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The Greek Goddess Of Love Aphrodite English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1111 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In the time when everyone believed that there was no other way but worshiping the Greek gods and goddesses, there were the Olympians. They were Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Hermes, Artemis, Hephaestus, and Aphrodite. Aphrodite was the most beautiful goddess of all Olympia, and the goddess of erotic and sexual love (also beauty and fertility). Her name in translation stands for “foam-risen”. She went by other names too, such as Venus, Dionaea (after her mom Dionne), and Cyprian after the island she emerged onto after being formed out of the sea foam.

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There are two stories for the creation of Aphrodite. One makes more sense with the translation of her name. It is said that the Titan Uranus had a son named Cronus who cut off his (Uranus’) genitals and threw them into the sea. The immortal flesh in the sea caused foam and thus Aphrodite formed out of a shell among the foam. She then emerged onto the island of Cypress where the sea nymphs showered her with wonderful gifts. Then in other history she is known as the daughter of Zeus and Dionne.

Since Aphrodite is known to be related to Zeus then her siblings would be Zeus’ children. Some of the more important siblings are Ares, Hephaestus, Athena, Apollo, Hercules, Persephone, Dionysius, The Muses, and The Fates.

When Aphrodite was brought up to Mt. Olympus Zeus decided he should marry her, so he picked his son Hephaestus, the ugly and deformed god of fire. Hephaestus believed it was because he was very hard-working, but it’s said that Zeus thought it would be less chaotic if she was unattainable. (It’s also been said to put an end to his own temptations.) Aphrodite had no choice in this union, but it did not stop her from having her side adventures with other men, both gods and mortals. Hephaestus felt so lucky to have the most beautiful woman as his wife that he lavished her with the most beautiful jewelry and clothes that had ever been seen (which he made himself). One of which was her famous magic girdle that made her irresistible to gods and mortals. But the gifts were not enough for the irresistible Aphrodite, so she had many affairs that resulted in many children.

One of her most famous affairs was with Ares, the god of war. She had quite a few children with him. Some of which were Deimos, Phobos, Harmonia, Anteros, and Eros. When Hephaestus found out about Aphrodite and Ares’ affair, he decided to catch them in the act. So he had a net that was impenetrable set over the bed. Then he told his wife that he was going away on a trip and the two lovers fell for the trap. They were caught in bed together and Hephaestus showed the Olympians of their affair, Hephaestus was going to demand all of his gifts back, but Poseidon felt pity for Aphrodite and convinced Hephaestus to forgive her. Aphrodite at one point insisted on an open marriage. She later married Ares anyway.

Another one of her many love affairs were with the mortal Adonis, son of Myrrha and Cyprus. When he was born, Aphrodite gave him to Persephone to take care of until he was grown up. But Persephone fell in love with him and refused to give him up, so, the two stubborn goddesses had to go to Zeus to settle the problem. So Zeus ruled that Adonis would spend 1/3 of the year with Persephone, 1/3 of the year with Aphrodite, and the final 1/3 of the year with whomever he wanted (which he ended up spending it with Aphrodite). He especially loved to hunt so Aphrodite took up the hobby so as she could spend more time with him. But after a while she pleaded with Adonis to give up the game because it was dangerous and she couldn’t bear to lose him. But he refused, and one day on the hunt he was killed by a wild boar and when she fled to him, she turned his blood drops into wind flowers (Anemone Oregana) as a symbol of their love. It is also said that Ares had heard of Aphrodite and Adonis’ love affair and in a fit of jealousy, he turned himself into a bull and ran Adonis to death.

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Adonis was not the only important mortal lover or Aphrodite. In Greek stories, Zeus decided to get revenge on Aphrodite. She caused so many gods to fall in love with her that he made her fall in love with the mortal Anchises. The two stories of their love was that she first disguised herself as a mortal and revealed herself to him after they had their son Aeneas (they also had a daughter, Beroe). Then another story is that she first pursued him as herself and he refused her, then she disguised herself as a mortal and did not reveal her deity to him until after she was pregnant. Then it was said that Zeus murdered him when he revealed the affair he had with Aphrodite to other mortals. A few more of her lovers were Dionysius, Hermes, and Poseidon.

Not only was this goddess famous for her various sexual activities, but also for starting the Trojan War. A wedding took place among the gods and goddesses for the union of King Peleus and Thetis. Eris the goddess of Chaos was not invited and in anger she tried to crash the wedding, when not let in she threw a golden apple in the middle of the floor for “the fairest”. Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite all believed themselves to be the fairest and began fighting over the apple. Zeus could not decide who was, so he left his son Paris (Prince of Troy) to decide. In the end he chose Aphrodite because she had the best bribe for Paris, this was Helen of Troy who was abducted from the Greek King Menelaus. To get her back, the King declared war, and it was the Trojan War. During this war, her son Aeneas fought. Athena, who liked to meddle in lives just as Aphrodite did, gave Diomedes the power to see the immortals on the battlefield. She told him he should stay away from all the gods and goddesses but he could stab Aphrodite. When Aphrodite helped Aeneas by shielding him from all of Diomedes attacks, Diomede lunged at Aphrodite and cut her hand. She fled to Mt. Olympus where Zeus told her to stay away from warfare and only worry herself with matters or marriage and love and so on.

The goddess had many affairs, but she never felt guilty, she liked being able to get whoever and whatever she wanted, but she was always ready to help deities and mortals get the love that they wanted. She was even said to be very generous and always very friendly. Aphrodite was one of the very well-known out of all Greek gods and goddesses, and even though she slept around a lot, she gave everyone something to talk about and made lots of babies. Which I think many gods, goddesses, and mortals appreciated.


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