- V. Pirenne-Delforge
- and André Motte
Aphrodite (Ἀφροδίτη). Born from the severed genitals of *Uranus according to *Hesiod (Theog. 188–206), or in the Homeric version (see homer) daughter of *Zeus and *Dione (Il. 5. 370–417), Aphrodite is the the first anthropomorphic female form and she emerges in a mythical context of desire and violence, tension and appeasement, mirroring the ambivalence of her powers: seductive charm, the need to procreate, and a capacity for deception, elements also present in the person of the first woman, *Pandora (Hes. Op. 60–8). There is no agreement on her historical origins; the Greeks themselves thought of her as coming from the east (Hdt 1. 105, Paus. 1. 14. 7), and in literature she is frequently given the name Cypris, ‘the Cyprian’. (See cyprus.) The double tradition of her birth shows how the Greeks felt Aphrodite to be at the same time Greek and foreign, but also, on the level of mythology, that they perceived her as a powerful goddess whom it would be prudent to place under the authority of Zeus.