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APHRODITE LOVES 1
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Roman Name
Αφροδιτη Aphroditê Aphrodite Venus
OTHER APHRODITE PAGES

Aphrodite Intro, Index & Gallery
Aphrodite Goddess of
Aphrodite Myths 1, Part 2, Part 3
Aphrodite Wrath 1, Part 2
Aphrodite Favour
Aphrodite Family
Aphrodite Loves 2
Aphrodite Estate & Attributes
Aphrodite Attendants
Aphrodite Cult 1, Part 2, Titles
Aphrodite Summary

APHRODITE was the great Olympian goddess of pleasure, joy, beauty, love and procreation.

This page describes the goddess' sexual liaisons with various gods. Although she was paired with half of the Olympians by poets through centuries, only the story of her marriage to Hephaistos and adulterous affair with the god Ares is elaborated upon in any detail. The rest were mostly genealogical pairings. In classical art and literature she was almost always paired with Ares.

The mortal lovers of the goddess are described on the second Aphrodite Loves page.


(1) DIVINE LOVES
ARES The God of War had a long love affair with Aphrodite which lasted for the duration of her marriage to Hephaistos and beyond. She bore him four divine sons: Eros, Anteros, Deimos, Phobos; and a daughter: Harmonia.
DIONYSOS The God of Wine who had a short affair with Aphrodite. Hera cursed the goddess to bear a horribly ugly child, Priapos, as punishment for her promiscuity. Some say Hermes Bakkheios (Iakkhos) was also their child.
HEPHAISTOS The God of Smiths was the husband of Aphrodite, who later divorced her following her adulterous love affair with Ares. Aphrodite was never happy with the marriage having been forced to wed him by decree of Zeus, as a gift for releasing his mother Hera from the bonds of the cursed golden throne.
HERMES The Messenger of the Gods seduced Aphrodite with the help of his father Zeus. She bore him a son, the godling Hermaphroditos (and some say Eros).
NERITES A young Sea-God who was the very first love of Aphrodite. When he refused to leave the sea to join her on Olympos, she transformed him into a shell-fish for his betrayal.
POSEIDON The great God of the Sea had an affair with Aphrodite who was grateful for his support following the revelation of her adulterous relationship with Ares. She bore him two daughters Rhodos and Herophilos.
ZEUS The King of the Gods attempted to seduce Aphrodite when she first set foot upon land in Kypros. Aphrodite fled and Zeus' seed was spilt upon the earth.

APHRODITE LOVES: ARES & HEPHAISTOS

LOCALE: Mt Olympos (home of the gods)

I) EROS CAUSES ARES & APHRODITE TO FALL IN LOVE

The Anacreontea, Fragment 28 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric II) (C5th B.C.) :
"One day Ares came in from the battlefield brandishing a strong spear and began to make fun of Eros' weapon. Eros said ‘This one is heavy: try it and you will see.’ Ares took the javelin, while Kypris [Aphrodite] smiled quietly; and with a groan he said, ‘It is heavy: take it back.’ ‘Keep it,’ said Eros [and so perhaps bound Ares and Aphrodite in love.]."

II) ARES LOSES APHRODITE TO HEPHAISTOS IN MARRIAGE

The story of the Marriage of Hephaistos and Aphrodite can be reconstructed from text fragments and ancient Greek vase paintings, such as the Francois Vase:
Hephaistos had been cast from heaven by his mother Hera at birth, for she was ashamed at bearing a crippled son. He was rescued by Thetis and Eurynome and raised in a cave on the shores of the River Okeanos where he became a skilled smith. Angry at his mother's treatment, Hephaistos sent various gifts to Olympos including a Golden Throne for Hera. When the goddess sat upon this cursed throne she was bound fast.
Zeus sought the assistance of the gods in the freeing his Queen and offered the goddess Aphrodite in marriage to the god who could bring Hephaistos to Olympos. Aphrodite agreed to the arrangment in the belief that her beloved Ares would prevail.
Ares stormed the forge of Hephaistos, bearing arms, but was driven back by the Divine Smith with showers of flaming metal (according to Libanius Narrations 7, not currently quoted here).
Dionysos next approached the god, and suggested that he might claim Aphrodite for himself if he were to release his mother willingly. Hephaistos was pleased with the plan and ascended to Heaven with Dionysos, released his mother and wed the reluctant Love-Goddess.

