CIPS Ltd. Publishing
Cyprus is the island of Aphrodite – but is there anybody who can still regale us with the tales of glory that the goddess of love once brought to the country? In ancient times Pafos was once known as the other “navel of the world”, sharing the title with Delphi, which had its own oracle who was equally as powerful. In Delphi, Apollo was revered, whilst in Cyprus, Aphrodite was the deity who was worshipped by all. The goddess of love was honoured with a festival called Aphrodisia that was dedicated to her and held from 1st to 3rd of April every year. Thus the people celebrated the awakening of nature, fertility, love – and sexuality. This last aspect of the divine ceremonies was slowly forgotten over the centuries – until now.
A Fusion of Art and Eroticism
Christiane Sternberg (the author) and David Selwood (the artist) resurrect the celebrations of the Aphrodisia with wit and frivolous charm in a graphic novel. On this amusing journey through ancient Pafos, the reader encounters the inhabitants of Roman villas, the goddess of love in her bath in Latsi, Zeus as a lover in Geroskipou, a performance of the epic poem, Kypria, at the Odeon, a living oracle at the Temple, sacrificial ceremonies, divine mysteries and the temple itself in all its splendour and beauty.
The story interweaves fact and fantasy to enthral the reader with the ancient world. The lovingly hand-drawn images are an opulent tribute to the zest of life and love’s joy of ancient Cypriots and their guests.
What is going on?
It is the year 217 in ancient Cyprus and time for the Aphrodisia. Paphos is drunk with excitement, it is where humans and gods will celebrate the orgiastic festival together in honour of the goddess of love. She has her hands full whilst trying to reunite two lovers and keep Adonis satisfied at the same time. Zeus comes to earth to enjoy himself but Hera thwarts his adulterous plans. Melania is initiated into the mysteries of love and Orestes rescues her from a life as an hetaera. Meanwhile, very holy and unholy acts are taking place at the temple of Aphrodite …
And so it begins
Pilgrims from all over the world arrive in Paphos to worship the goddess. All around them there is a roar from gamblers and tradesmen who offer their goods for sale; small harbour brothels promise visitors a good time; some self-declared tourist guides scream at the top of their lungs, claiming to know the shortest way to the temple. At midnight the opening ceremony of the Aphrodisia – the old feast of love and lust where even the gods go mad – will begin …