Aphrodite the Goddess of Eros

Η Αφροδίτη της Μήλου

Ἀφροδίτη[ῑ], ἡ (αφρος); I. Venus, Lat. Venus, the goddess of love, is said to have been born from the foam of the sea, to Homer. Hymn., Hesiod. II. 1. as accusative, love, pleasure, in Homer. Od.· Venus of evil, delight, in Eur. 2. attractive beauty, charm, Lat. venustas, in Aeschylus, Luke; cf. Lat. venus.

Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty, love and pleasures, marriage and family, with power in sky and sea, in the whole of nature, who through love held together and continued the human race (Eur., Hippol. 447 ff. e.).
Statue of Aphrodite from Cyprus, early fifth century BC, showing her wearing a scroll crown and holding a dove

Aphrodite in ancient Greece was the ancient goddess of love, beauty, desire and all aspects of sexuality. With her beauty she could tempt gods and men into illicit relations. Born in Cyprus from the severed genitalia of the god Uranus, Aphrodite had a wider influence than the traditional view as a mere goddess of love.
Ελληνικό ανάγλυφο από την Αφροδισία, που απεικονίζει μια Ρωμαϊκή επιρροή Αφροδίτη να κάθεται σε θρόνο κρατώντας ένα βρέφος ενώ ο βοσκός Αγχίσης στέκεται δίπλα της.

Worshiped by men, women and officials alike, Aphrodite played a role in the trade, war and politics of ancient Greek cities. In addition, she was honored as the patroness of those who traveled by sea and of companions. The corresponding Roman deity was Venus.
The Birth of Venus (c. 1485)  Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi, Florendia

Birth of  Aphrodite
Three traditions exist regarding the birth of Aphrodite. The most famous are those of Homer and Hesiod, third comes Hyginus.

The tradition of Hesiod
According to Hesiod (Theogony 188-202fig.) Saturn castrated his father Uranus with a scythe and from the sperm that was spilled into the sea the goddess was born. This motherless Aphrodite, corresponding to the "Queen of Heaven" of the Semitic peoples of the East, belongs to the first generation of gods, and is therefore older than Zeus, and was worshiped under the name of Urania in her many sanctuaries in the Greek cities. Her worship in Cyprus and Kythera was one of the oldest - indeed her sanctuary in Kythera was said to have been founded by Phoenician settlers and had a shrine of the goddess, but her sanctuary in Cyprus also had its beginnings in Ascalona (Hebrew 1, 105fig.).

If, now, we take into account that Pausanias testifies that the xoana of the goddess in Thebes were made of the wood of the ships of Cadmus and the Phoenicians who accompanied him to Boeotia (9.16.3), then we can understand why Aphrodite was considered protector of seafarers.

The Homeric tradition
by the birth of Aphrodite from the foam she was called
(Pl., Cratylos 406c)

According to Omiroek. the goddess of Love is the daughter of Zeus and Dione (cf. also Apollodorus 1.3fig.). Thus Aphrodite is subordinate to Zeus as his daughter in a system that revolves around Jupiter and in societies that acquire patriarchal characteristics - female deities in general are subordinate to him as wives and daughters. With her power defined and limited the form of Aphrodite, like that of all the gods, is more clearly defined.

The tradition of Hyginos
According to Hyginus (myth 197) an egg fell into the Euphrates River. This was brought up by fish on land, spun by doves, and from there, in due time, sprang Aphrodite. That is why she was also called Syria or the Syrian goddess, and the Syrians did not eat fish and pigeons, considering them divine beings.
Beginning of the fourth century BC Attic Venus-shaped vase in shell from the cemetery of Phanagoria on the Taman Peninsula

The birth of Venus in art
The dual tradition of the birth of Aphrodite, the Hesiodian and the Homeric, is captured and reflected in art as well. The ancient statues of Hesiod's Urania Aphrodite have martial characteristics - they carry weapons. On the contrary, the Homeric Aphrodite eschews everything warlike – the goddess even appears weak for such works and at one point, wounded on the battlefield by Diomedes, seeks comfort in the arms of Dione's mother. However, it is the Hesiodian tradition that will lead to the complete undressing of the goddess, something that is associated with the name of Praxiteles, Kos and Knidos, but also of Phrynis, the first nude model we know in the history of art, which gave "realism and sensuality' in the statue. The inhabitants of Kos chose the clothed version of Aphrodite of Praxiteles, while the one of Knidos was completely naked in her bath, which for many remains the most beautiful statue of Antiquity.
Attic red-faced aryval of Aeson (c. 410 BC) showing Aphrodite consorting with Adonis, who is seated and playing the lyre, while Eros stands behind him

According to R. Osborne, Venus is no more amorous and sensual than other earlier clothed figures to whom the garment clung. In his view, the removal of the garment is a minor development, if one compares it to the way the woman's body emerged from under the fabric stuck to it, as it fell into its recesses revealing them - one only has to remember the various Nikes , such as those of Samothrace and Paeonium, or the series of the Nereids found in the British Museum. What, in the opinion of the English historian, was important about the Cnidia Aphrodite was the position the viewer took in relation to it, that is, the fact that he could move around the statue (the Cnidia placed it in a round temple), approach it and to meet the gaze of the goddess, to see the genitals she hides, to become the unexpected visitor from whom the goddess tries to hide or the desired lover. The boundaries between the world of the statue and the world of the viewer become fluid, while the possibilities for an amorous and not just dialectical relationship open up.
Fragment of an Attic red-figure wedding vase (ca. 430–420 BC), showing women climbing ladders to the roofs of their houses carrying the 'Gardens of Adonis'

