Obscure Gods: Argimpasa/Artimpasa/Aripasa

(Scythian)

In the Bosphorus, Argimpasa was identified with Aphrodite Ourania. This Scythian Goddess bears the traits of a native Great Goddess, and seems to have heavily influenced how the Greeks at Apatourum understood the Golden Goddess of Love.

Herodotus saw the connections between the two, and tells us that there were oracles who worked for Aphrodite called the Enareis, who seem to have been trans*persons, though it is tricky to apply our modern understanding of what that means to such a different society.

Unlike the Greek Aphrodite, Argimpasa is closely associated with the dead, and has many images buried in graves. She is associated with a fish-woman, Derceto, who, it was said offended Aphrodite, and killed herself in a deep lake in Ascalon. In so doing, she was turned into a fish, with the head of a woman.  Derceto herself is sometimes known as Derceto-Atargatis, suggesting that She is a Goddess in Her own right.

Argimpasa is seen dancing with Satyrs and Maenads, celebrating orgiastic rites.

All that said, Argimpasa differs from Aphrodite in significant ways. She is a vegetal-fertility goddess with a distinct chthonic streak. Some of the images associated with the cult have her in a semi-bestial state, with two tentacle or serpentine legs (coins and gems from the ancient world often show Abraxas with the same feature.) She is winged, and rides lions and griffins. She is associated with funerals.

She is the Goddess of Love (thus Her association with Aphrodite) and War, Death, and Destruction. She is also a Mistress of Animals, something also shared with Aphrodite.

Argimpasa is also crueler and more violent in her character, than Aphrodite (who, in spite of her association with Ares, ran home to her mother in the Iliad when she was hurt in battle).

Argimpasa shares many traits also with Anahita and Astarte. She is a mistress of the celestial waters, and rules sovereignity, fecundity, and is generally multi-functional. She was served by eunuch priests from the highest class families and even was the patron of royalty.

Many of the surviving images of Argimpasa-Aphrodite display an enthroned Goddess with a man facing her. She is often robed and veiled, sometimes holding a mirror or a small vessel. Her image seems to be a popular choice for diadems and headdresses in gold.

Ultimately, it seems that Argimpasa is a Goddess spanning both heaven and earth, life and death. She brings love, and pain. For the Scythians, who were one of the people that the Greeks understood to be Amazons, She encompassed many things, and came with them into the afterlife. A truly vast Goddess, as broad and powerful as the plains which carried Her people.

Sources:

Jacobsen, Esther. The Art of the Scythians: the Interpenetration of Cultures at the Edge of the Hellenic World, Brill, 1995.

Shenkar, Michael. Intangible Spirits and Graven Images: the Iconography of Deities in the Pre-Islamic Iranian World. Brill, 2014.

Ustinova, Yulia. “Aphrodite Ourania of the Bosphorus: The Great Goddess of a Frontier Pantheon,” in Kernos 11, 1998. p.209-226

——————. The Supreme Gods of the Bosporan Kingdom: Celestial Aphrodite and the Most High God, Brill, 1999.

Images:

Unknown, “Golden Deer,” Scythian, 6th c. BCE, now in the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest. Photo by Yelkrokoyade, 2011. Via wikicommons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cerf_d%27or_Scythe.jpg

“Silver Demetrius, with Derceto from Ascalon,” photo by Yak, 2007. Via wikicommons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Derketo.jpg

 

greek myth asks
  • zeus:if you could have one power, what would it be?
  • poseidon:do you prefer the ocean or land?
  • apollo:what are your favorite pieces of poetry?
  • aphrodite:do you believe in true love?
  • athena:what are your favorite classic novels?
  • ares:are you a confrontational person?
  • artemis:do you prefer night or day?
  • hera:who makes up your tumblr family?
  • hestia:where do you live or want to live?
  • demeter:do you enjoy nature?
  • persephone:what's your favorite season?
  • hades:do you believe in an afterlife?
  • hephaestus:what do you enjoy making?
  • hermes:where do you want to travel that you've never been before?
  • odysseus:what's your favorite place to travel?
  • echo:what's something you can't stop talking about?
  • narcissus:what's your best trait?
  • icarus:what's your fatal flaw?
  • orpheus:what's your favorite song or type of music?
  • eurydice:what's something you regret?

