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►Greek Mythology: “Myrrha, Adonis and Persephone”(Myths and Interpretation):

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Myrrha

“Myhrra assisted by Lucina, the Goddess of Birth” by Jean de Court (1560).

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As we know from the previous postAdonis, Myrrha’s son, was raised up for both Goddess Persephone and Aphrodite.

Myrrha’s mother (being more precise, Adonis’ grandmother) had said that her daughter Myrrha was even more beautiful than Aphrodite herself . This was taken as offensive by the goddess of Beauty, who took revenge on that.

And in this case she took revenge of Myrrha’s mother by punishing her daughter, cursing Myrrha to fall in love and lust after her father, Cinyras.

Aphrodite appears here as a trouble maker. It is not the first time that she had looked for acknowledgment of her Beauty.

We must keep in mind here the Judgement of Paris in which Aphrodite offered Helen the most beautiful mortal woman, to Prince Paris of Troy, in exchange of that famous Golden apple labeled for the fairest one.

Retaking the preceding points, roman poet Ovid referred to Myrrha’s story in “Metamorphoses,” Book 10, lines 467-518.

Myrrha was the daughter of King Cinyras and Queen Cenchreis of Cyprus.

Myrrha felt attracted to her father. Knowing the love was forbidden she fought it as hard as she could to avoid her feelings. But as he couldn’t do so, she tried to kill herself. Just before she was goindg to commit suicide, Myrrha was discovered by her nurse who finally dissuaded her.

Myrrha confided her forbidden love to the nurse. The nurse tried to make Myrrha suppress the infatuation, but could not calm the girl. Finally the nurse agreed to help Myrrha get into her father’s bed if she promised that she would not try to kill herself again.

The women got their opportunity during a feast. Myrrha’s father, King Cinyras, was drunk in his bed. The nurse helped Myrrha to get into the bed by telling the King she was a young woman who was deeply in love with him.

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"Myrrha and Cinyras". Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid's Metamorphoses. Book X.

“Myrrha and Cinyras”. Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”. Book X.

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In this manner, Myrrha and the nurse were able to deceive Cinyras. The affair lasted several nights in complete darkness to conceal Myrrha’s identity. One night, Cinyras wanted to know the identity of the girl with whom he had conducted the affair. Upon bringing in a lamp, and seeing his crime, the king drew his sword and attempted to kill her but she could escape.

After becoming pregnant of her own father Myrrha walked for nine months, lost in her own guilt.

Zeus finally took pity on her and transformed her into a myrrh tree.

When it came time for the birth, the Myrrh tree was somehow assisted by the birth goddess Lucina and six water nymphs. The tree appeared to wrench and finally cracked and delivered a baby boy, who would be later called Adonis.

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"The Birth of Adonis".  Engraving by Bernard Picart for Ovid's "Metamorphoses", Book X, 476-519.

“The Birth of Adonis”. Engraving by Bernard Picart for Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”.

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Aphrodite found the baby by the myrrh tree. She sheltered Adonis as a new-born baby and entrusted him to Persephone, the wife of Hades, who was the God of the Underworld

Aphrodite fell in love with the beautiful youth (possibly because she had been wounded by Eros’ arrow).

Persephone was also taken by Adonis’ beauty and refused to give him back to Aphrodite.

The dispute between the two goddesses was settled by Zeus 

Adonis was to spend one-third of every year with each goddess and the last third wherever he chose. Thus he decided to spend two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite.

Adonis’ death was tragic. He was killed (castrated) by a wild boar and died in Aphrodite’s arms, who sprinkled his blood with nectar from the anemone.  

It was said that Adonis’ blood turned the Adonis River, or Abraham River, red each spring.

After Adonis’ death, Aphrodite was so sad that Zeus decided to make Adonis immortal, allowing him to leave the underworld, to spend eight months of the year with Aphrodite.

He always, however, had to return to Hades and remain there the other four with Persephone.

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"The Death of Adonis" by Giuseppe Mazzuoli.(1709). The State Hermitage Museum

“The Death of Adonis” by Giuseppe Mazzuoli.(1709). The State Hermitage Museum

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Something worth highlighting here. There is a remarkable analogy between Adonis’ stay in both the Underworld and the World of the Living and Persephone’s myth, being also this Goddess one of the women (with Aphrodite) who raised Myrrha’s child, Adonis. 

This is shown specifically by the fact that Persephone (Demeter’s virgin daughter) was abducted by Hades, King of the Underworld.

According to the myth, Hades planted a meadow full of the narcissus flowers in order to entice Persephone. When she pulled on the flower, the Underworld opened up and Hades sprang up, carrying her off.

Later on, he gave Persephone a pomegranate. As she ate it, the fruit somehow cemented her marriage to Hades. Thus, she was bound to Hades for six months of each year, winter and autumn.

Persephone was allowed by his husband to join her mother in the World of Living, but only when summer and springtime arrived. 

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►”Greek Myths of Myrrha. Symbolism and Interpretation”:

Critical interpretation of this myth has considered Myrrha’s refusal of conventional sexual relations to have provoked her incest, with the ensuing transformation to tree as a silencing punishment. It has been suggested that the taboo of incest marks the difference between culture and nature and that Ovid’s version of Myrrha showed this.

Myrrha’ s love for his father may be related to the Electra complex, as proposed by Carl Jung.

The Electra complex is a girl’s psychosexual competition with her mother for possession of her father. In the course of her psychosexual development, the complex is the girl’s phallic phase, a boy’s analogous experience is the Oedipus complex.

