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Brandon Wilson Mrs. Petro Mythology, Period 5 27 November 2001 Aphrodite/Venus Aphrodite is the Greek name for the goddess of love and beauty. Roman mythology refers to her as Venus. She charmed gods and men and ¡§stole away even the wits from the wise¡¨ (Hamilton 32).

Different stories describe how Aphrodite was created in two different ways. The first tells that she was created from the foam of the Mediterranean Sea and dressed upon her birth by the Seasons before being presented to Zeus. In the Iliad, Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione.

Zeus married Aphrodite to Hephaestos, who was the least attractive, but most creative of the gods of Mount Olympus. Burning frankincense and myrrh summons Aphrodite to her worshipers. She possesses an embroidered girdle that has the ability to inspire love. Her son, Eros, inspired desire with his arrows. His brother, Anteros was the avenger of slighted love.

Anteros is sometimes said to oppose love (Hamilton 36).

Roman and Greek mythology describe the goddess in the same way. Beauty surrounds her. Without her, there is no joy or loveliness anywhere. In later poems, she is portrayed as being treacherous and malicious, exercising her deadly and destructive power over men.

Aphrodite is featured in many myths. One of the best known stories is that in which Eris, goddess of discord, was left out of the banquet celebrating the marriage of King Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis. Resenting this deeply, Eris threw a golden apple into the banquet hall marked ¡§For the Fairest.¡¨ All of the goddesses wanted the apple, but in the end the choice was narrowed down to three: Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. They asked Zeus to choose who was the fairest between the three of them, but he was wise and refused. He instructed them to go to Mount Ida, near Troy, and ask Paris, a prince who was tending his father¡¦s sheep, to judge them. Each of the goddesses offered a bribe to Paris. Hera offered to make Paris the Lord of Europe and Asia. Athena offered to lead the Trojans to victory over the Greeks and lay Greece in ruins. Aphrodite offered Paris the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Troy, to be his bride (Hamilton 179).

Helen was to be wed to Menelaus. Paris traveled to Sparta and stayed as the guest of Menelaus and Helen. When Menelaus left to go to Crete, leaving Paris and Helen alone, he returned to find that his guest had vanished, taking his bride with him. Menelaus was outraged and called upon the Greeks to help him to fight Troy. Since Aphrodite caused Helen to fall in love with Paris, she is blamed for starting the Trojan War.

Sources Cited ¡§Aphrodite¡¨. Greek Mythology. 26 Nov. 2001.


Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. Boston: Little, Brown and Company; 1942.

Homer and Samuel Butler (Translator). The Odyssey. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2000.