Secondly, Aphrodite who is the embodiment of sexual attraction and deep affection originally this was the powerful force of creation. In the patriarchal framework of Greek myth, she is reduced to nothing more than a flirt or a mistress. Despite her youthful appearance, Aphrodite is an ancient mighty deity who is associated with the waters of life due to her birth from sea foam. Yet, more interesting is her union with Ares shows the intriguing dynamics of love and war. Whenever, Aphrodite wishes to get something, she much like Helen uses her beauty and sense of sexuality to roll men around her finger.

Yet, this sense of allure and pure sexuality also makes her an easy target for objectification. In the framework of the Iliad Aphrodite works through her marionets of Helen and even Hera herself. This marionet show is in full swing when she uses Helen to get information out of the Trojans, yet the village elders are completely unaware that this beautiful maiden may be nothing more than a marionet.

Rather than blaming the conflict on the god’s intervention they simply claim it to be a question of beauty:

Surely there is no blame on Trojans and strong-grieved Achaeans / if for long time they suffer hardship for a woman like this one.

From this we can gather that these elders are simply fascinated by her immense grace, elegance and danger. Indeed, they cannot blame Paris for taking this bribe from Aphrodite. In the same fashion, Aphrodite helps Hera seducing her husband by lending her girdle to her.

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As a divine being, Aphrodite has often been linked to the Semitic goddess of love, Ishtar, who was worshipped in Ancient Mesopotamia. They were alike in more ways than one, for example both were associated with the intriguing dynamic of love and war. How come, this dynamic is related to women in these ancient religions may it be because even then women were seen as dangerous. Or may it be because, like Sappho, they argue that desire is always a component of war. Then there is question of whether or women really are the weaker sex or is it simply do to their religious focus being more in a matriarchal vain than the much later move to a stronger emphasis on the patriarch. This remains to be seen. When it comes to titles, Aphrodite has to title of Heavenly (Urania) while Ishtar has the honour of being the Queen of Heaven. In continuation of this, worshippers often used incense sticks to honour them and the sacrifice of doves were common as well. Moreover, many an ancient text argue that Ishtar especially was associated with sacred prostitution which archaeologists along with experts in the field has found to be inaccurate. In regard to Aphrodite and her centres of worship there have also been accounts of priests reading erotica and some claiming that prostitution took place at her temple. A much-published example is that of the Corinthian athlete Xenophon who had won two disciplines at the Olympics in 464 BC with the help of Aphrodite. In this deal he had promised to dedicate a handful of escorts to her as a thanks. This renowned exchange was immortalised in Pindar’s Fragment 122:

Young woman visited by many, / attendants of Persuasion in wealthy Corinth, / who burn the fresh, amber drops of frankincense often fluttering in thought to the mother of loves, / Ouranian Aphrodite. / To you without blame she granted…

Based on this, one may argue that there was a fragment of the professional who sold themselves in order to keep their promise to Aphrodite if they achieved what they wished. If one look past Helen’s circumstances one may even argue the she herself became a lady of the night in order to appease Aphrodite. Thus, if one should look at Helen in this matter one should also look past her familiar bond her and the goddess of love share and thus her advantages in terms of seduction and manipulation. This may also attempt to explain her twisted relationship with her captures brother.

Thirdly, there is Athena who is the incarnation of wisdom of the Great Goddess since she was born from Zeus head this makes the great combination of the male archetype with the softness of the female. She also finds her own place within the world of men. At first her approach seems to be quite respectable. She is one of the greatest war goddesses in the Iliad, second only to Zeus himself, thus she has placed herself far above her brother Ares, who represents her male counterpart. Additionally, she is quickly being established as a defender of cities, most notable Athens, which makes her an urban deity who concerns herself with technology and culture of middle earth. Above all, she should be seen as a magnificent manager, this side to Athena is especially prevalent in times of war. This depiction of her is particularly interesting since she is not associated with chaos but rather strategy and discipline. Her strong focus on strategy, discipline and above all democracy is greatly emphasised when she motivates the Greeks to keep fighting.

Son of La?rtes and seed of Zeus, resourceful Odysseus: / will it be this way? / Will you all hurl yourself into your Benched ships / and take flight homewards to the beloved land of your fathers, / and would you thus leave to Priam and to the Trojans Helen of Argos, / to glory over, for whose sake many Achaians lost their lives in Troy / far from their own native country? / Go now along the host of the Athaians, give way no longer, / speak to each man in words of gentleness and draw them backwards, / nor let them drag down to the salt sea their oarswept vessels

Here, one sees a back and forth between Athena and Odysseus where Athene herself admits that it is Odysseus ability to manipulate, she is interesting in. Plus, she uses his hunger for glory to point out why the Achaemenians should keep fighting. Another reason why she thinks they should keep fighting is to honour those men whom they lost instead of running home with their tails between their legs. Moreover, it is often through her aggressive masculine stances she exercises her power if not through words as seen in her empowerment speech to Odysseus. In both literature and art, she is depicted as a fearsome warrior this is also the case in the Iliad where she is one of many intervening in the war. On the battlefield she flies through the Greeks ranks bellowing war-cries to motivate them to go on. She has a finger in everything happening on the battlefield, from grabbing chariots, guiding spears into the chests of the enemy to fending off Trojan weapons with her bare hands. It is said that the mere sight of her golden helmet, enormous spear and flapping aiges strikes terror into her opponents. When she intervenes the Trojans die like flies, not even the noble Hector can hide from her. The greatest example of this is arguably the time when he is talked into fighting Achilleus. In this scene Athena plays the role of his brother to perfection by offering ‘his’ assistance. When Hector then agrees to fight, she only intervenes to hand back Achilleus his spear after a mis-throw after this she leaves Hector to face the music. Respect for fair play is not the warrior maiden’s strong suit though. Finally, while the grey-eyed Athena may have a great past as a matriarchal warrior goddess, despite this mighty history it is completely erased by her connection with the patriarch and thus her strength is purely derived from the patriarch himself rather than playing on her feminine nature. She has thus become more masculine in her appearance and manner, and thus being described as a lady driven by reasoning and intellect. Therefore, one may argue that she has lost her sense of the feminine by trading it for masculine brutality. Upon this one may suggest that she has neglected her roots in the feminine and more extremely her origin as a maternal figure.

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AA. (2019, Dec 14). Retrieved from

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