Aphrodite was the Olympian goddess of beauty, love, pleasure and procreation. She was depicted as a beautiful woman usually accompanied by the winged god Eros (Love).
Her symbols include the Dolphin, Rose, Scallop Shell, Dove, Mirror, and Swan
Aphrodite Riding a Swan, Attic Red Figure, ca 470 BCE Aphrodite with Dove, Apulian Red Figure, ca 365 BCE Aphrodite with Mirror, Paestan Red Figure, ca 360 BCE
The Castration of Uranus and the Birth of Aphrodite Uranus- the Heavens hated his children
He imprisoned the Hecatonchiresas soon as they were born
Gaia was upset and asked for help – Cronus agreed and castrated his father with a sickle
From his blood moremonsters were born, but also beautiful Aphrodite rose from the sea at Paphos, Cyprus
The Birth of Aphrodite, a relief showing Aphrodite rising from the sea and being clothed by two attendants, who stand on a pebbly beach
The Birth of Venus,Sandro Botticelli, 1485
Petra touRomiou ("The rock of the Greek"), Aphrodite's legendary birthplace in Paphos, Cyprus
Aphrodite had no childhood, she was born as an adult. Aphrodite is characterized as beautiful, vain, ill-tempered and easily offended. Though she is one of the few gods of the Greek Pantheon to be actually married, she is frequently unfaithful to her husband.
Zeus married her off to Hephaestus, the lame, humorless blacksmith of the gods. Hephaestus was overjoyed at being married to the goddess of beauty and forged her beautiful jewelry Hephaestus and Aphrodite,Hendrik van the Elder Balen, 1603
Aphrodite and Ares Aphrodite is most often unfaithful with Ares, god of war. Aphrodite and Ares have 8 children together, most notably, Eros (Cupid, Love). Eros became the male counterpart of Aphrodite.
Ares and Aphrodite, Fresco, Imperial Roman,
Aphrodite and Ares Eventually, Hephaestus found out about Aphrodite’s promiscuity from Helios, the all-seeing Sun, and planned a trap for them during one of their trysts. While Aphrodite and Ares lay together in bed, Hephaestus set an unbreakable chain-link net as a trap. Once they were ensnared, he called all the gods to ridicule them.
Venus Visiting in the Smith, Gandolfi, 1755
Cupid and Psyche Aphrodite was jealous of the beauty of a mortal woman named Psyche. She asked Eros to use his golden arrows to cause Psyche to fall in love with the ugliest man on earth. Eros agreed, but then fell in love with Psyche himself
Cupid and Psyche An oracle foretold that she was destined to marry a creature that lived on a particular mountain. Psyche climbed to a cave on the mountain. She found it full of jewelry and finery. Eros visited her every night in the cave but made Psyche swear never to try to discover his identity. Her two sisters, jealous of Psyche, convinced her that her husband was a monster, and she should strike him with a dagger.
Cupid and Psyche Once she discovered his identity, Aphrodite imposed upon Psyche a series of impossible tasks. With mortal and immortal help, Psyche accomplished her tasks, Eros appealed to Jupiter, who agreed to make Psyche immortal and sanction his marriage to Psyche
Venus and Adonis Adonis was born from an incestuous relationship between Myrrha and her father, Cinyras. Venus fell desperately in love with Adonis at the sight of him.
Venus and Adonis Adonis was an avid hunter, and Venus warned him of the dangers of wild beasts. After Aphrodite leaves, Adonis encounters an enormous wild boar. In the attack, Adonis is mortally wounded by the boar.
Another version of the myth states that since Aphrodite was responsible for the death of Hippolytus, therefore, Artemis sent a wild boar to kill Aphrodite’s beloved Adonis to avenge Hippolytus’s death. The Death of Adonis, Giuseppe Mazzuoli, 1709
Aphrodite rushes back to his side, but she is too late to save him and can only mourn over his body. Wherever Adonis' blood falls, Aphrodite causes anemones to grow in his memory. Venus and Adonis, Paolo Veronese
Although Aphrodite had numerous affairs, they were generally with gods; she only rarely took mortal men as her lovers. One of these very few relationships was with a man from Troy named Anchises. Aphrodite mocked the other Olympians, even Zeus, for having affairs with mortals, so Zeus decided to punish her arrogance by compelling her to be attracted to a human. Venus and Anchises Relief detail of the heads of Aphrodite and Anchises.
Venus and Anchises She came to earth in the appearance of a beautiful foreign princess and encountered Anchises in the region near Troy. He was irresistibly attracted to this woman, and they slept together; Anchises discovered the next morning that the woman was Aphrodite. The product of this affair was a son named Aeneas.
Venus and Anchises, Fresco from the Galleria of the Farnese Palace, Rome, 1597-1600, by Annibale Carracci
The Latin inscription on the footstool, on which the smiling Cupid has placed his foot, means “Whence came the Roman race,” alluding to the birth of Aeneas from the consummation that is about to take place.
The Judgment of Paris The gods and goddesses as well as various mortals were invited to a marriage. Only the goddess of Discord was not invited, but she arrived with a golden apple inscribed "to the fairest one", 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 Judgment of Paris The goddesses chose to place the matter before Zeus, who put the choice into the hands of the mortal Paris. Hera tried to bribe Paris with dominion over Asia Minor, while Athena offered wisdom, fame and glory in battle, but Aphrodite offered the most beautiful mortal woman in the world, Helen, as a wife. He accordingly chose her. The other goddesses were enraged by this and, through Helen's abduction by Paris, they helped bring about the Trojan War.
Pygmalion Pygmalion was a sculptor who was repulsed by the many vices that nature had implanted in the feminine mind. Thus he lived alone and without a wife. Pygmalion instead fashioned a woman out of ivory with unsurpassed beauty; he called her Galatea.
Pygmalion He fell in love with the statue, and showered it with gifts, jewelry, clothing, etc. He prayed to Aphrodite, who brought the exquisite sculpture to life. Pygmalion loved Galatea and they were soon married. Pygmalion and Galatea, Jean-Leon Gerome, (1824-1904)