Greek Name: Aphrodite
Roman Name: Venus
Role in Mythology : Goddess of beauty and sexual desire (Roman mythology: Goddess of gardens and fields)
The goddess Aphrodite, the Greek equivalent of the Roman deity Venus, represented the qualities of love and beauty. This Roman statue, Aphrodite Crouching, presents an idealized version of female beauty.
Aphrodite, in Greek mythology, the goddess of love and beauty and the counterpart of the Roman goddess Venus. In Homeric legend she is said to be the daughter of Zeus and Dione, one of Zeus's consorts, but in the Theogony of Hesiod she is described as having sprung from the foam of the sea, and etymologically her name may mean “foam-risen.” According to Homer, Aphrodite is the wife of Hephaestus, the lame and ugly god of fire. Her lovers include Ares, god of war, who in later mythology was represented as 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 personification 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 on which were inscribed the words “for the fairest.” When Zeus refused to judge between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, the three goddesses who claimed the apple, they asked Paris, prince of Troy, to make the award. Each goddess offered Paris 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 declared Aphrodite 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 of Near Eastern origin, Aphrodite was identified in early Greek religious belief with the Phoenician goddess Astarte and was known under a variety of cult titles, including Aphrodite Urania, queen of the heavens, and Aphrodite Pandemos, goddess of the whole people.