Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-ndjvl Total loading time: 0.233 Render date: 2022-05-18T00:08:16.838Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

The cult of Aphrodite in Miletos and its colonies1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2013

Alan M. Greaves
University of Liverpool


In 1989, the discovery and subsequent excavation of a sanctuary of Aphrodite at Zeytintepe, a low hill immediately adjacent to the metropolis of Miletos, confirmed what some scholars had long suspected — that worship of this goddess at the city dated back to the Archaic period. This article presents a brief outline of the evidence from these excavations together with a survey of the available evidence for the existence of cults of Aphrodite in Miletos' many colonies. Three conclusions are drawn: that Aphrodite was an important cult both in Miletos and in many of its colonies; that Aphrodite was worshipped as a sea goddess; and that there were local variations in the cult in these places.


1989 yılında Miletos Metropolü'nün hemen yakınındakı alçak bir tepe olan Zeytin Tepe'de bulunan bir Afrodit tapınaǧı ve hemen ardından yapılan kazılar bilim adamlarının uzun zamandır tahmin ettiǧi gibi, şehirdeki bu tanrıçaya tapınma geleneǧinin arkaik döneme kadar gittiǧini kanıtlamıştır. Bu makalede bu kazılardan elde edilen kanıtların bir özeti ile birlikte, Miletos'un birçok kolonisinde Afrodit'e baǧlı tarikatların varlıǧını kanıtlayan veriler sunulmuştur. Ortaya üç sonuç çıkmaktadır; Afrodit hem Miletos'da hem de onun birçok kolonisinde önemli bir Kült'tü; Afrodit'e bir deniz tanrıçası olarak tapınıldı ve bu yerleşimlerdeki ibadetlerde yöresel farklılıklar vardı.

