Venus and Aphrodite Mythology

With Aphrodite mythology has one of it's best known goddesses. In Roman mythology Venus was her name. "Aphrodite" means foam-born. The name comes from the origin myth of Aphrodite were Uranus was castrated by Cronus and the offending organ thrown into the sea. The foam from this event gave birth to Aphrodite. There is a picture by Botticelli called "The Birth of Venus" which ignores the more unpleasant parts of this tale and shows Venus, naked except for some skillfully placed cloth, raising out of the sea in a clam shell. There is also a story that Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Dione was the daughter of Oceanus, a Titan, and Tethys, a sea nymph.

Ino, the granddaughter of Venus, was chased by her husband, who had been driven mad my the goddess Juno. He killed one of her children, but she took the other and climbed to the top of a cliff and jumped into the sea. Venus, desperate to same them, begged Neptune to make them into demi-gods, to become his own servants. He agreed and changed Ino into the goddess Leucothea, and her son into the god Palaemon. Leucothea is the famous White Goddess of poet and novelist Robert Graves, though of course this is a different version of her myth.

It is said in a Roman myth that Typhon, the child of Gaia and Tartarus, was so awful to look at that when the gods saw him they fled to Egypt. There they changed their forms to hid from him. Venus, in this legend, became a fish. This is probably a reference to Atargatis. In ancient times, when two religions came together, people related them by identifying their different gods as the same beings with different names. This is done by comparing their attributes and the symbols associated with them. Because Venus and Atargatis share associations with the sea, doves and fertility, Venus and Atargatis mythology have become mixed.

Click here to compare Venus and Aphrodite mythology to their African counterparts.