in Greek mythology, the goddess of love and beauty and the counterpart of the Roman Venus. In Homer's Iliad she is said to be the daughter of Zeus and Dione, one of his consorts, but in later legends she is described as having sprung from the foam of the sea and her name may be translated “foam-risen.” In Homeric legend Aphrodite is the wife of the lame and ugly god of fire, Hephaestus. Among her lovers was Ares, god of war, who in later mythology became her husband. She was the rival of Persephone, queen of the underworld, for the love of the beautiful Greek youth Adonis.
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 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.
Probably Oriental in origin, Aphrodite was identified in early Greek religious beliefs with the Phoenician Astarte and was known as Aphrodite Urania, queen of the heavens, and as Aphrodite Pandemos, goddess of the people.
Aphrodite sided with the Trojans in the Trojan War. This was because both Paris and her son, the hero...