AphroditeAphrodite is one of the most popular gods/goddesses in Greek mythology, known for her mysterious, sometimes seemingly childish personality. She is an Olympian, the goddess of love and beauty. She has many symbols, many of which are animal or having to do with love.
She is found in many forms of literature, from Broadway shows to classic novels, sometimes referred to as Venus, the roman equivalent of Aphrodite. There are also many contemporary references, especially in TV shows and movies, extending as far as to video games and anime/manga. BackgroundAphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty, and desire. She is the only Olympian without parents, and was instead born from the foam that rose when the seeds and blood of Ouranos’ castrated genitals mixed with the ocean water.
Not surprisingly, the Greek word aphros literally means “foam”. She is always depicted as nude and fully mature, which may indicate that she never had a childhood and was a full grown woman ever since her birth from the foam. Due to her great beauty, Zeus decided to quickly find a husband for Aphrodite, to prevent violence among the Olympians. She was married off to Hephaestus, the god of blacksmiths and craftsmen, and usually depicted as disfigured and/or lame.
Aphrodite was obviously unfaithful to her husband, and had many affairs, and ultimately preferred Ares, the god of war as her true lover. Symbols/Literary AllusionsAphrodite has many symbols, mostly animals, including: the dolphin, myrtle, dove, sparrow, girdle, and swan, along with the mirror, the rose, an apple, and the evening star. Many literary works that reference Aphrodite can be found, starting with the most obvious, the Iliad and the Odyssey, to the more modern books such as Around the World in 80 Days and several books by Nathaniel Hawthorne, such as The Marble Faun. Most literary allusions are found between the 18th to 19th centuries; most being books, but some found in plays, such as Mourning Becomes Electra (1931).
Contemporary ReferencesAphrodite’s roman name, Venus is the more popular of the two when it comes to contemporary references. The most obvious contemporary reference is the planet Venus. It is the hottest and one of the most hostile planets in our solar system, getting its name from its beauty seen from some of the earliest telescopes. There are also several brand names that incorporate Venus: Venus International, a popular beauty talent agency, Venus Tan Lines, a swimsuit manufacturer, Venus Razor, popular women’s shaving accessory, and Venus Beauty Salon, which is self-explanatory.
The Percy Jackson series and the sequel series Heroes of Olympus are both great examples of books that incorporate Greek Mythology (including Aphrodite).There are also numerous TV shows/movies that contain contemporary references, such as Valentine, Mighty Aphrodite, Life in Ruins, etc. There are many anime/manga that either have the same name as Aphrodite/Venus or closely resemble them: Mazinger Z, Pretty Cure, Saint Seiya, Sailor Moon, and The Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok. There are also many video games that reference Aphrodite, especially RPGs in which the story revolves around mythology: Smite, the God of War video game series, the Final Fantasy video game series, Age of Mythology, World of Warcraft, Warriors: Legend of Troy, etc.
Being the goddess of love, Aphrodite is a very popular goddess, since she is the personification of such an abstract and universal concept. Aphrodite does not have three or four symbols; she has more than twenty symbols, which isn’t too surprising, because she is the goddess of love itself. Her birth is very interesting, because although some people believed her to be a daughter of Zeus, she was mainly recognized as being born from nothing more than sea foam. She is never seen as a child, and is always shown as fully grown and nude in sculptures and paintings, which may mean that she was a woman from the moment she was born.
She is referenced a countless number of times, ranging from plays to classic novels and TV shows to video games, demonstrating her popularity and reach outside of Greece.Bibliography“Aphrodite (videogame character)”. Aphrodite. Date of Publication Unknown.
3 October 2012Brazouski, Antoinette, and Mary J. Klatt. Children’s Books on Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology: AnAnnotated Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1994.
Print.“Goddess Symbols: Aphrodite symbols and myths.” Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Aphrodite. Date of Publication Unknown.
3 October 2012 < http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/goddess_symbols_aphrodite.htm >“MYTHOLOGY IN MODERN BUISNESS”.
COMPANIES & GROUPS. Date of Publication Unknown. 28 September 2012 < http://thanasis.com/modern/biz.
htm >“Online Etymology Dictionary”. Aphrodite (n.). Date of Publication Unknown.
2 October 2012 < http://thanasis.com/modern/biz.htm >“Venus” Venus. Last updated 14 September 2006.
1 October 2012 < http://burro.astr.cwru.edu/stu/advanced/venus.html >