Ancient history


Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of germination, love, pleasures and beauty. It has the equivalent of Venus in Roman mythology. We can distinguish two different conceptions of Aphrodite:that of the pleasure of the flesh, more "earthly" in a way, and that of spiritual love, pure and chaste in its beauty.

Venus de Milo, Louvre.
Author:flitcroft a.k.a Josiah Gordon
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The fourth month of the Gregorian calendar is said to have been named April in his honor by the Romans.


There are two different legends about his birth:

in Homer's Iliad, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione (one of the daughters of Ocean , mistress of Zeus);
in later myths (Hesiod), and according to the best-known tradition, Aphrodite is born from the streams fertilized by the sex of Ouranos, sliced ​​by Cronus. Driven by the Winds, the goddess sails to Cythera and to Cyprus.

Married to Héphaïstos, she has multiple extra-marital affairs. Of his relations with:
Ares, she has Harmony, Deimos and Phobos. Informed of the adulterous relationship by Helios (who sees everything from his high position), Hephaestus creates a magic net which he places on the bed to imprison the couple. Summoning Zeus and the Olympians, he reveals to them the deception before the imprisoned lovers. Following this, Aphrodite curses Helios and his descendants, that is to say Pasiphaé and his daughters Ariane and Phèdre (curse which will be aggravated by that which Poseidon will afflict Minos, husband of Pasiphaé and father of Ariane and Phèdre);
Hermes is born Hermaphrodite;
Dionysus is born Priapus;
the Trojan Anchises is born Aeneas, whom she protects and helps carry the Penates of Troy to Italy;
Adonis, beautiful child born from the myrrh tree into which his incestuous mother Myrrha, is transformed. Persephone disputes the child with him and Zeus must share Adonis' time. A third of the year for each and the third of his choice, which he always spends with Aphrodite, until he is mortally wounded by a boar.

Venus, classical personification of femininity.
Detail from Bouguereau's The Birth of Venus.
The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain worldwide due to the date of death of its author, or due to its date of publication. Thus, this reproduction of the work is also in the public domain. This applies to reproductions created in the United States (see Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.), in Germany, and in many other countries.

Eros and his double twin Anteros are sometimes thought to be his children, whereas according to Hesiod, Eros is one of the first deities, not begotten but directly descended from Chaos.

Aphrodite's revenge is terrible. For vindictiveness, she in no way yields to Hera, but if the latter only pursues women out of jealousy, Aphrodite only strikes them when they serve her badly or refuse to serve her, and women are then both her victims. than his instruments intended for men, more rarely out of jealousy, sometimes inspiring them with difficult loves:

out of jealousy she condemns Eos (the Dawn) to erotomania
to punish Hippolyte, who only respects Artemis, she provokes the passion of Phèdre;
at Poseidon's behest, she arouses Pasiphae's monstrous desire for a bull;
the daughters of the King of Cyprus refuse to honor her:she forces them into prostitution;
for the same fault, she afflicts the women of Lemnos with a dreadful stench that drives all men to flight;
she also tries to trick Psyche into falling in love with an evil man with an arrow from Eros, which disobeys and decides to marry her.

As for his proteges, they are hardly better off. Hélène complains bitterly of the favor of the goddess:“Unfortunate that I am, she said to her, you are still at my side, full of perfidious plans! »

Perhaps the best-known legend regarding Aphrodite is the one that tells the cause of the Trojan War. Eris, the only goddess not to be invited to the wedding of King Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis, spitefully throws a golden apple into the banquet hall with the inscription "To the most beautiful". Zeus refuses to choose between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, the three goddesses he believes deserve the apple. They ask Paris, prince of Troy, to be the judge. All three try to bribe him. Hera promises him royal power, Athena, military glory, and Aphrodite, the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris chooses Aphrodite and asks as a reward Helen of Troy, wife of the Greek king Menelaus. The kidnapping of Helen by Paris provokes the Trojan War. During this war, the goddess will be slightly injured by the Greek hero Diomedes while rescuing his son Aeneas.

Of oriental origin, Aphrodite is assimilated in the first Greek religious beliefs to the Phoenician Astarte and is known under the names of Aphrodite Ourania, queen of heaven, and Aphrodite Pandemos, goddess of the people.

Epicleses, attributes and sanctuary

Favorite animal:the dove;
Sanctuaries:the Aphrodision of Aphrodisias, a city named after the goddess; Paphos, on the island of Cyprus (altar of Aphrodite Ourania); Olbia (Hyères).

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