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Aphrodite’s Beach

A place uniquely connected to the goddess of love

Aphrodite is one of the most worshipped deities of the ancient world. Aphrodite (for the Romans, Venus) is the goddess of love, beauty and desire.

Of extreme beauty, many fell in love with her, but she married Hephaestus in an arranged marriage. Aphrodite had many extra-marital affairs and, in mythology, is often the focus of love and jealousy of all the other goddesses. She was the cause of the abduction of Helen by Paris and the outbreak of the infamous Trojan War, mentioned in Homer’s Iliad.

Aphrodite's kylix (by Simone Vaccari, CC BY-SA 3.0)

However, this place in Cyprus has a special connection to the goddess of love, specifically to her birth. As is often the case in mythology, each story or event has several versions, but tradition seems to agree on the creation of the goddess Aphrodite. 

Well, mythology has it that the twelve Olympian gods were not always masters of the mythological world. Before them, in fact, there existed the ancient Greeks’ primordial gods, and Uranus was the most powerful one, master of the heavens. The mistress of the earth, Gaea, was his wife, but the two shared a thalamus without any feelings. Uranus hated his children and forced Gaea to keep them in her womb. Tired of this restriction and imprisonment, the latter convinced one of her sons, Kronos, to emasculate his father and free his brothers.

Uranus and Gea mosaic representation

It was from this act that the goddess Aphrodite was born. From the heights of the heavens, Kronos threw Uranus’ erect phallus and testicles into the sea, as Uranus roared in excruciating pain. Propelled by the current and the waves, the warm seed of Uranus reached the shores of Cyprus. Precisely at this beach of Petra tou Romiou near Pafo, the goddess Aphrodite was born from that frothy mass. Tradition has it that she rose from that very rock, which for millennia was called, precisely, the “rock of Aphrodite”.

Aphrodite's beach

Archaeological studies and excavations confirm the veneration of this goddess since ancient times. Her cult, which has its roots in primordial eras, is strongly linked to fertility. The entire island of Cyprus, therefore, is strongly connected to the goddess of love. Today, this beautiful beach near the town of Pafos is considered her birthplace.

For centuries, the goddess was artistically represented in the presence of the waters of the sea and in a marine setting precisely to recall her origins on this beach. One of the most famous works remains today, Botticelli‘s picturesque masterpiece “The Birth of Venus”.

Sandro Botticelli - "La Nascita di Venere"

Ptolemy Team
Last updated on
May 21, 2023

Ptolemy Team

All our content is conceived and written by our editorial team, consisting of students and recent graduates in Cultural Heritage, Ancient and Medieval History, and Arts.