Worshipping Aphrodite

Art and Cult in Classical Athens
Rachel Rosenzweig
Delves into the various characteristics of Aphrodite as the people of Athens conceived of her


Worshipping Aphrodite fills a gap in scholarship that has largely ignored the worship of Aphrodite in classical Athens in favor of more prominent deities, such as Athena, Zeus, and Hephaistos. It is the first study in English to address the role Aphrodite played in the daily religious activities of the city's population by focusing on the archaeological material associated with Aphrodite's Athenian and Attic cult sites from a specific time period.

By examining this material together, Rosenzweig reveals that Aphrodite had a much more prominent position among the gods of classical Athens than previously understood, far greater than a deity who merely presided over matters of love and lust. Aphrodite aided in the overall maintenance and welfare of Athens' local government, business community, family life, and agricultural health and unified the people in both the public and private spheres.

This fascinating study will interest not only classical archaeologists, but those interested in the nature of Greek religion and cult practices, and those specializing in the development of the Athenian polis. It provides a useful re-examination of scholarship on Aphrodite and enhances our understanding of her social and political importance in the Athenian environment.

Rachel Rosenzweig is Curatorial Assistant to the Departments of Egyptian and Near Eastern, Greek and Roman, and Medieval Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . a welcome contribution to the fields of Athenian religion, art, and mythology. Skillfully weaving together the evidence of the texts, inscriptions, archaeology, and the visual arts, Rosenzweig has created a fully rounded portrait of this multi-faceted goddess who can now take her rightful place among the major civic divinities of Athens and Atticia. The picture that emerges is richer and more nuanced than any attempted until now."
    —Alan Shapiro, The Johns Hopkins University
  • "When one thinks of Athens, one naturally thinks of Athena, but Rosenzweig has demonstrated the importance of another goddess for the city and its inhabitants, namely Aphrodite. Arguing persuasively from archaeological, epigraphical, and literary evidence, she shows that the various sanctuaries to Aphrodite were key to the well-being of ancient Athens."
    —Jenifer Neils, Case Western Reserve University

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Copyright © 2004, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 212pp.
  • 11 drawings, 76 B&W photograph section.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2004
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11332-3

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  • $84.95 U.S.