Aphrodite was the Goddess of Beauty and the one who ruled the mood for love both in the case of humans and gods. Of course, she was beautiful herself and she used her irresistible beauty and her power in order to charm anyone she desired. She was the goddess who won the beauty competition among her, Hera and Athena when Pares offered her the apple of Discord once having been asked to give it to the prettiest goddess.


Aphrodite's naissance by Botticelli

Aphrodite's naissance by Botticelli

According to Hesiod, Aphrodite was born by the foam created on the sea from the blood of the genitals of Uranos after his having been amputated by Kronos. She grew up in a shell pulled by pigeons across the sea. During her voyage, Aphrodite was said to have passed by Kithira island and then she went Cyprus where she emerged naked from the sea. When she walked on the earth, flowers sprang at around her in order to welcome the goddess. Aphrodited stayed in Cyprus for a while and then she wandered in the sea until she arrived in Lakonia where she established her firstresidence.  She was often called Aphrodite Kithireia due to the fact that she had passed by Kithira where the first sanctuary of Aphrodite was erected.

According to Homer, Aphrodite was born in Cyprus, a coast of Pafos city. Zefyrus let her travel along the sea where Hores (who symbolized the seasons of the year) dressed up Aphrodite and adorned her with nice clothes and jewellery and then transferred the pretty goddess to Olympus mountain where she presented to Zeus and the other gods, impressing everyone thanks to her beauty. Charmed by the exceptional beauty of Aphrodite, the Olympians accepted her as a goddess and offered her a throne among them. Then, Zeus decided to have her married with Hephaestus in compensation for the thunders the latter had made for Zeus.

Pares offered the apple of Discord to Aphrodite because she had promised him to make a very pretty woman, Helen, fall in love with him. This is how the Trojan War started. The goddess was on the Trojans part supporting them while Hera and Athena, who were rejected by Pares, supported the Greeks who were the rivals of the Trojans.

However, Aphrodite, as the Goddess of Love, could not be faithful to her husband. She had various love affairs with handsome men and especially with Ares, the God of the War, with whom she gave birth to Phobos (Fear) and Harmony.  The lawful husband of Aphrodite found out her relationship with Ares and he revealed them to the other gods.

Aphrodite Melos

Aphrodite of Melos

Aphrodite had a lot of children fathered by several gods, included Eros who was son of Zeus, Erykas, son of Poseidon, who became the king of Sicily, Priapus, son of Dionysus, who was the ugly god of fertility (Hera who was angry to Aphrodite because she had defeated her in beauty, so she made Priapus to became an ugly and devil god) and Ermaphroditos, son of Hermes, who had taken after both his parents in such a degree that he was named after both of them.

Far from inspiring love passion to herself and to the men she desired, Aphrodite used to make fun of the other gods to whom she caused passionate sentiments for mortal women and then laughed at them for having coupled with creatures inferior to them. Zeus was the most bedeviled victim of Aphrodite and Hera was often very angry towards the Goddess of Love.

Zeus took revenge of Aphrodite by making her own fall in love with a mortal man named Anchises. Charmed by Anchises’s beauty, Aphrodite dressed and perfumed herself and was transformed to a mortal woman in order to decoy him. After their coupling, Aphrodite let Anchises know her real origin and told him that their child was to be called Aeneas and he would become the king of Troy.

Far from entertaining herself by sending confusing love sentiments to the others, Aphrodite was a jealous mistress who punished Eo because she had slept with Ares and obliged her to an constant search for lovers. Myrra, the daughter of the king Theias, was made to fall in love with her own father by Aphrodite because the girl had forgotten to worship the goddess.

Myrra used to go to her father’s bed every night, pretending to be a nurse, yet when she realized her acts, she tried to kill herself. The gods prevented her from committing suicide by transforming her into a bush known as Myrtille. Some months later a child sprouted out the bush. The baby was Adonis who was given by Aphrodite to Persephone, the queen of the Underworld in order to raise the boy. Adonis grew to a very handsome man and both Aphrodite and Persephone fell in love with him. Zeus intervened in order to save a fight and decided that Adonis should stay 4 months per year with Persephone and another four months with Aphrodite.

Even though all the Olympian gods desired Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis disliked her because their own virginity while Hestia, as the protector of Marriage, didn’t agree with her illegal affairs as well as the love sentiments she caused to married men for their mistresses.

The ancient Greeks were keen on beauty and they worshipped Aphrodite as an important goddess. They considered her to be a very beautiful woman who represented love and passion. Despite the fact that it was insulting sculpturing the gods naked, Aphrodite was the only one who could be undressed in order to feature the  of her body.

One of the greatest statues of ancient Greece depict Aphrodite from Melos. It was sculptured in the 2nd century BC and it is exhibited at Louvre museum in Paris.