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Author Topic: Syncretism of Aphrodite and Persephone  (Read 612 times)

Eastling

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Syncretism of Aphrodite and Persephone
« on: August 28, 2017, 03:33:28 pm »
I've been working heavily with Dionysos since late April 2016, and much of this has involved seeking a goddess who claims to be as much his "other half" as his bride or wife. My initial instinct was to seek out Ariadne, and I still sometimes call this Power by that name for simplicity, but she's proven to be much more complicated than that.

Eventually, my research of ancient Greek religion started turning up hints that who I was looking for was a syncretism of Aphrodite and Persephone who alternately took on the role of mother and wife to Dionysos. Here and there, I've seen references to this kind of syncretism existing in ancient Hellenismos--there is a seminal paper by Christine Sourvinou-Inwood, for instance, going into detail on how Aphrodite and Persephone seemed to "meet at the intersection of death and sexuality" (wording courtesy of B.C. Maclachlan, "Love, War and the Goddess in Fifth-Century Locri") at one specific cult site. I could also plausibly buy that Orphism carried this identification forward, as the Orphics rarely seem to have mentioned Ariadne or Semele at all, but specified Persephone as Dionysos's mother and Aphrodite as his "companion" and the mother of at least one of his children. And Dionysian myth is, to use more modern Classics-inspired terminology, pretty damn Oedipal.

A number of sources I've read, though, simply seem to take it for granted that the worship of Aphrodite and Persephone was deeply intertwined in Hellenic religion. Ultimately I've had a difficult time finding good research on this identification.

Does anyone else have experiences working with this particular syncretism, or links that provide more information?
"The peacock can show its whole tail at once, but I can only tell you a story."
--JAMES ALAN GARDNER

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