Wednesday, September 16, 2009

MORE ON THE APHRODITE FIGURINES discovered recently at Hippos (Sussita): At the time of the original annoucement I queried the dating of the figurines to 1500 years ago and asked if there was an Aphrodite cult that recently. This latest release indicates that the date is correct and there were still worshipers of Aphrodite at the time:
Figurines Of Aphrodite From Roman Empire Era Discovered In Hippos

ScienceDaily (Sep. 15, 2009) — An ancient treasure comprising three figurines of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, which was buried for over 1,500 years, was uncovered during the tenth season of excavations that are carried out by researchers of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, headed by Prof. Arthur Segal and Dr. Michael Eisenberg.

"It is possible that during the fourth century [CE], when Christianity was gradually becoming the governing religion in the Roman Empire, there were still a number of inhabitants in Sussita who remained loyal to the goddess of love and therefore wished to hide and preserve these items," suggests Prof. Segal.

The hidden figurines were discovered when the researchers exposed a shop in the southeastern corner of the forum district of Sussita, which is the central area of the Roman city that was built in the second century BCE, existed through the Roman and Byzantine periods and destroyed in the great earthquake of 749 CE. According to the researchers, it was clear that the followers had wished to hide the figurines, as they were found complete. The clay pieces are 23 cm tall and represent the common model of the goddess of love known to the experts as Venus pudica, "the modest Venus." This name was given to the form due to its upright stature and the figure's covering her private parts with the palm of her hand – perhaps another reason for concealing them from the new religion that presided over the empire.

Also, this Bible and Interpretation article covers the same ground but has additional photos.