In Greek mythology Aphrodite was the great Olympian goddess of love and beauty. She had long golden hair and wore no clothes with a great body that was perfect in every way. She is described as astoundingly beautiful. She was famed for being sexually attractive and desired by many of the Greed gods and mortals alike. Her name stands for Careless or un-makeup in ancient Greek.
She is often depicted nude with her winged godling Eros (stands for Love) at her side. She is known as the goddess of beauty, love, pleasure and procreation. She is best known for her adulterous affair with Ares, and her love for Adonis. She is also known as Cytherea or Lady of Cythera and Cypris or Lady of Cyprus. Her most famed lover Adonis was incredibly handsome and tragically killed according to the myths by a boar.
Legends have it that she was born from sea foam. The story of Aphrodite’s birth is that Cronus cut off Unanus’s genitals and threw them into the sea and from the foam Aphrodite was born. She then floated to shore on a scallop shell. She was so beautiful and invoked such sexual rapture that gods were fearful that jealousy over her would disrupt the peace among them. She got married off to a god Hephaestus but nonetheless had many handsome lovers including Ares and Adonis. Hephaestus was ugly and made her beautiful jewelry and a cestus girdle which made her even more irresistible to men.
With her incredible beauty she is usually depicted as an adult woman, infinitely desirable and nubile. She is characterized as vain because of her immense beauty. Another story is that the fabled sculptor Pygmalion made an ivory statue of Aphrodite and called her Galatea. Since Pymalion had never found a woman worthy of his love he fell in love with his statue. Aphrodite took pity on him and brought the ivory statue he made of her image to life so he could marry it.
Aphrodite was also involved in the start of the Trojan War. At a wedding a disgruntled guest threw the apple of discord onto a table and proclaimed it belonged to whomever was the fairest. Paris the Prince of Troy wound up with the apple and Aphrodite promised him the most beautiful woman in the world. That woman turned out to be Helen who was already married to Menelaus. Paris abducted Helen from Menelaus and took her back to Troy and married her. Menalaus’s fury over it was the catalyst for the Trogan war.
Aphrodite’s festival was the Aphrodisiac which was celebrated in Athens. Her priestesses were not prostitutes but woman who symbolized the goddess. Sexual intercourse with them was considered one of the methods of worship, which is why Aphrodite’s name often has sacred prostitution rumors swirling around it. Some accused her of being not only the goddess of love but a courtesan and the patron goddess of prostitutes.