This more speculative approach to the subject is opposed by a more religious one. Undressing is of no small importance and is associated with changes in religious sentiment, and it triggers a series of depictions of the goddess that will culminate in the portrayal of a lady ready for copulations or for the reactions of a "lady well-lived," such as Aphrodite conjunct Pana and Eros, the echo of which we find in modern art, as for example in one of the Misses of Avignon by Picasso.
The Birth of Venus (c. 1879) William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Aphrodite Urania, Aphrodite Pandimos In Athens the worship of Urania Aphrodite was established by Aegeus, while that of Pandemus by Theseus (Paus. 1.14.7; 22.3). The first is a more cosmic power, with dominion in the sky (from her father), in the sea (from the place of her emergence), in the earth (flowers bloom where she treads, when she is born) The pandemonium Aphrodite of Attica is a more political power, it was established by Theseus, when he united the municipalities of Attica into one city, an act he did in the name of the worship of Aphrodite: pandimos means Aphrodite of all the united Attic municipalities. Venus as an erotic and unifying force is at the same time a political force. Thus, its connection with Persuasion is also explained. However, what we mostly know about Aphrodite Pandimo is the moral or rather immoral significance given to her by Plato in the Symposium through the sophist Pausanias. So according to Pausanias of the Symposium, love is not altogether something noble. Aphrodite Pandimos is love for women, children, it is unstable, just as the beauty of the body is unstable and temporary. On the contrary, Ourania Aphrodite is immutable, eros of the soul, eros male, with characteristics of sensuality and intelligence. In this kind of love, Plato recognizes an educational and social role. The lover undergoes willful servitude to the lover and humiliations from him in order to please him and perfect himself. Plato accepts that it is moral to bestow the grace of virtue. What Plato hands down is from the time of the decay of the old religion and its moral correction through philosophy.

Aphrodite of the dead
We know Aphrodite as the goddess of love and beauty, but not as the goddess of the dead, with temples among or near the graves of the great cemeteries. Plutarch reports that they honored her in Naxos with melancholic sacrificial acts - mixed mourning and sobbing (Thess. 20). This can be attributed to two reasons: either that as a goddess of sailors she accepted honors for all the dead shipwrecks that washed up on the shores or because of her unfortunate history with the mortal hunter Adonis.. Exceptionally, and in contrast to gods who they engage in love affairs with mortals, in a way that is completely painless for them, but not for their lovers, the female goddess Aphrodite mourns the death of her beloved by a boar and bargains with Persephone to leave him for six months every year. From the spilled blood of Adonis rose grew, from the tears of the goddess anemones.

The Loves of Venus – Descendants
What is the reason for the charm of Venus? Probably in the clothes and perfumes he used (Homeric Hymn A1.4, 58-67fig., Athinaios 15, 682d-eefig.). That is why, in works of art with Aphrodite, vessels for perfumes or women, sometimes courtesans, who deal with such vessels, such as e.g. on the sides of the Ludovisi Throne.

Aphrodite was romantically involved with all the gods except father Zeus, although he was her greatest victim, causing him to fall in love with various mortals and get involved in adventures due to Hera's jealousy. She married Hephaestus, it is not revealed that they had children together, she cheated on him with Ariek. in a very cute storypic. that the Aedus sings in Rhapsody I of the Iliad, joined with Poseidon, Phaethon, the mortals Aghisi. Adoniek., (see Adonisek.) Bouteik. (?).

With Ares he acquired Armoniaeik., Deimos and Phobos and Eros; with Poseidon (?) Erykaeik., later king of Sicily and founder of the sanctuary of Aphrodite Erycine, and Rhodes; with Dionysus (or Adonis ) Priapoek. , with Hermes the Hermaphroditoic.. With Adonis the Veroe, Zariadris, Æstaspis; with Aghisis the Aeneasic. and Lyros. According to one version, Erotaseik was also her son, without mentioning the father.

"Crisis of Paris" and abduction of Helen

Zeus, to commemorate the marriages of the mortal Peleus with the Nereid Thetis, organized a gathering on Olympus, where the invited gods, goddesses, demigods sat down, all except Eris, the goddess of discord. Eris avenged the insult by throwing a golden apple with the word "kallistῃ" written on it, meaning "for the most beautiful", causing a conflict between the goddesses as to who should receive it.

Hera, Athena, Aphrodite claimed the honor of being given the apple and asked Zeus to choose one of them. Zeus, unable to decide, chose Paris to judge, because he considered him a fair judge. According to one version, the young man's fame was due to the following:

Paris passed the time by making the bulls of Agelaus fight with each other. One of them stood out with his victories and Paris had him compete against the top bulls of other breeders. He defeated them all and then Paris offered a golden crown to any bull that could defeat his own. The god Ares responded to the challenge, transformed into a bull and, of course, won easily. Paris gave the prize, as he had announced. His honesty in judgment prompted the Olympians to appoint Paris as judge of the divine contest between Hera, Aphrodite and Athena.

