'[The Greeks] habit of representing their gods in vividly realized human form was not a piece of theology, it was a piece of poetry. When they described or portrayed Aphrodite, for example, they did not think they were describing or portraying a magnified and non-natural woman who, by the exercise of something like will, but a superhuman will, brought about the various events which together made up her realm, namely, the events connected with sexual reproduction. They did not think they were describing or portraying a person who controlled these events, they thought they were describing or portraying these events themselves, regarded generically as natural events, or events not under human control, and specifically as sexual events. The human or quasi-human figure of Aphrodite is merely the poetical way in which they represented these events to themselves.'
-- R.G. Collingwood, An Essay on Metaphysics (emphasis mine)