By Barbara Breitenberger
An interdisciplinary research of the Archaic period--using literary, iconographical, and cultic evidence--shows the specific notion in the back of the 2 deities of affection. Aphrodite's personality, sphere of impression, and serve as characteristic in her conventional myths and are good mirrored in cult.
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Additional info for Aphrodite & Eros: The Development of Erotic Mythology in Early Greek Poetry and Cult
Besides, there are later sources which provide aitia in order to explain this strange phenomenon. Lactantius (Inst. 1,20,29-32) tells why the statue of Ἀϕροδίτη ’ΕνόπλιοϚ was erected. While the Spartans were besieging Messene, a part of the Messenian army slunk away and attacked Sparta. In order to defend their city, the Spartan women armed themselves and fought successfully against the enemy. When the Spartans realized that part of the Messenian army had disappeared, they sent their soldiers after them; these then attacked their own womenfolk, assuming they were Messenians.
42 The problem lies in the discrepancy between the actual meaning of the term γάμοϚ and Aphrodite’s true field of activity as displayed in the Iliad. ΓάμοϚ, at least in epic, does not seem to mean simply “love” or “affair”, but is usually linked to the institutionalization of love, normally indicating an event which takes place on a particular day. 44 It is only later in Euripides (Tro. e. sexuality within marriage. 46 This diverges from her factual role in the context of the Iliad where she, instead of fostering legitimate marriages, supports seduction and illicit affairs.
This is probably what the wives requested from her. Just how important harmony within marriage was valued by the community may be inferred from the fact, that unlike in Athens for example, the offerings for Aphrodite ΠάνδημοϚ were required by the state. 116 The cult in Cos provides the first epigraphical document expressing the idea of love in a civic or political sense and may help to illustrate and to explain earlier attitudes. This idea seems to be a familiar one at least in Classical Athens, since Pericles in the funeral oration (Thuc.