Accompanied by Hermes, the three goddesses approached Paris as he was grazing his oxen on the mountain. Each ordered him gifts: Hera political power over all Asia and wealth; Athena, skill in battle and wisdom; Aphrodite Helen, the most beautiful woman on Earth. Paris chose Venus.

Paris arrived at Sparta in ships built exclusively for this journey, since the Trojans were not a seafaring people. The goddess Aphrodite herself led him to Amykles, where he was hosted by the Tyndareids, and then to Sparta, where he was hosted by Menelaus. Indeed, according to some traditions, the abduction did not take place with Helen's consent or by force or with the encouragement of Helen's mortal father Tyndareus, but with the intervention of Aphrodite and without Helen's knowledge, as the goddess gave Paris the Thoria of Menelaus. However, it was also said that Hera did not let her rival in the beauty contests win, as she sent Hermes to kidnap Helen and take her to Egypt, where she remained under the protection of King Proteus. Greeks and Trojans fought over an effigy of Helen made of cloud.

Dione and Aphrodite. Nine-year-old sculpture from the east pediment of the Parthenon.
Venus in the Trojan War

Naturally, Aphrodite took the side of the Trojans in the war, and even seduced her lover Ares, although he had promised Zeus and Hera the opposite support.

Among the first duels of the tenth year were those of Paris and Menelaus who dueled in an attempt to end the war without further bloodshed. Menelaus easily defeated Paris, but before he could complete the duel, Aphrodite supernaturally removed her protégé. Paris returned to his bedchamber, and the goddess obliged Helen to be at his disposal (C 380-454fig.).

On the battlefield she tries to protect her son Aeneas, is injured by Diomedes, seeks comfort in the arms of Dione's mother, accepts Hera's ridicule and her father's advice to stay away from the battle (E 334-379fig., E 427-429fig.). Later, he is tricked by Hera, that he wants to kiss Oceanus and Tethys, when in reality he wants to seduce Zeus, in order to achieve her goals in the war; Aphrodite undid the embroidered girdle from her breasts, / the admirer , who had closed all the illusions there; / thanks to his desire, there are sweet words in it, / a conversation, a good mind to steal even wise ones (X 214-217, trans. I. Polylas).

Although Hektor was buried for twelve days, his body was protected from the cruel treatment thanks to Apollo who covered him with his all-gold scutari, until the bullet wouldn't dislodge him in the soil (Ω 20-1); so did Aphrodite who drove the dogs away from the yoke and devouring him. He even anointed him with immortal rose water and covered him with a thick blue cloud so that the sun wouldn't dry his skin.

After the war, when Aeneas' son chose to save his father and the Ephesian gods, but not his wife Creusaic. and his children (with the dominant in antiquity, and not only, reasoning that he can have a wife and children again, but not a father). But while she was following her husband, as he was leaving the city walls carrying his paralyzed father and the icon of the Ephesians, Aphrodite (and/or Cybele) kidnapped her. This action saved Kreusa from captivity to the Achaeans.

Punishment and honors

Aphrodite severely punishes mortals who attempt to renounce her and do not pay them due respect. Thus, he seems to be in a constant struggle of rivalry with Artemis and mortals are crushed between the domains of the gods. A typical example is the Smyrna painting, in which Aphrodite inspired love for the father of King Kinyras of Paphos; but also the other daughters of Kinyras, who were forced to be given to foreigners. He also made the sworn virgin Auraik. to lose her mind and surrender to Dionysus. Her anger and that of Eros was also provoked by another virgin hunter, Nikaiaek., but also by Polyfonteik. and the nymph Rhodopisek., in whom he instilled love for the equally insubordinate young hunter Euthynikos. The beauty of the Sirens. he took, according to one version, transforming them into mixed-breed beings who lured mortals to death, because the daughters did not honor the joys of love.

He also made the queen of the Amazons Penthesilea fall in love with Achilles, the moment their spears and eyes crossed. She ensnared Atalanti, also a sworn virgin, dedicated and devoted to Artemis and the hunt, by giving the would-be suitor Hippomenes or Melanion golden apples from a shrine of hers in Cyprus. And as the young man ran forward in a race with Atalanti, he threw them down; and she stooped to pick them up, either out of curiosity or love for the young man, and was finally defeated, whereupon she was obliged to marry him, as she had promised. (See Atalantiic.)

The goddess was also angry with the Cypriot Erinoneik., because she protected her virginity by honoring the goddesses Athena and Artemis. Cypria tried to make Zeus fall in love with the daughter, Hera became jealous and arranged for Adonis to rape the pure Cypria and lose her virginity, making her indifferent to the Olympian leader. Enraged by the incident, Zeus struck Adonis with lightning and killed her, while Artemis transformed Erinone into a peacock and then the peacock into a human. But Aphrodite begged Zeus to bring Adonis back to the world of the living, to marry the transformed and re-transformed Erinone, and they would have a son, Talea or Talos.

He also punished the Lemnian women with stench, because they did not honor her as he wanted, with the result that the men avoided them and brought other women from Thrace, to enjoy love and have children. He in turn punished a young man, Hippolytus, who, renouncing love, i.e. Aphrodite, himself became a victim of the love lust of his father's wife, Phaedra. Accordingly, he made the mares of Glauqueic. to strip and devour him, because he, wanting to make them faster, would not let them mate, thus offending the goddess.

