|Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality|
Aphrodite Pudica (Roman copy of 2nd century AD), "National Archaeological Museum, Athens
|Symbol||"Dolphin, "Rose, "Scallop Shell, "Myrtle, "Dove, "Sparrow, "Girdle, "Mirror, and "Swan|
|Consort||"Hephaestus, "Ares, "Poseidon, "Hermes, "Dionysus, "Adonis, and "Anchises|
|Children||"Eros, "Phobos, "Deimos, "Harmonia, "Pothos, "Anteros, "Himeros, "Hermaphroditus, "Rhodos, "Eryx, "Peitho, "Eunomia, "The Graces, "Priapus, "Aeneas|
|Parents||"Uranus or "Zeus and "Dione|
|Siblings||"Aeacus, "Angelos, "Apollo, "Ares, "Artemis, "Athena, "Dionysus, "Eileithyia, "Enyo, "Eris, "Ersa, "Hebe, "Helen of Troy, "Hephaestus, "Heracles, "Hermes, "Minos, "Pandia, "Persephone, "Perseus, "Rhadamanthus, the "Graces, the "Horae, the "Litae, the "Muses, the "Moirai, or the "Titans, the "Cyclopes, the "Meliae, the "Erinyes (Furies), the "Giants, the "Hekatonkheires|
Aphrodite ("// ("" listen) "af-rə-DY-tee; "Greek: Ἀφροδίτη Aphrodite) is the "Greek "goddess of "love, "beauty, "pleasure, and "procreation. She is identified with the planet "Venus; her "Roman equivalent is the goddess "Venus. "Myrtle, roses, "doves, "sparrows and "swans are sacred to her.
In "Hesiod's "Theogony, Aphrodite was created from the sea foam (aphros) produced by "Uranus's genitals, which had been severed by "Cronus. In "Homer's "Iliad, however, she is the daughter of "Zeus and "Dione. In "Plato (Symposium, 180e), these two origins are said to be of hitherto separate entities: "Aphrodite Ourania (a transcendent, "Heavenly" Aphrodite) and "Aphrodite Pandemos (Aphrodite common to "all the people"). She had many other names, each emphasizing a different aspect of the same goddess, or used by a different local cult. Thus she was also known as Cytherea (Lady of "Cythera) and Cypris (Lady of "Cyprus), both of which claimed to be her place of birth.
In "Greek mythology, the other gods feared that Aphrodite's beauty might lead to conflict and war, through rivalry for her favours; so Zeus married her off to "Hephaestus. Despite this, Aphrodite followed her own inclinations, and had many lovers — both gods, such as "Ares, and men, such as "Anchises. She played a role in the "Eros and Psyche legend, and was both lover and surrogate mother of "Adonis.
"Hesiod derives Aphrodite from aphrós (ἀφρός) "sea-foam", interpreting the name as "risen from the foam". Michael Janda, accepting this as genuine, claims the story of a birth from the foam as an "Indo-European "mytheme. The second part of the compound has been variously analyzed as *-odítē "wanderer" or *-dítē "bright". Janda, agreeing with the latter, interprets the meaning of the name as "she who shines from the foam (of the ocean)", supposing the name as an epithet of "Eos, the "dawn goddess. Likewise, Witczak proposes an Indo-European compound *abʰor- "very" and *dʰei- "to shine", also referring to Eos. Other scholars have argued that these hypotheses are unlikely since Aphrodite's attributes are entirely different from those of both Eos and the "Vedic deity "Ushas. Janda disputes this assumption.
A number of improbable non-Greek etymologies have been suggested in scholarship. One Semitic etymology compares Aphrodite to the Assyrian barīrītu, the name of a female demon that appears in Middle Babylonian and Late Babylonian texts. Hammarström looks to "Etruscan, comparing (e)prϑni "lord", an Etruscan honorific loaned into Greek as "πρύτανις. This would make the theonym in origin an honorific, "the lady". "Hjalmar Frisk and "Robert Beekes reject this etymology as implausible, especially since Aphrodite actually appears in Etruscan in the borrowed form Apru (from Greek Aphrō, clipped form of Aphrodite).
The medieval "Etymologicum Magnum (c. 1150) offers a highly contrived etymology, deriving Aphrodite from the compound habrodíaitos (ἁβροδίαιτος), "she who lives delicately", from habrós and díaita. The alteration from b to ph is explained as a "familiar" characteristic of Greek "obvious from the "Macedonians", despite the fact that the name cannot be of Macedonian origin.
