Paper Sample on Greek Mythology: The Greek Goddesses Aphrodite and Athena

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The Greek architecture experienced several noteworthy changes throughout the classical period. The architectural modification created in the Late Classical age allowed for the experimentation of how the architecture defined space. Two of the most notable creations of art by the Greek architects were the Greek Goddesses Athena and Aphrodite. The work of many great world artists has clearly depicted the role of the two goddesses using sculptures representing the characteristics of the two. For example, in all the artistic images Athena is always clothed to show the vow her Artemis and Hestia had made of remaining virgins (Higgs 248). On the contrary, Aphrodite is always drawn nude which could be associated with her being regarded as the patron to prostitutes.

The Greek Goddess Aphrodite

Aphrodite, the Goddess of beauty and love, was born from the Paphos waters from foam on Cyprus Island. The Homers claim that Aphrodite is the daughter of Dione and Zeus. Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus by Zeus to prevent the outbreak of war between the gods because of her beauty. The Greek Goddess Aphrodite has for a long time inspired more works beyond what other personages from the classical mythology have achieved. The existence of the Aphrodite has continued even in the postclassical period for the themes of profane love and that of sacred. The way the artistic representation of the Goddess Aphrodite has depicted ranges differently from time to time though some characteristics are the same (Roccos, Linda & John 86). During the pre-Greek era, sculptures originating from the islands of Aegean were given the title "Venus" or "Aphrodite" which emphasized the sexual attributes for the females.

The Archaic Greek art of the Aphrodite illustrated clothed either seated, standing or riding a chariot or a swan. Later the Goddess Aphrodite was represented as nude in statues. The most famous of the sculptures is the Venus of Cnidos designed by Praxiteles during mid- the fourth century B.C. another type of the Venus Goddess was half- draped statue originating from Melos and famously known as the Venus de Milo which currently is in Paris. The original sculpture was also done by Praxiteles. A third design of the nude statue was by Doidalsas during the 200 B.C. and has a Roman copy which is now in France (Shamas 94). The above statues have had a significant role in inspiring many postclassical works of art.

Facts Regarding Aphrodite

The ancient Greek studies describe many facts about the goddess Aphrodite. According to the studies, Aphrodite was the love, fertility, and beauty goddess. Two mythical stories are illustrating her birth where one claims she the daughter of Zeus and Dione while the other claims that she rose from the sea. She usually glided through the air by the use of a swan-drawn. Aphrodite had her enchantments contained her girdle. Prostitutes from the early days regarded her as their patron since she was the love Goddess. Trojan Anchises was one her mortal lover with whom they conceived Aeneas (Shamas 95). Throughout the time of the Trojan War, she fought in support of Paris. The worship of Aphrodite was mainly in Corinth. Ancient Greek art portrayed Aphrodite as nude, and she became the model for well- known Venus de Milo.

The Graces

The Venus of Urbino created in Florence in the year 1538 was another significant representation of the Aphrodite. The most famous companions of the Aphrodite in classical art were the Graces who were represented as three young women, but unlike the others, the Graces were clothed, and they showed on the Zeus statue at Olympia. In Rome, similar paintings that were from Pompeii showed the women being naked and also linked together which became a very popular pose with most of the postclassical artists (Higgs 485). The most famous were the one done by Rubens in Madrid in 1635 commonly known as The Three Graces.

The Greek Goddess Athena

The Athena is described as the "Warrior Goddess of Wisdom" as was regarded as the principal goddess of Athens. The city was named Athens after her due to the outcomes of the contest of the Goddess with Poseidon. Athena also known as Minerva and Artemis (Diana) share one major feature in common in that both are under oath to virginity with no sexual interactions meaning that the two are a symbol of the divine purity of youthful women before they commit to marriage. Athena was the goddess of power and strength with virtue but never took part in the powerful god Ares' war even though she was recognized with her weapons and armor (Hurwit 4).

Athena represented the goddess for many things such as courage, wisdom, civilization, inspiration, strategic warfare, strength, justice, law, crafts, strategy, the art, skill, and mathematics. Athena is famously known for her calculated power during the war the reason she is always depicted as a companion to heroes and a patron to the goddess of brave endeavors. She had no mother and was born from Zeus fully grown (Hurwit 5).