How do you kill a God?

Aphrodite laughs, head tossed back with stars in her hair, ‘We are immortal. We are ageless. We will never die.’ 

How do you kill a God?

Hera sighs, ‘You rob them of love and loyalty. They will be alone and unhappy, and eternity will seem like a punishment, but it is not death.’ 

How do you kill a God?

Zeus declares, rather confidently, ‘You deny them their power. Poseidon nods his head in agreement. ‘They will be weak and defeated, perhaps even chopped up into pieces, but it is not death.’ 

How do you kill a God?

Apollo closes his eyes. ‘You strip them of their senses. Their eyes, and they cease to see. Their ears, and they are rendered silent. They will be in the dark, conscious and cut off for millennium, but it is not death.’

How do you kill a God?

Hades whispers, though still his voice carries, ‘With another God. An immortal for an immortal. Era for an Era. A celestial being to strip another’s soul. He pauses, the rest are silent. ‘A God for a God.’

L.H.Z // How do you kill a God?

greek goddesses
  • Persephone:deep reds, glinting silvers, soft black leather, silken rose petals
  • Hestia:soft warm glow, cotton and lace, summer mornings, honey ginger tea
  • Aphrodite:glossy lips, shimmering skin, acetone, gasping for air
  • Eris:the electric shock you when you brush against someone, burning hair, the shine of stolen gold, matte black
  • Athena:dust clearing after a fight, dried blood, wet ink, the smell of old books
  • Artemis:feral wolves, sibling rivalry, shadows, bones stripped clean by time
  • Hera:grey roots, jewels at her throat, silk and diamonds, loyalty without thought
Who told you that goddesses were thin?

Brighid keeps the cows,

And cows are heavy work—

She’s all shoulders, hips, and thighs,

Strong for the lifting.

Her heart remembers the son she keened for,

And so does her belly.

 -

Stretch marks strike across Hera’s skin,

Lightning tattoos,

Fitting symbols of eternal loyalty.

Forever marked a wife, a mother,

Not a marble statue.

On the shores of her birthplace,

Aphrodite comes up dripping,

Breasts heavy, hips rolling like waves.

In Mauritania she overflows:

Fat (no hiding from that word,

No shame)

Cascades from her arms,

Rolls over her middle,

Puckers her thighs.

On every beach she has cellulite—

She is goddess of beauty,

Not goddess of the impossible.

Everywhere, she is adored.

 -

Inanna, Queen of Heaven,

Feels no need to diminish herself

When the entire sky is hers to occupy.

