10 Aphrodite Facts: Swan Drawn Chariots and Renaissance Art

Aphrodite was born from the blood of the primordial god Uranus that fell into the ocean when he died. She was said to be the goddess of love, beauty, passion and pleasure. It was quite surprising that while beauty was such a dominant theme in the myths of Aphrodite, she ended up marrying the ugly and deformed Olympian god Hephaestus.

That being said, she had many affairs though with the other gods including Ares, Hermes and Dionysus and some mortals on earth including Adonis. She had a number of children by her husband and lovers. There was Eros who had the power to cause anyone to fall in love another person. She also gave birth to Phobos and Deimos , the gods of fear and terror. These two would drive around the field of battle, often with their father Ares and terrorise the soldiers.

Aphrodite had a varied set of character traits that would appear in the many Greek myths. She could be loyal, jealous and manipulating.

  • Loyal – When the Trojan prince Paris chose her as the most beautiful of the Greek goddesses, she rewarded him with the beautiful Helen of Sparta as a wife. She also took the side of the Trojans during the Trojan war and rescued Paris from a number of situations in which he could have died. She was loyal to Paris, but as you will later see she was very disloyal to her husband Hephaestus.
  • Jealous – Whenever any mortal dared claim they were more beautiful than Aphrodite, she would often react swiftly and terribly. One of the most famous examples is when she made the Queen of Crete fall in love with a bull and give birth to the Minotaur. Her crime was that she had merely compared herself to Aphrodite.
  • Manipulating – Psyche was a beautiful women who had many admirers on earth. This annoyed Aphrodite so she decided to intervene. She sent her son Eros to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest man she could find. Eros accidentally scratched himself with one of his arrow and himself fell in love with Psyche.

Aphrodite Facts – Everything You’d Possibly Want to Know

  • There are actually two completely different stories about how Aphrodite was born. The first being that she was born from the ocean when the blood of Uranus fell into the sea. The second is that she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione, who was a Titan goddesss.
  • She carried a belt or girdle which had the power to make anyone fall in love with the wearer. She lent the girdle to Hera when she wished to woo and distract Zeus.
  • Her Roman name is Venus and to many people this is the name she is better known by.
  • There are many famous pieces of artwork depicting Aphrodite. One is The Birth of Venus by Botticelli and another is the Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch.
  • Her Greek name Aphrodite is the basis for the term aphrodisiac meaning something which increases sexual desire, sexual pleasure, or sexual behaviour.
  • She would travel in a chariot pulled either by a team of swans or a team of sparrows.
  • One of her favoured lovers had been killed by a wild board. Because of this, the ancient Greeks would not sacrifice pigs to her like they did with other gods.
  • On one occasion a mortal called Glaucus insulted her. She gave his horses a powerful potion and they turned on their owner, killing him and then eating him.
  • In the art work depicting Aphrodite she is often accompanied by swans, doves or an apple.
  • In one of the Greek myths a sculptor called Pygmalion falls in love with one of his favourite sculptures. Aphrodite decides to reward Pygmalion by making the statue come alive.

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