Sunday, December 20, 2015

Greek Goddess Aphrodite: Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and desire

Aphrodite of Milos.
Aphrodite (Ἀφροδίτη) is the Greek Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, procreation, and desire. Symbols include the Dolphin, Rose, Scallop Shell, and Myrtle. More rarely Sparrow, Girdle, Mirror, and Swan are also symbolized the Greek Goddess Aphrodite. She is residing in mount Olympus, she is part of the 12 Olympian Gods and most times she is depicted nude.

Birth


There are three myth variations about her origin. In the first version, Aphrodite was born near Paphos, in the island of Cyprus, according to Sappho the Greek lyric poet, born on the island of Lesbos. In the work of Theogony, she was born when Cronus cut off Uranus's genitals and threw them into the sea, and she arose from the sea foam (aphros). Finally, According to Homer's Iliad, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione.

Personal Life


Because of her beauty, other gods feared that she would interrupt the peace among them and lead to war. Moreover, as we discussed earlier, this was a Hera offered the hand of Aphrodite in marriage to the god who could release her from the chair that she was trapped. Greek God Dionysos suggested that Hephaistos should return and claim the prize of Aphrodite for himself. Zeus agreed as he will retain the peace among the Greek Gods. Thus, Zeus married her to God Hephaestus, who, because of his ugliness, was not seen as a threat. The problem is that  Aphrodite was the lover of Greek God of war Ares. This resulted in one of the most famous affairs, between Ares and Aphrodite. Ares and Aphrodete have eight children: Erotes (Eros, Anteros, and Pothos), Phobos, Deimos, Phlegyas, Harmonia, and Adrestia.

Other famous divine affair of Aphrodite was with the Greek God Adonis, child of Myrrha and  King Cinyras from Cyprus. Myrrha mother said that her daughter (Myrrha) was more beautiful from the Goddess Aphrodite. To punish her, the gods transformed Myrrha to the myrrh tree. However, Myrrha was already pregnant and she gave birth to Adonis. When Aphrodite found the baby, she gave it to the underworld to be fostered by Persephone. She returns for him when he is grown but Persephone wants to keep him. Adonis decided to stays with Aphrodite. Unfortunately, Adonis is killed from a wild boar and he goes again to the underworld. Aphrodite wants to return him to life, but Zeus intervenes again, deciding that Adonis will spend six months with Aphrodite and six months with Persephone.


The Judgement of Paris and the Trojan War


According to the myth, the Greek gods were are all invited to the marriage of Peleus and Thetis (parents of Achilles), except Eris, goddess of discord. In revenge, Eris makes a golden Apple inscribed kallistēi (the prettiest of all), which she throws among the the three goddesses: Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena. To solve this problem, Zeus delegates the choice to a mortal, Paris. Each of the  goddesses offer him bribes. He choose the goddess Aphrodite, as she offered him the Helen of Troy (already married to King Menelaus of Sparta), the most beautiful mortal woman in the world. The other two goddesses are enraged by this, and through Helen's abduction by Paris, they bring about the Trojan War.