The Bearded Goddess: Androgynes, goddesses and monsters in ancient Cyprus by Marie-Louise WinbladhThe Bearded Goddess: Androgynes, goddesses and monsters in ancient Cyprus by Marie-Louise Winbladh

The Bearded Goddess: Androgynes, goddesses and monsters in ancient Cyprus

byMarie-Louise Winbladh

Paperback | January 31, 2012

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Most of us associate Aphrodite – also known as Venus – with love, beauty, and fertility, but the symbolic value of this goddess is by far more complex than we would have known or dared to believe.

The remarkable and unique ancient civilization of the Cypriots is also reflected in their cults and religious perceptions. From the earliest prehistory, a Fertility Goddess and her retinue of deities were worshiped to sustain life dependent on the soil. Gradually the Goddess received the name Aphrodite, who was the goddess of love and considered to originate from ancient Cyprus. The cult of a bearded Aphrodite or Venus, in whose honor people engaged in transvestite rituals, seems to have been widely spread in Cyprus. Ever since prehistory, many Cypriot sculptures have an obvious bisexual character.

Aphrodite – a hermaphrodite? The book examines a rather obscure side of the ancient cult surrounding this illustrious fertility goddess. How many of us would have guessed that one of Aphrodite’s most famous representations was, in fact, a figurine from Ayia Irini, Cyprus, that portrays this female deity as The Bearded Goddess, a bisexual and self-sufficient entity?

The book reveals the unspoken truth about Aphrodite; a closer look at the island’s archaeological sites suggests a new sexual archetype of Aphrodite and other criteria for the sublime female figure in ancient religion(s). The author, the well-known archaeologist Marie-Louise Winbladh, enlightens her audience in plain language about the mysterious devotion of Aphrodite as an androgynous being. She casts light on the enigmatic representations of this deity, who is believed to have originated from Cyprus, the epicenter of ancient crossroads, a cradle of civilization and culture.

  • How did the cult of Aphrodite evolve?
  • How was this goddess worshiped?
  • Did ‘temple prostitution’ really exist?
  • What was the role of the ‘priestesses’ and their relation to The Bearded Goddess?

These and many more questions are addressed in the book.

Marie-Louise Winbladh was the curator of the Cyprus Collections at the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet) in Stockholm from 1971 to 2007. She was also the curator of the Greek & Roman Collections from 1971 until 2001. From 1971 onwards, she has organized different exhibitions, many of which with Cyp...
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Title:The Bearded Goddess: Androgynes, goddesses and monsters in ancient CyprusFormat:PaperbackDimensions:106 pages, 8.5 × 8.5 × 0.28 inPublished:January 31, 2012Publisher:Armida PublicationsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:9963706312

ISBN - 13:9789963706310

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Table of Contents

IntroductionI. Fetishes and phallic featuresNeolithic, c. 7500 - c. 3800 BCII. Bearers of eternal lifeChalcolithic, c. 3800 BC - 2500/2300 BCIII. Cradles, priestesses or servants?Early Cypriot Bronze Age, c. 2500 - 1900 BCMiddle Cypriot Bronze Age, c. 1900 - 1600 BCIV. She came with pleasure and loveLate Cypriot Bronze Age, c. 1600 - 1050 BC V. Holy banquets and sacred trees c. 1500 BC - c. 500 AD VI. Tree of Life or Wife of God? VII. The magic of the stone Cypro-Geometric period, c. 1050 - 750 BC Cypro-Archaic period, c. 750 - 480 BC VIII. The "Goddess" with upraised arms IX. The Bearded Goddess X. The Paphian, Astarte Paphia or Aphrodite XI. Temple prostitution? XII. The tears of Aphrodite XIII. A drugged priestess? XIV. Abode for the goddess of love and war XV. Bearers of mixed messages Cypro-Archaic II to Cypro-Hellenistic I, c. 600 - 150 BC Roman period, c. 30 BC-330 AD Bibliography