Homer, Odyssey 8. 267 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"The betrothal gifts I [Hephaistos] bestowed on him [Zeus] for his wanton daughter [Aphrodite]."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 2. 180 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"A chalice deep and wide . . . a huge golden cup . . . this the cunning God-smith [Hephaistos] brought to Zeus, his masterpiece, what time the Mighty in Power to Hephaistos gave for bride the Kyprian Queen [Aphrodite]."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 20. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"There are paintings here [in the temple of Dionysos at Athens] - Dionysos bringing Hephaistos up to heaven. One of the Greek legends is that Hephaistos, when he was born, was thrown down by Hera. In revenge he sent as a gift a golden chair with invisible fetters. When Hera sat down she was held fast, and Hephaistos refused to listen to any other of the gods [including Ares] save Dionysos - in him he reposed the fullest trust - and after making him drunk Dionysos brought him to heaven."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 166 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Father Liber [Dionysos] had brought him [Hephaistos] back drunk to the council of the gods, he could not refuse this filial duty [and free Hera from the magical throne he had trapped her in]. Then he obtained freedom of choice from Jove [Zeus], to gain whatever he sought from them. Therefore Neptunus [Poseidon], because he was hostile to Minerva [Athene], urged Volcanus [Hephaistos] to ask for Minerva in marriage." [N.B. The requested bride was perhaps Aphrodite rather than Athene in the original version of this story.]

Suidas s.v. Deimos (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Deimos (Fear): [Deimos (Fear)] and Phobos (Fright) and Kydoimos (Din of War), attendants of Ares, the sons of war; they too experienced what Ares did, after Hephaistos had not been frightened by them." [N.B. When Ares tried to fetch Hephaistos to Olympos to release Hera from the throne, the prize for this labour being the hand of Aphrodite in marriage, which Hephaistos claimed for himself.]

On the Francois vase (C6th BC Athenian Black Figure) Hera is depicted trapped on the throne with her hands raised helplessly, as Ares, who has failed, sits in a humble pose with Athena looking scornfully at him. Meanwhile Dionysos, enters, leading the mule on which Hephaistos is seated, to Aphrodite who stands waiting as the prize of marriage.

III) APHRODITE WIFE OF HEPHAISTOS

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3. 36 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"The palace of Aphrodite, which her lame consort Hephaistos had built for her when he took her as his bride from the hands of Zeus. They [Hera and Athene] entered the courtyard and paused below the veranda of the room where the goddess slept with her lord and master."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 850 ff :
"Kypris [Aphrodite], the goddess of desire, had done her sweet work in their hearts [and mated the visiting Argonauts with the widowed women of Lemnos]. She wished to please Hephaistos, the great Artificer, and save his isle of Lemnos from ever lacking men again . . . The whole city [of Lemnos] was alive with dance and banquet. The scent of burnt-offerings filled the air; and of all the immortals, it was Hera's glorious son Hephaistos and Kypris [Aphrodite] herself whom their songs and sacrifices were designed to please."

Virgil, Aeneid 8. 372 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"Venus [Aphrodite] . . . spoke to her husband, Volcanos [Hephaistos], as they lay in their golden bed-chamber, breathing into the words all her divine allurement [persuading him to forge armour for her son Aeneas in Latium] . . . Since Volcanos [Hephaistos] complied not at once, the goddess softly embraced him in snowdrift arms, caressing him here and there. Of a sudden he caught the familiar spark and felt the old warmth darting into his marrow, coursing right though his body, melting him; just as it often happens a thunderclap starts a flaming rent which ladders the dark cloud, a quivering streak of fire. Pleased with her wiles and aware of her beauty, Venus [Aphrodite] could feel them taking effect. Volcanus [Hephaistos], in love’s undying thrall [conceded to her requests] . . . Thus saying, he gave his wife the love he was aching to give her; then he sank into soothing sleep, relaxed upon her breast."