He transformed the Propoitidesik., daughters of King Propoitus of the Cypriot city of Amathus, who questioned her divine status into stones, after first highlighting them as archetypal prostitutes, i.e. the first women who prostituted themselves with desires that were impossible to satisfy even by all men together (Ov., Met. 220-242) – these were seen by Pygmalion. and disliked women. But also the residents of Amathusntaek. who used to sacrifice every stranger who arrived in their city, whether as a sailor or a castaway, she transformed them into bulls, because she could no longer tolerate the wild bloody sacrifices in the beloved place of her arrival after her birth/emergence on the island of Kythera. She also blinded Apollo's son Erymanthos, because he had seen her bathing naked.

He was enraged at the apathy and arrogance shown by Arsinoike. about Archeophon's love for her and his death. The citizens grieved, mourned the young man, and his relatives exposed his body on the third day after his death. When Arsinoe stooped from her house to behold the burning body of Archeophon, Aphrodite turned her into stone and rooted her feet to the earth. It is also testified that in Salamis, in a temple of Aphrodite, there was the statue of the arrogant daughter Anaxaretike. under the name Venus Prospiciens. The stone which the daughter of noble birth had in the place of the heart, and was not moved by the love of the humble Ife, occupied the whole body.
Aphrodite of Rhodes, c. 2nd century BC, Archaeological Museum of Rhodes.

Aphrodite's anger towards Tyndareus is attributed to the fact that the daughters of Timandra, Clytemnestra, Helen were abandoning their husbands and becoming bigamous, trigamous, and lesbians (Schol. Eur. Or. 249). To the six sons of Poseidon and Aliaik. she threw a tantrum because she was prevented from entering Rhodes on her journey from Kythira to Cyprus. In their madness, the sons raped the mother and committed many atrocities against the locals.

In Ios he inspired love for Orionaek., in order to avenge her for being given to her own lover Ares. He made love to Helios for Lefkothoiek. betraying his beloved Oceanida Clytiaek., to take revenge on him for revealing to her husband Hephaestus and the other Olympians her secret extramarital relationship with Ares.

She herself fell in love with Niriteic, the most beautiful son of Nereus and Dorida, and was angry with him, because he refused to follow her to Olympus, although she had already winged him to have him always with her. The goddess, enraged, condemned him to eternal immobility; she transformed him into a shell stuck to the rocks, while the wings, she gave to Eros, who became her permanent companion.
Marble statue of Aphrodite, mid 2nd century AD, Archaeological Museum of Rethymno, Crete

Venus honors those who honor her and her loved ones. Thus, appreciating the strong feelings of Milos and Pelias for each other and for the beloved of the goddess Adonis, he transformed Miloek. in the fruit of the apple tree and Peliaik. in a pigeon. He also transformed the beautiful shepherd Selemnoek. in a river, when his beloved sea nymph Argyra stopped visiting him; she even made him forget her.

According to a variant, he gave it to Dionysus' beloved Ariadneike. a tiara. Furthermore, he endowed the two daughters of Orion, Mitiochi and Menippe, with beauty (see Coronide fig.). To the daughters of Pandareuic. she brought food after their parent's death and when they reached marriageable age she ascended to heaven to ask Zeus for suitable husbands for them.

Pygmalion cupid to stone
Pygmalion art. was a king of Cyprus who fell in love with an ivory statue of a woman; according to others, the statue's sculptor was himself. And as Narcissus fell in love with his image, Pygmalion fell in love with the creation of his hands. At a festival of Aphrodite, and infatuated with his statue, he asked the goddess for a woman in the form of his statue. Returning home he found the statue alive. He married this woman and they had a daughter, Paphos or Metharmi, and she Kinyra who introduced the worship of Aphrodite to the island.

The myth of Pygmalion is handed down only by Ovid, but it seems to be based on another Cypriot version, where the king of Cyprus falls in love with the cult statue of Aphrodite. The same is said about the statue of Aphrodite in Knidos, that someone fell in love with the statue. and united with the stone.

Psyche and Cupid: A Story of Love and Suffering from an Evil Mother-in-Law, Aphrodite
The story of Eros and Psyche, with Aphrodite in the role of an "evil" mother-in-law, is handed down by the Roman novelist Apuleius (2nd century AD). But it is a given that the author also used Greek sources in the composition of his novel, both philological and visual, as already from the 4th c. e.g. young winged girls appear who also approach winged boys. Besides, in Plato's Phaedrus, the soul reaches with the help of love the vision of ideas; the myth of Love and Psyche is the allegorical expression of man's anxiety about the truth of beings. The story in Apuleius' novel is told by an old woman to a young girl to amuse her:

Psyche was the youngest of the three beautiful daughters of the king of Sicily. She was so beautiful that only the goddess Aphrodite could be compared, it was even considered that she was the goddess herself who had come down to earth and lived among people. She was worshiped by the faithful, while the sacrificial acts in honor of the goddess stopped and her sanctuaries in Knidos, Kythira, Cyprus were deserted.

Enraged with Psyche, the goddess asked her handsome young son Eros to make Psyche fall in love with the most despicable and insignificant man in the world. And while her sisters made rich marriages abroad, but with old and infirm kings, she lived alone in the palace, as no young man decided to ask for his wife this most beautiful woman in the world, a goddess.

