Aphrodite is the Olympian Goddess of Love, Beauty, Pleasure, and Sex. While fair, loving and at times mischievous, the goddess' interest in the desires of the heart, the spirit and the flesh lead her to sometimes be promiscuous, tumultuous, fickle and impulsive.
Equipped with her natural beauty and a magical girdle that compels everyone to desire her; be they man, woman, god or goddess, Aphrodite is one of the patron goddesses who gave life to the Amazons of Themyscira and Princess Diana.
Born near Paphos, on the island of Cyprus, as the daughter of Zeus and the Titaness, Dione, Aphrodite grew to become a beautiful and sensual goddess. Fearing that the rivalries that would arise between the gods and goddesses vying for Aphrodite's favour might lead to conflict and war, Zeus married his daughter off to the deformed Hephaestus; the Greek God of Fire and the Forge, who had, at the time, entrapped his mother, Hera, in a golden throne as vengeance for abandoning him when he was born.
Overjoyed to be married to the goddess of beauty, Hephaestus released Hera and forged Aphrodite beautiful jewellery and a girdle that made her even more irresistible to men. Aphrodite, however, had a promiscuous nature and followed her own inclinations, engaging in a passionate affair with her half-brother, Ares, the God of War, shortly after her marriage to Hephaestus.
The union of love and war spawned the gods Eros (God of Love), Anteros (God of Requited Love), Phobos (God of Fear), Deimos (God of Terror), Harmonia (Goddess of Harmony), Eris (Goddess of Discord) and Adrestia (Goddess of Retribution). While Eros, Anteros and Harmonia favored their mother, Phobos, Deimos, Eris and Adrestia preferred to emulate their father, often accompanying him to war.
Despite Ares putting the youth Alectryon in charge of keeping an eye out for the other gods during their trysts, the Sun God Helios once spied Ares and Aphrodite enjoying each other secretly and he reported the incident to Hephaestus. Contriving to catch the couple in the act, Hephaestus fashioned an invisible net with which to snare them. At the appropriate time, this net was sprung, and trapped Ares and Aphrodite while locked in very private embrace.
As a way to shame the two gods of their infidelity, Hephaestus then invited the Olympian gods and goddesses to view the unfortunate pair and, once the couple were loosed thanks in part to Poseidon beseeching Hephaestus to release them, Hephaestus devorced his marriage with Aphrodite, Ares, embarrassed, left for Thrace but not before turning Alectryon into a rooster (which now always announces the arrival of the sun in the morning) for his failure, while Aphrodite returned briefly to Paphos, where she had a brief affair with Poseidon in gratitude for his efforts in releasing herself and Ares from Hephaestus' trap.
Now free to pursue her desire for love and sex openly, Aphrodite engaged in numerous liaisons of her own choosing; sleeping with gods like Hermes, Dionysus and Zeus himself; however Hera learned of this and cursed the resulting offspring with malformity.
When the mortal Prometheus, who rebelled against the lording gods, stole fire from Olympus to give warmth to mankind, the Olympians convinced Zeus not to enact revenge for his theft and instead the gods created a woman from clay as a gift for his bravery and loyalty to his kind. As the woman was created Athena, Hestia, Aphrodite, Hermes and Demeter each gave her a blessing from their realm and named her Pandora. As a parting gift, Zeus gave her a gilded box which she was to give to Prometheus with the instructions to never open it. Prometheus, however, did not trust Zeus and refused to take Pandora as his wife and instead Pandora wed his older brother, Epimetheus.
For his pride and repeated discretion, Prometheus was seized by Zeus and taken to the Caucasus Mountains where he was chained to a rock tormented day and night by a giant eagle tearing at his liver until he was saved by Heracles centuries later.
As for Pandora and Epimetheus, her curiosity over what was inside the gilded box became intolerable and she begged her husband to open it for her, however, as the pair opened the box, out flew sorrows, plagues, misfortunes and other great evils onto the world. Outcast for what she unleashed, Pandora was forced to wander the lands alone, with only hope; the sole remaining abstract that remained in the box, to sustain her until she was assimilated back into Earth at her behest.
