Aphrodite (a-fro-DYE-tee) was the goddess of love, beauty and fertility. She was also a protectress of sailors. In addition to her natural gifts she has a magical girdle that compels anyone she wishes to desire her.The poet Hesiod said that Aphrodite was born from sea-foam. Homer, on the other hand, said that she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione.
She was the unfaithful wife of the lame Hephaestus. However, she was in love with at least four other gods, Ares, Hermes, Poseidon and Dionysus, and at least two mortals, Anchises and Adonis.
When the Trojan prince, Paris was asked
to judge which of three Olympian goddesses was the most beautiful,
he chose Aphrodite over Hera and Athena. The latter two had
hoped to bribe him with power and victory in battle, but Aphrodite
offered the love of the most beautiful woman in the world.
This was Helen of Sparta, who became infamous as Helen of Troy when Paris subsequently eloped with her. In the ensuing Trojan War, Hera and Athena were implacable enemies of Troy while Aphrodite was loyal to Paris and the Trojans.
Aphrodite was accidentally wounded one day by one of Eros' arrows. She then looked upon Adonis and was captivated by him. She followed him everywhere and became his companion. Although she had warned him to stay away from the wild animals while hunting, he was mortally wounded by a wild boar (Ares in disguise.) As he lay there dying, she lamented over him and begged him to awaken for one last kiss.