As a psychoanalytic metaphor for daughter–mother psychosexual conflict, the Electra complex derives from the 5th-century BC Greek Mythological character Electra, who plotted matricidal revenge with Orestes, her brother, against Clytemnestra, their mother, and Aegistus, their stepfather, for their murder of Agamemnon, their  father. This story is told by Sofocles in his tragedy and by Aeschylus in his trilogy “Oresteia” (Second tragedy, “The Libation Bearers”).

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►Greek Myths of Myhrra, Adonis and Persephone. Symbols and Meanings”:

•Myrrha, transformed into a Myrrh Tree: Punishment. Myrrha is transformed and rendered voiceless making her unable to break the Taboo of Incest. The word “myrrh” in Ancient Greek was related to the word μύρον (mýron), which became a general term for perfume.

•Myrrha having sexual relationships with her father: Myrrha’s behavior here might be linked to the hero archetype, known as “The Fall”. It describes a descent in action from a higher to a lower state of being, an experience which might involve defilement, moral imperfection, and/or loss of innocence. This fall is often accompanied by expulsion from a kind of paradise as penalty for disobedience and/or moral transgression.

•Myrrha feeling guilty while she is pregnant: This attitude might be associated with, was is known in the Hero Pattern, an Unhealable Wound. Here, the wound, physical or psychological, cannot be healed fully. This would also indicate a loss of innocence or purity. Often the wounds’ pain drives the sufferer to desperate measures of madness. 

•Adonis, castrated by a Wild Boar: Adonis Castration might be considered equal to a Father-Castration, performed by Cinyras (Myhrra’s father and Adonis’  father and grandfather at the same time).

Castration is here performed as an extreme punishment which leads to death. It also entrains the fact that Adonis won’t be able to have sons or daughters with his substitute mothers (Aphrodite and/or Perspehone).

The symbology of Wild Boar is that of truth, courage and confrontation.

In some native Indian tribes Wild Boar was used as a way to teach young braves how to be honest and find their courage when they told a lie to the tribe.

•Aphrodite sprinkling Adonis’ blood with nectar from the anemone: Anemone blossom stories are mostly about death – that’s why its blossom is often liken with being forsaken or left behind. In the Greek version of Adonis’ death, the Anemone is a plant that symbolizes unfading love. 

For the Christian version of the meaning of anemones, it’s a symbol of the blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross.  That’s the reason why you’ll see a bunch of anemones on several paintings of the crucifixion.

•Adonis’ death and resurrection: The most common of all situational archetypes, Death and Rebirth grow out of the parallel between the cycle of nature and life. The cycle of death and rebirth was linked with the regeneration of vegetation and the crop seasons in ancient Greece. Besides, this myth is related to the perennial nature of beauty, as Adonis died only to be reborn in the underworld.

•Adonis’ blood, which turned the Adonis River, or Abraham River, red each spring: Red (Blood and river colors) Red represents sacrifice; violent passion, disorder, sunrise, birth, fire, emotion, wounds, death, sentiment, mother. Rivers/Streams: They represent life force and life cycle

•Adonis resurrected, spend his time with both Persephone in the Underworld and Aphrodite in The World of Living: Beyond the fact that both Goddesses raised Adonis, this metaphor might be linked to the double dichotomy Light-Life / Darkness-Death. In which Light usually suggests hope, renewal, life and intellectual illumination; whilst darkness implies the unknown, death, ignorance, or despair.

It might be also related to the opposites Hell (Underworld)/Heaven: Hell represents the diabolic forces that inhabit the universe and heaven the God Forces.

•Persephone eating the pomegranate that Hades gave her: In this myth, the pomegranate is related to the changing of seasons and might be also considered as a symbol of indivisibility of marriage. Seasons: Spring: It represents Birth and New Beginnings. Summer: Associated to maturity and Knowledge. Autumn: Linked to Decline, nearing Death, growing old. Winter: Representing Death, sleep, hibernation.

•Persephone’s realms: The Underworld: Black space. Black color: It represents darkness, chaos, mystery, the unknown, death, the unconscious and evil.

•Persephone released from the Underworld by HadesAs Persephone came back to the Living World to spend six months of each year with her mother Demeter, the flowers and crops grow great. 

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►Links Post:
http://www.uffizi.org/artworks/la-primavera-allegory-of-spring-by-sandro-botticelli/
http://www.iconos.it/le-metamorfosi-di-ovidio/libro-x/venere-e-adone/immagini/21-venere-e-adone/
http://spiritsymbols.blogspot.com.ar/2013/10/wild-boar.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrrha
http://ancientsites.com/aw/Post/1260902
http://www.squidoo.com/pomegranatesymbolism
http://froggey.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/the-pomegranate-the-righteous-fruit/
http://www.auntyflo.com/flower-dictionary/anemone
http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/greek_goddess_persephone.htm
http://www.paleothea.com/SortaSingles/Persephone.html
http://mythologyinfo.webs.com/theseasons.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electra_complex
http://www.muhsd.k12.ca.us/cms/lib5/CA01001051/Centricity/Domain/520/English%203/Unit%201%20–%20Early%20American%20Lit/ArchetypesandSymbols.pdf
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►Greek Mythology: “Aphrodite and Adonis”:

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Venus_and_Adonis._Francois_Lemoyne

“Venus and Adonis” by Francois Lemyone. (1729).

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Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of beauty and love. She was born from the sea foam which was created from Uranus’ severed genitalia being thrown into the sea by Cronus. 

She was married to Hephaestus (Greek God of Fire and Metalworking) so that the other gods would not fight over her. Still, she had several other lovers of which Ares, the god of war, and Adonis were the most relevant.

