The Oracle at Rantidi!

I always like when really ‘obscure’ stuff shows up in the news … here’s the incipit of an item in the Pacific Northwest Inlander:

There’s a rock off the southwestern tip of Cyprus that juts out of the sea. You can get there on the B6, a windy coastal road hewn out of rock in the age of dynamite and tourism.

Before the B6, though, at the dawn of myth — back when the gods of the Greek pantheon had just barely started sleeping together and stabbing each other in the back — the goddess whom Greeks would call Aphrodite was birthed out of the sea at that rock.

It’s the scene you see in Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” (another of Aphrodite’s many names): the Paltrow-esque beauty, nude, rising from a clamshell.

Just a few kilometers north — back across the road, past Aphrodite Hills (a mega-resort named “Best Spa in Europe” in 2008) and up the rocky, asp-infested tumble of Rantidi Forest — sits the oracular sanctuary of Aphrodite’s young lover, Adonis.

Ancient accounts of the Oracle at Rantidi put its importance on a par with the Oracle at Delphi — the oracle that predicted the destruction of Lydia and sent Socrates on his quest for knowledge.

Rantidi was a big deal to the ancients, but it was lost to the modern world until 1910, when it was discovered and partially excavated, then lost again.

The next person to find it was EWU’s Georgia Bonnie Bazemore.

via The Oracle at Cheney.

The item goes on to talk about the talk, which focussed more on efforts by EWU to establish a campus in Cyprus. Whatever the case, the oracle at Rantidi is probably unknown to a lot of the learned readers of this blog, so I decided to see what I could find on the Interwebs and I was plenty surprised to find a link to a pdf from the New York Times of February 12, 1911 reporting on “The God’s Clubhouse Has Been Found in Cyprus” (if that link doesn’t work, try starting from here), which tells of the various shrines which had been found there at the beginning of the previous century. Other than that, though, I wasn’t too surprised to find that most of what’s on the web (that seems reliable) about Rantidi comes from the efforts of the aforementioned Professor Bazemore at the Rantidi Forest page of the Ancient Cyprus Web, which links to other pages documenting EWU’s efforts there.

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