the aesthetics of the gods
  • Aphrodite:the bruises of love bites left by lovers on necks and thighs; smudged lipstick from hasty kisses; blood red roses with their sharp thorns still intact; the way you hug someone you love when you reunite after a lengthy separation
  • Apollo:polished instruments gleaming, held like the most precious of jewels by their owners; a sunny day with a clear blue sky where there are no clouds in sight; the rough script of poems penned out on scraps of paper or napkins before they're forgotten; when music is so loud that you feel it reverberating in your bones; the pale lines of fading scars
  • Ares:the hands of a fighter, short finger nails and bloodied knuckles; split lips that have scabbed over; the smooth and intricate lines of old weapons you see mounted on museum walls; deep trenches dug out from the earth; the way barbed wire contrasts against whatever it surrounds
  • Artemis:loose braids with wild flowers slipped in; the majesty of tall trees stretching up endlessly towards the heavens; the wide and captivating eyes of wild deer; cloudy nights where the moon is just barely peeking through; the colorful fletching of arrows drawn back to rest upon cheeks and along jaws
  • Athena:the straight and steady way a soldier stands at attention; fingertips smudged with ink; a stack of books to read piled on the floor or a nightstand; eyes gleaming with the glow of new ideas; the quiet and contemplative aura of museums and libraries
  • Demeter:the way sunlight catches dust motes in the air through the gaps in the leaves of the trees; the feeling of life you get from standing in the middle of an orchard with bees buzzing around you; crocuses and snowdrops peeking through the last dredges of winter's snow
  • Hades:the bleached bones of animals in the forest when moss has begun to engulf them; the way that graveyard angels look like they're weeping in the rain; the solemn aura of old churches, citadels, synagogues, temples, and mosques
  • Hephaestus:the pleasure of holding something you've created in your palms; the soft glow of heated metal; the intricate beauty of cogs and gears fitting together precisely and working in tandem; the smooth and polished surfaces of high-rise business buildings
  • Hera:the lacy white of flowing wedding gowns; the way a couple's hands look clasped together; pairs of old wedding rings that are scratched from years of use; the feeling of surrealism that comes from looking at old family portraits; getting used to sharing a space with someone else and then seeing the mannerisms you've unknowingly adopted from them
  • Hermes:the way that the low beam headlights of a car touch the roads that stretch ever onwards at night; old maps yellowed at the corners from their age; the way that things rush past when you look out the window of a car or train; quick hands slipping deftly into pockets and taking what they find
  • Hestia:the light and protection of street lights in an otherwise dark city; the warmth of your bed on cold winter mornings; the heat of a fire as you sit around it with people you love; the comfort of a home-cooked meal
  • Poseidon:the way light looks when you're seeing it shine down from deep underwater; the effervescent colors of cresting waves; the eery beauty of shipwrecks; the ripples created when you trail your fingertips through still waters; dust clouds kicked up by the passing of strong hooves
  • Zeus:the way that storm clouds darken the edge of the horizon; silhouettes framed against the sky by flashes of lightning; the splay of feathers of a bird's outstretched wings; the polished and tarnished brass of old fashioned scales
Why do people obsess over Greek GODS

Artemis: a queen, one who shuns the presence of men. Ruler of the night sky and the hunt, she doesn’t give a flying fuck about your gender roles.
Women can be single. Women can be hunters.

Athena: a scheming, cunning, genius woman, Athena is the mastermind behind every battle. Goddess of both wisdom AND war.
Women can be smart. Women can be warriors.

Aphrodite: a gorgeous woman, beautiful beyond belief, she was married off to a man she did not love. She refused her husband, and is with the chaotic man she truly loves. She loves romance novels and tragic love stories without your permission or stereotypes.
Women can be independent. Women can be beautiful. Women don’t have to love you because you say so.

Persephone: she is Queen of hell and goddess of springtime, drawing the line between death and rebirth. She loves her husband and mother, but refuses to let anyone tell her who to be or where to go.
Women can be sweet. Women can be brutal. Women can be complicated.

Hera: a practical woman, she is the goddess of marriage, her husband is always off fucking mortals. And she always makes sure he pays for it. This doesn’t stop her from being a fair queen, even more of a ruler than her husband.
Women can be powerful. Women make their own choices.

Demeter: a farm girl at heart, she rules the harvest, her mere emotions causing the seasons. Her daughter eloped with the god of death, and she misses her every day. She loves her loyal farmers and the crops they tend.
Women can be nurturing. Women can be depressed.

Hestia: a goddess of small renown, Hesta gave up her spot on the council to Dionsynius to keep order. She is the goddess of the hearth and home, fire and family. She represents the controlled chaos of a fire in the fireplace or a family in their home.
Women can be sacrificing. Women don’t need to be super to be important. Women can be chaotic.

Enough with this patriarchal Greek society. We all know who really ruled Olympus.