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"Mars and Venus United by Love" by Paolo Veronese. (1570).

“Mars (Ares) and Venus (Aphrodite) United by Love” by Paolo Veronese. (1570).

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"Venus and Mars" by Luca Giordano (1760).

“Venus and Mars” by Luca Giordano (1760).

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 "Venus (Aphrodite), Mars (Ares), and Vulcan (Hephaestus)" by Jacopo Tintoretto (1551).

“Venus (Aphrodite), Mars (Ares), and Vulcan (Hephaestus)” by Jacopo Tintoretto (1551).

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Adonis’s mother was Myrrha, the very beautiful daughter of king Cinyras.

Myrrha’s mother would say that she was even more beautiful than Aphrodite which angered the goddess who cursed Myrrha to fall in love and lust after her father.

She tricked him into sleeping with her and she became pregnant. When her father found out he had been tricked he was so angry that he tried to kill her but the gods took pity on her and turned her into a myrrh tree.

Even so, the goddess finally gave birth to her son. Aphrodite found the baby by a myrrh tree and she gave him to Persephone, the wife of Hades, who was the God of the Underworld

When the child grew he became a very beautiful young man. He was named Adonis.

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"Birth of Adonis" by Marcantonio Franceschini  (1690).

“Birth of Adonis” by Marcantonio Franceschini (1690).

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"Adonis" by Benjamin West (1800).

“Adonis” by Benjamin West (1800).

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Persephone was also taken by Adonis’ beauty and refused to give him back to Aphrodite.

The dispute between the two goddesses was settled by Zeus, the king of the gods: Adonis was to spend one-third of every year with each goddess and the last third wherever he chose. He chose to spend two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite.

Ares, the god of war, grew jealous because Aphrodite spent so much time with Adonis that she had forgotten about him. As a result, Ares turned into a gigantic wild boar and attacked Adonis. Adonis, having forgotten Aphrodite’s warning, attacked the boar but soon found himself being chased by it.

On different versions of the myth, the boar is said to have been sent by Apollo, to punish Aphrodite for blinding his son, Erymanthus who was blinded by Aphrodite because he spied on her making love to Adonis. Or by Artemis, goddess of the haunt, who was jealous of Adonis’ hunting skills.

The boar did catch up to Adonis and castrated him.

Adonis died in Aphrodite’s arms, and she sprinkled his blood with nectar from the anemone. It is said to be Adonis’ blood that turns the Adonis River, or Abraham River, red each spring.

Aphrodite was so distraught that Zeus made Adonis immortal, allowing him to leave Hades, the underworld of the dead, for part of the year to be with Aphrodite.

He always, however, had to return to Hades, where he was Persephone’s lover.

This cycle of death and rebirth was linked with the regeneration of vegetation and the crop seasons in ancient Greece. 

In essence the myth is about the perennial nature of beauty, as Adonis died only to be reborn in the underworld.

Originating in the Near East, the cult of Adonis was introduced to Athens in about 440 B.C. 

Only women celebrated “Adonia”, a festival to mourn the death and resurrection of Adonis.  

The festival was supposed to last two days. On the first day, Greek women observed all the rites customary at funerals. The second day was spent in merriment and feasting; because Adonis was allowed to return to life, and spend eight months of the year with Aphrodite (the other four with Persephone Queen of the Underworld).

The Greek women would also make “Adonis Gardens” by sowing quick-growing seeds into shallow trays or pots. 

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"The blood of the dead Adonis turns into an anemone" (Ovid, Met. X 735) by Hendrick Goltzius (1609).

“The blood of the dead Adonis turns into an anemone” (Ovid, Met. X 735) by Hendrick Goltzius (1609).

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"Venus and Cupid Lamenting the Dead Adonis', by Cornelis Holsteyn, 1647.

“Venus and Cupid Lamenting the Dead Adonis’, by Cornelis Holsteyn. (1647).

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 "The Awakening of Adonis" by John William Waterhouse. (1900).

“The Awakening of Adonis” by John William Waterhouse. (1900).

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"The Gardens of Adonis" by John Reinhard Weguelin (1888).

“The Gardens of Adonis” by John Reinhard Weguelin (1888).

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►Links Post: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphrodite 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adonia
https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Adonis
http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/grecoromanmyth1/a/adonisaphrodite.htm 
http://paganroots.com/information/gods/greek-gods-goddesses/adonis/
http://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com/myth-aphrodite-adonis/

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►Greek Mythology: “Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty”:

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"Venus Verticordia" ("Venus the Changer of Hearts") by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868).-

“Venus Verticordia” (“Venus the Changer of Hearts”) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868).-

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Aphrodite (In ancient greek Ἀφροδίτη”arisen from the foam”. Roman equivalent: Venus) was the goddess of Love, Beauty and Eternal Youth, arousing desire to gods and humans. In addition, she was connected to the death/rebirth of nature and was also considered a protectress of sailors.

Aphrodite’s symbols were the girdle. the seashell and the mirror. Her sacred animal was the dove.

According to Hesiod’s “Theogony”, she was created from the foam of the waters of the sea, in the fragrant island of Cyprus, when the Titan Cronos  slew his father, the major Titan Ouranos, and threw then his genitals into the sea.

Hesiod’s reference to Aphrodite’s having been born from the sea inspired the Renaissance artist Botticelli’s famous painting of the goddess on a giant scallop shell. 

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"The Birt of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli (1486).-

“The Birt of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli (1486).-

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Homer, on the other hand, said that she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione.

When the Trojan prince Paris was asked to judge which of three Olympian goddesses was the most beautiful, he chose Aphrodite over Hera and Athena and gave her the Golden Apple which was labeled “To the Fairest”.

