Aphrodite of Aphrodisias

This is the largest and most complete copy of the cult statue of the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, the image of the goddess created in the hellenistic period for the sanctuary. It marks the point at which an earlier local fertility goddess was identified with the Aphrodite of the hellenic pantheon. The statue stands stiffly and frontally, like an old Anatolian goddess, and was designed to recall that earlier identity of the goddess now subsumed in Aphrodite. The figure wears a tall headdress and veil and a thin dress covered by thick hard cladding. The cladding is divided into a chest area and four lower decorated zones. Each of these four zone contains figured decoration that concerns different aspects of Aphrodite: (1) three Graces, her handmaids; (2) Selene (Moon) and Helios (Sun), the permanent temporal extent of her realm; (3) Aphrodite in classical form on a sea-goat with tritons; and (4) three winged Erotes, her children and agents, involved in sacrifice. The iconography of the statue was designed to combine the archaic aspects of the old local goddess with ideas of the classical and hellenistic Aphrodite.

Found at: Council House (Bouleuterion)

A Collaboration:

Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism New York University University of Oxford


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All content belongs to the Aphrodisias Excavations project and cannot be used without express written authorization. Enquiries and requests for images email to: aphrodisias@classics.ox.ac.uk

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Ioannou Centre for Classical & Byzantine Studies
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Sevgi Gönül Hall, 2008