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Aphrodite unplugged

By Mary Anglberger

Everyone knows of Aphrodite. However, there’s not much mention these days of the tales of glory that the Goddess of Love once brought to Cyprus. There is even less talk about the annual grand festival of Aphrodisia which used to take place in Paphos in her honour.

The recently-published comic book ‘Aphrodite, The Naked Truth’ fills that gap in knowledge for its readers – in an erotic and very entertaining way, resurrecting the celebrations of the Aphrodisia with wit and frivolous charm. The book which is sold sealed, only available to readers over 18 is described as ‘explicit and 20% true’ on its cover.

‘Pilgrims from all over the world arrive in Paphos. At midnight the opening ceremony of the Aphrodisia – the old feast of love and lust where even Gods go mad – will begin…’ starts the story.

In an interview with The Cyprus Weekly, author Christiane Sternberg explains that the aim of the book was to revive the true essence of Aphrodite and her important role of sexuality in her time. “She has been turned into a sterile fridge magnet.”

Sternberg moved to Cyprus from Germany with her husband Marcos in 2006. Both journalists – her husband also a photographer – they have been producing maps and travel literature in German, English and Russian and created their own publishing company, CIPS Ltd in 2010.

The idea for Aphrodite was born when she was talking with her British friend, artist David Selwood, about people’s conception of ancient history being mostly prudish.

A former history teacher, the journalist spent half a year researching before writing the text which she then split into scenes and later into speech bubbles, according to the drawings of Selwood.

Love and lust

Selwood, an established artist and experienced in erotic art, works without the aid of technology and took two years to produce a total of 160 A3-sized pages filled with scenes of sensuality, love, war, ceremonies and celebrations using soft coloured pencils.

“After all, Greek mythology includes many grand love stories and we wanted to depict them, and Aphrodite’s in particular, with a healthy, joyful, but not vulgar dose of eroticism,” the author explains. “I feel we managed to come up with a pleasing fusion of art and eroticism, bringing Aphrodite back to her throne.”

A viewpoint readers seem to share as the book is selling well in German and English, with buyers regularly coming back for a second copy as a gift for friends, often as a ‘somewhat different’ souvenir from Cyprus.

The book is the aptly opulent tribute to the zest of life and love’s joys of ancient Cypriots and their guests sharing the legendary exploits life of the goddess of not only love and beauty, but also of pleasure and procreation.

After a successful book launch in Nicosia in July, the author and artist Selwood are now looking forward to presenting Aphrodite’s naked truth at the annual comic book convention Cyprus Comic Con, taking place over September 3-4 in Nicosia.

In Limassol, the book is now available at most big bookshops and several other stores and since recently also at Comic Paradise – Limassol’s first and newly-opened comic shop.

More info and points of sale can be found at www.aphroditenakedtruth.cips.com.cy and the Facebook page.

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