Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cult of the Goddess

I don't usually repost my comments on other blogs over here, but in this case, I dunno, I decided to.

Dear Author posted a thread a few days ago which veered off into strange lands of redefining Romance, porn, and the actions of the goddess Aphrodite Porne. Something of a trainwreck. At the very end, I ended up posting this:


As someone who started studying Ancient Greek in tenth grade (age 15) and continued right on through college, studying Plato, Homer, Aristophanes, Herodotus, and various New Testament writers in their original language(s) (Yes, Dears, the languages and vocabulary change throughout time and Homeric Greek is not the same at Attic Greek), can I just say that you are GREATLY misinformed about Aphrodite Porne?

You can create a new mythology for her all you want, and come up with new and intriguing ideas of what sort of love that goddess represented, but you’d have to first understand a whole lot more about the practice of ascribing descriptive epithets to gods and goddesses. Different cults used different names for the same goddess. When the goddess was acting differently, a WHOLE NEW epithet would apply.

Phoebus Apollo from the Homeric epics is NOT the same god as Apherteros Apollo. The god remains the same, his parentage, his symbols and familiars, but his meaning within the culture is totally different.

To link Porne with some odd description of one type of love (as in agape, philia, etc.) is to completely misunderstand how the gods and goddesses operated in Ancient civilizations. But that’s okay. As long as you can “prove” your point.

edited to add: Porne is the epithet which a sect ascribed to Aphrodite. But this does not mean that that particular sect’s view of Aphrodite’s role in Greek society was recognized by the larger Greek community. Sects were in the habit of taking on powerful goddesses to suit their individual needs. The most goddess the largest sector of Attic Greek women routinely prayed to was Hestia, not Aphrodite. Hestia was the goddess of the hearth, virginity, hospitality, and the home; hardly a goddess one would want to tag your aspirations of tipping over the patriarchy onto.

I get a bit tired of people using their own perceptions of the “wise and omniscient” ancient cultures to back up their modern points of view.

I'm sure I sound like a geek, but I just hate the idea of this goddess culture that has sprung up and completely misrepresents the original goddesses and what they stood for, or how they were worshiped or used In The Original Culture. I can put a statue of the Buddha in my living room and burn incense, but this does not make me a Buddhist. Appropriating the sectarian worship of one form of Aphrodite to prove a point shows to me a tremendous disrespect of the people who were worshiping her in the first place.

Carry on.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Geek? Naaah. I love it when people WITH Teh Knowledge slap down the asshats WITHOUT. Put 'em in their places, S.