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The God and Goddess associated with Love.
Greek - Roman.

GREEK

Aphrodite

In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, desire, beauty, fertility, marriage, sexual rapture and many more. According to Hesiod, she was born when Uranus (the father of the gods) was castrated by his son Cronus. Cronus threw the severed genitals into the ocean which began to churn and foam about them. From the aphros ("sea foam") arose Aphrodite, and the sea carried her, in a gaint scallop, to either Cyprus or Cythera. Hence she is often referred to as Kypris and Cytherea. In Homerís Iliad 5, Aphrodite is depicted as a daughter of Zeus and Dione.

After her birth, Zeus was afraid that the gods would fight over Aphrodite's hand in marriage so he married her off to the smith god Hephaestus, the steadiest of the gods. He could hardly believe his good luck and used all his skills to make the most lavish jewels for her. He made her a girdle of finely wrought gold and wove magic into the filigree work. That was not very wise of him, for when she wore her magic girdle no one could resist her, and she was all to irresistible already. Along with her girdle she had the natural power to give the gifts of beauty and passionate but also has the power to cause despair and hopeless love.

Aphrodite loved gaiety and glamour and was not at all pleased at being the wife of sooty, hard-working Hephaestus. She loved and was loved by many gods and mortals. Among her mortal lovers, the most famous was perhaps Adonis. In the Odessey the Bard Demodokos sings of her affair with Ares, in the Theogony the pair are said to be the parents of Deimos, Phobos and Harmonia. Some of her other sons are Eros, Anteros, Hymenaios and Aeneas (with her Trojan lover Anchises).

Her festival is the Aphrodisiac which was celebrated in various centers of Greece and especially in Athens and Corinth. Her priestesses were not prostitutes but women who represented the goddess and sexual intercourse with them was considered just one of the methods of worship. Aphrodite was originally an old-Asian goddess, similar to the Mesopotamian Ishtar and the Syro-Palestinian goddess Ashtart. Her attributes are the dolphin, the dove, the swan, the sparrow, the plane Venus and even the month of April. The lime and Myrtle are her trees. Some even believe she held sacred the poppy, apple, rose, tortoise and ram.

Perhaps the most famous legend about Aphrodite concerns the cause of the Trojan War. Eris, the goddess of discord, the only goddess not invited to the wedding of King Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis, resentfully tossed into the banquet hall a golden apple, marked "for the fairest. " When Zeus refused to judge between the three goddesses who claimed the apple, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, they asked Paris, prince of Troy, to make the award. Each offered him a bribe: Hera, that he would be a powerful ruler; Athena, that he would achieve great military fame; and Aphrodite, that he should have the fairest mortal woman in the world. Paris selected Aphrodite as the fairest and chose as his prize Helen of Troy, the wife of the Greek king Menelaus. Paris's abduction of Helen led to the Trojan War.

In Roman mythology Venus is the goddess of love and beauty and Cupid is love's messenger.

Eros

Eros was the god of love and sexual desire in Greek mythology. He was represented as one of the primeval forces of nature, the son of Chaos, and the embodiment of the harmony and creative power in the universe. Soon, however, he was thought of as a handsome and intense young man, attended by Pothos ("longing") or Himeros ("desire"). Later mythology made him the constant attendant of his mother, Aphrodite, goddess of love.

In Greek art Eros was depicted as a playful, winged youth, slight but beautiful, often with eyes covered to symbolize the blindness of love. Sometimes he carried a flower, but more commonly a bow and arrows, with which he shot darts of desire into the bosoms of gods and humans. His arrows come in two sets: golden arrows with dove feathers for love, and leaden arrows with owl feathers for indifference. Eros' brother is Anteros ("returner of love") and his wife is the mortal Psyche.

According to Plato, Eros is the striving of mankind to the pure, the good, the beautiful. Eros' Roman counterpart is Cupid.

Aphrodite

Attributes:

The dolphin, dove, swan, lime tree, myrtle tree, sparrow, rose, apple, poppy, tortoise, ram, the planet Venus, the month April, dressed or naked, accompanied by Eros & the three Graces.
Often portrayed in her toilet with a mirror.

Goddess of:

Love, desire, beauty, fertility, marriage, sexual rapture,affection, the attraction that binds, erotic love, the sea, vegitation, motherhood, chastity in women & nature.
She was also the Queen of Pleasure, Bringer of Joy, Mother of the People, Patroness of Gardens and Vineyards & Queen of the Heavens.

Fathers - Children:
Anchises - Aeneas
Dionysus - Priapus & Hymen
Hermes - Hermaphroditus
Ares - Deimos, Phobos & Harmonia
* Eros' father is debated between many. Especially Zeus.

ROMAN

Venus

The Roman goddess of love and beauty, but originally a vegetation goddess and patroness of gardens and vineyards. Later, under Greek influence, she was equated with Aphrodite and assumed many of her aspects. Possibly the daughter of Jupiter. She was the daughter of Dione and the mother of Cupid. She was also the goddess of chastity in women, despite the fact that she had many affairs with both gods and mortals.

Her cult originated from Ardea and Lavinium in Latium. The oldest temple known of Venus dates back to 293 BC, and was inaugurated on August 18. Later, on this date the Vinalia Rustica was observed. A second festival, that of the Veneralia, was celebrated on April 1 in honor of Venus Verticordia, who later became the protector against vice. Her temple was built in 114 BC. After the Roman defeat near Lake Trasum in 215 BC, a temple was built on the Capitol for Venus Erycina. This temple was officially opened on April 23, and a festival, the Vinalia Priora, was instituted to celebrate the occasion.

Some of Venusí lovers include Mars and Vulcan, modeled on the affairs of Aphrodite. Venus' importance rose, and that of her cult, through the influence of several Roman political leaders. The dictator Sulla made her his patroness, and both Julius Caesar and the emperor Augustus named her the ancestor of their (Julian) family: the 'gens Julia' was Aeneas, son of Venus and the mortal Anchises. Ceasar introduced the cult of Venus Genetrix, the goddess of motherhood and marriage, and built a temple for her in 46 BC. She was also honored in the temple of Mars Ultor. The last great temple of Venus was built by the emperor Hadrianus near the Colusseum in 135 AD.

Venus really had no myths of her own but was so closely identified with the Greek Aphrodite that she "took over" Aphrodite's myths.

Cupid

Cupid was the Roman god of Love, son of Venus. He is a small, winged boy, carrying bow and arrows. The arrows, once struck the heart, makes the victim fall in love. He is also portrayed as a young man with Venus or with a small group of winged infants (the Amoretti or Amorini). Some traditions say that he was born from a silver egg.

Cupid took as his wife, the beautiful mortal maiden Psyche. . . on the condition that he would join her only at night so she never saw his face. Their dark nights together were full of love and passion; though Psyche had a fear that her loving husband might also be an ugly monster!

At the urging of her sisters (and her own fears) she hid a knife and candle by their bed one evening before he came. After Cupid fell asleep Psyche silently stole out of bed and lit the candle. As she held the light up to his face she saw not an evil ugly beast. . . but a most handsome young man with wings!

In her surprise she spilled some candle wax on his sleeping face. The hot wax woke Cupid, and he flew away as he cried "O foolish Psyche! Is it thus you repay my love? But go; return to your sisters whose advice you seem to think preferable to mine! I inflict no punishment on you other than to leave you forever. "

The name is derived from the Latin cupido, meaning "desire". His Greek equivalent is Eros.

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