Aphrodite is one of the most well-known figures in ancient Greek mythology. She is mentioned for the first time in Hesiod’s ‘Theogony’, where the poet claimed that she was born out of the white foam produced by the severed genitals of Uranus after his son Cronus threw them into the sea. She was the goddess of love and fertility, while sometimes she even presided over marriage.
At the same time, she was widely worshipped as a goddess of the sea and seafaring, while in some places, such as Sparta, Thebes, and Cyprus, she was honored as a goddess of war. The Romans identified her with Venus, and she played a significant role in the Roman pantheon as well. This article presents some of the most interesting facts about the goddess of love.
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13 Fun Facts about Greek Goddess Aphrodite
Aphrodite had many children with different men
It was believed that Aphrodite had at least 17 known children from 7 different men, among them Olympian gods, such as Ares, Dionysus, and Poseidon, as well as mortal men, such as Anchises. Some of these children include Eros, Phobos, Priapus, Aeneas, Hermaphroditus, and the Three Graces.
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Aphrodite was often associated with several symbols
The goddess of eros was frequently associated with many different symbols, such as the dove, the swan, and the rose. In Greek mythology, the dove used to represent romance, while swans were considered symbols of beauty and elegance.
She was one of the three contestants for the apple of Eris
Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena were the top three contestants for a golden apple, which was intended for the most beautiful goddess. Aphrodite promised Paris, the prince of Troy, that if he chose her, she would offer him Helen, the most beautiful woman in Greece, to be his wife. Paris acted thus, a choice that ultimately led to the Trojan War.
Aphrodite was the sculptor’s favorite
More artworks about Aphrodite survive than any other classic mythology figure. She can be found in numerous works of art, painting, and sculptures, as well as literary works. The Venus of Milo and the Aphrodite of Knidos are some of the most famous ones.
Aphrodite’s depictions are perfectly symmetrical
In her numerous artistic representations, the goddess of love is always depicted nude, radiant, and perfectly symmetrical, expressing the Greek idea that beauty is harmony and balance. Apart from that, she was often depicted with a dove, a shell, or an apple, possibly referring to the myth of the apple of Eris.
Aphrodite and Persephone both fell in love with Adonis
When a mortal man named Adonis was born, Aphrodite sent Persephone to raise him and care for him. Once he reached maturity, both Aphrodite and Persephone wanted to possess him, ending up in a serious conflict. Zeus decided that Adonis should spend half of each year with the women, so they could share him.
Aphrodite was sometimes described as easily offended
Some mythical narrations suggest that the goddess of love was not always kind and forgiving. In some cases, she is depicted as having a short temper, punishing those who offended her. For instance, a man named Glaucus once insulted the goddess, and so she fed his horses magic water which caused them to turn on him during a chariot race, crushing him, and then eating him.
Aphrodite did not take rejection very well
Due to her short temper, Aphrodite did not take rejection very well, seeking revenge on those who rejected her. Although it was indeed a very rare thing for a man to reject the goddess of love, those who dared to act in this way met the anger of Aphrodite, who on several occasions mercilessly killed these men and their loved ones through tricks.
Aphrodite carried a weapon
Every Olympian god carried a tool that reflected his abilities and special powers. Aphrodite wielded a magical belt that allowed her to easily make anyone, god or mortal, fall in love with the wearer. In some cases, other goddesses would ask to borrow the belt from Aphrodite in order to attract and seduce their lovers easily.
The temple of Aphrodite in Acrocorinth was linked to prostitution
The Aphrodite in Acrocorith was one of the most famous sanctuaries dedicated to the goddess of love, and it was built in the ancient city of Corinth around the early 5th century. It was also said that it attracted a large number of men and slaves who were dedicated to Aphrodite and came seeking the services of the temple.
Check out: Temples of the Greek gods.
A flower is named after the Aphrodite
The Calycanthus Aphrodite, also known as sweet shrub, is named after the Greek goddess of love. This flower is extremely fragrant and it resembles the magnolia blossoms that are commonly found during late spring and the early summer seasons. In general, the plant grows an average of 150 to 240 cm tall.
Aphrodite is considered one of the patron goddesses of Rome
According to myth, Aphrodite fell in love with Anchises, with whom she had a son, Aeneas. Aeneas was one of the bravest warriors of Troy, who helped many people escape the Greeks after the fall of the city. After that, Aeneas traveled far and wide, finally reaching the place where the city of Rome was founded. He was considered the ancestor of Remus and Romulus, the two founders of Rome.
Aphrodite was forced to marry Hephaistus so that a war would be avoided
Zeus was concerned that Aphrodite’s overwhelming beauty would be a cause of conflict between the gods, and so he decided to marry her with the ugliest god in Olympus, Hephaistos. This way, he could keep a close eye on him, although Aphrodite was unhappy about this marriage, and both parties continued to have affairs with other gods and goddesses.