More gods in The Aphrodite Inheritance?

The Aphrodite Inheritance

So I’ve obviously seen Michael J Bird’s The Aphrodite Inheritance a couple of times now, but thanks to the glorious low quality of my copy coupled with my not being the sharpest tool in the box, I might have missed as many as three gods and possibly an implied fourth god from the roster who appeared in the story. At least, according to the Michael J Bird tribute site

The identity of the three main protagonists becomes clear in the final episode, when Inspector Dimas takes David Collier on his ‘slight detour’ to see the statues at Paphos (the mythical birth place of Aphrodite). Website visitor Natalia Tzenou (herself Greek) drew my attention to the other two heads, which I confess I had not paid much attention to – Apollo looking not unlike our handsome leading man, David Collier, and Hermes the messenger delivering messages from Olympus to the mortal world, resembling Inspector Dimas.

Michael Bird told an interviewer at the time that he had packed a lot more into the story than most viewers picked up on, though he never elaborated, saying simply "I thought I was very clever. For instance, although you never saw the character Pan, there was ivy everywhere, which is associated with Pan. Then there were doves, Aphrodite’s bird. She could turn herself into a dove if she wanted to. Some people got it and said ‘That’s very clever’, but others said, ‘What was it with all the birds?’"

I found wealthy antiquities collector Eugene Hellman to be a complex character: ruthless and undoubtedly shady but with integrity and a sense of honour. He is also something o f a mystery. He is the first to realise the truth about Helene and her companions. In the final episode we get a close up on the name of his yacht – the Kore.

In ancient Greek, Kore means "maiden" or "daughter" and is the name given to Persephone, daughter of the earth goddess Demeter. And of course there was that mystery woman in the photograph on Hellman’s desk. The clues are all there, but it was a long time, and it took another prod from Natalia Tzenou, before the penny finally dropped with me. How does the saying go "the clue is in the name?"

Hellman …

Hell man …

as in Hades, Lord of the Underworld. In his final scene Hellman shivers suggesting the onset of cooler weather. He tells Travis "Soon she’ll be coming back to me again and I wouldn’t want to keep her waiting."

In Greek mythology, Persephone was abducted by Hades who tricked her into eating pomegranate seeds, which forced her to return to the underworld for a period each year. The seeds correspond to the dry summer months when Persephone is absent. When Persephone returned to the underworld, the earth once again became a barren realm.

Website visitor Phil Clarke also pointed out that at one point Hellman refers to his two henchmen as his "hounds". The hounds of Hell perhaps?

And finally, as Hellman’s yacht sets sail, it spookily disappears into the mist…

So was this apparent battle of gods versus mortals in actual fact a hidden battle between two different sets of gods? Hmmm….

Incidentally, this Radio Times interview is well worth a read for spookiness: Page 1; Page 2; Page 3