The latter two had hoped to bribe him with power and victory in battle, but Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman in the world.

This was Helen of Sparta, who became infamous as Helen of Troy when Paris subsequently eloped with her. In the ensuing Trojan War, Hera and Athena were implacable enemies of Troy while Aphrodite was loyal to Paris and the Trojans.

In Homer’s “Iliad”, Aphrodite saves Paris when he is about to be killed in single combat by Menelaus. The goddess wraps him in a mist and spirits him away, setting him down in his own bedroom in Troy. She then appears to Helen in the guise of an elderly handmaiden and tells her that Paris is waiting for her.

Helen recognizes the goddess in disguise and asks if she is being led once more to ruin. For Aphrodite had bewitched her into leaving her husband Menelaus to run off with Paris. She dares to suggest that Aphrodite go to Paris herself.

Suddenly furious, the goddess warns Helen not to go too far, lest she be abandoned to the hatred of Greeks and Trojans alike.

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"Venus convinces Helen to go with Paris" by Angelica Kauffman (1790).-

“Venus induces Helen to fall in love with Paris” (detail)  by Angelica Kauffman (1790).-

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“The Judgment of Paris” by Luca Giordano (1681-1683).-

“The Judgment of Paris” by Luca Giordano (1681-1683).-

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”Golden Apple of Discord” by Jacob Jordaens (1633).-

”Golden Apple of Discord” by Jacob Jordaens (1633).-

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Another case in which Aphrodite came to the aid of a mortal hero also happened to involve golden apples. When the heroine Atalanta agreed to wed who beat her in a foot race, Aphrodite favored Hippomenes with a peck of golden fruit.

By strewing these apples on the race course, Hippomenes caused Atalanta to become distracted, reason why she lost the race.

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“Atlanta and Hippomenes” by Willem van Herp (1632).-

“Atlanta and Hippomenes” by Willem van Herp (1632).-

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In a different ocassion, Zeus punished Aphrodite for beguiling her fellow gods into inappropriate romances.

He caused her to become infatuated with the mortal Anchises. That’s how she came to be the mother of Aeneas. She protected this hero during the Trojan War and its aftermath, when Aeneas quested to Italy and became the mythological founder of a line of Roman emperors.

A minor Italic goddess named Venus became identified with Aphrodite, and that’s how she got her Roman name. It is as Venus that she appears in the “Aeneiad”, Virgil’s epic of the founding of Rome.

In the “Iliad”, Homer tells how Aphrodite intervened in battle to save her son Aeneas, who was obviously,  a Trojan ally. 

The Greek hero Diomedes, who had been on the verge of killing Aeneas, attacked the goddess herself, wounding her on the wrist. Aphrodite promptly dropped Aeneas, who was rescued by Apollo, another Olympian sponsor of the Trojan.

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"Venus with Iapis Tending the Wounded Aeneas" by Francesco Solimena (1695).-

“Venus with Iapis Tending the Wounded Aeneas” by Francesco Solimena (1695).-

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"Venus Presenting Arms to Aeneas" by Nicolas Poussin (1639_.-

“Venus Presenting Arms to Aeneas” by Nicolas Poussin (1639_.-

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"Venus Directing Aeneas and Achates to Carthage" by  Angelica Kauffmann (1768).-

“Venus Directing Aeneas and Achates to Carthage” by Angelica Kauffmann. (1768).-

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►”The Aphrodite of Cnidos” by Praxiteles and Other Sculptures of Aphrodite based on it:

 Engraving of a coin from Knidos showing the Aphrodite of Cnidus, by Praxiteles.


Coin from Cnidos showing the Aphrodite of Cnidus, by Praxiteles.

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“The Aphrodite of Cnidos” or “Cnidian Aphrodite” was one of the most famous works of the ancient greek sculptor Praxiteles (4th century BC, Classic Period). 

The statue  became famous for its beauty, meant to be appreciated from every angle, and for being the first life-size representation of the nude female form.  

Praxiteles probably used the courtesan Phryne as a model.

The Cnidian Aphrodite has not survived. Possibly the statue was removed to Constantinople and was lost in a fire.

The original statue supposedly depicted Aphrodite as she prepared for the ritual bath that restored her purity (not virginity), discarding her drapery in her left hand, while modestly shielding herself with her right hand.

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►Slideshare: Most Well Known Variations on “The Aphrodite of Cnidos”:

(Note: Click on any sculpture for further technical details on it)

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►Links Post:
http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/aphrodite.html
http://gogreece.about.com/cs/mythology/a/mythaphrodite.htm
http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/grecoromanmyth1/p/Aphrodite.htm
http://www.greek-gods.info/greek-gods/aphrodite/aphrodite-paintings.php
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphrodite_of_Cnidus
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►Philosophy / Art:

“Evolution of the Concept of Beauty and Examples in Greek Sculpture”:

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Discobolus (discus-thrower) by Myron. Nude male discus-thrower. Roman copy of 460-450 BCE bronze original. British Museum-

“The Diskobolus of Myron”. Nude male discus-thrower. Classical Period. Roman copy of 450 B.C bronze original. British Museum-

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Plato considered beauty to be the Idea (Form) above all other Ideas. 

Plato’s account in the “Symposium” connect beauty to a response of love and desire, but locate beauty itself in the realm of the Forms, and the beauty of particular objects in their participation in the Form.

In this platonic dialogue, beauty is at least as objective as any other concept, or indeed takes on a certain ontological priority as more real than particular Forms: it is a sort of Form of Forms.