When King Cinyras and Queen Cenchreis of Cyprus had a baby girl called Myrrha, Queen Cenchreis boasted that her growing daughter was more beautiful than Aphrodite. Hearing Cenchreis' continued boasts and becoming angered, Aphrodite cursed the teen child with an incestuous lust for her father.
Aware of her desire but also aware of the social shame she would face for acting on her desires, Myrrha struggled to contain her sexual desires. Being of great beauty, she was sought by men from far and wide but she did not want any man aside from her father and devised many tricks in order to delay her parents and defer the day they would choose a husband for her. Sleepless, driven near mad and losing all hope, she attempted suicide; but was discovered by her nurse. Learning of her young charge's desire, the nurse tried to make Myrrha suppress the infatuation, but later agreed to help Myrrha into her father's bed if she promised that she would not again try to kill herself.
During the Ceres' festival, the worshipping women (which included Queen Cenchreis) were not to be touched by men for nine nights; during this festival, the nurse took advantage of the king's frustration and told the king that a girl of exalted parentage wanted to lie with him, but in secret. The affair lasted for an extended period of time, and Myrrah became pregnant. At this point, the king desired to know who she was so he hid a light, illuminating the room and discovering Myrrah's identity when she entered. Seeing his daughter and realising what they had done, the king attempted to kill her on the spot, but Myrrha escaped.
Pursued for nine months across Arabia and Panchaea, Myrrah, now heavily pregnant, was cornered in Sabaea. Afraid of death and tired of life, she begged the gods to make her invisible as her father drew nearer. Hearing her plea, Zeus who took pity on her and turned her into a tree (the Myrrh tree). Unable to find his daughter and unable to live with the stigma, King Cinyras killed himself.
On Zeus' wish, Lucina, the Goddess of Childbirth, later freed Myrrah's child, Adonis, from his mother's form and leaves it on the ground.
While receiving a kiss from her son, Eros, Aphrodite hears the child's wails and turns abruptly to see what was making them, in doing so she was grazed by one of her son's arrows and became enraptured by the child's beauty. Entrusting him to be fostered by Hades' wife, Persephone. Aphrodite returns for Adonis when he is grown and strikingly handsome, but Persephone wants to keep him. To end the conflict, Zeus decrees that Adonis will spend a third of the year with Aphrodite, a third with Persephone, and a third with whomever he wishes. Adonis chooses Aphrodite, and they are constantly together.
Having three children with her mortal love (Beroe, Golgos, Priapus), Adonis, who loved hunting, was later mortally wounded by a wild boar. Hearing her love's dying groans, Aphrodite appears to him but can only mourn over his body.
As Adonis is received in the underworld by Persephone Aphrodite wants to return him to life and the two goddesses once again bicker. Zeus intervenes again, decreeing that Adonis will spend six months of his afterlife with Aphrodite and six months with Persephone.
In 1200 BC, Artemis proposed the creation of a new race of humans to worship the gods as never before. While Zeus did not believe mortals would ever stop worshipping them and declined to be involved in the project, Aphrodite was one of the five goddesses who championed the creation of the Amazons of Themyscira; a race of women who would promote to mankind Gaia's principles of peace, love, and unity between the sexes. Helping to create the Amazons from the clay bed of a lake and imbuing each form with the spirit of a woman who had unjustly died at the hands of a man, Aphrodite blessed each reincarnated warrior woman with beauty and a great capacity for love.
Founding the city-state of Themyscira in ancient Turkey, the Amazons began the task of teaching the merits of virtue, love, and equality to the men of “Patriarch’s World." and for a time they were successful, however, as their efforts disrupted his warmongering plans, Ares began manipulating and undermining the Amazons' efforts until, faced with the unrelenting hostility of mankind, the Amazons withdrew behind the walls of their city.
Still unsatisfied, Ares manipulated his half-brother, Heracles, to gather his forces and attack Themyscira. Subdued and ravaged by the demigod and his forces, the Amazons' city was ransacked and the Amazons themselves were enslaved until the intervention of Athena and the other goddesses freed them from their bonds and gave them a protected island paradise to retreat to.
