The Birth of Aphrodite

Birth of Aphrodite
The Birth of Aphrodite, from the front panel of the Ludovisi Throne, c. 460 BC: Newly born Aphrodite, rising from the foam of the sea, is greeted by the Horae ("Hours"), goddesses of the Seasons. Despite its name, the Ludovisi Throne is probably part of an altar.

I will sing of stately Aphrodite, gold-crowned and beautiful, whose dominion is the walled cities of all sea-set Cyprus. There the moist breath of the western wind wafted her over the waves of the loud-moaning sea in soft foam, and there the gold-filleted Hours welcomed her joyously. They clothed her with heavenly garments: on her head they put a fine, well-wrought crown of gold, and in her pierced ears they hung ornaments of orichalc and precious gold, and adorned her with golden necklaces over her soft neck and snow-white breasts, jewels which the gold-filleted Hours wear themselves whenever they go to their father's house to join the lovely dances of the gods. And when they had fully decked her, they brought her to the gods, who welcomed her when they saw her, giving her their hands. Each one of them prayed that he might lead her home to be his wedded wife, so greatly were they amazed at the beauty of violet-crowned Cytherea.

Homeric Hymn VI. Trans. H.G. Evelyn-White. For Sandro Botticelli's version of the Birth of Venus, click here (off-site).


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