APHRODITE was the Olympian goddess of beauty, love and procreation.
This page lists her cult titles and poetic epithets.
CULT TITLES & EPITHETS
The first of Aphrodite's cult titles refer to her various divine functions, as goddesss of love, sexual union, marital union, beauty, war and as a protectress of sea voyages:--
Heavenly, Divine (Love)
Common to All People (Love)
She who Turns to (Love)
Averter of (Unlawful Desires)
Black (of Night)
Ally (in Love)
Of Hera (of Marriage)
Of Shapely Form
Postponer of Old Age
Bringer of Victory
Of Ares, Warlike
Of the Sea
Of the Harbour
Of the Foreigner
Another set of cult titles were derived from the towns and places where her shrines were located, as well as the names of cult-founders, and descriptions of their locale. Not all of these were confined to their original location--Kypria (of Kypros), for example, was used throughout the Greek world.
Of Paphos (Cyprus)
Of Syria, Syrian
Of Eryx (Sicily)
Of Cytherea (Laconia)
Of Amyclae (Laconia)
Of Colias (Attica)
Of Mt Castium (Pamphylia)
Of Cnidus (Caria)
Of Pyrenees Mts (Gaul)
Of the Heights
Of the Gardens
Risen from the Sea
The meaning of some of her titles remains obscure:--
POETIC TITLES & EPITHETS
I. Common Homeric titles of Aphrodite:-
Of Paphos (Cyprus)
Of Paphos (Cyprus)
Of Cytherea (Laconia)
Daughter of Dione, Daughter of Zeus
II. Common Homeric epithets of Aphrodite:--
Daughter of Zeus
Mother of Desire
Some general terms pertaining to the goddess' cult include:--
Temple of Aphrodite
Festival of Aphrodite
Festival of Adonis
Festival of the Swine
Festival of Embarkation
A few of the Homeric titles of Aphrodite are explained in the Byzantine Lexicon of Suidas (the etymological explanations, however, are sometimes inaccurate although they may be derived from older classical sources):--
Suidas s.v. Dionaia (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Dionaia : [A title of] Aphrodite. Also Dione, [meaning] the same."
Suidas s.v. Haligenes :
"Haligenes (Sea-Spawned) : Born in the sea (thalassa)."
Suidas s.v. Kythereia :
"Kythereia : Not [called this] because she reached Kythera, as Hesiod says; rather, she has love hidden (keuthomenon) within herself, which she sends to all; for through her charmed girdle she has the power."
Suidas s.v. Kypris :
"Kypris : Epithet of Aphrodite; since she furnishes pregnancy (kuoporis). The same [goddess] is known as the Kytherian. Because she hides (keuthein) love-affairs."
Suidas s.v. Paphia :
"Paphia (Paphian) : Aphrodite."
Suidas s.v. Philomeides :
"Philomeides (Laughter-loving) : Aphrodite is laughter-loving."
ENCYCLOPEDIA APHRODITE TITLES
ACIDA′LIA, a surname of Venus (Virg. Aen. i. 720), which according to Servius was derived from the well Acidalius near Orchomenos, in which Venus used to bathe with the Graces; others connect the name with the Greek akides, i. e. cares or troubles.
ACRAEA (Akraia). Acraea and Acraeus are also attributes given to various goddesses and gods whose temples were situated upon hills, such as Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Pallas, Artemis, and others. (Paus. i. 1. § 3, ii. 24. § 1; Apollod. i. 9. § 28; Vitruv. i. 7; Spanheim, ad Callim. Hymn in Jov. 82.)
ALITTA or ALILAT(Alitta or Alilat), the name by which, according to Herodotus (i. 131, iii. 8), the Arabs called Aphrodite Urania.
AMATHU′SIA or AMATHU′NTIA (Amathousia or Amathountia), a surname of Aphrodite, which is derived from the town of Amathus in Cyprus, one of the most ancient seats of her worship. (Tac. Annal. iii. 62; Ov. Amor. iii. 15. 15; Virg. Cir. 242; Catull. Ixviii. 51.)
AMBOLOGE′RA (Ambologêra), from anaballô and gêras "delaying old age," as a surname of Aphrodite, who had a statue at Sparta under this name. (Paus. iii. 18. § 1; Plut. Sympos. iii. 6.)
