Hesiod declares that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and pleasure, was born off the coast of Cythera from the foam produced by Uranus’s genitals, which had been severed and thrown into the sea by his son Cronus (Um, dude clearly had control issues). Homer claimed she was Zeus and Dione’s daughter.
Personally, I’m going with Zeus’s daughter on this one because the goddess of love and beauty was also the goddess of pleasure. Based on the many trysts she had, with both gods and mortals, it seems as though girlfriend had a wandering eye. This lead to her often being unfaithful to her husband Hepheastus, most notably with Ares, the god of war.
Speaking of Ares, Eros is said to be the son of Aphrodite and Ares, but that’s only one of a few origin stories for Cupid. It’s also said that Eros was one of the primeval forces born at the beginning of time. Whatever the case may be, Eros was a constant companion of Aphrodite.
It’s obvious innocent-looking Aphrodite had a wild side. As such, she found herself in the middle of her fair share of drama, like being the catalyst for the Trojan War, an obsession with the mortal Anchises (Pronounced ann-KY-seez), and that whole custody battle over Adonis.
And now for the anger myths…
Ah, yes, the “anger myths”, which is also why I’m going with Zeus as being her father. Zeus is notoriously hot-tempered (all of Cronus’s sons are, in fact), so it makes sense.
In one myth, Aphrodite gets supremely pissed at the women on the island of Lemnos because they refuse to worship and make sacrifices to her. She promptly curses them to stink so horribly their husbands will no longer have sex with them. The men start having relations with their slave girls instead and, in a murderous rage, the women kill all the men on the island. The woman eventually repent, and when Jason and his Argonauts land on the island, Aphrodite agrees to lift the curse. I’m pretty sure nothing got done for a full week when that shiz went down.
Another myth has Aphrodite getting bent out of shape because Hippolytus (Pronounced hip-POL-lah-tus) worships Artemis, the virgin goddess. Of course, being the goddess of sexuality, Aphrodite is irritated to no end. She declares he has directly challenged her authority by abstaining from sex, and curses Hippolytus’s stepmother to fall in love with him, knowing he will reject her. Sure enough, he rejects her and she commits suicide, but not before leaving a note to Hippolytus’s father, Theseus (Pronounced THEE-see-us), that Hippolytus tried to force her to sleep with him. Theseus prays to Poseidon to kill Hippolytus. Always looking for a fight, the god of the sea obliges. He sends a wild bull to spook Hippolytus’s horses as the mortal rides along the shore in his chariot. The horses bolt, smashing his chariot against the cliffs and the rest is too bloody and gory to think about.
Yet anther myth where Aphrodite’s nasty side comes out is concerning Gluacus, the son of Sisyphus (Prounounced SIS-ee-fus). He apparently kept his racing mares from mating to preserve their speed, and this did not set well with Aphrodite. She sought retribution on him by driving his horses mad until they turned on Hippolytus and tore him apart.
Despite Aphrodites’ two sides, she was beautiful and enchanting beyond compare. Perhaps her dual nature was what made her so desirable yet unattainable. Some of her symbols include a magical girdle, made for her by her adoring husband, Hephaestus, god of blacksmithing, metal work, craftsmen and artisans, a shell, doves, sparrows, roses, and myrtles.
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