Plato maintained that in addition to being able to identify a beautiful person or a beautiful painting, we also have a general conception of Beauty itself.

In other words, the beautiful things we can see are beautiful only because they participate in the more general Form of Beauty. This Form of Beauty is itself invisible, eternal, and unchanging, unlike the things in the visible world that can grow old and lose their beauty. 

The universal elements of beauty according to Aristotle in his book “Metaphysics” are : order, symmetry, and definiteness or determinateness.

In “Poetics” he added another essential, namely, a certain magnitude, it being desirable, for a synoptic and single view of the parts, that the object should not be too large, while clearness of perception requires that it should not be too small.

Aristotle saw a relationship between the beautiful (to kalon) and virtue, arguing that “Virtue aims at the beautiful”.  Aristotle also said that when the good person chooses to act virtuously, he does so for the sake of the “kalon”—a word that can mean “beautiful,” “noble,” or “fine. (Nicomachean Ethics. 1106b5–14)

Aristotle distinguished between the good and the beautiful. The good implies an action or conduct, while the beautiful is found only in motionless objects. “Beauty is a bodily excellence and produces many other good things.” Because “beautiful things are effects of mathematical sciences,” Aristotle viewed beautiful forms to have order, symmetry, and definiteness.

Aristotle says in the Poeticsthat “to be beautiful, a living creature, and every whole made up of parts, must present a certain order in its arrangement of parts” (Aristotle, “Poetics”, volume II, 2322).

Plato and Aristotle both regard beauty as objective in the sense that it is not localized in the response of the beholder

The classical conception is that beauty consists of an arrangement of integral parts into a coherent whole, according to proportion, harmony, symmetry, and similar notions. This is a primordial Western conception of beauty, and is embodied in classical and neo-classical architecture, sculpture, literature, and music wherever they appear.

The Pythagorean school saw a strong connection between mathematics  and beauty. In particular, they noted that objects proportioned according to the golden ratio seemed more attractive.

Ancient Greek Sculpture and Architecture are based on this view of symmetry and proportion.

Classical and Hellenistic sculptures of men and women produced according to the Greek philosophers’ tenets of ideal human beauty were rediscovered in Renaissance Europe, leading to a re-adoption of what became known as a “classical ideal”.

In his book, “Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime” (1764),  Immanuel Kant describes the feeling of the sublime and the feeling of the beautiful.

Some of his examples of feelings of the beautiful are the sight of flower beds, grazing flocks, and daylight.  

As to Kant, they “occasion a pleasant sensation but one that is joyous and smiling.”

Feelings of the sublime are the result of seeing mountain peaks, raging storms, and night. These ones, according to Kant, “arouse enjoyment but with horror”.

Beauty and the sublime can be joined or alternated. Kant claimed that tragedy, for the most part, stirs the feeling of the sublime. Comedy arouses feelings for beauty.

Kant subdivided the sublime into three kinds. The feeling of the terrifying sublime is sometimes accompanied with a certain dread or melancholy. The feeling of the noble sublime is quiet wonder. Feelings of the splendid sublime are pervaded with beauty.

For Kant, judgments of taste rest on something universal in human nature. So, correct judgments of taste, like the capacity to do the morally right thing, are available to all.

Friedrich Nietzsche disputes Kant’s view. He thinks that beauty may be highly personal, elusive, and not universally available, and perhaps is available only to aristocratic souls in unusual enhanced ecstatic experiences.

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►Beauty as it appears in Classical and Hellenistic Greek Sculptures:

►I) Greek Sculptures from the Classic Period (480 / 323 B.C):

During the Classical Period (480 /323 B.C.) the Greek artists replaced the stiff vertical figures of the archaic period with three-dimensional snap shots of figures in action.

While the archaic sculptures appeared static the classical statues held dynamic poses bursting with potential energy.

Figures become sensuous and appear frozen in action; it seems that only a second ago they were actually alive. Faces are given more expression and whole figures strike a particular mood. Clothes too become more subtle in their rendering and cling to the contours of the body in what has been described as “wind-blown”.

The concept of dialectics began to take shape. The world became understood as a series of opposing forces that created a certain synthesis and a transient balance that always shifted to accommodate the movement of the opposing forces. So in sculpture the human figure became understood as a universe of opposing forces which created a perfect aesthetic entity the moment they achieved balance.

It was clear to an artist of the Classical period of Greece that the beauty of the whole depends on the harmony of the parts which comprise it, and that each part depends on the others in order to create a harmonious group.

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Zeus of Artemision. Dated 450 B.C. Found Found in the sea near cape Artemision. National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Zeus of Artemision. Dated 450 B.C. Classical Period. Found Found in the sea near cape Artemision. National Archaeological Museum of Athens.-

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The original 'Doryphorus', or Spear Bearer, done in the style of a Greek school in about 450-40 BC, was probably by Polyclitus. A marble Roman copy pictured, now in the National Museum in Naples, Italy, was modeled on the bronze Greek original.-

‘”Doryphorus”, or Spear Bearer, done in the style of a Greek school in about 450-40 B.C (Classical Period), was probably by Polyclitus. A marble Roman copy pictured, now in the National Museum in Naples, Italy, was modeled on the bronze Greek original.-

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Praxiteles' 'Hermes with the Infant Dionysus' is the only known original by an early Greek master. Unearthed in 1877 at Olympia, Greece, it is in the Olympia Museum. The missing arm probably held a bunch of grapes, toward which the child is reaching.

