Probably originating from an earlier fertility goddess and having absorbed the characteristics of Near Eastern deities, the Cypriot Aphrodite was seen as having universal power.

The Goddess promoted fertility by inspiring desire and love. Notorious orgies, sacred marriage and prostitution were probably part of her cult. She was also the patron of good marriages and infants. As a fertility goddess, she protected agriculture and metallurgy, as the products of nature. She had sacred gardens in her sanctuaries.

Called Aphroditos, she could be represented as a male figure, her sexual ambivalence warranting fertility. The power of the Goddess was immense. If she was not shown due respect, she took terrible revenge, but she was also merciful. She was warlike and called the Goddess with the spear. She protected royal dynasties and cities. She was the patron of the sea from which she was born and, from her sanctuaries on promontories, she protected sailors and seafarers. An image of beauty and magnificence, she was called the Beautiful, the Golden Aphrodite, the Goddess with the golden crown and the golden necklaces.

For more than 2000 years, she remained in Cyprus the Goddess, the Sovereign, until she was completely identified in the 4th cent.B.C. with the Greek Aphrodite. She was also closely associated with Astarte, the Phoenician equivalent of Aphrodite.

Remembrance of her, blended with the memory of Lusignan queens of medieval times, still lingers in the figure of the Regina, associated with medieval places and still present in Cypriot folk tales.

The Goddess of Cyrus is mentioned for the first time in the 8th cent.B.C. by Homer who referred to her as Aphrodite or Kypris and by Hesiod who called Aphrodite Kyprogenea, the Cyrus-born. The name Aphrodite may be the Greek adaptation of a Semitic name of the family of Ishtar, Ashtart, Astart.

In Cyprus the Goddess was not called Aphrodite until the 4th cent.B.C. From inscriptions we know that she was called Anassa, or the Sovereign, the Paphian, the Golgain (from her sanctuaries at Pafos and Golgoi) or simply the divinity.

She had other epithets referring to her many aspects. She was called:

Kyprogenea, the Cyprus born-goddess

Potnia Kyprou, the mistress of Cyprus

Akraia, the goddess of Promontories

Pontia, Einalia, the marine goddess

Ourania, the heavenly goddess

Pandemos, the goddess of all

Egcheios, the goddess with the spear

Aphroditos, the male Aphrodite

Adoneia, the funereal Aphrodite

Eleemon, the compassionate goddess

Chrysostephanos, the goddess with the golden crown

Kourotrophos, the goddess patron of infants