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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: May 2011
  • First published in: 1896

CHAPTER XXI - APHRODITE-WORSHIP

Summary

The worship of Aphrodite was perhaps as widely diffused around the Mediterranean lands as that of any other Hellenic divinity. We find it in North Greece, and in especial honour at Thebes; in the country of Attica, in the city, and the coast; in Megara, Corinth, and the Corinthian colonies; in Sicyon, Hermione, Epidauros, and Argos; in Laconia there was a special and important form of the worship; there are comparatively slight traces of it in Arcadia, but abundant testimony of its prevalence in Elis and on the coast of Achaea. The most famous centres of the cult were the Greek islands, Cyprus, Cythera, and Crete. It spread with Greek colonization over the shores of the Black Sea, to Phanagoria for example; and it was one of the chief public worships in most of the Greek cities of the coast of Asia Minor, notably at Cnidos; while from the Troad issued the worship of Aphrodite, that was associated with the name of her favourite hero Aeneas, and was borne to the mainland of Greece, to Sicily, and Italy. Finally we have proofs of the worship of the goddess at Naucratis and Saguntum.

But in spite of its wide prevalence in the Hellenic world, there is no valid evidence that the cult of Aphrodite belonged to the aboriginal religion of the Hellenic nation.

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