A foamy floozy


As suggested in recent POTD posts, the site of Petra tou Romiou on the island of Cyprus is traditionally associated with the birthplace of the Greek goddess Aphrodite (Roman Venus). That story is recounted by the poet Hesiod in grizzly detail. The short end of it is that wily Cronos castrated his father Uranus with a sickle and threw his lopped-off genitals into the sea. Foam developed around the immortal parts and out of that foam Aphrodite emerged. The scene of her birth is a favorite among classical painters and has been endlessly analyzed by art historians.

Incidentally the Greek term for "foam" is ἀφρός (aphros), hence Hesiod's explanation of the name Ἀφροδίτη (Aphrodite) as one who comes from the foam (Theogony 195). Scholars generally regard Hesiod's explanation as folksy, preferring a still older Near Eastern origin for this goddess favored by salty sailors and prostitutes across the Mediterranean world.

There are several other nicknames for Aphrodite. These include Cyprogenes (because she was from Cyprus) and Philommêdês (ahem, "genital-loving"). The latter is thought to be a coy play on Philomeidês ("laughter-loving").

While Aphrodite doesn't appear by name in the Bible, a place devoted to her sure does. Anyone heard of Corinth?