The cult of Aphrodite in Greece was imported from, or at least influenced by, the cult of "Astarte in "Phoenicia, which, in turn, was derived from the cult of the Babylonian goddess "Ishtar, which itself was largely derived from the cult of the Sumerian goddess "Inanna. "Pausanias states that the first to establish a cult of Aphrodite were the "Assyrians, after the Assyrians, the "Paphians of Cyprus, and then the Phoenicians at "Ascalon. The Phoenicians, in turn, taught her worship to the people of "Cythera.
Nineteenth century classical scholars had a general aversion to the idea that ancient Greek religion was at all influenced by the cultures of the Near East, but, even "Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker, who argued that Near Eastern influence on Greek culture was largely confined to material culture, admitted that Aphrodite was clearly of Phoenician origin. The significant influence of Near Eastern culture on early Greek religion in general, and on the cult of Aphrodite in particular, is now widely recognized as dating to a period of "orientalization during the eighth century BC, when "archaic Greece was on the fringes of the "Neo-Assyrian Empire.
Hans Georg Wunderlich has drawn a connection between Aphrodite and the "Minoan "snake goddess. This theory is supported by the fact that the Egyptian snake goddess "Wadjet was associated with the city known to the Greeks as Aphroditopolis, which means "City of Aphrodite."
In native Greek tradition, the planet Venus had two names: Hesperos as the evening star and Eosphoros as the morning star. The Greeks adopted the identification of the morning and the evening stars, as well as its identification as Ishtar/Aphrodite, during the 4th century BC, along with other items of Babylonian astrology, such as the "zodiac ("Eudoxus of Cnidus).["citation needed]
It has long been accepted in "comparative mythology that Aphrodite preserves some aspects of the "Indo-European dawn goddess "*Haéusōs (properly Greek "Eos, Latin "Aurora, Sanskrit "Ushas). Janda etymologizes her name as "she who rises from the foam [of the ocean]" and points to Hesiod's Theogony account of Aphrodite's birth as an archaic reflex of Indo-European myth. Aphrodite rising out of the waters after Cronus defeats Uranus as a mytheme would then be directly cognate to the "Rigvedic myth of "Indra defeating "Vrtra, liberating "Ushas.
By the late 5th century BC, "Platonists distinguished two separate "Aphrodites". "Aphrodite Ourania, the celestial Aphrodite, born from the sea foam after Cronus castrated Uranus, was thought the older form; she also inspired homosexual male desire or, more specifically, "ephebic "eros. The "younger" "Aphrodite Pandemos, the common Aphrodite "of all the folk", born from the union of Zeus and Dione, inspired all love for women.
Among the "neo-Platonists and, later, their Christian interpreters, Aphrodite Ourania is associated with spiritual love, and Aphrodite Pandemos with physical love (desire). A representation of Aphrodite Ourania with her foot resting on a tortoise came to be seen as emblematic of discretion in conjugal love; it was the subject of a "chryselephantine sculpture by "Phidias for "Elis, known only from a parenthetical comment by the geographer "Pausanias).
A male version of Aphrodite known as "Aphroditus was worshipped in the city of "Amathus on Cyprus. Aphroditus was depicted with the "figure and "dress of a woman, but had a "full beard, and was shown lifting his dress to reveal an erect "phallus. This gesture was believed to be an "apotropaic symbol, and was thought to convey "good fortune upon the viewer.
She was also called Kypris or Cytherea after her birth-places in "Cyprus and "Cythera, respectively, both centers of her cult. She was associated with "Hesperia and frequently accompanied by the "Oreads, "nymphs of the mountains. She was also often depicted with the sea, dolphins, doves, swans, "pomegranates, sceptres, apples, "myrtle, rose trees, "lime trees, clams, scallop shells, and pearls.
Her festival, "Aphrodisia, was celebrated across Greece, but particularly in "Athens and "Corinth. At the temple of Aphrodite on the summit of "Acrocorinth (before the Roman destruction of the city in 146 BC), intercourse with her priestesses was considered a method of worshiping Aphrodite. This temple was not rebuilt when the city was re-established under Roman rule in 44 BC, but the fertility rituals likely continued in the main city near the agora.
"Pausanias records that, in Sparta, Aphrodite was worshipped as Areia, which means "warlike." This epithet stresses Aphrodite's connections to Ares, with whom she had extramarital relations. Pausanias also records that, in Sparta and on Cythera, there were extremely ancient cult statues of Aphrodite portraying her bearing arms.