One day, having gotten fed up with Aphrodite bragging about being able to make all of the gods and goddesses fall in love with either herself, each other or with various mortals, Zeus makes her fall in love with the mortal Anchises of Troy.
First happening upon the mortal on the hills of Mount Ida, where he was grazing his cattle, Aphrodite immediately fell in love with him and his "immortal beauty". Intending to seduce him, Aphrodite goes to Cyprus and bathes and then returns to Troy disguised as a maide, and finds Anchises alone in a hut. When Anchises first sees Aphrodite, he is convinced that she is a goddess, a grace, or a nymph, however, she convinces him that she is princess from Phrygia and that Hermes brought her there to wed him. Anchises is overcome with desire for her and declares that he must have her immediately, whereupon he removes her clothes and makes love to her.
After they make love, Aphrodite puts Anchises into a deep sleep and dresses herself before waking him up again and revealing herself as the Goddess of Love. When Anchises realises that he has slept with a goddess he is terrified and begs to be killed because no good comes to mortals who sleep with a god/goddess. Aphrodite comforts him by telling him of two god/mortal relationships that did end happily (Zeus/Ganymede and Eos/Tithonusand) and that she will bear him a son by the name of Aeneas, who will be respected among the Trojans and whose offspring will prosper. She then details how their son will be raised by nymphs until he is five years old, at which time she will bring Aeneas to him but she warns him not to reveal that she is the mother of his child or Zeus will smite him.
When Zeus held a banquet in celebration of the marriage of King Peleus and the sea-nymph Thetis, he invited all of the gods except Eris, the Goddess of Discord. Angered by this, Eris arrived at the celebration with a golden apple from the Garden of the Hesperides, which she threw into the throng of goddesses as a prize of beauty "for the fairest one".
Hera, Athena and Aphrodite all lay claim to the apple and they ask Zeus to judge which of them was the fairest. Reluctant to favour any one goddess, Zeus declared that Paris, a Trojan mortal, would judge their cases.
With Hermes as their guide, the three candidates bathed in the spring of Ida and then confronted Paris on Mount Ida. After failing to judge their beauty with their clothing on, the three goddesses stripped nude to convince Paris of their worthiness. While Paris inspected them naked; although each goddess was beautifull in their own right, Hera was careful to be modest and chaste during Paris' inspection, while Athena had trouble acting feminine and flirticious. Aphrodite, however, had no problem with acting sexual and charming before the mortal.
In one final effort to sway Paris' decision, each goddess attempted to bribe him; Hera offered to make him king of Europe and Asia, Athena offered wisdom and skill in war, and Aphrodite, who had the Charites and the Horai to enhance her charms with flowers and song, offered him the love of the world's most beautiful woman, Helen of Sparta; a daughter of Zeus and wife of the Greek king Menelaus. Paris accepted Aphrodite's gift and awarded the apple to her.
Paris' judgement, however, earned him the ire of both Athena and Hera and Paris' later elopement with Helen earned him the ire of King Menelaus; who led an expedition from Greece to forcibly retrieve Helen from Troy; resulting in the Trojan War.
As the war raged, Aphrodite supported the Trojans and came to Paris' aid once again to save him from the Greek hero Menelaus; breaking the strap of Paris' helmet (which Menelaus was clutching) and shrouding him in mist so that he may escape back to Troy.
However, during the last year of the war, Aphrodite attempts to save her son, Aeneas, from Athena's champion, Diomedes. Initially taking on the hero alongside Pandarus, Pandarus is quickly killed and Diomedes takes up a rock to crush Aeneas' hip. As Aeneas falls, Aphrodite appears and attempts to take Aeneas unconscious form before Diomedes could kill him, however, Diomedes runs after her and drives his spear into her hand between the wrist and palm, causing her to drop her son. As Apollo, the God of the Sun, comes to distract the hero, Aphrodite returns to Olympus to heal and is consoled by her mother, Dione, with other examples of gods being wounded by mortals. It is at this point that Zeus admonishes her to stay off the battlefield for the remainder of the war.