Research Article
Copyright © The British Institute at Ankara 2004

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


FGrH = Jacoby, F. 1958: Die Fragmente der Grieschen Historiker. LeidenGoogle Scholar
Åkerström, A. 1966: Die architektonischen Terrakotten Kleinasiens. LundGoogle Scholar
Bellin de Ballu, E. 1965: L'Histoire des colonies grecques du littoral nord de la Mer Noire. LeidenGoogle Scholar
Boardman, J. 1999: The Greeks Overseas. LondonGoogle Scholar
Bowden, H. 1996: ‘Greek settlements and sanctuaries at Naucratis’ in Hansen, M.H., Raaflaub, K. (eds), More Studies in the Ancient Greek Polls. Stuttgart: 1737Google Scholar
Braun, T.F.R.G. 1982: ‘The Greeks in Egypt’ in Boardman, J., Hammond, N.G.L. (eds), The Cambridge Ancient History 3.3. Cambridge: 3257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Burkert, W. 1985: Greek Religion. OxfordGoogle Scholar
Danov, C.M. 1990: ‘Characteristics of Greek colonization in Thrace’ in Descœudres, J.P. (ed.), Greek Colonists and Native Populations. Oxford: 151–55Google Scholar
Ehrhardt, N. 1983: Milet und seine Kolonien. Frankfurt am MainGoogle Scholar
Fontenrose, J. 1988: Didyma, Apollo's Oracle, Cult and Companions. Berkeley, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
Gans, U. 1991: ‘Die Grabung auf dem ZeytintepeIstanbuler Mitteilungen 41: 137–40Google Scholar
Gates, M.H 1995: ‘Archaeology in TurkeyAmerican Journal of Archaeology 99 [2]: 207–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gates, M.H 1996: ‘Archaeology in TurkeyAmerican Journal of Archaeology 100 [2]: 277335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gorman, V.B. 2001: Miletos: The Ornament of Ionia. Ann ArborCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Greaves, A.M. 2000: ‘Miletos and the sea: a stormy relationship’ in Oliver, G. et al. (eds), The Sea in Antiquity. Oxford: 3961Google Scholar
Greaves, A.M. 2002: Miletos: A History. LondonGoogle Scholar
Hasluck, F.W. 1910: Cyzicus. CambridgeGoogle Scholar
Head, B.V. 1911: Historia Numorum. OxfordGoogle Scholar
Heinz, M., Senff, R. 1995: ‘Die Grabung auf dem ZeytintepeArchäologischer Anzeiger 1995(2): 220–24Google Scholar
Herrmann, P. 1971: ‘Athena Polias in MiletChiron 1971: 291–98Google Scholar
Herrmann, P. 1995: ‘Milet 1992–1993: InschriftenArchäologischer Anzeiger 1995[2]: 282–92Google Scholar
Hind, J.G.F. 1984: ‘Greek and barbarian peoples on the shores of the Black SeaArchaeological Reports 30:7197Google Scholar
Hind, J.G.F. 1993: ‘Archaeology around the Black SeaArchaeological Reports 39: 82112Google Scholar
Hirst, G.M. 1902: ‘Cults of Olbia (part I)Journal of Hellenic Studies 22: 245–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hirst, G.M. 1903: ‘Cults of Olbia (part II)Journal of Hellenic Studies 23: 2453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoddinott, R.F. 1975: Bulgaria in Antiquity. LondonGoogle Scholar
Jeffery, L.H. 1990: The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece: A Study of the Origins of the Greek Alphabet and its Development from the Eighth to Fifth Century BC (revised edition with a supplement by Johnston, A.W.). OxfordGoogle Scholar
Kawerau, G., Rehm, A. 1914: Milet 1.3: Das Delphinion in Milet. BerlinGoogle Scholar
Knipovic, T. 1971: ‘Traces of Ionic and Attic influence in Olbian inscriptions of the fifth century BC’ Acta of the Fifth International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy (Cambridge, 1967). OxfordGoogle Scholar
Möller, A. 2000: Naukratis: Trade in Archaic Greece. OxfordGoogle Scholar
Morintz, S. 1972: ‘Les fouilles archéologiques en Roumanie (1971)Dacia 16: 325–57Google Scholar
Liddell, H.G., Scott, R. 1968: A Greek-English Lexicon. OxfordGoogle Scholar
Parker, R. 1996: Athenian Religion: A History. OxfordGoogle Scholar
Peters, J., von den Driesch, A. 1992: ‘Siedlunsabfall versus Opferreste: Essgewohneiten im archaischen MiletIstanbuler Mitteilungen 42: 117–25Google Scholar
Pippidi, D.M. 1970: ‘Cinquante ans de fouilles à Istros: la tradition littéraire et les donnés archéologiques et épigraphiquesKlio 53: 355–63Google Scholar
Rehm, A., Harder, R. 1958: Didyma II: Die Inschriften. BerlinGoogle Scholar
Rusyaeva, A.S. 1994: ‘Investigations of the western temenos of OlbiaAncient Civilisations from Scythia to Serbia 1[1]: 80102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schwertheim, E. 1983: Die Inschriften von Kyzikos und Umgebung II. BonnGoogle Scholar
Senff, R. 1992: ‘Die Grabung auf dem ZeytintepeIstanbuler Mitteilungen 42: 105–08Google Scholar
Senff, R. 2003: ‘Das Aphroditeheiligtum von MiletAsia Minor Studien 49: 1125Google Scholar
Senff, R., Heinz, M. 1997: ‘Arbeiten am Zeytintepe im Jahre 1994Archäologischer Anzeiger 1997(2): 114–18Google Scholar
Sokolsky, N.I. 1964: ‘Sanctuary of Aphrodite at KepoiSovietskaya Arkeologia 4: 101–18 (in Russian)Google Scholar
Sokolsky, N.I. 1965: ‘Excavations on the Taman peninsula: the city of CepiArchaeology 18[3]: 181–86Google Scholar
Sokolsky, N.I. 1973: ‘The cult of Aphrodite in Cepi, sixth-fifth centuries BCVestnik Drevnei Istorii 4: 8892Google Scholar
Stoia, A. 1976: ‘Les fouilles archéologiques en Roumanie (1975)Dacia 20: 273–86Google Scholar
Stoia, A. 1979: ‘Les fouilles archéologiques en Roumanie (1978)Dacia 23: 355–70Google Scholar
Stoia, A. 1980: ‘Les fouilles archéologiques en Roumanie (1979)Dacia 24: 355–70Google Scholar
Tsetskhladze, G.R. 1997: ‘A survey of the major urban settlements in the Kimmerian Bosporos’ in Nielsen, T.H. (ed.), Yet More Studies in the Ancient Greek Polis. Stuttgart: 3981Google Scholar
Tsetskhladze, G.R., Kuznetsov, V.D. 2000: ‘On the cult of Aphrodite in Kepoi’ in Tsetskhladze, G.R et al. (eds), Periplous: Papers on Classical Art and Archaeology Presented to Sir John Boardman. London: 353–61Google Scholar
Tuchelt, K. 1991: Branchidai — Didyma. Mainz am RheinGoogle Scholar
von Graeve, V. 1992: ‘Milet 1991: Vorbericht Über die Arbeiten des Jahres 1991Istanbuler Mitteilungen 42: 97134Google Scholar
von Graeve, V. 1995: ‘Milet 1992–1993: Vorbericht Über die Grabungsarbeiten und Geländeerkundungen, die Denkmäler-restaurierung und die Natur wissenchaftlichen Begleitprogramme der Milet grabung in den Jahren 1992 und 1993Archdologischer Anzeiger 1995: 196333Google Scholar
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The cult of Aphrodite in Miletos and its colonies1
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The cult of Aphrodite in Miletos and its colonies1
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The cult of Aphrodite in Miletos and its colonies1
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *