Venus de Milo (in the Louvre, Paris)


19th Century statue in Manchester

Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione, although some myths said she rose fully grown from the sea (as shown in Botticelli's famous painting below). Her home was Cyprus, and she was also known as Cypris.

Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty, love, flirtation, and sexual attraction. Her symbols were the dove and the apple.


above: Temple of Aphrodite in Aphrodisias


Aphrodite features in many myths. When Paris judged her to be the most beautiful of the goddesses she gave him Helen as a prize. Helen ran away with him to Troy, and this led to the Trojan War.

Aphrodite's husband was Hephaestus, but she had affairs with Ares. One day Hephaestus caught them both in a magical net, then he called on the other gods to come and laugh at them.

This did not stop Aphrodite, as the goddess of love, having affairs with many other gods (and men)


There are temples to Aphrodite in Paphos, Cyprus, and in Cnidos and Aphrodisias, Turkey.

The Birth of Venus, by Botticelli, 1484-1486

Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite

"I will sing of stately Aphrodite, gold-crowned and beautiful, whose dominion is the walled cities of all sea-set Cyprus. There the moist breath of the western wind wafted her over the waves of the loud-moaning sea in soft foam, and there the gold-filleted Hours welcomed her joyously. They clothed her with heavenly garments: on her head they put a fine, well-wrought crown of gold, and in her pierced ears they hung ornaments of brass and precious gold, and adorned her with golden necklaces over her soft neck and snow-white breasts, jewels which the gold-filleted Hours wear themselves whenever they go to their father's house to join the lovely dances of the gods. And when they had fully decked her, they brought her to the gods, who welcomed her when they saw her, giving her their hands. Each one of them prayed that he might lead her home to be his wedded wife, so greatly were they amazed at the beauty of violet-crowned Cytherea."