Petra tou Romiou
Petra tou Romiou (Rock of the Greek), also known as Aphrodite's Rock, is a sea stack in Pafos, Cyprus. The combination of the beauty of the area and its status in mythology as the birthplace of Aphrodite makes it a popular tourist location.
The sea in this region is generally rough, persuading tourists not to swim there. It is not permitted to climb the rock. A restaurant, a tourist pavilion and the Aphrodite Hills resort are nearby.
According to one legend, this rock is the site of the birth of the goddess Aphrodite, perhaps owing to the foaming waters around the rock fragments, and for this reason it is known as Aphrodite's Rock. Gaia (Mother Earth) asked one of her sons, Cronus, to mutilate his father, Uranus (Sky). Cronus cut off Uranus' testicles and threw them into the sea. A white foam appeared from which a maiden arose, the waves first taking her to Kythera and then bringing her to Cyprus. The maiden, named Aphrodite, went to the assembly of gods from Cyprus. The Romans widely referred to her as Venus. Aphrodite attracted a large cult following in Pafos, which was eventually crushed by the Romans. This is evident from the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in Old Pafos kouklia. A local myth is that any person who swims around the Aphrodite Rock will be blessed with eternal beauty.
The present name Petra tou Romiou (Rock of the Greek) associates the place with the exploits of the hero Basil as told in the Digenes Akritas. Basil was half-Greek (Romios) and half-Arabic, hence the name Digenes (two-blood). Legend tells that Basil hurled the huge rock from the Troodos Mountains to keep off the invading Saracens. A nearby rock is similarly known as the Saracen Rock.
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- Greeks after AD 212 referred to themselves as Ῥωμαῖοι (Romaioi) or Ῥωμιοί (Romioi), i.e. Romans, since virtually all Greeks were Roman citizens.
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