Aphrodite in Greek mythology is the goddess of beauty and love that permeates the entire world. According to one version, the goddess was born from the blood of Uranus, castrated by Titan Cronus: his blood fell into the sea, forming foam (Greek – afros). Aphrodite was not only the patron of love, as reported by the author of the poem “On the Nature of Things,” Lucretius, but also the goddess of fertility, life, and eternal spring.
According to legend, she usually appeared surrounded by her usual companions – nymphs, ors, and charites. In the myths, Aphrodite was shown the goddess of marriage and birth. Thanks to eastern origin Aphrodite is often identified with the Phoenician fertility goddess Astarte, Egyptian Isis, Assyrian Ishtar, and the Sumerian Inanna. Ancient Greeks believed that Aphrodite protected heroes, but it applied only to assistance in sphere of feelings, as was the case with Paris.
Despite the fact that the rite dedicated to the goddess contained a certain shade of sensuality (hetaeras called her “their goddess”), over the centuries, the archaic goddess from sexual and licentious became a beautiful Aphrodite, which could take pride of place on Olympus. The fact of its possible origin of the blood of Uranus was forgotten.
Seeing the beautiful goddess on Olympus, all the gods fell in love with her, but Aphrodite was the wife of Hephaestus – the most skillful and most ugly of all the gods, though she later gave birth to children from the other gods, including Dionysus and Ares. In ancient literature, there can also be found mention of the fact that Aphrodite was married and with Ares, and the children who were born of this marriage were Eros, Anteros, Harmony, Phobos, and Deimos.
Perhaps Aphrodite’s greatest love was beautiful Adonis, son of beautiful Mirra, transformed by gods into myrrh tree, giving beneficial resin – myrrh. Soon Adonis died, wounded by wild boar during the hunt. Some roses blossomed from the drops of his blood and anemones from tears of Aphrodite. According to another version, the cause of death of Adonis was jealous Ares.
Aphrodite was one of the three goddesses, arguing about who was the most beautiful. She promised Paris, son of the Trojan king, the most beautiful woman on earth, Helen, wife of Spartan King Menelaus, if he named her the one. She won the dispute, and the abduction of Helen by Paris caused the Trojan War.
Vestige of the goddess archaic past was her belt, which, according to legend, was made of love, desire, and seduction. It was this belt, which Aphrodite gave Hera to help her divert Zeus attention.
There were many shrines of the goddess in Greece: Corinth, Messene, Cyprus, and Sicily. In ancient Rome, Aphrodite was identified with Venus and the ancestress of the Romans, as her son Aeneas considered legendary ancestor of the Romans.
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