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This union resulted in a child named Hermaphroditus. More Stories. Aphrodite, 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.

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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.

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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. Of all the goddesses of ancient mythology, none was more widely venerated than the goddess of love. The Greeks called her Aphrodite.


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The Romans worshiped her as Venus. Other stories tell how she sprang, full-grown, from the foam of the sea near the island Cythera.

Born into the Children of God

Aphros is Greek for "foam. There the Hours met her, clothed her, and brought her to the gods. Every god even Zeus himself wanted this beautiful, golden goddess as his wife. Aphrodite was too proud and rejected them all. To punish her, Zeus gave her to Hephaestus Vulcan in Roman mythology , the lame and ugly god of the forge.

This good-natured craftsman built her a splendid palace on Cyprus.

God of War

Aphrodite soon left him for Ares Mars , the handsome god of war. One of theirchildren was Eros Cupid , the winged god of love. Aphrodite's Birth. Pronounced af-roh-dye-tee, Aphrodite was conceived when Cronus threw Uranus' genitalia into the sea, and she rose out of the foam. Her name literally means "foam born. Dione told Aphrodite about the time Ares had been captured and bound by the Giants, Ephialtes and Otos. The two daring brothers imprisoned Ares in a brazen jar for thirteen months until Hermes [messenger of the Immortals] freed the humbled god of War.

The Dread-Goddess, Athene delighted in the works of Ares but she would fight against him as well as with him.


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During the siege of Troy, Athene stood against Ares and was victorious on several occasions. Pallas Athene donned the Helm of Death and, after deflecting Ares's spear, hurled a bolder, knocking Ares senseless Aphrodite came to Ares's assistance but, as she was helping Ares from the battlefield, Hera urged Athene to attack Aphrodite Athene struck Aphrodite in the breast and knocked her and Ares to the ground When Ares finally retreated to Mount Olympos his father, Zeus, instructed the immortal healer Paieon to tend his wounded son and then rebuked Ares by saying, "To me you are most hateful of all gods who hold Olympos.

When the fighting at Troy caused the death of Ares's son, Askalaphos, the god of War was furious Hera added to his anger by saying that Zeus had no concern for the sorrow of the Immortals or the death of their children Ares slapped his thighs and ordered his sons, Deimos [Fear] and Phobos [Panic or Terror], to harness his horses so that he could leave Mount Olympos and go to the battlefield of Troy Athene stopped Ares and took his helmet and shield On several occasions, Ares took on the guise of a mortal man and joined the Trojan army He also took the guise of a storm-cloud and bellowed from the walls of Troy to remind the Achaeans that the War God was standing against them.

Like Ares, Herakles was a son of Zeus, but Ares was the son of the goddess Hera and thus fully divine and immortal. Herakles was the son of a mortal woman named Alkmene and only semi-divine, but Herakles had the advantage of being Zeus's favorite child. Ares, on the other hand, was Zeus's least favorite child. Ares had at least two violent encounters with Herakles and Herakles won both fights We are told that Ares was defending Pylos when Herakles attacked the city Ares and Herakles met again when Ares's son Kyknos angered Apollon by stealing animals that were to be sacrificed at the god's temple at Delphi.

Apollon chose Herakles to be his champion and punish Kyknos for his acts of sacrilege Kyknos was fated to die. Herakles found Kyknos and Ares in a grove scared to Apollon Herakles killed Kyknos with a single thrust of his spear. After the death of Kyknos, Ares could not contain his anger, he immediately charged at Herakles with his spear Ares was not inclined to obey Athene's command Herakles did not back away from the war god's fierce attack Ares fell flat upon the ground.

Ares's sons, Deimos and Phobos swooped down in Ares's chariot and lifted their father from the ground Besides his three immortal children, Harmonia, Deimos and Phobos, Ares sired children with mortal women Penthesilea was an Amazon queen and a daughter of Ares. She went to Troy as an ally of the Trojans and was killed by Achilles. An Achaean soldier named Thersites reviled Achilles saying that, although he killed Penthesilea, he was actually in love with her.

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In his rage, Achilles killed Thersites. In keeping with her aversion to bloodlust, Athena was also merciful. When seated on the tribunal that tried Orestes for murdering his mother after she had murdered his father, for example, Athena voted for acquittal see All's Not Fair in Love and War: The Fall of Troy. Athena hid the infant Erichthonius in a basket and presented it to the three daughters of King Cecrops of Athens. She warned them not to open the lid of the basket. But two of the girls disobeyed.

Shocked to see a child with a snake's tail instead of legs, the two sisters ran off a cliff and died. So Athena took him back and reared him with great love and tenderness in her shrine on the Acropolis. Though she shunned warfare, when forced into battle she proved nearly invincible. A brilliant strategist, she twice defeated the war god Ares on the battlefield. The goddess of both war and wisdom often rewarded those who demonstrated bravery or ingenuity. For instance, she helped Perseus another child of Zeus kill the Gorgon Medusa. Afterward, she proudly displayed the head of the slain Medusa in the center of her shield.

Athena also acted as Odysseus's special protector. When the hero finally arrived back home in Ithaca after 20 years, Athena—though in disguise—appeared to greet him see Take the Long Way Home: Odysseus. Odysseus returned the favor of her deceit by lying about who he was. With a laugh, Athena revealed her true identity and admitted that she and Odysseus were two of a kind, shrewd liars both.

A virginal goddess, Athena remained chaste despite many potential suitors. During the Trojan War, however, she experienced a very close call.


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Athena needed both armor and weapons, for she went without them except when in battle. So she asked Hephaestus to forge some for her, which he gladly offered to do as a labor of love. Athena apparently didn't appreciate the import of these words.