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Aphrodite: Beauty, Love, and Sexual Desire

Since many of my visitors name Aphrodite as their favorite goddess, I figured I'd make a page for the lovely femme.

There are two different versions of Aphrodite's birth, the Homeric one and the Hesiodic one. For this page, I'm going with the tale from that of the Hesiod. I'll just mention that in the Homeric version, Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and the titaness, Dione.

According to Hesiod, Aphrodite was born by way of the castration of Uranus (the heavens). Gaea (mother earth) and her son, the titan Cronus, devised a plan to overthrow Uranus as a cause of his tyranny and ill will towards his and Gaea's children. In short, Gaea enticed Uranus to lay with her while Cronus waited in the shadows. When Uranus got to Gaea, Cronus came out with a jagged sickle (made for him by Gaea) and sliced Uranus' genitals off and cast them into the sea. When the genitalia hit the ocean, it began to foam and bubble up. From this foam sprung the beautiful Aphrodite. The waters carried her from Cythera and then to Cyprus (which gave her many other identities in those regions). Eros then brought her to the assembly of the gods immediatly upon her waking.

One of the more surprising things about Aphrodite is who she ended up marrying. It wasn't by choice to any degree, but Zeus married her to Hephaestus, the lame and quite unattractive blacksmith of the gods. This was done so Hephaestus would free Hera from his prison chair. His terms were simply to marry Aphrodite. Despite this marriage, she had many other lovers both gods and mortal men. The most famous of her relationships was to Adonis, one the most attractive men in mythology.

Another interesting note about Aphrodite is that she was a major part of the chain of events which started the Trojan War. After Paris awarded her the golden apple, she helped him to retrieve Helen from Menelaus which as you may already know, led to the Trojan War.

One thing I think I should clear up is a common misconception that links prostitution with Aphrodite. I think this misconception stems from the fact that the priestesses of Aphrodite commonly had sexual intercourse as part of their worshipping of the goddess. I wouldn't exactly call that prostitution if the act is merely an act of worship.

One last note. If you're of the astrological sign of Pisces, you may be interested to know that one of those twin fishes represents Aphrodite (the other fish is Eros). Read the zodiac page for more on that.

Where would you like to go next?

|Homepage| |Greek Mythology Main Page| |Site Map(Index)|

Or perhaps you'd like to read another tale from Greek mythology

|Legend of Apollo| |Tale of Arachne/The Fates| |How Zeus Came to Power| |12 Trials of Heracles| |Achilles: Legendary Warrior| |Dark Side of Greek Myth| |Myth Behind Winter & Spring| |Tale of Pandora| |Narcissus & Echo| |Apple of Discord| |Hera's Revolt Against Zeus| |Origin of the Zodiac| |Mythology of the Planets| |Artemis: Goddess of the Hunt| |Poems of Greek Mythology| |Legend of Perseus| |Myth Behind Dreams|