ANADYO′MENE (Anaduomenê), the goddess rising out of the sea, a surname given to Aphrodite, in allusion to the story of her being born from the foam of the sea. This surname had not much celebrity previous to the time of Apelles, but his famous painting of Aphrodite Anadyomene, in which the goddess was represented as rising from the sea and drying her hair with her hands, at once drew great attention to this poetical idea, and excited the emulation of other artists, painters as well as sculptors. The painting of Apelles was made for the inhabitants of the island of Cos, who set it up in their temple of Asclepius. Its beauty induced Augustus to have it removed to Rome, and the Coans were indemnified by a reduction in their taxes of 100 talents. In the time of Nero the greater part of the picture had become effaced, and it was replaced by the work of another artist. (Strab. xiv. p. 657; Plin. H. N. xxxv. 36. §§ 12. and 15; Auson. Ep. 106; Paus. ii. 1. § 7.)
ANTHEIA (Antheia), the blooming, or the friend of flowers . . . Antheia was used at Cnossus as a surname of Aphrodite. (Hesych. s. v.)
APATU′RIA (Apatouria or Apatouros), that is, the deceitful. A surname of Aphrodite at Phanagoria and other places in the Taurian Chersonesus, where it originated, according fo tradition, in this way : Aphrodite was attacked by giants, and called Heracles to her assistance. He concealed himself with her in a cavern, and as the giants approached her one by one, she surrendered them to Heracles to kill them. (Strab. xi. p. 495; Steph. Byz. s. v. Apatouron.)
APHACI′TIS (Aphakitis), a surname of Aphrodite, derived from the town of Aphace in Coele-Syria, where she had a celebrated temple with an oracle, which was destroyed by the command of the emperor Constantine. (Zosimus, i. 58.)
APOTRO′PHIA (Apotrophia), "the expeller," a surname of Aphrodite, under which she was worshipped at Thebes, and which described her as the goddess who expelled from the hearts of men the desire after sinful pleasure and lust. Her worship under this name was believed to have been instituted by Harmonia, together with that of Aphrodite Urania and Pandemos, and the antiquity of her statues confirmed this belief. (Paus. ix. 16. § 2.)
ARACY′NTHIAS (Arakunthias), a surname of Aphrodite, derived from mount Aracynthus, the position of which is a matter of uncertainty, and on which she had a temple. (Rhianus, ap. Steph. Byz. s. v. Arakunthos.)
AREIA (Areia), the warlike. A surname of Aphrodite, when represented in full armour like Ares, as was the case at Sparta. (Paus. iii. 17. § 5.)
ARGENNIS (Argennis), a surname of Aphrodite, which she derived from Argennus, a favourite of Agamemnon, after whose death, in the river Cephissus, Agamemnon built a sanctuary of Aphrodite Argennis. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Argennis ; Athen. xiii. p. 608.)
CALLIPYGOS (Kallipugos), a surname of Aphrodite, of which the origin is related by Athenaeus. (xii. p. 554; comp. Alciphron, i. 39.) We still possess some representations of Aphrodite Callipygos, which are distinguished for their great softness, luxuriancy, and roundness of form. (Hirt, Mythol. Bilderb. i. p. 59.)
CNI′DIA (Knidia), a surname of Aphrodite, derived from the town of Cnidus in Caria, for which Praxiteles made his celebrated statue of the goddess. The statue of Aphrodite known by the name of the Medicean Venus, is considered by many critics to be a copy of the Cnidian Aphrodite. (Paus. i. 1. § 3; Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 5; Lucian, Amor. 13; Hirt, Mythol. Bilderb. p. 57.)
CO′LIAS (Kôlias), a surname of Aphrodite, who had a statue on the Attic promontory of Colias. (Paus. i. 1. § 4; comp. Herod. viii. 96; Schol. ad Aristoph. Nub. 56.) Strabo (ix. p. 398) places a sanctuary of Aphrodite Colias in the neighbourhood of Anaphlystus.
CY′PRIA, CYPRIS, CYPRIGENEIA, or CYPRO′GENES (Kupria, Kupris, Kuprigeneia, Kuprogenês), surnames of Aphrodite, who was born in the island of Cyprus, which was also one of the principal seats of her worship. (Hom. Il. v. 458; Pind. Ol. i. 120, xi. 125, Pyth. iv. 383; Tibull. iii. 3. 34; Hor. Carm. i. 3. 1.)
CYTHE′RA, CYTHEREIA, CYTHE′RIAS (Kuthêra, Kuthereia, Kuthêrias), different forms of a surname of Aphrodite, derived from the town of Cythera in Crete, or from the island of Cythera, where the goddess was said to have first landed, and where she had a celebrated temple. (Hom. Od. viii. 288; Herod. i. 105; Paus. iii. 23. § 1 ; Anacr. v. 9; Horat. Carm. i. 4. 5.)
DESPOENA (Despoina), the ruling goddess or the mistress, occurs as a surname of several divinities, such as Aphrodite (Theocrit. xv. 100), Demeter (Aristoph. Thesm. 286), and Persephone. (Paus. viii. 37. § 6.)
