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Aphrodite (Ἀφροδίτη) is the Greek Goddess of love, lust, desire, sex, sexuality, pleasure, happiness, joy, passion, fertility, procreation, prostitution and beauty. She is identified with the planet Venus, which is named after the Roman goddess Venus, with whom Aphrodite was extensively syncretized. Aphrodite's major symbols include myrtles, roses, doves, sparrows, and swans.

The cult of Aphrodite was largely derived from that of the Phoenician goddess Astarte, a cognate of the East Semitic goddess Ishtar, whose cult was based on the Sumerian cult of Inanna. Aphrodite's main cult centers were Cythera, Cyprus, Corinth, and Athens. Her main festival was the Aphrodisia, which was celebrated annually in midsummer. In Laconia, Aphrodite was worshipped as a warrior goddess. She was also the patron goddess of prostitutes, an association which led early scholars to propose the concept of "sacred prostitution", an idea which is now generally seen as erroneous.[1]

In mythology[]


In Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite is born off the coast of Cythera from the foam (aphrós) produced by Ouranós' genitals, which his son Cronus has severed and thrown into the sea. In Homer's Iliad, however, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Plato, in his Symposium 180e, asserts that these two origins actually belong to separate entities: Aphrodite Ourania (a transcendent, "Heavenly" Aphrodite) and Aphrodite Pandemos (Aphrodite common to "all the people").

Aphrodite had many other epithets, 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), because both locations claimed to be the place of her birth There she met the three Horai (season goddesses), who clothed her in a beautiful white dress, a delicate golden crown, golden earrings, and a golden necklace, and subsequently escorted her to Mount Olympus.

Marriage to Hephaestus[]

In one version of the myth, Zeus feared that the other gods would begin to fight each other because of Aphrodite's great beauty. To avoid this, he forced her to marry Hephaestus, the blacksmith god, humorless and ugly.

In another version, Aphrodite marries Hephaestus after his mother, Hera, cast's him out of Olympus, considering him too ugly and deformed to live with the rest of the gods. He enacted his revenge on his mother by having a magical throne built, which trapped her. In exchange for her release, he asked Hera for Aphrodite's hand in marriage.

Hephaestus was happy to be married to the goddess of beauty, and forged her beautiful jewelry, including a golden girdle that made her even more irresistible. Hera would borrow the girdle from her on at least one occasion, to make amends with Zeus after a particularly unpleasant argument.[2]


Immortal Offspring[]

With Ares:

With Dionysus:

With Hermes:

  • Hermaphroditus


In ancient Greece, Aphrodite was worshiped with incense altars and dove sacrifices.[3]


Image gallery of Aphrodite

See also[]

External links[]


  1. (Hamilton 1998, p. 33)
  2. (Hamilton 1998, p. 33)
  3. (Burkert 1985, p. 153)


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