After Troy was breached by the Greeks, Aeneas and his father was able to escape thanks to warning from the gods and eventually they founded the new country of Rome. When the New God Uxas of Apokolips came to Rome, he spread tales of the great Olympian gods and their following grew tremendously. In order to tend to the needs of two countries of worshippers, the Olympians created avatars of themselves to serve as their Roman representatives, with Aphrodite creating the "Roman Goddess of Love, Venus". While the effort meant that the gods could receive the power of faith from two countries, Uxas knew that the pantheon would be less powerful divided than it ever could be together.
As the centuries passed, the Greece and Roman faiths began to wane under the rise of the Faith of the One God, however, while most other mythological pantheons faded to near extinction as their followers declined in number, the Olympians' power was buoyed by the faith of the Amazons of Themyscira, as Artemis had designed.
As Ares continued to draw strength from the constant conflicts of humans on Earth. His power grew considerably during the twentieth century, fuelled by two world wars and the proliferation of a nuclear arsenal that could wipe out life on the planet. Ares plotted to ignite World War III by manipulating the American and Soviet military forces into launching a full-scale nuclear assault on each other.
To stop these plans, the Olympian goddesses instructed the Amazons to select a champion from amongst themselves to venture from the Island of Themyscira and disrupt Ares in "Man's World". This champion was the Princess Diana, daughter of Amazon Queen Hippolyta. However, as Ares' nuclear holocaust drew nearer, the gods began their retreat into oblivion, with Aphrodite accepting her fate in shame; knowing that her own children (Phobos, Deimos, Eris and Adrestia) were assisting Ares in his plan.
The gods were so pleased with Diana that Hermes gifted her with winged sandals which would enable her to travel freely between Themyscira and Man's World. But when Zeus turned an amorous eye towards the princess, Diana resisted and her mother opposed the god. So angered by her refusal to sleep with him, Zeus charged the princess with a series of trials and completing a task set by each of the gods, culminating in the defeat of the monsters beyond Doom's Doorway below the island.
Diana succeeded in her trials, defeating numerous monsters including Echidna, the Chimera, the Cyclops, the Hydra, the Harpies and the Minotaur. Diana also freed Heracles, who had borne the weight of Themyscira for eons while imprisoned in a stone form as punishment for his actions against the Amazons. Following his release and earning the Amazons' forgiveness, Hercules was accepted into Olympus.
Soon thereafter, the gods secreted themselves away from Olympus for a private conference over the consequences of their actions in light of Ares' and Zeus' recent misconducts. During the conference, Darkseid attacked Olympus, however, he ceased the attack and returned to Apokolipse when he realized that the place was deserted.
When the gods returned from their conference, they had decided upon destroying Mount Olympus and undertaking a "cosmic migration" to the stars much like what they had banished the Titans of Myth to. Demolishing their base on Mount Olympus with the Amazons' help, the gods created a new extra-dimensional realm known as "New Olympus". However, some time into the migration Phobos and Eris formed an alliance with Circe and corrupted New Olympus as part of a plan to gain power through coercing the gods of all of Earth's pantheons to wage war against each other.
Zeus summoned Hermes and Diana to New Olympus and Earth's heroes were able to turn the tide against Circe, although not before the Olympian gods were assailed by their Roman counterparts for orchestrating the destruction of Mount Olympus.
Following this "War of the Gods", Zeus decided that the Olympians would follow the example of the Titans of Myth and leave Earth to help guide other worlds in the universe; leaving New Olympus to the Roman gods. In the Gods' absence, however, the Amazons began to revert to clay again and so Diana and several of her friends went to Olympus to successfully testify for the gods' return.
