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Abductions by Goddesses

June 30, 2013

There are numerous examples of abductions of men by Goddesses in mythology such as Aphrodite and Anchises, Eos and Caphalus and Circe and Odysseus. Abduction in a modern context is threatening, violent and cruel. However, in ancient Greece abduction in myth would likely not have been seen as such.

The abduction of a mortal man by a Goddess appears to be romanticised and non violent. Representations on pottery appear to demonstrate that no struggle had taken place and a desire for the attention. The following links are two such examples:

Eos and Tithonos

Eos and Caphalus

In these representations Eos is taking the man in a firm grasp, their eyes meet and although the action of the male is walking away they still appear to be drawn to the Goddess. However, unlike the women desired by the Gods, mortal men are regularly punished for their sexual activity with Goddesses; for example Tithonos was granted immortality without eternal youth. Pomeroy (1994:10) argues that this represents a double standard between the Gods and Goddesses. It is possible that the double standard is reflective of society and these representations were intended to demonstrate the negative side of female sexuality. On the other hand, making such an assumption may result in a more profound meaning being missed (Lefkowitz, 2007:81). I believe that representations of abductions by Goddesses may in part have been intended to remind those who viewed it of their power and the honour of being desired by an immortal. Lefkowitz (2007:81) suggests that such vases may have been given as presents at weddings because the abduction scenes were seen as romantic. This is likely because the myths are non violent and there appears to be a romantic connection between the figures.


Lefkowitz, M. Women in Greek Myth London: Duckworth, 2007.

Pomeroy, S. Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves Women in Classical Antiquity London: Pimlico, 1994.


From → Women in Myth

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