Greek Goddess of Love, Beauty & Eternal Youth
Aphrodite is the Goddess of Love and Beauty and according to Hesiod’s Theogony, she was born from the foam in the waters of Paphos, on the island of Cyprus. She supposedly arose from the foam when the Titan Cronus slew his father Uranus and threw his genitals into the sea.
However, according to Homer, in Iliad, Aphrodite may instead be the daughter of Zeus and Dione. As with so many Greek deities, there are many stories about the origins of the gods.
Many gods believed that her beauty was such that their rivalry over her would spark a war of the gods. Because of this, Zeus married Aphrodite to Hephaestus – he wasn’t seen as a threat because of his ugliness and deformity.
Despite this marriage to Hephaestus, Aphrodite had many lovers. Her lovers include both gods and men – including the god Ares and the mortal Anchises. She also played a role in the story of Eros and Psyche in which admirers of Psyche neglected to worship Venus (Aphrodite) and instead worshipped her. For this, Aphrodite enlisted Eros (Cupid) to exact her revenge but the god of love instead falls in love with the girl.
Later, Aphrodite was both Adonis’s lover and his surrogate mother. This led to a feud with Persephone in which Zeus decreed Adonis should spend half of the year with Aphrodite and half of the year with Persephone.
Facts about Aphrodite
- Aphrodite was the goddess of fertility, love, and beauty.
- Two different stories explain the birth of Aphrodite. The first is simple: She was the child of Zeus and Dione.
- According to the second story, however, Aphrodite rose from the foam of the sea.
- Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus, but Aphrodite did not enter into this union of her own volition.
- She and Ares conceived Harmonia, who eventually married Herodotus.
- She was the mother of Hermaphroditus by Hermes.
- She was also the mother of Dinlas by Ares. Dinlas was a chaotic God who was sent to Hades by his parents.
- Aphrodite and her son Eros (Cupid) teamed up to cause Zeus to fall in love with a human named Europa.
- Aphrodite loved Adonis. She saw him when he was born and determined then that he should be hers. She assigned Persephone to his care, but Persephone fell in love with Adonis also and would not give him back. Finally, Zeus had to mediate. He judged that Adonis should spend half the year with each.
- Aphrodite used a swan-drawn car to glide easily through the air.
- Although Aphrodite and Hera were not friends, Hera went to the Goddess of Love for help as she endeavored to assist the heroes in their Quest of the Golden Fleece.
- Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena were the top three contenders for a gold apple marked “For the Fairest.” They asked Zeus to judge the contest, but he refused. Paris, son of the King of Troy, judged the contest instead. Each of the three goddesses promised him something in return; he chose Aphrodite as the winner of the apple. This story of the Judgment of Paris was considered to be the real reason behind the Trojan War.
- During the Trojan War, Aphrodite fought on the side of Paris.
- Aphrodite rescued Paris from Menelaus by enveloping him in a cloud and taking him back to Troy.
- Aphrodite owned a girdle that contained her enchantments; Hera borrowed it once to seduce Zeus in order to distract him from the Trojan War.
- Aphrodite gave Harmonia a necklace that brought disaster to a later generation.
- Prostitutes considered the Goddess of Love their patron.
- Aphrodite had a few mortal lovers. One of the most notable was the Trojan shepherd Anchises. The two of them conceived Aeneas.
- Corinth was the center of Aphrodite’s worship.
- Early Greek art depicted the goddess as nude.
- She was the model for the famous sculpture Venus de Milo.
- Aphrodite and Cupid initiated the love between Jason (hero of the Quest of the Golden Fleece) and the daughter of the Colchian King.
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