Aphrodite (Afro-die-tee) – The Goddess of Love, Beauty and Sensuality and one of the most know Goddesses of Greek Mythology. As with many of the Gods and Goddesses there is more than one story about her origins. In Hestiod’s Theogony, when Cronus cut off Uranus’ genitals and cast them into the ocean, Aphrodite arose from the foam of the sea. In Homer’s Illiad, she was born the daughter of Zeus and Dione.
Because of her beauty, the Gods feared that the rivalry to gain her favor might lead to conflict and war. Zeus married her off to Hephaestus, who, because of his ugliness and deformity, was not seen as a threat.
Aphrodite knew she could have any man she wanted, and wasn’t very happy with Zeus marrying her off. She was very independent for a woman in her day, though in fairness she was considered a good goddess. Aphrodite myths are full of tales of her lovers, and from them, her children.
One of the most famous of her children was Eros, God of Love, better know as Cupid. Ironically, the love goddess wanted Eros to follow in her forced tradition and marry someone unattractive. But, like his mother, Eros had to follow his heart and married the beautiful Psyche. This did not please his mother and she attempted to sabotage their relationship. Eros convinced Zeus to make Psyche immortal, leaving Psyche with an angry and resentful mother-in-law.
The goddess of love was no stranger to causing trouble, though most of the time she didn’t intend to. Her relationship with the beautiful Adonis led to his death by the hand of the jealous God of War, Ares. She also inadvertently started the Trojan War by bribing a poor human man into announcing her the most perfect of all the goddesses. The bribe he was promised was, Helen of Troy. The trouble with that was Helen was already married.
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