Praxiteles” “Hermes with the Infant Dionysus'”is the only known original by an early Greek master from the Classical Period. Unearthed in 1877 at Olympia, Greece, it is in the Olympia Museum. The missing arm probably held a bunch of grapes, toward which the child is reaching.-

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►II) Greek Sculptures from the Hellenistic Period (323/31 B.C):

The Hellenistic period begins in 323 with the death of Alexander the Great and ends with the battle of Actio in 31 BC.

During this period, the Idealism of classical art gave way to a higher degree of Naturalism. While the interest in deities and heroic themes was still of importance, the emphasis of Hellenistic art shifted from religious and naturalistic themes towards more dramatic human expression, psychological and spiritual preoccupation, and theatrical settings. The sculpture of this period abandons the self-containment of the earlier styles and appears to embrace its physical surroundings with dramatic groupings and creative landscaping of its context. 

Eroticism gained popularity during this period and statues of Aphrodite, Eros, Satyrs, Dionysus, Pan, and even hermaphrodites are depicted in a multitude of configurations and styles. Statues of female nudes became popular in Hellenistic art and statues of Venus in various poses and attitudes adorn the halls of many museums around the world.-

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 The Nike of Samothrace (Unknown Greek artist) is a 2nd-century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory).  Unknown Greek artist Since 1884, it has been  displayed at the Louvre.-

The Nike of Samothrace (Unknown Greek artist) is a 2nd century B.C (Hellenistic Period) marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory). Unknown Greek artist Since 1884, it has been displayed at the Louvre.-

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“Venus or Aphrodite of Milo”, greek ancient statue of Aphrodite, now in Paris at the Louvre. Carved by Alexandros, a sculptor of Antioch on the Maeander River in about 150 B.C, Hellenistic Period. It was found on the Aegean island of Melos in 1820.-

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Aphrodite (Venus), Pan, and Eros. Circa 100 BC. (Hellenistic Period). National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Found at Delos.-

“Aphrodite (Venus), Pan, and Eros”. Circa 100 B.C. (Hellenistic Period). National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Found at Delos.-

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 ►Ancient Greek Sculpture: 

“The three main periods: Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic”:

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►Last but not least: I would like to thank Maria from The Tropical Flowering Zone for her help as regard to searching the information for this post and for the discussions we had as to the main points on it :D

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►Links Post:
http://lyceumphilosophy.com/?q=node/50
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-aesthetics/
http://public.wsu.edu/~kimander/teraray.htm
http://www.hull.ac.uk/php/465848/HOMEPAGE/PDFs/05_Zangwill_HPQ_30_1.pdf
http://www.1902encyclopedia.com/A/AES/aesthetics-09.html
http://www.greeklandscapes.com/greece/athens_museum_hellenistic.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observations_on_the_Feeling_of_the_Beautiful_and_Sublime

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►Greek Mythology: “Dionysian Mysteries”:

 guarda_griega1_2Cortege Dionysus

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Dionysus is best known in Greek mythology as the god of wine, but he has also been associated with peace, agriculture, law, civilization, and most especially, the theatre. In Thrace he was known as Eleutherios, “the Liberator,” or Liber Pater, “the Free One,” because he freed people through drunken ectasy

The place of origin of the Hellenic Dionysian Mysteries is unknown, but they almost certainly first came to Greece with the importation of wine, which is widely believed to have originated, in the West, around 6000 BC in one of two places, either in the Zagros Mountains (the borderlands of Mesopotamia and Persia, both with their own rich wine culture since then) or from the ancient wild vines on the mountain slopes of Libya / North Africa (the source of early Egyptian wine from around 2500 BC, and home of many ecstatic rites), quite probably from both

Wine probably also entered Greece over land from Asia Minor. But it was most likely in Minoan Crete that the eclectic ‘wine cult’, that would become the Dionysian Mysteries, first emerged

The basic principle beneath the original initiations, other than the seasonal death-rebirth theme supposedly common to all vegetation cults (such as the Osirian, which closely parallels the Dionysian), was one of spirit possession and atavism. This in turn was closely associated with the effects of the wine. The spirit possession involved the invocation of spirits by means of the bull roarer, followed by communal dancing to drum and pipe, with characteristic movements (such as the backward head flick) found in all trance inducing cults.

Unlike many trance cults however, the Dionysian rites were primarily atavistic, that is the participant was possessed by animal spirits and bestial entities, rather than intelligible divinities, and may even “transform into animals”. A practise preserved by the riteof the “goat and panther men” of the “heretical” Aissaoua Sufi cult of North Africa, and remembered in the satyrs and sileni of the Dionysian procession, and perhaps even the “bull man”, or Minotaur, of the chthonic Minoan labyrinth.

The purpose of this atavism is controversial, some see it simply as a Greek saturnalian catharsis, a ritualised release of repressed elements of civilised psychology, and temporary inversion, in order to preserve it, others see it as a return to the “chaotic” sources of being and essentially a reaction against civilisation, while yet others regard it as a magical connection with chthonic powers

In the late 1800s A.D., the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche elaborated the dichotomy Apollonian- Dionysian in his book “The Birth of Tragedy”, arguing that the Apollonian principal corresponded to the principium individuationis, the principal of individualization, a concept coined by German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. This is because rational thought defines and thus compartmentalizes forms into different structures.

Nietzsche rather identified with the Dionysian principal that corresponded to Schopenhauer’s conception of Will, the principal of submerging oneself into a greater whole. Music, drunkenness, dancing, and madness were considered Dionysian characteristics because they apply to the instinctive, chaotic, and ecstatic side of the human mind. 

