The myths and legends about Aphrodite – Aphrodite is the Greek Goddess of love, pleasure, sexuality and procreation. Her origin story has many versions, as it has been transmitted throughout generations.
Aphrodite, the child of who?
One version states that she was the offspring of Zeus and Dione.
According to another narration, she was born from the genitals of Uranus which were cut off and thrown into the sea. Aphrodite came out from the sea-foam (aphros). The famous Botticelli painting depicting Aphrodite floating on a seashell was based on the second version— that she was born from the sea-foam.
Different names of Aphrodite
She was also known by other names like Cytherea (Lady of Cythera), Cypris (Lady of Cyprus), Acidalia, Cytherea, and Cerigo. She was known by different names because of the existence of different cults. The Greeks were familiar with all of them, and identified them with her.
To the Romans, Aphrodite was also known as Venus.
Famous for her beauty, she created rivalry among male deities.
What was the personality of Aphrodite?
- Aphrodite was a combination of softness and destruction because of her beauty. Her personality has changed throughout time as different stories attributed to her have changed. Earlier myths mention her softness while later ones describe her as having been vain and bad-tempered.
- To preserve peace in the face of potential wars fought for her sake, Zeus married her off to someone (another deity) with deformities named Hephaestus.
- Her natural beauty was not her only weapon. She also had a magical object, a girdle, which she used to trigger desire for her in the hearts of men.
- In spite of being married to Hephaestus, Aphrodite took many lovers, from Ares to mortals like Anchises.
- According to the myths, Aphrodite was unfaithful because she was unhappy in her marriage to Hephaestus.
Other legends of Aphrodite
Aphrodite will often be mentioned in Greek mythology stories of other characters as well. For instance, she played a role in Jason’s story: since she was the goddess of love, she made a king’s daughter fall in love with Jason so that Jason could be successful in his endeavours.
She is said to have helped in sparking the Trojan War as she assisted an individual from Trojan, Paris, to kidnap the wife of the king of Sparta.
The children of Aphrodite: She had many children, among whom were Phobos, Deimos, Adrestia, Harmonia, Eros, Anteros, Himeros and Puthos.
She is now the symbol of love, sex, affection, and mutual attraction.
She is often portrayed naked, be it in pictures or sculptures.