Aphrodite (or Venus for you Roman mythologists out there), is the ever-worshiped, oft-feared, Goddess of Love. In Greek Myth, her son was Eros (who you might know better as Cupid). Aphrodite had a magical girdle which could make anyone fall in love with her. It was said she was born from the white foam of the sea (“Aphro” means “Foam” in Greek). You might be familiar with the famous painting, “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticielli. The portrait depicts a blonde-haired goddess rising nude from the sea, which parts to make room.
Aphrodite’s Family Tree
The Goddess of Love is the daughter of Zeus, King of the Gods, and Dione, a Titaness (female Titan) with prophetic abilities. Zeus had overthrown Cronus to become King of the Gods, and before that Cronus overthrew his own father Uranus (wouldn’t want to mess with that bloodline!)
Aphrodite And The Trojan War
One famous story about Aphrodite claims she and several other goddesses started the Trojan War. Aphrodite, Athena, and Zeus’ wife Hera, all wanted a mortal named Paris to judge them the fairest goddess and give them a golden apple as a reward. Aphrodite promised the love of the world’s most beautiful woman to Paris; Athena offered Paris glory in combat, and Hera suggested she’d give him supreme power if she got the apple.
Aphrodite played to win, and made Paris fall in love with a woman named Helen of Troy. She won the contest and the apple, but Helen was already married to King Menelaus of Sparta. However, Paris did not accept this outcome, and kidnapped Helen. The war ensued as Sparta fought Athens for Helen’s safe return. And that’s where we get the saying, “The face that launched a thousand ships!”