Posts Tagged ‘greece’
SUNNY Cyprus was once a safe-haven for the English, a place where we felt at home because it was, after all, once ours. Ever since Lord Kitchener came here as a young engineer, the island has been subjected to merciless Anglicization which reached its peak in the mid-80s with the onset of mass tourism.
Everyone, everywhere in Cyprus, will at some point mention the goddess, be it to sell you a villa or a bottle of wine. I challenge you to name more heavily marketed deity. But there’s nothing new under the heavens and when it comes to exploiting the famously sexy lady, the ancients were equally adept. Thanks to establishing the island as a cult centre for Aphrodite, thousands of pilgrims from all over the eastern Mediterranean were drawn to the festivals held in her name, including the four day long Aphrodisia. We might think of it as sex tourism but to the pagan societies of the period, the fornication, rituals and orgies conducted in the name of Aphrodite were sanctified as well as advantageous. Sacred prostitution, mentioned in the Golden Bough, placated the gods and protected the land from famine and drought by activating the reproductive forces of nature. Stass Paraskos, author of Aphrodite, The Mythology of Cyprus, paints an interesting picture of Paphos, a city on the west coast, which was the centre of the cult.