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Anchises and Aphrodite Panel

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Anchises and Aphrodite Panel
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Photo Comments

The Trojan shepherd Anchises gazes at the seated Aphrodite, his lover for one night on Mount Ida.  She holds a small Eros on her lap: this is an erotic encounter.  The head of Selene (Moon) appears above the mountain rocks: she indicates night-time.  It was from this union that Aeneas (founder of Rome), featured in the next panel was born. (from the description of the panel in the Museum of Aphrodisias).

The first three reliefs on the Sebasteion tell the story of the Trojan hero Aeneas, son of Aphrodite: (2) his divine conception, (2) his flight fro Troy with his son Iulus, and (3) his arrival in Italy.  Aphrodite, Aeneas, and Iulus were the forebears of the Julian family in Rome, the family of August. (from the description of the panel in the Museum of Aphrodisias).

The reconstruction of the Sebasteion places this panel as the first one on the front side of the middle story—nearest the temple.


The Sebasteion was a complex of structures that served as a municipal imperial cult sanctuary.  It was dedicated to Aphrodite, the main deity of Aphrodisias, and to the "gods Sebastoi"—that is to the "August Ones," namely Julius Caesar and his successors.  Local elite persons built it to solidify their ties with Rome.  Its construction began during the reign of Tiberius and continued into the reign of Nero.