DIONAEA (Diônaia), a metronymic form of Dione, and applied to her daughter Aphrodite. (Orph. Arg. 1320; Virg. Aen. iii. 19.) The name is also applied as an epithet to things which were sacred to her, such as the dove. (Stat. Silv. iii. 5. 80.)
ERYCI′NA (Erukinê), a surname of Aphrodite, derived from mount Eryx, in Sicily, where she had a famous temple, which was said to have been built by Eryx, a son of Aphrodite and the Sicilian king Butes. (Diod. iv. 83.) Virgil (Aen. v. 760) makes Aeneias build the temple. Psophis, a daughter of Eryx, was believed to have founded a temple of Aphrodite Erycina, at Psophis, in Arcadia. (Paus. viii. 24. § 3.) From Sicily the worship of Aphrodite (Venus) Erycina was introduced at Rome about the beginning of the second Punic war (Liv. xxii. 9, 10, xxiii. 30, &c.), and in B. C. 181 a temple was built to her outside the Porta Collatina. (Liv. xl. 34; Ov. Fast. iv. 871, Rem. Amor. 549 ; Strab. vi. p. 272; comp. Cic. in Verr. iv. 8; Horat. Carm. i. 2. 33; Ov. Heroid. xv. 57.)
GAME′LII (Gamêlioi theoi), that is, the divinities protecting and presiding over marriage. (Pollux, i. 24; Maxim. Tyr. xxvi. 6.) Plutarch (Quaest. Rom. 2) says, that those who married required (the protection of) five divinities, viz. Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Peitho, and Artemis. (Comp. Dion Chrys. Orat. vii. p. 568.) But these are not all, for the Moerae too are called theai gamêliai (Spanheim ad Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 23, in Del. 292, 297), and, in fact, nearly all the gods might be regarded as the protectors of marriage, though the five mentioned by Plutarch perhaps more particularly than others. The Athenians called their month of Gamelion after these divinities. Respecting the festival of the Gamelia see Dict. of Ant. s. v.
GENETYLLIS (Genetullis), the protectress of births, occurs both as a surname of Aphrodite (Aristoph. Nub. 52, with the Schol.), and as a distinct divinity and a companion of Aphrodite. (Suidas.) (Genetyllis was also considered as a surname of Artemis, to whom women sacrificed dogs. (Hesych. s. v. Genetulis; Aristoph. Lys. 2.) We also find the plural, Genetullides, or Gennaïdes, as a class of divinities presiding over generation and birth, and as companions of Aphrodite Colias. (Aristoph. Thesmoph. 130; Paus. i. § 4; Alciph. iii. 2; comp. Bentley ad Hor. Carm. Saec. 16.)
HECAERGE (Hekaergê) . . . The name Hecaerge signifies hitting at a distance . . . Artemis bore the surname of Hecaerge. (Anton. Lib. 13.) Aphrodite had the same surname at Iulis in Cos. (Anton. Lib. 1.)
IDA′LIA. a surname of Aphrodite, derived from the town of Idalion in Cyprus. (Virg. Aen. i. 680, 692, v. 760, x. 86; Ov. Art. Am. iii. 106; Strab.xiv. p. 682; Theocrit. xv. 101; Bion, i. 36.)
LIME′NIA, LIMENI′TES, LIMENI′TIS, and LIMENO′SCOPUS (Limenia, Limenitês, Limenitis, Limenodkopos), i. e. the protector or superintendent of the harbour, occurs as a surname of several divinities, such as Zeus (Callimach. Fragm. 114, 2ded. Bentl.), Artemis (Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 259), Aphrodite (Paus. ii. 34. § 11; Serv. ad Aen. i. 724), Priapus (Anthol. Palat. x. 1, 7), and of Pan (Anthol. Palat. x. 10.)
[MECHANITIS and] MECHANEUS (Mêchaneus), skilled in inventing, was a surname of Zeus at Argos (Paus. ii. 22, § 3). The feminine form, Mechanitis (Mêchanitis), occurs as a surname of Aphrodite, at Megalopolis, and of Athena. in the same neighbourhood. (Paus. viii. 31, § 3, 36, § 3.)
MELAENIS (Melainis), i.e. the dark, a surname of Aphrodite, under which she was worshipped at Corinth. (Paus. ii. 2. § 4; comp. viii. 6. § 2, ix. 17. § 4; Athen. xiii. p. 588.)
MELINAEA (Melinaia), a surname of Aphrodite, which she derived from the Argive town Meline. (Steph. Byz. s. v.; Lycoph. 403.)
MIGONI′TIS (Migônitis), a surname of Aphrodite, derived from a place, Migonium, in or near the island of Cranne in Laconia, where the goddess had a temple. (Paus. iii. 22. § 1.)