The cult of Aphrodite may have involved "ritual prostitution. The Greek euphemism for a sacred prostitute is "hierodoule, meaning "sacred slave". Ritual prostitution is attested in association with Aphrodite in "Corinth and on the islands of "Cyprus, "Cythera, and "Sicily, but it is not attested in Athens. Ritual prostitution was an inherent part of the rituals owed to Aphrodite's Near Eastern forebears, Sumerian "Inanna and Akkadian "Ishtar, whose temple priestesses were the "women of Ishtar," ishtaritum. Ritual prostitution has been documented in Babylon, Syria, and Palestine, in Phoenician cities and the "Tyrian colony "Carthage. Aphrodite was everywhere the patroness of the "hetaera and "courtesan. In "Ionia on the coast of Asia Minor, hierodoulai served in the "temple of Artemis.
Aphrodite is usually said to have been born near her chief center of worship, "Paphos, on the island of "Cyprus, which is why she is sometimes called "Cyprian", especially in the poetic works of "Sappho. However, other versions of her myth have her born near the island of "Cythera, hence another of her names, "Cytherea". Cythera was a stopping place for trade and culture between "Crete and the "Peloponesus, so these stories may preserve traces of the migration of Aphrodite's cult from the "Middle East to mainland "Greece.
According to the version of her birth recounted by "Hesiod in his "Theogony, "Cronus severed "Uranus' genitals and threw them behind him into the sea. The foam from his genitals gave rise to Aphrodite (hence her name, which Hesiod interpreted as "foam-arisen"), while the "Giants, the "Erinyes (furies), and the "Meliae emerged from the drops of his blood. Hesiod states that the genitals "were carried over the sea a long time, and white foam arose from the immortal flesh; with it a girl grew." The girl, Aphrodite, floated ashore on a "scallop shell. This iconic representation of Aphrodite as a mature "Venus rising from the sea" ("Venus Anadyomene) was made famous in a much-admired painting by "Apelles, now lost, but described in the "Natural History of "Pliny the Elder.
In the "Iliad, Aphrodite is described as the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Dione's name appears to be a feminine cognate to Dios and Dion, which are oblique forms of the name Zeus. Zeus and Dione shared a cult at "Dodona in northwestern Greece. In Theogony, Hesiod describes Dione as an "Oceanid.
Aphrodite is consistently portrayed as a nubile, infinitely desirable adult, having had no childhood. She is often depicted nude. In many of the later myths, she is portrayed as vain, ill-tempered, and easily offended. Although she is married—she is one of the few gods in the "Greek Pantheon who is—she is frequently unfaithful to her husband.
According to one version of Aphrodite's story, because of her immense beauty Zeus fears that the other gods will become violent with each other in their rivalry to possess her. To forestall this, he forces her to marry "Hephaestus, the dour, humorless god of smithing. In another version of the story, his mother, "Hera casts him off Olympus, deeming him too ugly and deformed to inhabit the home of the gods. His revenge is to trap his mother in a magic throne. In return for her release, he demands to be given Aphrodite's hand in marriage.
Hephaestus is overjoyed to be married to the goddess of beauty, and forges her beautiful jewelry, including a "strophion known as the kestos imas, a saltire-shaped undergarment (usually translated as "girdle"), which accentuated her breasts and made her even more irresistible to men. Such strophia were commonly used in depictions of the Near Eastern goddesses Ishtar and "Atargatis.
Aphrodite is a major figure in the "Trojan War legend. She is a contestant in the "Judgement of Paris" (see below), which leads to the war. She had been the lover of the Trojan "Anchises, and mother of his son "Aeneas. Later, during the war, she saves Aeneas from "Diomedes, who wounds her.
In Book Eight of the "Odyssey, the blind singer "Demodocus tells of how Aphrodite committed "adultery with "Ares, the god of war. The sun-god "Helios saw Aphrodite and Ares having sex in Hephaestus's bed and warned Hephaestus, who fashioned a net of gold. The next time Ares and Aphrodite had sex together, the net trapped them both. Hephaestus brought all the gods into the bedchamber to laugh at the captured adulterers, but "Apollo, "Hermes, and "Poseidon had sympathy for Ares and Poseidon agreed to pay Hephaestus for Ares's release. Humiliated, Aphrodite returned to Cyprus, where she was attended by the "Charites. This narrative probably originated as a Greek "folk tale, originally independent of the Odyssey.
"Adonis was the son of "Myrrha, who was cursed by Aphrodite with insatiable lust for her own father, King "Cinyras of "Cyprus, after Myrrha's mother bragged that her daughter was more beautiful than the goddess. Driven out after becoming pregnant, Myrrha was changed into a "myrrh tree, but still gave birth to Adonis.
Aphrodite found the baby, and took him to the underworld to be fostered by "Persephone. She returned for him once he was grown and discovered him to be strikingly handsome. Persephone wanted to keep Adonis; Zeus settled the dispute by decreeing that Adonis would spend one third of the year with Aphrodite, one third with Persephone, and one third with whomever he chose. Adonis chose Aphrodite, and they remained constantly together.
