One of the strangest elements of Pompeii for me is that while the people were eviscerated, the buildings and art were left relatively well-preserved from the ash.
In The Goddess Aped, I write that the remnants are spared as a reminder to humans of what is displeasing to the divine. The bodies of the humans were also immortalized in the ash so no human could call the fate of Pompeii and its people fiction or claim that they were living different sorts of lives-it was not open to the re-interpretation by historians, churches or the government.
So, one could argue if Satan or Lucifer wanted that lascivious or indulgent lifestyle for all humans, why weren’t more cities described as being that way? And if God did not exist or did not care, why were the cities overtly described in this way destroyed? I would answer by saying, as above so below.
While there is no evidence that Pompeii was destroyed by God, the preservation is interesting. As is the fact that Pompeii, like Sodom and Gomorrah, suffered a fate of “sulfur and fire.”
Which, symbolically speaking, would point more to Lucifer being the source of the destruction, regardless of what the authors of the Bible wrote.
Why would Lucifer do that? Perhaps because Hercules, the namesake of Herculaneum, killed the serpent Ladon. Or perhaps because humans have misrepresented the beliefs of entities that humans call or label evil.
In my story, it is particularly ironic that Eve develops her identity as a protector of the garden when religious texts depict her as quite the opposite. She is at once trying to be chaste and keeper of the female bacchanal. The goddess of home fire but also a powerful queen. And, yet, in her attempt to be goddess of all things she becomes the goddess of none.
Wait? Isn’t the patron goddess of Pompeii Venus? And yet they have a cult to Dionysus? And this Venus is covered up? What is going on?
Historians and I may differ in our opinions but in The Goddess Aped, it is Eve that circles the orbit of Aphrodite. She cannot copy her but the still tries to mimic everything about her and basically tries to “out Aphrodite” the actual goddess. As Eve would say, she is “inspired” by Aphrodite or she would go so far as to say it was Aphrodite immitating her.
However, this is done just to be a thorn in Aphrodite’s side. This is a reference that would become relevant with Jesus as that spear cut a hole in his side to insert the eternal thorn.
It bears repeating that Eve wants to be Aphrodite-she wants her place, her title, her mate and her powers. But that is something she can never have. She was cursed by God.
So back to Dionysus and Venus. Wasn’t the Cult of Dionysus running around making fun of Aphrodite with their bearded masks? Yes. And it is my assertion in the novel that Eve works with her male consort to try to take the role of goddess by developing “Venus.” What is interesting is that in Pompeii Venus evolves again. Here she is depicted as stately or more like a queen.
And unlike Aphrodite, the origins for the name Venus are known. Additionally, unlike Aphrodite but very much like goddesses such as Hestia, Hera, Athena and Artemis, the powers of Venus sound significant but are comparatively fairly limited and ill-defined. However, unlike Aphrodite, there are depictions and statues found at Pompeii depicting Dionysus and Venus together.
We also see a change in the depiction of the goddess. No longer is she portrayed as a blonde. Her eyes are symmetrical and large. Her breasts are small and symmetrical. The cheeks, while high-boned, have fat deposits that sit on the bone giving the impression of “chipmunk cheeks.” The nose is larger in the depictions and her chin shorter.
Another telling difference in the Pompeii depictions of Venus and Aphrodite is the location of what appears to be scars. One could argue they are creases in the stomach but I would contend that the scar on Aphrodite is from having a child (c-secton) while the scar on Venus looks to be from having an appendix removed or some other form of abdominal surgery.
It is also my contention that the stalls/rooms of the Venus temple in Pompeii and her clothed depictions takes Aphrodite from goddess of the esteemed high priestess of sacred sex to Venus as the deified madame.
As we can see in the fresco, there was an attempt to erase Aphrodite but not Venus.
In The Goddess Aped, it is the gift of Aphrodite that bestows immortality upon the vampyre, werewolves and natural-born witches.
In The Goddess Aped, I also assert that Eve was giving out Venus titles to various high-powered women for various favors and power. She had a cult of powerful women convinced that they too could be goddesses on earth.
I also believe that she and her followers were writing their own hype on the walls of Pompeii-some early P.R. work.
So why would Venus (Eve) want to be associated with poisonous gas and noxious fumes? In The Goddess Aped, it is to solidify her claim as goddess of one of the most dangerous and powerful symbol within Roman culture upon an island known for its indulgences and decadent, open lifestyle. The volcano was likely seen as a door to the underworld and as its goddess, Venus was also laying claim to being that realm’s queen–much like her previous persona as Persephone-but even more with her eye on the prize of Aphrodite/Hecate.