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Posted at 10:27 AM ET, 12/16/2010

Roman statue rises from the sea (with a little help from a storm) (Photos)

By Melissa Bell
Roman statue
A Roman statue on the shore of the Mediterranean sea in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

Storms across the Middle East last week pounded the region with rain and wind, sending one cliff on the coast of Israel crumbling into the sea. In the destructive wake, though, a discovery was made: A Roman statue of a woman was found in the remains of the cliff. Israeli archaeologists believe the statue represents Aphrodite (the statue was not naked on a seashell, but draped in a toga on a pedestal).

Despite the excitement over the statue, the archaeologists are dismayed by the havoc the storm wrought. Other artifacts were washed away in the storm and parts of the coastal ruins were severely damaged, the Associated Press reports.

Roman statue
Members of the media stand near the statue. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)
Roman statue
A man walks near an ancient well that crumbled in the storm. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

By Melissa Bell  | December 16, 2010; 10:27 AM ET
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Um...Aphrodite IS Venus...

Venus is her Roman name. Aphrodite is her Greek name. Botticelli's painting is based off a myth told in Hesiod, where Aphrodite is born from the sea. That's why her name "Aphrodite" means "from the foam of the ocean"...

Washington post bloggers aren't big on research, it seems...

Posted by: virtusextenebris | December 16, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. It was a joke. A bad joke, granted. I've changed the post to reflect that. Apologies...

Posted by: Melissa Bell | December 16, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Aphrodite IS Venus??

I'd love to see you say that to a priest in one of their ancient temples and try to walk out with all of your body parts still firmly attached.

Melissa - Remember just because someone spews facts at you, does not necessarily make them correct.

After a bit of research, it turns out that it is in fact a Roman ERA statue. This appears to be a direct quote:

Archaeologist Dr. Yigal Israel of the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Ashkelon region explained, "It is a lovely white statue that is missing its head and part of a hand. It was apparently imported from Italy, Greece or Asia Minor, and may have represented the goddess Aphrodite."

Posted by: JamesTrentLong | December 17, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

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