Disappointed, her father consulted the oracle of Apollo in Miletus for the fate of his daughter, who decreed that Psyche be nymphed and lead her to a high, desolate and distant mountain, as if she were to be married in the Underworld. There she had to wait for the arrival of the bridegroom, a huge winged serpent that spewed fire from its mouth and filled with terror even the gods, Zeus himself. Terrified, the king obeyed and with obituaries they escorted the girl to the fatal place. But there, Zephyrus, the west wind, gently lifted Psyche and carried her to a beautiful valley, to an enchanted orchard. Walking there, and exploring the place, the girl found herself in front of an all-gold and unguarded palace built by the gods with all kinds of wild animals carved on the walls. The floors were covered with mosaics and the walls were of pure gold, so that even when the sun was not shining, the palace was bathed in golden light.

Invisible servants entered the service of Psyche. They helped her to bathe, to dine, they sang to her, but she could not see them; likewise her husband who in the night clung to her so tenderly that he banished every trace of fear from Psyche's soul. Before dawn he disappeared from her sight, but returned every night. And Psyche was enchanted more and more.

Meanwhile, her parents languished, no matter how hard her sisters tried to comfort them. But Psyche was also saddened by her loneliness - invisible were the servants who offered her everything, invisible as well as her beloved. So she asked her husband, begged him, to allow her sisters to visit her. With much, he accepted on the following condition: to give her sisters whatever she wanted from the riches of the palace, but not to be misled by their words and to want to see him in the light; otherwise, she would lose him, the child who would give birth would be mortal and she herself would be miserable forever.

And when one day her sisters went up to the mountain of their sister's martyrdom mourning for her, Psyche herself answered calling them to her. This time it was also Zephyros who traveled them to the palace, where amid laughter and tears the meeting of the brothers took place. But from visit to visit they began to feel envious of their sister's lot, and to think how they would harm her; meanwhile, they also let their parents believe that their younger sister was dead. Their insistence on knowing who their sister's husband was made her lie, that her husband was a young, handsome and strong man who spent his day in the mountains hunting. Lie after lie, Psyche was confused, she once said that her husband was a rich merchant, old, her sisters immediately caught the contradiction in the two stories - one time young and a hunter, in the other story, old and a merchant -, until Psyche was forced to tell the truth, that she had never seen her husband. And then, she was snared by reminding her of Apollo's oracle: her husband was actually the winged dragon who cared for her only to eat her once the child grew in her womb. And she was advised in the middle of the night to light a lamp and cut off the monster's head.

Psyche believed that she should strike first, to save herself and her child. One night, in the light of the lamp, she finally saw the real face of her husband – Eros himself, beautiful, sleeping beside her, exhausted, with his bow and arrows at his feet. Psyche touched one of the arrows to inquire about them, was pierced by it and immediately became entangled in the nets of love for her Eros, her husband. Repenting that her credulity had led her to infidelity, she tried to kill herself with the knife with which she was going to cut off the head of the supposed dragon, but failed, the knife slipping from her hands. But then a drop of hot oil from the lamp fell on the shoulder of Eros, he threw himself up in pain, realized the unfaithfulness of Psyche and in despair spread his wings to fly away from her. But she managed to grab hold of his leg and was lifted into the air with him. Exhausted from the fatigue of holding on to Eros' foot, she fell to the earth but was not killed. He flew down to the top of a cypress tree, complained to her about her infidelity, and then flew up again. Psyche, desperate, threw herself into the waters of a river to drown, but he picked her up and gently left her on the thick grass of its bank. Panas, who was next to her, tried to encourage her. And she decided first to punish her sisters and then to look for Eros.

She was first found where the husband of one of her sisters ruled. He told her what had happened and that Eros now wanted to marry her. Her sister went mad with joy and desire, invented an excuse for her husband, that her parents had died, and ran to the top of the mountain, where Psyche had originally been left. She threw herself into the void thinking that Zephyrus would catch her and lead her to Eros, but she was torn to pieces and eaten by birds and carrion-eating animals. Psyche did the same with her second sister.

Alone and unaided by gods and men, she began the search for her Love. Neither Hera nor Demeter, who sympathized with her, wanted to get involved, despite the daughter's piety and her lamentations in their sanctuaries, because they would come into conflict with Aphrodite who hated her to death. Desperate, the young woman arrives at Aphrodite's palace and falls into the hands of the goddess who, after all, had sent Hermes to bring her to her by good or by force.

In the meantime Eros was languishing in his mother's bed in terrible pain from the burn. A seagull revealed to Aphrodite, who was playing in the sea, what had happened to her son and that Psyche was his beloved. This angered Aphrodite, for her son had disobeyed her original commands but the seagull pointed out to her that there was little chance of humans returning to the worship of Eros and Aphrodite and that ugliness and hatred now ruled the world. Nor did she listen to Demetra and Hera, when they pointed out to her in a chance meeting that her son was an adult and that he had the right to decide for himself about his love life.

So when Psyche arrived at Aphrodite's palace in hopes of propitiating her, she subjected her to various trials. Two of her handmaidens, Grief and Egnoia, whip her mercilessly, another pulls her hair hair by hair, Aphrodite herself beats her and tears her clothes. Then he orders her to sort out and sort a huge amount of all the fruits of the earth – wheat, poppy seeds, millet, chickpeas, lentils, beans, barley. Psyche didn't know where to start but she managed with the help of the ants. Aphrodite suspected that someone had helped Psyche and subjected her to new tests; to bring the golden wool from some golden-haired wild sheep of the mountain and water from the Styx spring of the Underworld. Her helpers in the trials were the prophetic reed growing on the river bank and the eagle of Zeus. The reed advised her to avoid the sheep during the hot hours of the day, and when they rested in the shade, to collect the tufts of wool that the animals left as they passed through thorn bushes. And when Psyche climbed to the top of the mountain to fill her crystal vessel with the black water of the Styx that was guarded by sleepless dragons by night – even the waters raised their voices to discourage her – the eagle of Zeus ran to her help by filling the jug with water.

