Venus, The Goddess of Love and Beauty

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Venus is a Roman goddess of love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity, and victory.

According to Greek mythology, Venus-Aphrodite was created from the sea foam (aphros) that Caelus-Uranus‘ cut genitalia generated, giving birth to her as an adult. According to Roman religion, Venus is the watery, yielding female essence that is vital to the creation and harmony of life. Vulcan and Mars, her masculine counterparts in the Roman pantheon, are dynamic and fiery. Venus takes in and softens the spirit of the man, bringing together the male and female opposites in mutual affection. She embraces multiple otherwise quite diverse roles and is primarily assimilative and benign. She may bestow wealth, good fortune, sexual success, and military triumph. In some Latin mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus and Mars, the god of war.

Related article: Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Rome

Venus Aphrodite Anadyomene from Pompeii
Fresco from Pompei, Casa di Venus, 1st century AD. Dug out in 1960. It is supposed that this fresco could be the Roman copy of famous portrait of Campaspe, mistress of Alexander the Great, before 79 CE

Through her son Aeneas, who escaped the collapse of Troy and fled to Italy, she served as the ancestor of the Roman people in legend. She was identified as the ancestor of Julius Caesar. Venus served as the focal point of several religious celebrations and was worshipped in Roman religion under a variety of cult names. For use in Roman art and Latin literature, the Romans borrowed the mythology and imagery of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite. Venus, the goddess of love and sexuality in Greek and Roman mythology, rose to prominence in the later classical culture of the West. In artworks, she is frequently shown in her undies.

A formal cult of Venus was made available during several Roman holiday celebrations. Roman etymologists believed that the name of her sacred month, April (Latin Mensis Aprilis), came from the verb aperire, which means “to open,” and was used to describe the springtime flowering of trees and flowers.

Featured image: The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, circa 1485

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