Facts regarding Athena

Ancient Greek stories describe Athena as the goddess of war and the female companion of Ares. With no mother, Athena sprang from the head of Zeus fully grown and armored, and she was his favorite child. She was a ruthless and fierce warrior and also angry and unforgiving. During the Trojan War, it is narrated that she walloped Ajax with lunacy. She earned the title "the City Goddess" due to the way she protected the civilized life. Some sources praise her for how generous and compassionate (Strolonga 16). She was also the crafts and arts patron especially in weaving and spinning. Athena owned the olive tree and the owl, and she is one of the virgin goddesses with Artemis and Hestia. She is credited with inventing the flute though she had the chance to play the musical instrument. There are ancient Greek narrations that associate Athena with helping Hercules in driving the Stymphalian birds away (Trigger 122). The Trojans were protected by Palladium, the sacred craft of Athena created using wood.

The Basic representation and Ch1aracteristics of the goddess Athena

The primary characteristic of the goddess Athena included her inviolable virginity. The first representation of the Goddess Athena is the classical Athens coin which has a face of Athena on one surface. The other side contains her symbolic bird and the famous wise owl. The another famous image is the relief sculpture also from the traditional period which is commonly referred to as "Mourning Athena" mostly intended as a representation of a tombstone. Another image of the goddess Athena is the red figure vase painting that shows Athena with Herakles who is credited for advising other great heroes and helping them during their big challenges (Strolonga 14). Lastly, the final image of Athena is the Botticelli's painting of Athena subduing a centaur.

One of the most famous memorials from the old Greece is the Parthenon which was Athena's main temple found in her town of Athens. The monument is located in Acropolis, a large hill. The first photographic representation is the high picture of Acropolis and close to its center is the Parthenon and while the entrance is to the lower left of the Acropolis and is called the Propylaea. The second painting was done by Leo Von Klenze, a German artist, back in the year 1846. The painting has a ground level outlook, and the buildings are re-established to their novel appearances (Trigger 122). On the left side of the Acropolis is the bronze statue of the goddess Athena called the Athena Promachos. The third artistic image is by Gorham P. Stevens that represented the west end of the famous Parthenon. Created in 1938, the image was formed from a similar perspective as the currently restored photograph.

Conclusion

In summary, the two goddesses; Athena and Aphrodite usually take most of the attention of the history of the ancient Greeks. The two were goddesses representing different attributes. Athena represents many things when compared to Aphrodite. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, civilization, law and justice, courage, and inspiration among other things. On the other hand, Aphrodite is the goddess symbolic of beauty and love and she is mostly represented by nude images. Athena represented virgins the reason she is always clothed in sculptures.

Works Cited

Higgs, Peter. "John Boardman. Greek Sculpture: The Late Classical Period. 248 Pages,

247 Illustrations. 1995. London: Thames & Hudson; 0-500-20285-0 Paperback 6.95.". Antiquity, vol 70, no. 268, 1996, pp. 484-486. Cambridge University Press (CUP), doi:10.1017/s0003598x00083599.

Hurwit, Jeffrey M. The Athenian Acropolis: history, mythology, and archaeology from

the Neolithic era to the present. CUP Archive, 1999.Roccos, Linda Jones and John Boardman. "Greek Sculpture: The Late Classical Period

And Sculpture In Colonies And Overseas". The Classical World, vol 92, no. 1, 1998, p. 86. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/4352230.

Shamas, Laura. "Aphrodite And Ecology: The Goddess Of Love As Nature

Archetype". Ecopsychology, vol 1, no. 2, 2009, pp. 93-97. Mary Ann Liebert Inc, doi:10.1089/eco.2009.0004.

Strolonga, Polyxeni. "Aphrodite Against Athena, Artemis, And Hestia A Contest Of

Erga". Illinois Classical Studies, no. 37, 2012, pp. 1-20. University Of Illinois Press, doi:10.5406/illiclasstud.37.0001.

Trigger, Bruce G. "Brown Athena: A Postprocessual Goddess? Black Athena: The Afroasiatic

Roots Of Classical Civilization. Vol. 1. The Fabrication Of Ancient Greece 1785-1985. Martin Bernal Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots Of Classical Civilization. Vol. 2. The Archaeological And Documentary Evidence. Martin Bernal". Current Anthropology, vol 33, no. 1, 1992, pp. 121-123. University Of Chicago Press, doi:10.1086/204042.

 

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