The bay of Petra tou Rhomiou, where the Goddess Aphrodite was born of the foam of the sea.

 April 14, 2019

The Birth of Aphrodite

To the west of Kourion, near to the great Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palaipaphos, is the bay of Petra tou Rhomiou where the Goddess Aphrodite rose from the sea.

The God Ouranos (the Heavens) mated with the Gaia, the Earth and She bore His children, the Titans. One of these, Cronos (sometimes equated with Time), overthrew His Father by cutting off His genitals, and where they landed in the sea, the Goddess was born of the spreading foam.

At this place in the sea are great rocks, and when the storms rage the sea is turned to foam.

May She grant us love and beauty in our lives, and may we live up to Her promise. Esto!

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And I can't resist a selfie at this sacred place.

 The Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palaipaphos

Palaipaphos was the only city in the southwest of Cyprus for a very long time. Founded in the Bronze Age, it remained the local capital until the early Hellenistic era when the king moved the capital to Nea Paphos (New Paphos) on the sea.  But the great Sanctuary of Aphrodite was not affected by this move. Indeed, this sanctuary is probably one of the most important places involved in the development and worship of the Goddess.  From the ancient Cypriot Great Mother to the Phoenician Astarte to the Greek Aphrodite, a wonderful and terrible Goddess was worshipped here from pre-history right up to the end of the ancient world.

There isn't a lot left standing on the ground today. Originally, in the Late Bronze Age (about the time of the Trojan War) great cyclopean walls were built around an open space which had a low building in it. These walls, if not built by Mycenaeans, were certainly influenced by them.

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 The cyclopean walls of the Bronze Age Sanctuary

In the center of this sacred place stood a large stone.

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The great stone, symbol of the Goddess Aphrodite. This stone stands about four feet high

This stone was seen as the Goddess. Such a thing is not unheard of. A very early Archaic depiction of the Goddess Hera in Greece was simply a plank of wood. A statue was not needed in the early days - rather something that resonated with the people would do as well. The great stone may have connected the place with the Earth.

Later, in Roman times, the place was rebuilt with two parallel feasting halls constructed (one larger than the other) and some buildings in between, perhaps priest quarters.

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 The North Hall, built in Roman times

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Roman ruins between the Halls

Some interesting finds were made by the archaeologists, including a mini-temple in terracotta and a magnificent sarcophagus depicting the story of Odysseus and the Cyclops Polyphemus.

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A mini temple from the Hellenistic era. A small cult statue would stand inside on the raised stand. The entire temple is about 6 feet tall.

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The sarcophagus showing Odysseus' men escaping from the cyclops by tying themselves to the undersides of the rams, where the blind Polyphemus won't find them.

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A closeup of the sarcophagus.