The other day I was watching Marco Polo, a show set in Renaissance Mongolia following the famed explorer Marco Polo during his time in the court of Kublai Khan. In one scene a princess is planning for was with her husband. Seemingly out of nowhere the girl crawled on her husband, kissing and caressing him. They ended up on the ground, her on top naturally. That is until they were interrupted, the prince greeting her with “My Lady”.
At first I didn’t realize why everyone was laughing. Apparently, “It’s because that wasn’t a very ladylike thing to do.” Oh did this throw me off! I had heard in my primary research of Hellenismos that the virtues become different but this had been my first firsthand experience with such a change. It may seem obvious to say, but an Aphrodite devotee has a much different set of morals than a christian does.
This lead to the question “What are Aphrodite’s virtues?” Well my first thought was this wonderful post which summarizes quite eloquently what Aphrodite’s virtues are. To summarize, he lists beauty, brazenness, grace, charm, brilliance, flirtation, gaiety, sensuality, rapture, and discernment as her virtues, asking the reader to strive for excellency in these. Some of these are quite universal;it’s rare to see someone who wouldn’t say that grace or brilliance is important to them. Yet many of these are uniquely Aphrodite, so to speak. A Christian wouldn’t say that flirtation is important to them, nor would most Buddhists. In some, less accepting circles, different virtues simply aren’t virtues. They’re vices; if you aren’t for our gods you’re against them. I don’t just speak of Christians, I’ve seen such behavior from everyone from an Evangelical christian to an Atheist.
Virtues, it seems, are not truly universal if everyone disagrees. Many people before have thought this with this exact reasoning; perhaps there is no true virtue, only perceived good. However this isn’t what I believe either. Truth and justice are universal, they’re a virtue in any religion or creed. Thus they’re hard to ignore or deny.
I feel I’m going down the rabbit hole a bit, so this will probably have a part two. So look forward to that soon. I have the feeling virtues will be a big theme. In the mean time, tell me your thoughts!