HISTORY

Venus and Aphrodite: A Biography of Desire

Basic: Perseus. Sept. 2020. 208p. ISBN 9781541674233. $26. HIST
COPY ISBN
Quick paced, insightful, and often times humorous, this newest work by Hughes (history, New Coll. of the Humanities; Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities) is an approachable look at the ancient legacy of the goddess, Aphrodite-Venus. The author provides an impressive exploration of over 4,000 years of human history, as well as the relationship between the goddess and the collective human psyche. From Syria through the Greek islands, and south into Egypt, the journey of the goddess can be traced through prehistory and ancient history all the way to contemporary popular culture, as people continue to use her as a guide to understand the world around them. Hughes asserts that Aphrodite-Venus was, and continues to be, a symbol for humanity’s relationship with sex, violence, power, and religion all wrapped up into this complex figure of feminine divinity. Even as her image changed to merge with other iconic figures, such as the Virgin Mary, and as various religious leaders tried to tarnish her memory for political gain, Aphrodite-Venus has not left the collective imagination. As Hughes notes, she continues to inspire generations of intellectuals and artists of all genres.
VERDICT A lively work recommended for both researchers and casual readers with an interest in prehistory, ancient history, anthropology, religion, and popular culture.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month