Adonis, who loved to hunt, was wounded by a wild boar, and bled to death in Aphrodite's arms. As she mourned his death, she caused "anemones to grow wherever his blood fell, and declared a festival on the anniversary of his death. According to "Lucian's "De Dea Syria, the river Adonis in "Lebanon ran red with blood. The myth of Aphrodite and Adonis is probably derived from the Near Eastern legend of Ishtar and "Tammuz.
The myth of the Judgement of Paris is mentioned briefly in the "Iliad, but is described in depth in an "epitome of the "Cypria, a lost poem of the "Epic Cycle, which records that all the gods and goddesses as well as various mortals were invited to the marriage of "Peleus and "Thetis (the eventual parents of "Achilles). Only "Eris, goddess of discord, was not invited. She was annoyed at this, so she arrived with a golden apple inscribed with the word καλλίστῃ (kallistēi, "for the fairest"), which she threw among the goddesses. Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena all claimed to be the fairest, and thus the rightful owner of the apple.
The goddesses chose to place the matter before Zeus, who, not wanting to favor one of the goddesses, put the choice into the hands of Paris, a "Trojan prince. After bathing in the spring of "Mount Ida where Troy was situated, the goddesses appeared before Paris for his decision. In the extant ancient depictions of the Judgement of Paris, Aphrodite is only occasionally represented nude, and Athena and Hera are always fully clothed. Since the "Renaissance, however, western paintings have typically portrayed all three goddesses as completely naked.
All three goddesses were ideally beautiful and Paris could not decide between them, so they resorted to bribes. Hera tried to bribe Paris with power over all "Asia and "Europe, and Athena offered wisdom, fame and glory in battle, but Aphrodite promised Paris that, if he were to choose her as the fairest, she would let him marry the most beautiful woman on earth. This woman was "Helen, who was already married to King "Menelaus of "Sparta. Paris selected Aphrodite and awarded her the apple. The other two goddesses were enraged and, as a direct result, sided with the Greeks in the "Trojan War.
In one version of "the legend of Hippolytus, Aphrodite is the cause of his death. He scorned the worship of Aphrodite, preferring "Artemis. Aphrodite caused his stepmother, "Phaedra, to fall in love with him, knowing Hippolytus would reject her. This led to Phaedra's suicide, and the death of Hippolytus.
"Polyphonte was a young woman who chose virginal life with Artemis instead of marriage and children, as favoured by Aphrodite. Aphrodite cursed her, causing her to have children by a bear. The resulting offspring, Agrius and Oreius, were wild cannibals who incurred the hatred of Zeus. Ultimately the whole family were transformed into birds of ill omen.
In 1938, "Gleb Botkin, a Russian immigrant to the United States, founded the "Church of Aphrodite, a "Neopagan religion centered around the worship of a "Mother Goddess, whom its practitioners identified as Aphrodite. The Church of Aphrodite's theology was laid out in the book In Search of Reality, published in 1969, two years before Botkin's death. The book portrayed Aphrodite in a drastically different light than the one in which the Greeks envisioned her, instead casting her as "the sole Goddess of a somewhat Neoplatonic Pagan monotheism". It claimed that the worship of Aphrodite had been brought to Greece by the "mystic teacher "Orpheus, but that the Greeks had misunderstood Orpheus's teachings and had not realized the importance of worshipping Aphrodite alone.
Aphrodite is a major deity in "Wicca, a contemporary nature-based "syncretic Neopagan religion. Wiccans regard Aphrodite as one aspect of the "Goddess and she is frequently invoked by name during "enchantments dealing with love and romance. Wiccans regard Aphrodite as the ruler of human emotions, erotic spirituality, creativity, and art.
As one of the twelve Olympians, Aphrodite is a major deity within "Hellenismos (Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism), a Neopagan religion which seeks to authentically revive and recreate the religion of ancient Greece in the modern world. Unlike Wiccans, Hellenists are usually strictly polytheistic or pantheistic. Hellenists venerate Aphrodite primarily as the goddess of romantic love, but also as a goddess of sexuality, the sea, and war. Her many epithets include "Sea Born", "Killer of Men", "She upon the Graves", "Fair Sailing", and "Ally in War".
The "Venus Kallipygos. Aphrodite Kallipygos ("Aphrodite of the Beautiful Buttocks") is a type of nude female statue of the "Hellenistic era. It depicts a partially draped woman[Notes 2] raising her light "peplos to uncover her "hips and "buttocks, and looking back and down over her shoulder, perhaps to evaluate them.[Notes 3]
Aphrodite riding a swan: Attic white-ground red-figured "kylix, c. 460, found at Kameiros (Rhodes)
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