War, Love, and Victory: From Ishtar to Aphrodite to Venus

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Dr. Stephanie Budin, Adjunct Associate Professor of the Department of History at University of Oregon, will present a complimentary illustrated lecture on April 5 at 7:30 p.m in the Paulus Lecture Hall at the Willamette University College of Law. 

In the ancient world, it was not uncommon for deities to transfer and be adopted as well as adapted by neighboring cultures. Today, we readily recognize how the Romans looked to ancient Greece and borrowed and translated Aphrodite, the goddess of love, into Venus. But how far back do Aphrodite’s roots go? According to Budin, they go back over several thousand years to the ancient Near Eastern goddess of war, love and fertility—Ishtar.

Budin will focus on how the aspects of sexuality and belligerence played out for each of these individual goddesses. As the evidence will show, her warrior-like qualities declined considerably by the time she reached Greece, but revived with the Roman Venus Victrix—Venus of Victory!

John Olbrantz, the Maribeth Collins Director of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art says, “This lecture is especially timely as archaeologists struggle in the Middle East to regain and protect important archaeological sites such as Palmyra. These sites and ancient cultures represent the birthplace of Western civilization and our concept of cities, writing, literature, schools, laws, religion and so much more.”

Budin received her Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of Pennsylvania. She has spent time at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens as well as the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem. As a scholar, Budin has published numerous articles and books exploring how the ancient Near East has influenced the classical world.

This event is cosponsored by the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and the Department of Art History at Willamette University. Additional support has been provided by the Department of Classics, Religion and the Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology at Willamette University, as well as the Salem Chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America.

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