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  Highlights of the Collection: Aphrodite, Female Figurines and Cyprus
  Aphrodite, Female Figurines and Cyprus: The Hellenistic Period
 

COIN 1931, on loan from the Heberden Coin RoomGold Platelet, AN1931.548During the Hellenistic period, 325-50 BC, most of the indigenous Cypriot religions disappeared as all ritual matters came under state control. At this point Cyprus could not really be distinguished religiously or materially from the rest of the Hellenic world. The presence of the goddess Aphrodite was symbolised in the aniconic cult by a conical stone, seen represented here on the bronze coin and golden platelet.

The coin (left) is from the reign of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (AD 193-211), whose face is on the obverse. The side visible here depicts the Temple of Aphrodite at Paphos- the same design seen on the platelet (right). There are two columns ending in points, joined by two crossbeams. Above it, there is a star in a crescent and the cone is in the middle. The inscription on the coin reads 'KOI NON KVPRWN', meaning that it is a coin from Cyprus. The gold platelet is likely to have been intended to slot into an amulet or ring.

 
Small alabaster statuete of Venus from Larnaka (AN1884.606) With the appearance on Roman coins of images of the main temple dedicated to Aphrodite, her importance and her connection with the economy are confirmed. The fertility cult on Cyprus had evolved into the worship of the Greek goddess Aphrodite (the Roman Venus) ...

"And this has been her allotted province
from the beginning among men and immortal gods:
'the whisperings of girls; smiles; deceptions;
sweet pleasure, intimacy, and tenderness.'"
(
Hesiod, Theogony)
 

Top: Bronze coin pf Septimus Severus, on loan from the Heberden Coin Room
Bottom: Small alabaster statuete of Venus from Larnaka, Gift of Rev. G. Chester, 12.3cm tall(AN1884.606)

  Right: Gold Platelet from amulet or finger ring with depiction of the Temple of Aphrodite at Phaphos, purchased (AN1931.548)
 

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