of Ariadne-Aphrodite (L. R. Farnell, Cults of the Greek States, ii. p. 663). Cyprus was regarded as her true home by the Greeks, and Cythera was one of the oldest seats of her worship (cf. her titles Cytherea, Cypris, Paphia, Amathusia, Idalia—the last three from places in Cyprus). In both these islands there lingered a definite tradition of a connexion with the cult of the oriental Aphrodite Urania, an epithet which will be referred to later. The oriental features of her worship as practised at Corinth are due to its early commercial relations with Asia Minor; the fame of her temple worship on Mount Eryx spread to Carthage, Rome and Latium.
In the Iliad, Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and Dione, a name by which she herself is sometimes called. This has been supposed to point to a confusion between Aphrodite and Hebe, the daughter of Zeus and Hera, Dione being an Epirot name for the last-named goddess. In the Odyssey, she is the wife of Hephaestus, her place being taken in the Iliad by Charis, the personification of grace and divine skill, possibly supplanted by Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. Her amour with Ares, by whom she became the mother of Harmonia, the wife of Cadmus, is famous (Od. viii. 266). From her relations with these acknowledged Hellenic divinites it is argued that there once existed a primitive Greek goddess of love. This view is examined in detail and rejected by Farnell (Cults, ii. pp. 619-626).
It is admitted that few traces remain of direct relations of the Greek goddess to the moon, although such possibly survive in the epithets πασιφαής, ἀστερία, οὐρανία. It is suggested that this is due to the fact that, at the time of the adoption of the oriental goddess, the Greeks already possessed lunar divinities in Hecate, Selene, Artemis. But, although her connexion with the moon has practically disappeared, in all other aspects a development from the Semitic divinity is clearly manifest.
Aphrodite as the goddess of all fruitfulness in the animal and vegetable world is especially prominent. In the Homeric hymn to Aphrodite she is described as ruling over all living things on earth, in the air, and in the water, even the gods being subject to her influence. She is the goddess of gardens, especially worshipped in spring and near lowlands and marshes, favourable to the growth of vegetation. As such in Crete she is called Antheia (“the flower-goddess”), at Athens ἐν κήποις (“in the gardens”), and ἐν καλάμοις (“in the reed-beds”) or ἐν ἔλει (“in the marsh”) at Samos. Her character as a goddess of vegetation is clearly shown in the cult and ritual of Adonis (q.v.; also Farnell, ii. p. 644) and Attis (q.v.). In the animal world she is the goddess of sexual impulse; amongst men, of birth, marriage, and family life. To this aspect may be referred the names Genetyllis (“bringing about birth”), Arma (ἄρω, “to join,” i.e., in marriage, cf. Harmonia), Nymphia (“bridal goddess”), Kourotrophos (“rearer of boys”). Aphrodite Apaturus (see G. M. Hirst in Journal of Hellenic Studies, xxiii., 1903) refers to her connexion with the clan and the festival Apaturia, at which children were admitted to the phratria. It is pointed out by Farnell that this cult of Aphrodite, as the patroness of married life, is probably a native development of the Greek religion, the oriental legends representing her by no means as an upholder of the purer relations of man and woman. As the goddess of the grosser form of love she inspires both men and women with passion (ἐπιστροφία, “turning them to” thoughts of love), or the reverse (ἀποστροφία, “turning them away”). Upon her male favourites (Paris, Theseus) she bestows the fatal gift of seductive beauty, which generally leads to disastrous results in the case of the woman (Helen, Ariadne). As μηχανῖτις (“contriver”) she acts as an intermediary for bringing lovers together, a similar idea being expressed in πρᾶξις (of “success” in love, or = creatrix). The two epithets ἀνδροφόνος (“man-slayer”) and σώσανδρα (“man-preserver”) find an illustration in the pseudo-Plautine (in the Mercator) address to Astarte, who is described as the life and death, the saviour and destroyer of men and gods. It was natural that a personality invested with such charms should be regarded as the ideal of womanly beauty, but it is remarkable that the only probable instance in which she appears as such is as Aphrodite μορφώ (“form”) at Sparta (O. Gruppe suggests the meaning “ghost,” C. Tümpel the “dark one,” referring to Aphrodite’s connexion with the lower world). The function of Aphrodite as the patroness of courtesans represents the most degraded form of her worship as the goddess of love, and is certainly of Phoenician or Eastern origin. In Corinth there were more than a thousand of these ἱερόδουλοι (“temple slaves”), and wealthy men made it a point of honour to dedicate their most beautiful slaves to the service of the goddess.