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“The Initiation Chamber”. Villa of The Mysteries. Pompeii. (79 CE).-

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►”Dyonisiac Frieze, Villa of Mysteries, Pompeii” (In English):

►”Pompeii: Villa dei Misteri” (In Italian):

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•Further Information: “The Villa of the Mysteries” or “Villa dei Misteri” is a well preserved ruin of a Roman Villa which lies some 400 metres northwest of Pompeii, southern Italy.

The Villa is named for the paintings in one room of the residence. This space is decorated with very fine frescoes, dated 79 B.C. Although the actual subject of the frescoes is hotly debated, the most common interpretation of the images is scenes of the initiation of a woman into a special cult of Dionysus, mystery cult  hat required specific rites and rituals to become a member.

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►Gallery: “Dionysian Mysteries”:

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►Links Post:
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/LX/DionysianMysteries.html
http://www.lost-history.com/mysteries.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_of_the_Mysteries
http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/dionysiac-frieze-villa-of-the-mysteries.html
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►Greek Mythology: “The Eleusinian Mysteries”:

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"Proserpine" (three-quarter portrait holding a pomegranate), by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874).-

“Proserpine / Persephone” (three-quarter portrait holding a pomegranate), by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874).-

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The Eleusinian Mysteries are related to a greek religious festival held each year at Eleusis, fourteen miles northwest of Athens. It  was celebrated in honor of the grain and fertility goddess Demeter (whose name means “spelt mother” being “spelt” is a variety of wheat.)

The festivity took place each year, when it was time for the crops to be sown, in the month of Boedromion (September).

It all stems from the myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone

Demeter was the Greek Goddess of the Harvest, while Persephone was the Goddess of  wheats.

The conflict was originated when Hades, God of the Underworld, abducted Persephone and took her down into the underworld. 

After that, Demeter searched the world looking for her daughter, and while doing this, she neglected her duties and let the earth go barren. 

As she couldn’ t find her, she finally decided to rest by a well in the city of Eleusis. 

There, disguised as an old woman, she cared for the queen’s son, baptizing him nightly in fire so that he would be immortal. 

Demeter later on  taught the queen’s son, who was called Triptolemos, the art of agriculture.

As a reward for having protected the prince Triptolemos, eleusian citizens began to build a temple in their city, as a tribute to Demeter.

Demeter’s attempts to find her daughter were in vain. Besides Demeter’s grief, and plants were dried, the crops died and the earth turn out into something sterile

The gods were worried and Zeus, who had witnessed the abduction, finally intervened. 

He did by persuading his brother, Hades to return Persephone to her mother. Hades agreed but before that he made sure to tricked Persephone into eating some pomegranate seeds and, if one ate in the land of the dead, one remained with the dead. 

As she had only eaten some, however, it was agreed she would spend half the year with Hades in the underworld and half with her mother on earth. 

That’s why while Demeter remained on earth with her mother Demeter, she caused the world to be fruitful while when she was in the underworld with Hades, the plants withered and died; thus the seasons were explained.

Another interesting detail is that when Persephone was abducted by Hades in the underworld, her name was changed to Kore. When she emerged from the underworld she recovered her original name,  Persephone (“she who brings doom”).-

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•The Ceremonies: The Mysteries began with the march of the mystai (initiates) in solemn procession from Athens to Eleusis. The rites that they then performed in the Telesterion, or Hall of Initiation, were and remain a secret. 

Those who were to be initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries had to go through preliminary rites of purification and instruction before they would be allowed to participate in the final revelations at Eleusis. 

 The mysteries were divided into the Lesser and Greater mysteries.  

The Lesser mysteries were preparatory to the Greater, involving purifications and perhaps some instruction or other rites, and they were celebrated near Athens,  in the month of Anthesterion (March).

The initial stages involved physical rites which were preparatory for the spiritual rites at Eleusis  After a series of further ritual actions, the initiate was ready for the myesis, the first level of initiation.

The Greater Mysteries began on 14th Boedromion (September/October), when the “sacred things,” carried in baskets, were brought from Eleusis to Athens by the Eleusinian priestesses escorted by epheboi (young Athenians of military age).  The following day, the hierophant opened the festival, making an announcement (prorrhesis) that those “who are not of pure hands or speak an incomprehensible tongue,” that is, those stained by human blood and non-Greek speaking barbarians, were not permitted to participate.  Other than these exclusions, anyone–including slaves, foreigners, men and women–could participate in the mysteries. A procession, named the Sacred Way , began at Athens on the morning of 19th of Boedromion and ended that evening in Eleusis.

Priestesses brought back the sacred things, with a procession of dancing and chanting initiates, perhaps almost in state of ecstasy

Only the initiates were allowed to proceed further into the cult area, which was dedicated to Hades.  The mysteries took place in the Telestrion, a large building which could hold a few thousand people.  The only ones permitted to enter were the mystai, those entering for the first time, and the epoptai, for whom it would be at least their second experience.

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•Literary Sources and Philosophical Notes:

The mythical basis for many of the mystery rites are accounted for in the “Hymn to Demeter”, which is part of the Homeric Hymns collection of poems

Those ones are thirty-three anonymous ancient greek Hymns celebrating individual gods. The hymns are “Homeric” in the sense that they employ the same epic meter as “the Iliad, use many similar formulas and are couched in the same dialect.

In Plato’s dialogue “The Symposium” he overtly establishes an analogy to the mysteries at Eleusis near the end of Diotima’s speech (as relayed by Socrates), when he has her say that “even you, Socrates, could probably come to be initiated [myētheiēs] into these rites of love [erōtika].  But as for the purpose of these rites when they are done correctly–that is the final and highest mystery” (209e-210a). 

