Aphrodite

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APHRODITE (a-fro-DYE-tee; Roman name Venus) was the goddess of love, beauty and fertility. She was also a protectress of sailors. The poet Hesiod said that Aphrodite was born from sea-foam. Homer, on the other hand, said that she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. When the Trojan prince Paris was asked to judge which of three Olympian goddesses was the most beautiful, he chose Aphrodite over Hera and Athena. The latter two had hoped to bribe him with power and victory in battle, but Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen of Sparta, who became infamous as Helen of Troy when Paris subsequently eloped with her. In the ensuing Trojan War, Hera and Athena were implacable enemies of Troy while…show more content…
She was unfaithful to him with Ares, and Homer relates in the Odyssey how Hephaestus had his revenge. IN ART Elsewhere in classical art she has no distinctive attributes other than her beauty. Flowers and vegetation motifs suggest her connection to fertility. Aphrodite was associated with the dove. Another of her sacred birds was the goose, on which she is seen to ride in a vase painting from antiquity. Hesiod's reference to Aphrodite's having been born from the sea inspired the Renaissance artist Botticelli's famous painting of the goddess on a giant scallop shell. Equally if not better known is the Venus de Milo, a statue which lost its arms in ancient times. WAR GODDESS? The ancient travel writer Pausanias describes a number of statues of Aphrodite dressed for battle, many of them in Sparta. Given the manner in which the militaristic Spartans raised their girls, it is not surprising that they conceived of a female goddess in military attire. She also would have donned armaments to defend cities, such as Corinth, who adopted her as their patroness. This is not to say that she was a war goddess, although some have seen her as such and find significance in her pairing with the war god Ares in mythology and worship. The two most recent editions of "The Oxford Classical Dictionary" are at variance over this aspect of the goddess. The 1970 edition sees her as a goddess of war and traces this to her Oriental roots. It is true that she has resemblances to

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