Again Venus was not satisfied. He gave Psyche a small box and told her to go down to the Underworld. There he had to fill the box with the beauty cream used by Hades' wife, Persephone, because hers had run out. Her guardian in this test was the magical tower, from which she wanted to jump and end her life. But he took pity on her and advised her to take some coins with her for the ferryman Charon and sweets to offer to the bloodthirsty, three-headed dog, the guard of Hades, Cerberus. He also had to beware of Aphrodite's snares, a lame man who would lead a mule, and an old man who would slip into the Styx and perhaps ask her to take him with her in Charon's boat; and if Persephone invited Psyche to feel as in home and offered her a meal, she had to refuse it and accept only a crust of bread. Psyche carefully followed the tower's instructions and was warmly welcomed by Persephone who immediately filled the box with the salve and Psyche returned safely from the realm of the dead. But she could not overcome her curiosity and opened the box, to put some of the ointment, to become even more beautiful and to win back Eros. There seemed to be nothing in it but Psyche felt Sleep envelop her like a suffocating smoke and she immediately fell into a deep sleep.

In the meantime Eros, having recovered from his burn and unable to forget Psyche, slipped out of the room where his mother kept him, found his beloved, and closed Sleep again in the box, helping Psyche to recover and bring completed its mission completely. He then flew up to Zeus to beg him to approve his marriage with her.

Zeus took a sympathetic view of the story and called a council of the gods. There he declared that Eros should now begin to behave like a true husband and not a frivolous youth; he also explained to Aphrodite that Eros had not made a bad marriage, because Psyche would become a goddess. He then sent Hermes to bring the girl to Olympus, where their wedding union was celebrated. After some time, the woman who endured so much for her lover gave birth to the fruit of her love with Eros: Pleasure.

Chanting symbols of the goddess

Favorite animals: Pigeons

Favorite plants: rhododendron, myrtles, anemones

Adjective of the goddess

Astropheia (= that which averts the race of men from lawless desires and foolish works)

And to Aphrodite he gave the names Harmony, the heavenly one for love pure and free from carnal lust, and Pandimon for the mixing, and thirdly Apostrophia, so that the human race would be turned away from the desire of the lawless and the deeds of the unholy (Pauso. 9.16.3 .6- 4.5)

Morpho (= the beautiful or the one who gives beauty; epithet of the goddess in Sparta, where there is also a statue representing her with her face covered and her feet bound either to show the deon for women or because Tyndareus wanted to punish the goddess for the trouble he brought to his house)

Estropia (= the cardiostrophe)

Espionage (from the temple of the goddess to which Phaedra, in love with her ancestor Hippolytus, fled to secretly spy on the young man while he was exercising.

Anadyomeni (this epithet was attributed to the goddess thanks to the painting by Apelles that showed the goddess emerging from the sea; the painting was placed in a temple of Asclepius in Kos.)

Afrogeneia and Afrogene, Aligeneia


Eupliia, Pontia, Limenia (for its connection with the sea; see also Aphrodite of the dead)

Ambologira (=she who delays old age)

Areia and Armed (as a war goddess, mainly in Sparta). In ancient Greece, especially in Sparta, Aphrodite was worshiped as a warrior, as evidenced by the epithet Areia. As Graz pointed out, this cult was considered strange by the Greeks themselves: "The armed Venus of Sparta evoked the spirits of those who dealt with the epigrams and rhetoric of classical times"31 But the Spartan cult finds a parallel theme in the island of Kythira, where Aphrodite Urania was depicted armed. Let us add here, or rather recall, that this was considered the earliest worship of a goddess who anyway takes part in the war in one way or another in the Homeric epic. How, then, should we understand the role of the goddess Aphrodite as a warrior? The Greek testimony is of little help in this case. The gods of Greece, even in the heroic epic, are quite refined. The most appropriate guide, then, is comparative mythology. In the Assyro-Babylonian myth the mourning goddess is at the same time a warrior goddess. If in one text Inana is described as a lion whose roar threatens to destroy heaven and earth, another text describes her as a thunderer whose roar shakes the foundations of the world. Inanna's heavenly war is actually the turmoil arising from her troubled heart. What roars in the sky has the quality of thunder and lightning that shakes the world to its foundations. Like the corresponding early deities of the Norse pantheon – almost all the pantheons in fact – here too this early female deity is associated with the elements of nature. The clang of arms and the roar of battle is the closest human activity comes to divine agency. It is therefore natural, in the process of humanizing the gods, that man figuratively renders their nature clothed with martial dependence.

