Friday, October 24, 2008

Isis-Aphrodite, the cute goddess!












The Hellenised Egyptian cult of Isis originated in Ptolemaic Alexandria from whence it spread out into the Mediteranean. By the 4th century BCE there was an Isiac sanctuary in the Piraeus (Athens' port). During the 3rd until the 1st centuries BCE the Isiac cults practised at Greek trade centres such as Alexandria, Delos and Puteoli spread along sea-trade routes. Delos, a major slave trading emporium, was the main site of Isis worship. From the 2nd century until the sack of Delos in 88 BCE there was uninterrupted contact between the island and Puteoli, the second international Mediterranean port after Delos. By 105 BCE there was a temple of Alexandrian divinities at Puteoli and, more widely, in Campania, at Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae and Naples. Within about five more years it would be in Rome. While there existed a tradition of rather refined sculptures of a Hellenised Isis, based on the iconography of deified Ptolemaic queens, there were also these very cute terracotta popular images of the goddess in her form in which she was syncretised with Hathor-Aphrodite. I've been collecting images of them because I think they are so cute.

3 comments:

David said...

"While there existed a tradition of rather refined sculptures of a Hellenised Isis, based on the iconography of deified Ptolemaic queens, there were also these very cute terracotta popular images of the goddess in her form in which she was syncretised with Hathor-Aphrodite."

OK, dumb question. How do you know that this is Isis syncretized with Hathor-Aphrodite? Inscriptions? Context? What inscriptions? What context? Or what else?

viciouscircle23 said...

There is evidence of this combination through the symbols in the headdress. Isis is commonly found with many elaborate headdresses and one of her symbols is a sun disk with horns. This symbol is on the first picture of the Isis-Aphrodite statues(which can be found at the MET in NY). The horns are also associated with Hathor whose animal form is a cow.
I assume that the naked feminine body is the representation of Aphrodite.

Eggarra said...

can I have more description about the goddess, please