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“Blessed is the mortal on earth who has seen these rites / But the uninitiated who has no share in them never / Has the same lot once dead in the dreary darkness”. (“Hymn To Demeter”. Lines 480/482).-

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 ►Gallery: “The Eleusinian Mysteries, held  in honor of the grain and fertility goddess Demeter”:

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Triptolemos.-

Triptolemos.-

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►Links Post:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleusinian_Mysteries
http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/32/
http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/hymns/index.php?page=eleusis
http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/EleusiniosTriptolemos.html
http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/O28.2.html
http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/ebm/ebm05.htm#page_31
http://www.lsu.edu/artsci/groups/voegelin/society/2005%20Papers/Steven%20McGuire.shtml

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►Greek Mythology:

“Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest / Persephone, Queen of the Underworld”:

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"Persephone and Demeter Reunite" by Frederic Leighton, (1891).-

“Persephone and Demeter Reunite” by Frederic Leighton, (1891).-

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Demeter (Roman equivalent: Ceres) is often described as the greek goddess of the harvest, but she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death.

She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries of the Olympian pantheon.

Demeter’s greatest gifts to humankind were agriculture, particularly of cereals, and the Mysteries which give the initiate higher hopes in this life and the afterlife.

These two gifts were intimately connected in Demeter’s myths and mystery cults. In Homer’s “Odyssey” she is the blond-haired goddess who separates the chaff from the grain. Demeter’s emblem is the poppy.

Demeter’s virgin daughter was called Persephone (Roman equivalent: Proserpine) .

Zeus’s was not only Demeter’s father  but also Persephone, Poseidon and Hades‘ brother.

In one ocassion, Persephone was abducted to the underworld by Hades.

Demeter searched for her for nine days and nights, preoccupied with her loss.

The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes  to the underworld to bring Persephone back.

Hades agreed to release her, but gave her a pomegranate. When she ate the pomegranate seeds, she was bound to him for one part of the year, either the dry Mediterranean summer, when plant life is threatened by drought, or the autumn and winter. This myth explains the yearly cycle of growth, harvest, and winter. Persephone is related here to the sprouting seeds of springtime.

After her abduction by Hades she became his wife and Queen of the Underworld, six months of each year. The mint and pomegranate is sacred to her.

Persephone raised Aphrodite’s child Adonis. She was also known as Kore, “the Maiden”.∼

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"The rape of Proserpina" by Hans von Aachen (1586).-

“The rape of Proserpina” by Hans von Aachen (1586).-

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►Gallery: “Persephone, Demeter and Other Godess of the Underworld”:

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On the left: Greek Goddess Demeter. Roman equivalent: Ceres On The right: Greek Goddess Persephone. Roman equivalent:  Proserpine.-

On the left: Greek Goddess Demeter. Roman equivalent: Ceres
On The right: Greek Goddess Persephone. Roman equivalent: Proserpine.-

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emether, Persephone and Adonis (Aphrodite' son, who was raised by Persephone).-

Demether, Persephone and Adonis (Aphrodite’ son, who was raised by Persephone).-

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►Links Post:
http://gogreece.about.com/cs/mythology/a/blmythdemeter.htm
 http://gogreece.about.com/cs/mythology/a/mythpersephone.htm
http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/grecoromanmyth1/g/persephone.htm
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomegranate
http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/demeterceresmyth/a/demeterbrothers.htm
http://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Persephone/persephone.html
http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/tools/dictionary.php?regexp=PERSEPHONE&method=standard

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►Last but not Least: Three Awards: 

I) Mi amiga blogger Bella@Espíritu desde su blog homónimo me ha nominado para un Premio Dardos. Mil Gracias, Bella  :P

►Aquí están las reglas del Premio:

1) Ubicar el logo del Premio Dardos en el blog.

2) Nominar a otros quince (15) bloggers, enlazando a sus respectivos blogs e informándolos de la nominación.

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Premio Dardos.-

Premio Dardos.-

Mis quince (15) nominados para este premio son:

1. Literariedad 2. Cronopia vacía 3. El Mundo de Timeo 4. La gran belleza 5. La piedra translatofal 6. Rafael Carpintero 7. Ivan Ortíz 8. Dinelia 9. Jaque al arte 10. Deimos y Phobos 11. Yakuza Webzine 12. Fiore Rouge 13. Pensamientos complejos 14. Variedad Asimétrica 15. Diario de un  perdedor.

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II) Dinelia from “Palabras sosegadas” nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks a lot, Dinelia :D

►Here are the Award Rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Liebster Award logo on her/his blog.

2) The nominee shall nominate ten (10)  bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

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Versatile Blogger Award.-

Versatile Blogger Award.-

And these are my ten (10) nominees for this award:

1. Elizabeth Melton Parsons 2. Inesemjphotography 3. Shehanne Moore 4. Enrico Garrou 5. 6. Teagan’s books 7. Stockreserach52’s blog 8. En Humor Arte 9. Autumn of Life 10. yabakientelbaki

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III) My blogger friend Inese from “Inesemjphotography” nominated for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Thank you dear Inese :)

►Here are the Award Rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Liebster Award logo on her/his blog.

2) The nominee shall nominate ten (10)  bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award.-

Very Inspiring Blogger Award.-

►My ten (10) nominees for this award are:

1. Author Miranda Stone 2. Bella@Espíritu 3. Margaret Lynette Sharp 4. The Journal of Wall Grimm 5. Behind the white coat 6. Life in Kawagoe 7. Espace perso Monick 8. Tales of Love and Life 9. Marie Jeanne 10. Acasadisimi 

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Thanks for dropping by. Best wishes to everyone, Aquileana :D

thankyou

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