Russian archaeologists unearth 2100-Year-Old Medallion of Greek Goddess Aphrodite

Medallion of Aphrodite 1 min

Russian Archaeologists have unearthed a silver medallion depicting the Greek goddess Aphrodite (Roma Venüs) in a 2100-year-old grave of a priestess on the northeast coast of the Black Sea.

The unique medallion depicts ten rather than the known twelve signs of the zodiac and provides insight into religious practices at the time of its creation.

In the opinion of archaeologists, the discovery raises the possibility that the buried woman was an Aphrodite priestess, the goddess of beauty and love. The rings, silver earrings, and other grave goods dedicated to the goddess led to these conclusions.

The grave is among several unique finds unearthed this summer at a site near the shore of the Taman Peninsula in southern Russia, east of the Crimean Peninsula and between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

According to the Oleg Deripaska Volnoe Delo Foundation’s spokesman Ruben Bunyatyan, archaeologists Nikolay Sudarev and Mikhail Treister discovered the woman’s grave during the Phanagoria archaeological expedition’s 2022 summer season.

Medallion of Aphrodite 1 min
The large medallion is silver and shows the goddess Aphrodite in the centre, surrounded by symbols portraying ten zodiac signs. Photo: Nikolay Sudarev

Greek historian, Hecataeus of Miletus, said that Phanagoria was founded in the sixth century B.C. by refugees from Teos, a Greek city on the coast of Anatolia, now part of modern-day Turkey.
The Aphrodite medallion is surrounded by ten embossed symbols that correspond to signs of the zodiac, including a lion for Leo, a bull for Taurus, and a scorpion for Scorpio. But the symbols for the zodiac signs Aquarius and Libra are missing, and the researchers don’t know why.
According to archaeologists, the inclusion of the zodiac indicates the medallion is a portrayal of “Aphrodite Urania” — the heavenly aspect of the goddess, as distinct from her Earthly aspect, “Aphrodite Pandemos.”
It also suggests a belief in astrology, the idea that the positions of celestial bodies can influence events on Earth, which was widespread throughout the ancient world.