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 Iron Age, Aphrodite and Paphos (continued)

Image of Aphrodite on a swan on Lekythos (AN1891.471)

Detail drawing of Aphrodite on a swan
  Lekythos (AN1891.471) Detail drawing of the figure of Aphrodite on the Lekythos (AN1891.471)
  It does not seem surprising that the earlier Cypriot fertility goddess, so often depicted hung with all kinds of jewellery - especially necklaces and golden earrings - should have been assimilated with this beautiful Greek goddess of love and fertility. She is often depicted in Greek and Roman figurines and on pots as carrying a sceptre (as here) or a mirror. The swan was sometimes considered to be her special bird, along with the dove and the sparrow.

Despite this influx of foreign material culture and spirituality, Cyprus managed to retain some of its indigenous traditions during the Iron Age, especially in the countryside. There, use of bull and naked female imagery continued in use throughout the period.


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