Lion of the sky
In the same hymn in which she is described as a "star of lamentation", Ishtar is compared to a roaring lion: (...) Irninitum (epithet of Ishtar), roaring lion, let your heart be still(...)27. The fact that the planet Venus was the object of this imagery is confirmed by various testimonies. Inanna, too (as Venus) is expressly described as a lion in the sky. Thus, one hymn invokes Inana as a "lion that shines in the sky"28. In another early hymn, Inanna and Ebih, the goddess is presented as a storm, as a fierce lion that destroys everything hostile. Repeatedly the planet-goddess in Babylonian mythology is compared to a roaring lion in the sky, and one may rightly wonder. Could anyone today looking at the planet Venus describe it in such terms? In the sacred iconography of Ishtar the lions are clearly visible anyway29 and are probably associated with the loose hair of the lamentation. This association is not arbitrary, as it is confirmed by the epigraphic texts in which the loose crown is often likened to a lion's mane. A popular motif also describes lions carrying the star symbol. Various scholars argue that the star symbol on the lion's body indicates that they belonged to Ishtar30. But the word comet is still used today to describe a comet. We are not sure if our ancient ancestors attributed the iconography of the comet to Venus. However, there remains a sequence that shows the connection of Ishtar-Venus with the sky and partly explains the insistence on the celestial qualities of the roaring lion in the hymns to Ishtar.

Lamenting star
If the cult of Aphrodite reflects the ancient conceptions associated with the planet Venus, it is to be expected that a knowledge of the mythology of the planet will help to interpret the specific details of the cult of the goddess. Consider, for example, the important role of Aphrodite as a goddess of mourning, most evident in the traditions surrounding Adonis, a god whose rites were associated with ritual mourning20. As we have seen, Aphrodite is said to have jumped from the rocks of Lefkada in her anguish over the death of Adonis. Gregory Nagy, one of the first scholars of Greek myth, interprets Aphrodite's leap in terms of the stereotypical movements of the planet in the sky: "Plunging from the white rock she [Sappho] does what Aphrodite does in the form of the Evening Star, diving behind the sunken Sun, to meet him the next morning in the form of Augerinus.

The fact that Aphrodite's laments are related to the planet is confirmed by Babylonian tradition, in which Ishtar/Aphrodite was known as the "star of lamentation"22. Perhaps this epithet is confusing, of course: What possible connection could there be between a distant planet and ancient mourning rites?

A survey of the ancient Venus goddesses will show that most were depicted as great mourners. Inanna's lamentations over Dumuzi's death are said to have shaken the foundations of heaven. In the Canaanite tradition Anat's laments for Baal are proverbial, while in the Egyptian tradition Isis wandered around the world inconsolable, searching for the remains of Osiris: "She sought him tirelessly, full of lamentations she crossed the earth and did not rest until she found him" .

Similar traditions surround the Norse goddess Freya, commonly identified with Aphrodite. As Briffault recognized many years ago, Freya's Lamentations conforms to a general archetype whereby “she was primarily a wanderer. Like Isis in search of Osiris, like Io and countless other goddesses, she wanders inconsolably in search of Odhr or Odin"24. The same idea is evident in the New World, where the goddess Itzpapalotl "wandered about mourning the loss of the Arrow Fish."

The Phrygian Cybele offers a classic example of the goddess as mourner. According to Diodorus, the goddess wandered the world with disheveled hair, mourning the death of Attis. The most important thing, however, is that here Cybele is identified as a mourner with Aphrodite. Also, just as the "lamenting star" was considered feminine, we find that the rites of lament were characteristically the special domain of female forms: "These rites and 'lamentations' are performed in all primitive societies by women." It is interesting at this point to note that mourning rituals around the globe indicate women with hair tangled and loose in the wind.

About her birth:
In ancient Greece, especially in Sparta, Aphrodite was worshiped as a warrior, as evidenced by the epithet Areia. As Graz pointed out, this cult was considered strange by the Greeks themselves: "The armed Venus of Sparta evoked the spirits of those who dealt with the epigrams and rhetoric of classical times"31 But the Spartan cult finds a parallel theme in the island of Kythira, where Aphrodite Urania was depicted armed. Let us add here, or rather recall, that this was considered the earliest worship of a goddess who anyway takes part in the war in one way or another in the Homeric epic.

How, then, should we understand the role of the goddess Aphrodite as a warrior? The Greek testimony is of little help in this case. The gods of Greece, even in the heroic epic, are quite refined. The most appropriate guide, then, is comparative mythology. In the Assyro-Babylonian myth the mourning goddess is at the same time a warrior goddess. If in one text Inana is described as a lion whose roar threatens to destroy heaven and earth, another text describes her as a thunderer whose roar shakes the foundations of the world.

Inanna's heavenly war is actually the turmoil arising from her troubled heart. What roars in the sky has the quality of thunder and lightning that shakes the world to its foundations. Like the corresponding early deities of the Norse pantheon – almost all the pantheons in fact – here too this early female deity is associated with the elements of nature. The clang of arms and the roar of battle is the closest human activity comes to divine agency. It is therefore natural, in the process of humanizing the gods, that man figuratively renders their nature clothed with martial dependence.

Apaturus, because he deceived, according to Strabo's narrative (, the Giants. They desired the goddess, and she, to protect herself, called Heracles and hid him in a cave, where she called the Giants one by one to join them, at which point she handed them over to Heracles. This episode is placed in Phanagorea of the Tauri peninsula, where also the sacred name of Apaturou.

