Learn About the Goddess of Love in Greek Mythology

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The Greek Goddess of love is called Aphrodite. Her Roman name is Venus and she was the goddess of beauty, love, and fertility. Also, she was known as the protectress of sailors.

She was an Olympian goddess together with Athena and Hera. Of the three, she was considered the most beautiful. 

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Primarily, Aphrodite was known as the goddess of fertility, love, and beauty. She is believed to have had a number of lovers, primarily because of her beauty. If you want to learn more about the goddess of love in Greek mythology, be sure to read on.

Learn About the Goddess of Love in Greek Mythology
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Table of Contents

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Origin

The Ancient Greeks believed that Aphrodite was both foreign and Greek. For example, Homer refers to her as ‘the Cyprian’, and it is believed that most of her attributes could have originated from Asia. Other attributes of Aphrodite recall the Middle Eastern Phoenician goddess Astarte and the East Semitic goddess Ishtar. 

Aphrodite’s leading festival was the Aphrodisia which was an annual celebration that took place in midsummer.

Much as she was revered as a goddess of prostitutes, her association prompted early scholars to suggest a ‘sacred prostitution’ concept in Greco-Roman culture. 

In the lliad, it is said Aphrodite’s parents were Diona and Zeus while in Theogony, she is believed to have originated from Uranus’ cut genitals.

Plato’s Work

In Plato’s symposium, he asserts that Aphrodite’s lliad and the Theogony origins, belong to separate entities. These entities are ‘Aphrodite Pandemos’, which is the Aphrodite that is common to all people, and the ‘Aphrodite Ourania’ which is the more heavenly Aphrodite. 

Other early mythologists don’t agree with Aphrodite’s Near Eastern origin. They instead believe that she came into existence as a part of the Greek dawn goddess Eos.  

Both Aphrodite and Eos are widely known for their aggressive sexuality and erotic beauty.

Lovers & Children

Given her beauty and sexuality, Aphrodite is known to have had a number of lovers and a number of children. It is said that Aphrodite had sexual affairs with both mortals and gods

She had a relationship with the Trojan shepherd Anchises, with whom she bore Aeneas and Adonis. He was believed to be a Semitic nature deity in origin, and the consort of Ishta-Astarte. 

While hunting, it is said that Adonis got killed by a boar and was mourned by women at the Adonia festival.

Other Relationships

Aphrodite had an arranged marriage with Hephaestus. The marriage was organized by Hephaestus’ mother, Hera, and Aphrodite’s father, Zeus. The enchantingly beautiful, insatiable, and sensual Aphrodite’s marriage with the ugly yet powerful Hephaestus, did not last long. She just couldn’t be faithful to one man. 

She is said to have cheated on Hephaestus with both mortals and gods, which ended their marriage.

The most significant and long-standing relationship she had was with Ares. It is said she loved him more than any of her other lovers. However, one night, the two lovebirds stayed too long together. 

When Helius hitched his golden chariot, he spotted the two lovers in Ares’ palace and told Hephaestus what he had seen. He secretly arranged a net beside their bed to trap Ares and Aphrodite. It was intended to ridicule and publicly shame them.

Learn About the Goddess of Love in Greek Mythology
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Last Word

In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is said to be the goddess of beauty, sexuality, and fertility. 

Some myths believe she originated from East Asia, while others suggest she was Greek. There are two stories behind her birth; one is the belief that she came from Uranus’ cut genitals, and the other is that she was born from Zeus and Diona. 

Given her beauty, Aphrodite had numerous lovers with whom she had a number of children.

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