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Sphinx (Riddle of)
Aphrodite is the goddess of love and beauty. However, most peopl
e don't know her whole story. There are two stories about how Aphrodite was born. The most commonly known is that she was born of sea foam ('aphro' meaning foam). Uranus, the god of the sky, was very mean and harsh to his wife Gaia, goddess of the earth, and his children. Gaia helped their youngest son, Cronos, to overthrow Uranus in Heaven. As Uranus's blood mixed with the sea, it started to foam and Aphrodite was born of the foam. The second most common myth is that Aphrodite was the daughter of Dione. In Homer's lliad, Aphrodite was born from the union of Zeus and the Titan goddess Dione. Aphrodite and Dione both had temples in the sactuary of Zeus at Dodona.
Aphrodite was so beautiful that every god, including the all powerful Zeus, desired her as his wife. However, Aphrodite was too proud for any of her suitors and rejected all of them. Zeus was afraid the gods would start a war to fight for her hand in marriage. As her punishment, he married her off
to Hephaestus, the lame and steadiest smith god. This union did nothing to stop Aphrodite, as she was unfaithful to him and would not let him share her bed.
The most well-known affair of Aphrodite's was the affair she had with Ares, god of war. The affair between Aphrodite and Ares put a lot of stress and tension on the other gods. Unfortunately, the two were caught one day by the sun god, Helios, when they overslept. Helios then told Hephaetus, who set a trap for the two lovers. Hephaestus told Aphrodite that he was going to be gone for a few days, and Aphrodite and Ares decided to take advantage of the time together. They did not know that Hephaestus had rigged the bed with a metal net that trapped the two love
rs in bed together. Not only did Hepheastus find the two in bed, but he kept them there and allowed the Olympian gods to come and humiliate them.
"Because I am lame, she never ceases to do me outrage and give her love to destructive Ares, since he is handsome and sound-footed and I am a cripple from my birth. But my cunning chains shall hold them both fast till her father Zeus has given me back all the betrothal gifts I bestowed on him for his wanton daughter; beauty she has, but no sense of shame (Paris 22)."
Aphrodite also had many other affairs with gods and mortals. These affairs resulted in Aphrodite having many children. With Ares, she had five children: Anteros, god of reciprocal love, Deimos, god of fear, Eros, winged boy god of love, Harmonia, goddess of harmony, and Phobos, god of panic. She also had Beroe, goddess of the city of Beroe, by Adonis; Hermaphroditos, the Hermaphroditic godling, from Hermes; Iakkohos, god of the Eleusinian Mysteries, by Dionysos; Priopos, god of garden fertility, by either Dionysos, Zeus, or Adonis; Rhodos, goddess of the island of Rhodes, by Poseidon. She also had children with no father: The Erotes, winged godlings of love, Himeros, god of desire, twin of Eros, and Pothos, god of sexual longing.
Although Aphrodite's powers may seem less usefull than those of the sun-god Apollo or the warlike Athena, her power over love is revealed to be very influential. With a domain that included the innermost feelings of the heart and the source of human passion, Aprodite had power unlike any other god. She uses this power to help those who worship her and punish those who don't. One example of Aphrodite's influence is the Judgement of Paris, in which Aphrodite's actions indirectly caused the Trojan War.
"At the wedding, Eris (Strife) threw a golden apple into the midst of the guests. The apple bore
the inscription "for the fairest" a quarrel arose among Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, with each goddess claiming the apple for herself. Eventually, they agreed to make paris, a Trojan prince, arbiter of their dispute. All three goddesses offered Paris bribes; Aphrodite promised the most beautiful woman on Earth as his wife--this was Helen, wife of Memelaus, ruler of Sparta. Paris awarded the apple to Aphrodite and proceeded to abduct Helen.
This incident started a decade-long war which gained the attention of all gods and heroes of the day. As the owner of these powers, Aprodite had the ability to infuence the most important events in mythological history.
Aphrodite was also very generous is helping her followers. One example is giving Meilanion three golden apples to help him win Atalanta as his wife. Atalanta, a very fast runner, had promised to marry anyone that could beat her in a foot race. However, if she was the winner, she would kill them. Meilanion, knowing he only had one chance, asked Aphrodite for help. Aphrodite then gave Meilanion three golden apples for him to drop during the race. When he dropped them, Atalanta had no choice but to stop and pick up the beautiful fruits. Because of this, Meilanion won the race and married Atalanta. She also had her son Eros strike Medea with one of his arrows so that she would fall in love with Jason of the Argonauts, which resulted in his overcoming her father Aeetes and gaining the Golden Gleece.
Aphrodite also punished those who tried to disrupt or prevent the natural workings for love and sexuality. To punish Glaucus for refusing to let his mares breed, she caused the mares to throw him off his chariot during a race, after which they ate him. She caused the Sirens to grow wings as a result of their wishing to remain virgins. She also supported the Maenads' murder of Orpheus for condemning the promisuity and advocating homosexual love. When the women of Astypalaea angered her by claiming to be more beautiful than she was, she made them grow cow horns. Clearly Aphrodite's powers were not just a tool for creating simple crushes, they were a areal instrument of power which could affect all beings.
Aphrodite is the Goddess of...
GODDESS OF SEX & PROCREATION
Patron of: Physical attraction; Sexual desire; Marital relations; Prostitution; Animal procreation
Favour: Sexual attraction
Curse: Sexual repulsion; Unnatural desires (incest, bestiality, etc)
GODDESS OF LOVE
Patron of: Romantic love; Lovers
Favour: Love reciprocated
Curse: Love unreciprocated
GODDESS OF SEDUCTION
Patron of: Seduction; Sweet-talk; Flirtatiousness
GODDESS OF BEAUTY
Patron of: Physical beauty
GODDESS OF PLEASURE & HAPPINESS
Patron of: Happiness; Laughter; Pleasure; Joy; Parties and festivities
Favour: Pleasure and happiness
Symbols of Aphrodite
Chariot drawn by white dove
Myths of Aphrodite
She fell in love with the Cyprian prince Adonis in rivalry with Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. When the youth was felled by a boar she transformed his blood into flowering anenomes.
Zeus made her fall in love with a mortal man, the shepherd Ankhises, as punishment for continually mating gods with mortals.
Aphrodite brought to life a marble statue which King Pygmalion of Kypros had fallen in love with.
Aphrodite caused the Kyprian princess Myrrha fall in love with her own father, as punishment for her mother's boast that the girl was more beautiful than the goddess. Later Aphrodite, pitying the girl's fate, transformed her into a myrtle tree.
She brought about the death of Athenian prince Hippolytos, who ridiculed her worship, by causing his step-mother Phaidra to fall in love and then rejected betray him.
She imposed a harsh series of trials upon Psykhe as punishment for betraying the trust of her lover, Aphrodite's son Eros.
She caused Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection as punishment for spurning the love of others. When he pined away in unfulfilled desire, Aphrodite transformed him into a daffodil / narcissus.
Aphrodite made the women of Lemnos to become sexually repellant to their husbands as punishment for scorning her worship.
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