MORPHO (Morphô), or the fair shaped, occurs as a surname of Aphrodite at Sparta. She was represented in a sitting posture, with her head covered, and her feet fettered. (Paus. iii. 15. § 8 ; Lycoph. 449.)
NICE′PHORUS (Nikêphoros), i. e. bringing victory, occurs as a surname of several divinities, such as Aphrodite. (Paus. ii. 19. § 6.)
PANDE′MOS (Pandêmos), i. e. "common to all the people," occurs as a surname of Aphrodite, and that in a twofold sense, first describing her as the goddess of low sensual pleasures as Venus vulgivaga or popularis, in opposition to Venus (Aphrodite) Urania, or the heavenly Aphrodite. (Plat. Sympos. p. 180; Lucret. iv. 1067.) She was represented at Elis by Scopas riding on a ram. (Paus. vi. 25. § 2.) The second sense is that of Aphrodite uniting all the inhabitants of a country into one social or political body. In this respect she was worshipped at Athens along with Peitho (Persuasion), and her worship was said to have been instituted by Theseus at the time when he united the scattered townships into one great body of citizens. (Paus. i. 22. § 3.) According to some authorities, it was Solon who erected the sanctuary of Aphrodite Pandemos, either because her image stood in the agora, or because the hetaerae had to pay the costs of its erection. (Harpocrat. and Suid. s. v.; Athen. xiii. p. 569.) The worship of Aphrodite Pandemos also occurs at Megalopolis in Arcadia (Paus. viii. 32. § 1), and at Thebes (ix. 16. § 2). A festival in honour of her is mentioned by Athenaeus (xiv. p. 659). The sacrifices offered to her consisted of white goats. (Lucian, Dial. Meret. 7; comp. Xenoph. Sympos. 8. § 9; Schol. ad Soph. Oed. Col. 101; Theocrit. Epigr. 13.) Pandemos occurs also as a surname of Eros. (Plat. Symp. l. c.)
PA′PHIA (Paphia,), a surname of Aphrodite, derived from the celebrated temple of the goddess at Paphos in Cyprus. A statue of Aphrodite Paphia also stood in the sanctuary of Ino, between Oetylus and Thalamae in Laconia. (Paus. iii. 36 ; Tac. Hist. ii. 2; Hom. Hymn. in Ven. 59; Apollod. iii. 14. § 2; Strab. xiv. p. 683.)
PEITHO (Peithô). The personification of Persuasion (Suada or Suadela among the Romans), was worshipped as a divinity at Sicyon, where she was honoured with a temple in the agora. (Herod. viii. 11; Paus. ii. 7. § 7.) Peitho also occurs as a surname of other divinities, such as Aphrodite, whose worship was said to have been introduced at Athens by Theseus, when he united the country communities into towns (Paus. i. 22. § 3), and of Artemis (ii. 21. 1). At Athens the statues of Peitho and Aphrodite Pandemos stood closely together, and at Megara, too, the statue of Peitho stood in the temple of Aphrodite (Paus. i. 43. § 6), so that the two divinities must he conceived as closely connected, or the one, perhaps, merely as an attribute of the other.
SY′RIA DEA (Suriê theos), "the Syrian goddess," a name by which the Syrian Astarte or Aphrodite is sometimes designated. This Astarte was a Syrian divinity, resembling in many points the Greek Aphrodite, and it is not improbable that the latter was originally the Syrian Astarte, the opinions concerning whom were modified after her introduction into Greece; for there can be no doubt that the worship of Aphrodite came from the East to Cyprus, and thence was carried into the south of (Greece. (Lucian, De Syria Dea ; Paus. i. 14. § 6; Aeschyl. Suppl. 562.).
URA′NIA (Ourania),A surname of Aphrodite, describing her as "the heavenly," or spiritual, to distinguish her from Aphrodite Pandemos. Plato represents her as a daughter of Uranus, begotten without a mother. (Sympos. p. 180; Xenoph. Sympos. 8. § 9.) Wine was not used in the libations offered to her. (Schol. ad Soph. Oed. Col. 101 ; Herod. i. 105; Suid. s. v. nêphalia.)
ZEPHYRI′TIS (Zephuritis), a surname of Aphrodite, derived from the promontory of Zephyrium in Egypt. (Athen. vii. p. 318; Callim. Epig. 31 ; Steph. Byz. s. v.
ZERY′NTHIA (Zêrunthia), a surname of Aphrodite, from the town of Zerinthus in Thrace, where she had a sanctuary said to have been built by Phaedra. (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 449, 958 ; Steph. Byz. and Etym. Magn. s. v.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
- Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th - 4th B.C.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- Suidas, The Suda - Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.
See Cult of Aphrodite pages.