Like her oriental prototype, the Greek Aphrodite was closely connected with the sea. Thus, in the Hesiodic account of her birth, she is represented as sprung from the foam which gathered round the mutilated member of Uranus, and her name has been explained by reference to this. Further proof may be found in many of her titles—ἀναδυομένη (“rising from the sea”), εὔπλοια (“giver of prosperous voyages”), γαληναία (“goddess of fair weather”), κατασκοπία (“she who keeps a look-out from the heights”)—in the attribute of the dolphin, and the veneration in which she was held by seafarers. Aphrodite Aineias, the protectress of the Trojan hero, is probably also another form of the maritime goddess of the East (see E. Wörner, article “Aineias” in Roscher’s Lexikon, and Farnell, ii. p. 638), which originated in the Troad, where Aphrodite Aineias may have been identical with the earth-goddess Cybele. The title ἔφιππος is connected with the legend of Aeneas, who is said to have dedicated to his mother a statue that represented her on horseback. Remembering the importance of the horse in the cult of the sea-god Poseidon, it is natural to associate it with Aphrodite as the sea-goddess, although it may be explained with reference to her character as a goddess of vegetation, the horse being an embodiment of the corn-spirit (see J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, ii., 1900, p. 281).
Like Ishtar, Aphrodite was connected with the lower world. Thus, at Delphi there was an image of Aphrodite ἐπιτυμβία (“Aphrodite of the tomb”), to which the dead were summoned to receive libations; the epithets τυμβώρυχος (“grave-digger”), μυχία (“goddess of the depths”), μελαινίς (“the dark one”), the grave of Ariadne-Aphrodite at Amathus, and the myth of Adonis, point in the same direction.
The cult of the armed Aphrodite probably belongs to the earlier period of her worship in Greece, and down to the latest period of Greek history she retained this character in some of the Greek states. The cult is found not only where oriental influence was strongest, but in places remote from it, such as Sparta, where she was known by the name of Areia (“the warlike”), and there are numerous references in the Anthology to an Aphrodite armed with helmet and spear. It is possible that the frequent association of Aphrodite with Ares is to be explained by an armed Aphrodite early worshipped at Thebes, the most ancient seat of the worship of Ares.
The most distinctively oriental title of the Greek Aphrodite is Urania, the Semitic “queen of the heavens.” It has been explained by reference to the lunar character of the goddess, but more probably signifies “she whose seat is in heaven,” whence she exercises her sway over the whole world—earth, sea, and air alike. Her cult was first established in Cythera, probably in connexion with the purple trade, and at Athens it is associated with the legendary Porphyrion, the purple king. At Thebes, Harmonia (who has been identified with Aphrodite herself) dedicated three statues, of Aphrodite Urania, Pandemos, and Apostrophia. A few words must be added on the second of these titles. There is no doubt that Pandemos was originally an extension of the idea of the goddess of family and city life to include the whole people, the political community. Hence the name was supposed to go back to the time of Theseus, the reputed author of the reorganization of Attica and its demes. Aphrodite Pandemos was held in equal regard with Urania; she was called σεμνή (“holy”), and was served by priestesses upon whom strict chastity was enjoined. In time, however, the meaning of the term underwent a change, probably due to the philosophers and moralists, by whom a radical distinction was drawn between Aphrodite Urania and Pandemos. According to Plato