Argynnis (from the Boeotian neo Argynnos, the son of Peisidice, and lover of Agamemnon; drowned in the river Kifissos and there a sanctuary was founded in honor of Aphrodite Argynnis)

Dionaea (from Dione's mother) and daughter of Zeus

Philomeid or philomeid or philommed (= she who loves to sneer)

Pothon Mitir


Common adjectives with other gods
Anthea (epithet of the goddess at Knossos and also of Hera at Argos)

Mahanitis (this epithet is also used for other gods, e.g. for Athena)

Persuasion (epithet of other gods, e.g. Artemis)

Despina (surname of other gods, mainly Demeter and Persephone)

Nikephoros (surname not only of Aphrodite but also of other gods)

Machinist (inventive; epithet attributed to both Athena and Zeus)

Melainis (=dark; name of Aphrodite in Corinth)

Ekaergos (=one who acts from afar; epithet attributed to the goddess Iulis of Kos and also attributed to Artemis)

Akrea (epithet of other gods whose sanctuaries were located at extremes, e.g. on hills)

Efstephanos (surname of other goddesses, Artemis, Demeter, a Nereid)

Aphrodite is considered to belong to the five wedding gods – Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Peitho, Artemis.

Kolias and Gennetylis. These names are not certain to belong to Aphrodite or only to Aphrodite. They may also belong to Demeter, the first, to Artemis the second. In the commentaries on Nepheles by Aristophanes we read: Aphrodite is called Kolias; he took the poor daughter from the donkeys, i.e. by the hands and feet she was hanged; He was born as the cause of his birth. Aelius Herodianus writes: Kolias akra Falirois, where Aphrodite is also Kolias. but the place is correctly called. imminent because he is also like a man's ass (De prosodia catholica However, it is not certain that Kolias Akra is in Faliro. As for the epithet Gennetilis, it is also found in the plural and by this is meant deities who protect childbirth, sometimes they are identified with the Elythyias.

Adjectives based on places of worship

Cyprogeny and Cyprogenes


Pafia and Pafii

Kytheria and Kytheria

Akidalia (perhaps from the fountain Akidalini or from ἀκὶs, akis erotos)

Melinaia (from the city of Melina of Argos)

Knidia (from Knidos, where Praxiteles placed the famous statue)

Arakynthia (from the mountain Arakynthos, whose exact location is uncertain - perhaps in Aitoloakarnania -, where there was a temple of the goddess)

Idalia (from the city of Idalionik. in Cyprus)

Afakitis (from the Afakas region between the Syrian cities of Heliopolis and Byblos; the temple of the goddess was near a lake)

Migonitis (from the site of Migonion on the island of Kranai, where Paris initially took Helen; there he also founded a temple in honor of the goddess)

Erycine (from Mount Eryx in Sicily, where the goddess's son, Erykasek., by the Sicilian king Boutis (?) founded a temple in her honor, although Virgil considers Aeneas to be the founder of the temple. Be that as it may, to at the end of the third century the cult of Aphrodite Ericine was introduced to Rome and in the first twenty-five years of the 2nd century BC her temple was established outside the Porta Collatina.Erykas' daughter Psofida founded a sanctuary and oracle of Aphrodite Ericine in the city of Psofida of Arcadia.

Zephyritis (from Cape Zephyrio, Egypt)

Amathusia (from the city of Amathus in Cyprus, where there is also a temple of the goddess)

Zerynthia and Zerynthia (from the city of Zerynthos in Thrace, where Phaedra was said to have built a temple in honor of the goddess)

Homer, Iliad 5.370.
Hesiod, Theogony, 188–90.
 Greek: Ἀφροδίτη, translit. Aphrodítē; Attic Greek pronunciation: [a.pʰro.dǐː.tɛː], Koinē Greek: [a.ɸroˈdi.te̝], Modern Greek: [a.froˈði.ti]
 This claim is made at Symposium 180e. It is hard to interpret the role of the various speeches in the dialogue and their relationship to what Plato actually thought; therefore, it is controversial whether Plato, in fact, believed this claim about Aphrodite. See Frisbee Sheffield, "The Role of the Earlier Speeches in the "Symposium": Plato's Endoxic Method?" in J. H. Lesher, Debra Nails & Frisbee C. C. Sheffield (eds.), Plato's Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception. Harvard University Press (2006).
 Kölligan, Daniel (2007). "Aphrodite of the Dawn: Indo-European Heritage in Greek Divine Epithets and Theonyms". Letras Clássicas. 11 (11): 105–34. doi:10.11606/issn.2358-3150.v0i11p105-134.
 Penglase 1994
 Boedeker 1974
 Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, vol. 2, p. 111.
 M. Hammarström, "Griechisch-etruskische Wortgleichungen", Glotta: Zeitschrift für griechische und lateinische Sprache 11 (1921):
 Frisk 1960, 
 West 2000, 
 Etymologicum Magnum, Ἀφροδίτη.
 O'Bryhim, Shawn David (June 22, 2021). A Student's Commentary on Ovid's Metamorphoses Book 10. United States: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 80. ISBN 9781119770503.
 "The Cypriot Syllabic Script word a-po-ro-ti-ta-i". Retrieved April 24, 2023.
 Pestarino, Beatrice (August 8, 2022). Kypriōn Politeia, the Political and Administrative Systems of the Classical Cypriot City-Kingdoms. Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill Publications. pp. 135-136. ISBN 9789004520332.
 Breitenberger 2007,
 Cyrino 2010