By Barbara Breitenberger
An interdisciplinary research of the Archaic period--using literary, iconographical, and cultic evidence--shows the exact notion at the back of the 2 deities of affection. Aphrodite's personality, sphere of impression, and serve as characteristic in her conventional myths and are good mirrored in cult.
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Besides, there are later sources which provide aitia in order to explain this strange phenomenon. Lactantius (Inst. 1,20,29-32) tells why the statue of Ἀϕροδίτη ’ΕνόπλιοϚ was erected. While the Spartans were besieging Messene, a part of the Messenian army slunk away and attacked Sparta. In order to defend their city, the Spartan women armed themselves and fought successfully against the enemy. When the Spartans realized that part of the Messenian army had disappeared, they sent their soldiers after them; these then attacked their own womenfolk, assuming they were Messenians.
Given this, it seems only natural that she is also considered as the patroness of those who are actually in charge of it: the executives of civic harmony. This new phenomenon being a consequence of the goddess’s political function may throw light on how the political aspect of Aphrodite is to be interpreted. In the same way in which she keeps the people united in a kind concord, she is responsible for friendly harmony among the magistrates and their relationship with the people they govern. Usually they make their dedications as a whole magisterial college.
Aphrodite & Eros: The Development of Erotic Mythology in Early Greek Poetry and Cult by Barbara Breitenberger