Aphrodite

aphroditeThe goddess of beauty and love, whose origin was disputed in the ancient world. According to Homer she was Zeus daughter with the ancient goddess Dione, but Hesiod said she was born by the sea-foam, which is also the meaning of her name.

The foam was the result of Cronus mutilation of his father Uranos. He cut off his male organ, which fell into the sea and created the foam that the goddess rose from.

After she was born, she is said to have stepped up on a beach on Cyprus. She was therefore often called the Cypriot, and she was much worshipped on the island. This goddess was also a deity of growth and flowers, and she was often worshipped in the fields. Her animal was the dove and she was often pictued riding a swan.

Aphrodite was the goddess of the Trojans. It was her Paris chose over Hera and Athena, getting Helen in return, as well as her help in the Trojan war. She had also fallen in love with the Trojan sheperd Anchises, with whom she had a son, the famous Aeneas - later believed to be the founder of Rome.

Aphrodite was married to the ugliest god, the fire-god and black-smith Hephaestus, but she had many lovers, among them Ares and Adonis. With Ares she had the daughter Harmonia. With Hermes she had Hermafroditus who was half man, half woman. With Dionysos she had the ugly, but popular Priapos. The goddess is often pictured with Eros by her side and other companions were the hores and harites, goddesses of comfort and grace. The goddess of persuasion, Peitho, was often with Aphrodite, as well as the god of weddings, Hymenaeos.

A famous work of art picturing Aphrodite in the ancient world was Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Cnidos, but the most renowned was Aphrodite from Mylos (Venus di Milo in Latin).
> In Roman mythology her name was Venus.

Aphrodite also had many epithets:
Acidalia, Acraea, Ambologera, Anadyomene, Antheia, Apostrophia, Aracynthus, Areia, Argynnis, Calascopia, Casthanietis, Colias, Delia, Erycina, Euploea, Hecaerge, Hera, Mehanitis, Melaenis, Melinaea, Migonitis, Morpho, Panaceia, Pandemos, Paphia, Phila, Plinthia, Unania, Zerynthia