Gods of Olympus


In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, sexuality, fertility and beauty. She is most often referred to as Zeus, her father, and Dione, her mother. According to Hesiod's interpretation, Aphrodite was born from the sea foam that fertilized the genitals of the god Uranus (which were cut off by his son Kronos). This is why she is sometimes called Aphrogenia ("Born of foam").

Aphrodite's husband was Hephaestus. They had no children together, yet Aphrodite was the mother of several offspring. With the god Ares she had three sons (Eros, Phobos, Deimos) and a daughter Harmonia. With the god Hermes, she had a son named Hermaphroditus. With the god Poseidon she had three sons (Rhodes, Herophilus, Eryx) and with the god Dionysus she had a son Priapus. With Anchises she had a son named Aineias.

Aphrodite cheated on her husband with the god Ares every time Hephaestus left the house. They got away with everything for a long time until the sun god Helios discovered the loving couple and caught a glimpse of them. He immediately informed Hephaestus, who, although very upset, managed to keep his cool and devise a plan to catch the lovers in the act and accuse them before all the gods.

Hephaestus forged an indestructible, but at the same time soft and delicate net of bronze, which he placed around the bed. He announced to his wife that he was going away for a long time. The lovers were immediately reunited, but when they awoke in the morning, they found themselves trapped in the net. Hephaestus summoned all the gods and demanded that Zeus pay him a huge ransom. But he was refused. The other gods also refused, except Poseidon, who fell in love with Aphrodite. The situation was only resolved by Hermes, who declared that if he had Aphrodite by his side, he would be at ease under three such nets. He made light of the situation and Hephaestus did not get a gold piece. Nor was there a divorce, for he continued to love his wife despite her infidelity. On the other hand, Aphrodite, after declarations of love from Hermes and Poseidon, fathered offspring with both gods.

The ancient Greeks dedicated several animals to Aphrodite - a dolphin, a dove, a sparrow and a swallow. And also several plants - the poppy, pomegranate, myrtle and rose.

There are several interesting facts related to the goddess Aphrodite:

1. Aphrodite and Psyche

Aphrodite is considered the most beautiful being in the world. But one day this opinion began to change when people got to know Psyche. She was so beautiful that people worshipped her as Aphrodite herself. But she was angered, and sent her son Eros to hit Psyche with an arrow of love, and she fell in love with the worst man in the world. But Éros could not do so at the sight of Psyche, and on the contrary fell so much in love with Psyche himself that he wanted to marry her. He had one condition, and that was that Psyche never try to find out who he was. The promise was broken one night, and while viewing the beauty of Érot, this idol was burned and immediately afterwards flew away.

In her grief, Psyche searched for where he might have flown off to, until she set out to find his mother, Aphrodite. She refused to let her see her son, saying that he first had to accomplish three impossible tasks. Ants helped her with the first task (sorting through various legumes). The second task (to draw water from a black spring that falls directly into the underworld) was helped by an eagle. The third task (to fetch the healing ointment from the underworld for Éroth from Persephone) was helped by the oracle, who advised her to take two gold pieces for Charon the ferryman for going there and back, and two cakes for Kerber for going there and back. On her return to Aphrodite she was allowed to visit Eros. Psyche gave Zeus immortality and remarried them together.

2. Love for Adonis

When King Kinyras declared that his daughter Myrrha was the most beautiful in the world, Aphrodite decided to punish his blasphemy. And she did so by forcing the girl to make love to her drunken father. After the king learned what had happened, he wanted to kill Myrrha. But Aphrodite saved her by turning her into a tree. Kinyras cut this tree into two pieces and out of them fell a little boy named Adonis, who was begotten from the aforementioned incest. Aphrodite hid Adonis with Persephone, who raised him.

When Adonis grew up, both Persephone and Aphrodite fell in love with him. They couldn't agree on which one Adonis should stay with, so they let Zeus decide. He determined that he would be with Aphrodite for a third of the year, Persephone for a third of the year, and rest for the remaining third of the year. It didn't take long for Aphrodite to break Adonis into dedicating the "resting" third of the year to her. This angered Persephone, who told Ares about Aphrodite and Adonis' relationship. Ares became enraged, killed the young man, and cast his soul into Tartarus. Aphrodite then extorted Zeus so that Adonis could leave the Abyss and spend his summer days with her and his autumn days with Persephone.

3. The Judgment of Parid

All the gods were invited to the wedding of the goddess Thetis and King Peleus, except Eris, the goddess of strife. She decided to take revenge by throwing a golden apple with the inscription "To the fairest" in front of the goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite. Each of the goddesses claimed the apple and a great quarrel ensued, which no one could resolve or appease.

It was only the god Hermes who thought that the Trojan prince Paris, who had never seen a woman before (he had spent his life in the mountains with shepherds) and was thus the only one who could independently judge beauty, could settle the dispute. After all three goddesses came before him, he was so overwhelmed by their beauty that he could not decide. The goddesses took advantage of his hesitation to pander and make offers. Hera offered wealth, Athena offered glory and Aphrodite offered love. The love of a woman as beautiful as the goddesses themselves. Paris accepted Aphrodite's offer and gave her an apple. In return, she led him to Sparta, where he kidnapped the beautiful Helen (wife of King Menelaus and daughter of Zeus and his mistress Leda). With her, Paris then returned to Troy to marry her so that he could claim the throne.

Disappointed, the goddesses Hera and Athena agreed on revenge, and this was the beginning of the Trojan War.

4. Trojan War

The kidnapping of Helen caused a military campaign by Sparta, involving King Menelaus, his brother King Agamemnon of Mycenae, King Odysseus of Ithaca, the Argosy ruler Diomedes, Aias of Salamis, Patroclus, Achilles and others, supported by Athena and Hera. Sparta besieged Troy for ten years. It was not so much for the defense of Troy per se, but rather because of the strife of the gods. The end of the dispute came when Zeus allowed the gods to take part in the conflict. On the side of Troy were Aphrodite and Apollo.

The war ended with Odysseus entering Troy by a stratagem called the Trojan Horse. The city was then sacked and burned. Only a handful of the defenders escaped, led by Aeneas.