No concept of heresy? Wasn’t Socrates put to death for being an atheist though?
It’s not quite the same thing. Denying the existence of the gods altogether is a problem for them, although in Socrates’ case that was probably just a pretext to get rid of him (as far as we can tell, he wasn’t an atheist at all, at least not in the sense that we understand it). The late antique and mediaeval notion of heresy, though, presupposes that there are wrong and unholy things to believe about God(s), or wrong and unholy ways to worship God(s), even if no one disputes that he/they exist(s). For instance, for a 4th century Christian to say that God the Son is inferior to God the Father, when the central authorities of the church believe that they are equal, is heresy (specifically, the Arian heresy) and can get you excommunicated. There isn’t really any equivalent in the polytheistic religions of the classical period, because they have no dogma and more or less take it for granted that different communities have different ideas about what the gods are, how they act, and how they should be worshipped.
EDIT: An illustrative example. Hesiod’s Theogony says that Aphrodite was born from the blood of Ouranos, the primordial sky god, when it mixed with the foam of the sea. Homer’s Iliad says that Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and a minor goddess named Dione. These are two fundamentally incompatible origin stories for one of the most popular goddesses in the Greek world, and they come from the two most respected and authoritative Greek poets. You can believe either. Or neither. Or even both, if you can wrap your head around it (that was Plato’s answer). No one particularly cares.
You could maybe tie the Aphrodite Pokemon thing with encantados, Brazilian dolphins who take human shape, go to parties, and seduce women back to the water with them. Maybe throw in a mermaid/siren angle too? It’s deceptive and sometimes pretends to be a human. It can sing a beautiful song that’s lured sailors into wrecking their ships. Though this is just starting to sound like Mega Lapras or something of the sort.
Well, the thing is, at this point you’re doing a Pokémon based on the encantado, not on Aphrodite – which, to be honest, I think is sort of a better place to start anyway. The notion of Pokémon based on the Greek gods doesn’t really sit all that well with me, just because the whole point of the Greek gods is how human-like they are in their moods, desires and flaws. It’s really interesting from a cultural or theological perspective, but kind of “meh” as a basis for designing Pokémon. Or at least, that’s what I think.
If Aphrodite were an important pkmn trainer (respected one, leader, champion, etc.) what would be her team and strategy? More over, how would you design an Aphrodite-based pokemon?
Well, “strategy,” in the vaguest possible sense of the word, would involve everything knowing Attract, and probably as many other delaying techniques as possible. Aphrodite is not a confrontational goddess – she “fights” in the Trojan War, for instance, but in her case “fighting” is more floating around doing vaguely protective motions towards heroes she likes, taking Paris out of the battle when he’s about to get murdered by Menelaus, that sort of thing. So lots of moves that heal, protect, delay, and so on. Milotic is obligatory, since she’s seen as an ideal of beauty in the Pokémon world, and the Milo- part of her name is thought to be in reference to the Venus de Milo. Cloyster makes a lot of sense, in reference to the famous Botticelli painting The Birth of Venus, which has her rising out of the ocean on a scallop shell. Sparrows and doves are sacred to Aphrodite, and probably the closest we’ve got to that is Pidove, but I’ll take a bit of artistic license and give her an Altaria. Swoobat, for the heart motif. Heatmor for her husband, Hephaistos, and a big scary Fighting-type, maybe Infernape, for her lover, Ares.
As for designing a Pokémon… to be honest I’m not particularly inspired by the idea of something directly “based” on a character normally depicted in human form; I don’t really think that allows you to do anything terribly interesting. Mechanically speaking, I think it would be really interesting to make a Pokémon that somehow tries to make Attract not suck, probably using custom abilities or moves; if I wanted to bring Aphrodite into that somehow I would probably do it by basing said Pokémon on one of her sacred animals – sparrow, dove, swan, dolphin, or maybe even her sacred plant, the myrtle, but I’m not sure that necessarily would add anything to the idea of a Pokémon that fights with infatuation.