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When you find clumps of tissue hanging from the bushes where I come from, it means to watch your step. However if you are visiting Petra tou Romiou on the island of Cyprus (see previous post here), there may be another reason. Local legend has it that Aphrodite (or Venus), the goddess of love and procreation, was born here. She was so fertile, according to Hesiod, that greenery sprouted wherever she walked (Theogony 195)!

As you might imagine this Cypriot site is a popular tourist destination and has been for a long time. As far back as the 12th century BC worshippers visited a temple dedicated to Aphrodite at nearby Kouklia. In other, more recent forays, tourists go for a swim in the sea in hopes of becoming eternally beautiful. Another layer of lore concerns the tissues, hankies, undies, and other bits of clothing tied into the greenery pictured above. These are gifts to the goddess offered up in the hope of snagging eternal love.

It likely that the Apostle Paul passed this (very) pagan place on the way to Paphos (Acts 13:6).