Soon after, Highfather of the New Gods of New Genesis summoned Zeus and Heracles to battle Darkseid alongside other gods at the Source Wall. To this end, Zeus, Odin, Ares, Jupiter and Highfather merged into one being and entered the Source. When cast out, Zeus was gravely injured and remained bonded to Jupiter. With his power increased, Zeus decreed that all of the Olympians reunite themselves with their Roman counterparts. Unfortunately, even with their increased power, the Olympians were no match against Cronus, who had survived being deposed by Zeus in ancient myth and had absorbed the soul of Hecate during Circe's "War of the Gods". Bidding his time, Cronus spawned a new breed of Titans and returned to Olympus to successfully reclaim his throne. Powered by the Godwave, Cronus invaded Olympus and turned the Olympians to stone before turning against the other celestial pantheons of Earth. Confronted by Wonder Woman and a team of resurrected Olympian gods, Hindu gods and several Pax Dei archangels, Cronus was defeated by Gaia, who had arisen to tend to her wayward son.
As the Imperiex War erupted, the gods of war in all of Earth's pantheons gained cataclysmic power and attempted to usurp the heavens. As the mortals fought Imperiex and Brainiac 13, the pantheons united to thwart their war gods.
Following the war, the goddess of the Olympean and Egyptian pantheons united to create New Themyscira as a reward to their devoted subjects. Amongst the islands other blessing, Aphrodite blessed New Themyscira with such love and compassion that no weapons could function on its shores. However, after Hera's assault upon the island this blessing was broken.
As Zeus' power waned, Aphrodite, Ares and Athena gained in power due to the modern world's pursuit of Love, Conflict and Knowledge. Due to this, they assumed more prominent roles in the pantheon and after Athena took control of the throne of Olympus, Aphrodite stood at her side.
Fuelled by the changing face of mankind's faith, every spark of new love and old, every sexual seduction and secret affair, and every purchase made in the pursuit of eternal beauty gives Aphrodite more power and purpose and so she continues to oversee her realm from Olympus as the Greecean Goddess of Love.
- In the 2011 Valentine's Day Event, Aphrodite finds herself wondering which is stronger, the devotion embodied by Wonder Woman or the scorn embraced by Circe. The Olympian has spoken to Booster Gold about her thoughts, and he has set out to champion the goddess' cause.
Associated Gear Edit
- Aphrodite first appeared in All-Star Comics #8 (January, 1942).
- Aphrodite is voiced by Jenny Larson. Voice Clips
- The center of Aphrodite's worship is situated in Corinth.
- Only the three virgin goddesses (Athena, Artemis, and Hestia) are immune to Aphrodite's powers.
- On many accounts the boar that killed Adonis was said to have had been sent purposely to kill the man. The one who sent the boar, however, differs depending on the tale, one account says that the boar had been sent by Artemis; who was jealous of Adonis' hunting skills and in retaliation for Aphrodite instigating the death of one of her favourite men; Hippolytus (Aphrodite cursed Hippolytus' stepmother into falling in love with him after Hippolytus spurned her to worship Artemis); another says that it was sent by Ares, who was jealous of Aphrodite's love for Adonis; or by Apollo, to punish Aphrodite for blinding his son, Erymanthus, who had once spied on Aphrodite making love to Adonis and was blinded by the goddess in retaliation.
- When the horseman Glaucus of Corinth angered Aphrodite by scorning her and offending her by keeping his mares from mating in order to preserve their speed. Aphrodite drives his beloved horses mad during a chariot race at the funeral games of King Pelias and they tear him apart.
- Polyphonte was a young woman who chose virginal life with Artemis instead of marriage and children, as favoured by Aphrodite. Feeling slighted, Aphrodite cursed her, causing her to have children to a bear. The resulting offspring, Agrius and Oreius, were wild cannibals who incurred the hatred of Zeus. Ultimately the whole family was transformed into birds of ill omen.
- As their jobs involved the study and enactment of the pleasures of the flesh, Aphrodite is considered the patron god of prostitutes. She is also named as the greatest patron and ally of lesbians and homosexuals within the Greek pantheon.
- Aphrodite is often attended by her intimate companions and handmaidens; Peitho (Goddess of Persuasion) and Paregoros (Goddess of Consolation), who were themselves the immortal daughters of Oceanus.
- As with all celestial gods, Aphrodite's power and life force depends on mortal faith. If mortals were to stop giving faith to her and indulging in her "realm of power" (in this case beauty, love and sex) she would lose her godhood, her immortality and, eventually, her life and cease to exist.
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