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The Erotic Goddess of the Syme Sanctuary, Crete

113.4
The ritual of <i>anasyrma</i> on plaque HM 20030
The ritual of anasyrma on plaque HM 20030

The pottery, architectural remains, and artifacts excavated at the interregional sanctuary at Syme on Crete document the importance and continuous use of the site from ca. 2000 B.C.E. down to the sixth/seventh century C.E. Votives of the first millennium indicate that Hermes was worshiped there together with an erotic goddess as early as the 10th century and that in the Hellenistic period, this goddess was Aphrodite. The archaeological evidence from the sanctuary is incompatible with current theories of Aphrodite’s origins. Instead, it emphasizes the local factor as the motive force in the genesis of Aphrodite and the contribution made by local cults throughout Greece and Cyprus in the development of her personality.

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DOI: 10.3764/aja.113.4.521