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Paphus

Πάφος). The name of two towns on the west coast of Cyprus, called “Old Paphos” (Παλαίπαφος) and “New Paphos” (Πάφος Νέα), the former near the promontory of Zephyrium, ten stadia from the coast; the latter more inland, sixty stadia from the former. Old Paphos was the chief seat of the worship of Aphrodité, who is said to have landed at this place after her birth among the waves, and who is hence frequently called the Paphian goddess (Paphia). Here she had a celebrated temple, the high-priest of which exercised a kind of religious superintendence over the whole island. The priests were supposed to be descendants of Cinyras (q.v.). The image of the goddess was a conical stone (ad Aen. i. 724), which was anointed with oil at the time of worship, and this, with other testimony derived from excavations made since 1887 by English explorers, makes it evident that the cult of the Paphian Aphrodité was Semitic rather than Hellenic. The very temple, with its large open courts and small chambers, had the characteristics of a Phœnician structure. New Paphos, on the other hand, was of Greek foundation, and the traditions ascribed it to Agapenor (Pausan. viii. 5, 2).

In the reign of Augustus Old Paphos was destroyed by an earthquake, and when rebuilt by order of the emperor received the name of Augusta (Dio Cass. lxiv. 23).

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