“Visiting Gods” Revisited. Aphrodite Visiting Artemis, or Bride?

In: Hellenistic and Roman Terracottas
Author: Arthur Muller

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According to the traditional identification of several terracotta types, Aphrodite is a common “visitor” in sanctuaries of other gods. But the examination of attitudes and attributes, reinforced by parallels with more explicit scenes in vase painting, suggests a reinterpretation of these figurines and protomai in the sanctuaries of Artemis in Thasos and Epidamnos-Dyrrhachion. They represent in fact mortal women, more specifically brides, even when an erotic character underlines the iconographic assimilation with Aphrodite. The dedication of these terracottas to Artemis, guarantor of the passage from the status of parthenos to that of nymphe, ensured divine protection for the young bride.


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