Posted by: wendyquest | February 15, 2011

Love and Myth – The Goddess Aphrodite

The Greek goddess Aphrodite (whose name means “risen from the sea foam”) is sometimes confused with the Roman goddess Venus. But Aphrodite is revered for her beauty and was the goddess of love. Because legend says she was born of the sea, she is often portrayed with dolphins and many portraits show her standing in a seashell (as do some portraits of Venus).

According to legend, Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione and was born from the sea (supposedly at Cythera). She was forced into marriage with Hephaistos (God of Fire) but soon married her true love, Ares (God of War). Aphrodite had several children, most notably Eros (the God of Love)(also known as Cupid).

There is a legend that Aphrodite had a hand in starting the Trojan War. Aphrodite, Hera and Athena were invited to King Peleus’ and Thetis’ wedding. The goddess Eris was not invited, which enraged her. So, in an act of revenge, she offered a golden apple labeled “to the fairest” to the invitees who fought over it (all thinking their were the fairest). When they could not choose, Paris (the Prince of Troy) was forced to make the decision. In order to influence his choice, each goddess bribed him with gifts. Aphrodite’s gift was the already married Helen of Troy. When Paris abducted Helen, her husband, King Menelaus, started the Trojan War.
Read more about the Trojan War

She also associated with the Oreads (mountain nymphs)

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