In Greek mythology, each god or goddess has a unique affinity. For example, Athena is the Goddess of war, Poseidon is the God of the sea, and Aphrodite is a famous goddess known for representing beauty, love, and fertility. Aphrodite is quite popular in our world as she is the symbol of the infinitely desirable female. Aphrodite is very mysterious; there is no definite reason of how she was conceived, although there are two stories. One is that she is the result of a fight between the gods Ouranos and Cronus.
Cronus rips off and throws Ouranos’ genitals into the sea and when his flesh mixes with the sea foam, Aphrodite is conceived. And so soon as he had cut off the members with flint and cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were swept away over the main a long time: and a white foam spread around them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden… and came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet.
Her gods and men call Aphrodite… because she grew amid the foam- Theogony, 185 -200” (Lombardi) The other story of how she was born is what the poet Homer believed, that she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Another mysterious fact is that there are no references to her growing up.
We can infer that she was born as a grown female with overpowering sexual attractiveness and beauty beyond measure.
(Emerson) Aphrodite has interfered with the lives of men and women through key events, such as the Trojan War and the journey of Odysseus. The Trojan prince Paris was asked to judge which Olympian goddess was the most beautiful. He picked out Aphrodite over Hera and also Athena. While they offered him political power and many war victories, Aphrodite had bribed Paris with the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen of Sparta, wife of Menelaus. The two eloped together to Troy, where the Trojan War commenced.
According to Homer, Aphrodite also intervened in the War when her son, Aeneous, a Trojan ally, was about to be killed. This resulted in her wounding herself to save his life. (Dean) Aphrodite was known for having many love affairs. She had an arranged marriage, set up by Zeus, with Hephaestus, the ugliest of the gods. Her true love was Ares, the god of war and violence. Hephaestus knew of the affair and to get back at her, he humiliated her in front of all the gods by setting a trap for the lovers. When the two were about to make love, they were scooped up into a net where all the gods could witness her betrayal.
Ares and Aphrodite conceived many children: Eros being the most famous. He is also known as Cupid. (“Aphrodite History”) Ares was not Aphrodite’s only love. She was also infatuated with the mortal Adonis. She first laid eyes on him when he was only an infant. She immediately fell in love with his beauty. She took him away from an incestuous union and placed him in the hands of Persephone, the goddess of the underworld, who also fell for him. Growing up, Adonis would go off hunting. When Aphrodite had to go far away, she warned him not to go out far in the forest and to flee from an animal if it did not run from him.
He did not listen to her and was killed by a boar, who is rumored to have been Ares acting out of jealousy. Adonis was sent to the underworld and must spend half a year with Persephone and the other half with Aphrodite. (Greeka) Aphrodite represents erotic love as a fascinating form of divine influence. The nude Aphrodite has powerful meaning and became a way to dive into examing female physical attractiveness, sex appeal and beauty. Her power over love is very influential when you look closely. With a realm that includes the deepest feelings of the heart and the basis of human passion, Aphrodite has power unlike any other god.
Such power is revealed in her actions toward both her faithful supporters and those who influence her anger. For example, when she gave birth to Aeneous, his father, Anchises, let it be known that the mother of his son was the goddess Aphrodite. As punishment, he was made lame and deprived of his eyesight. Aphrodite also uses her powers to destroy those who try to disrupt or prevent the natural works of love and sexuality. She had possession of a magic girdle which imposed arousal for whoever saw the wearer, who would look irresistible to the viewer.
She once let Hera borrow this to get Zeus’ ttention. (“Aphrodite History”) Animals, especially birds, such as the swan, dove, and goose, would flock to Aphrodite. This symbolizes that she is a heavenly goddess who also has a hold on the Earth. (Lombardi) Aphrodite is still present in our modern world. Not only has she influenced art and poetry, but she has a hold on many things. An “aphrodisiac” is a substance that causes sexual desire. The word obviously comes from Aphrodite’s name since she is the goddess of love and sexuality. In classical art she has no distinguishing features other than her beauty.
The flowers and greenery depiction suggest her connection to fertility. The poet Hesiod’s reference to Aphrodite having been born from the sea inspired the famous painting of the goddess on a giant scallop shell by Botticelli. Another known work of art is the Venus de Milo, a statue which lost its arms in ancient times. (Dean, Lombardi) Aphrodite was a great goddess with magnificent power. She spread love and sexuality to all her followers and wanted happiness for all. She has impacted our society in so many ways, such as the want to look beautiful, especially in women. Aphrodite was a fascinating and influential goddess.
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