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Temple of Aphrodite

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Temple of Aphrodite

Post  AgathonZante on Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:28 pm

If I were to walk into a Temple of Aphrodite in ancient Greece, what are some things I might see in terms of devotion and things that symbolize and/or are gifts to the Goddess? In other words, decorations, statues, and symbols - as well as rites of worship and their tools.

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Re: Temple of Aphrodite

Post  Erodius on Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:38 pm

Inside a temple?

A central cult image, possibly flanked by other aediculae. There would likely be votive plaques and tokens attached to walls and even hung from the ceiling and pillars. Temples had no windows, and were only dimly lit by oil burning candelabrae (candles were still rare at this time). As such, the interior of a temple would have been fairly dark. Incense would have been kept burning almost continuously, so it would also have been fairly smoky inside as well.

Worship occurred outside the temple, on the altar, usually centered on the steps or in the front courtyard of the temple. The temple itself is the dwelling place of the deity's presence, akin to the Holy Place in the Jewish temple. Unless you had a private petition or offering to make, you would only occasionally have actually *entered* a temple.

In addition, temple priests were usually (not always, but usually) part time. As such, they had other jobs. Unlike what we may consider normal today, temples in Antiquity were often closed. That is, they had hours of operation, and were sometimes closed for days or even weeks at a time.

Some contracts for temple priests give evidence of this, stating a certain number of days per month where the priest had to be present at the temple and open it up for sacrifices and for the devotees.

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