age & COpper
Iron Age II
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