IV) THE ADULTERY OF ARES & APHRODITE

Homer, Odyssey 8. 267 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Demodokos [the Phaiakian bard] struck his lyre and began a beguiling song about the loves of Ares and Aphrodite, how first the lay together secretly in the dwelling of Hephaistos. Ares had offered many gifts to the garlanded divinity and covered with shame the marriage bed of Lord Hephaistos. But Helios (the sun-god) had seen them in their dalliance and hastened away to tell Hephaistos; to him the news was bitter as gall, and he made his way towards his smithy, brooding revenge. He laid the great anvil on its base and set himself to forge chains that could not be broken or torn asunder, being fashioned to bind lovers fast. Such was the device that he made in his indignation against Ares, and having made it he went to the room where his bed lay; all round the bed-posts he dropped the chains, while others in plenty hung from the roof-beams, gossamer-light and invisible to the blessed gods themselves, so cunning had been the workmanship. When the snare round the bed was complete, he made as if to depart to Lemnos, the pleasant-sited town, which he loved more than any place on earth. Ares, god of the golden reins, was no blind watcher. Once he had seen Hephaistos go, he himself approached the great craftman’s dwelling, pining for love of Kytherea [Aphrodtie]. As for her, she had just returned from the palace of mighty Zeus her father, and was sitting down in the house as Ares entered it. He took her hand and spoke thus to her: ‘Come, my darling; let us go to bed and take our delight together. Hephaistos is no longer here; by now, I think, he has made his way to Lemnos, to visit the uncouth-spoken Sintians.’
So he spoke, and sleep with him was a welcome thought to her. So they went to the bed and there lay down, but the cunning chains of crafty (polyphron) Hephaistos enveloped them, and they could neither raise their limbs nor shift them at all; so they saw the truth when there was no escaping. Meanwhile the lame craftsman god (periklytos Amphigueeis) approached; he had turned back short of the land of Lemnos, since watching Helios (the sun-god) had told him everything. Cut to the heart, he neared his house and halted inside the porch; savage anger had hold of him, and he roared out hideously, crying to all the gods: ‘Come, Father Zeus; come, all you blessed immortals with him; see what has happened here - no matter for laughter nor yet forbearance. Aphrodite had Zeus for father; because I am lame she never ceased to do me outrage and give her love to destructive Ares, since he is handsome and sound-footed and I am a cripple from my birth; yet for that my two parents are to blame, no one else at all, and I wish they had never begotten me. You will see the pair of lovers now as they lie embracing in my bed; the sight of them makes me sick at heart. Yet I doubt their desire to rest there longer, fond as they are. They will soon unwish their posture there; but my cunning chains shall hold them both fast till her father Zeus has given me back all the betrothal gifts I bestowed on him for his wanton daughter; beauty she has, but no sense of shame.’
Thus he spoke, and the gods came thronging there in front of the house with its brazen floor. Poseidon the Earth-Sustainer came, and Hermes the Mighty Runner, and Lord Apollon who shoots from afar; but the goddesses, every one of them, kept within doors for very shame. Thus then the bounteous gods stood at the entrance. Laughter they could not quench rose on the lips of these happy beings as they fixed their eyes on the stratagem of Hephaistos, and glancing each at his neighbour said some such words as these: ‘Ill deeds never prosper; swift after all is outrun by slow; here is Hephaistos the slow and crippled, yet by his cunning he has defeated the swiftest of all the Olympian gods, and Ares must pay an adulterer’s penalty.’ . . .
For Poseidon there was no laughing; he kept imploring the master smith Hephaistos in hopes that he would let Ares go. He spoke in words of urgent utterance: ‘Let him go; I promise that he shall pay in full such rightful penalty as you ask for - pay in the presence of all the gods.’ But the great lame craftsman answered him: ‘Poseidon, Sustainer of the Earth, do not ask this of me. Pledges for trustless folk are trustless pledges. If Ares should go his way, free of his chains and his debt alike, what then? Could I fetter yourself in the presence of all the gods.’
Poseidon who shakes the earth replies: ‘Hephaistos, if Ares indeed denies his debt and escapes elsewhere, I myself will pay what you ask.’ Then the great lame craftsman (periklytos Amphigueeis) answered him: ‘I must no and cannot refuse you now’, and with that he undid the chains, powerful though they had proved. Unshackled thus, the lovers were up and off at once; Ares went on his way to Thrake, and Aphrodite the laughter-lover to Paphos in Kypros."

Plato, Republic 390b (trans. Shorey) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"[From Plato's critique of the portrayal of the gods in Homer :] Nor will it profit them to hear of Hephaistos' fettering Ares and Aphrodite for a like motive [i.e. for passion]."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 14. 40 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"With cheek shame-crimsoned, like the Queen of Love, what time the Heaven-abiders saw her clasped in Ares' arms, shaming in sight of all the marriage-bed, trapped in the myriad-meshed toils of Hephaistos: tangled there she lay in agony of shame, while thronged around the Blessed, and there stood Hephaistos' self: for fearful it is for wives to be beheld by husbands' eyes doing the deed of shame."

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 1. 14c (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"Demodokos at the Phaiakian court sings of the armours of Ares and Aphrodite, not in approval of such passion, but to deter his hearers from illicit desires, or else because he knew that they had been brought up in a luxurious mode of life and therefore offered for their amusement what was most in keeping with their character."

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 7. 26 (trans. Conybeare) (Greek biography C1st to 2nd A.D.) :
"[Poets] recite your rhapsodies . . . and tell them how . . . Ares, the most warlike of the gods, was first enchained in heaven by Hephaistos."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 148 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Vulcanus [Hephaistos] knew that Venus [Aphrodite] was secretly lying with Mars [Ares], and that he could not oppose his strength, he made a chain of adamant and put it around the bed to catch Mars by cleverness. When Mars came to the rendezvous, the together with Venus fell into the snare so that he could not extricate himself. When Sol [Helios the sun] reported this to Vulcanus, he saw them lying there naked, and summoned all the gods who saw. As a result, shame frightened Mars so that he did not do this. From their embrace Harmonia was born, and to her Minerva [Athena] and Vulcanus [Hephaistos] gave a robe ‘dipped in crimes’ as a gift. Because of this, their descendants are clearly marked as ill-fated. To Sol’s [Helios'] progeny, however, Venus [Aphrodite], because of his disclosure, was always hostile."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 170 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Sol [Helios the Sun] is thought to have been the first to see Venus' [Aphrodite's] adultery with Mars [Ares]: Sol is the first to see all things. Shocked at the sight he told the goddess' husband, Junonigena [Hephaistos], how he was cuckolded where. Then Volcanus' [Hephaistos'] heart fell, and from his deft blacksmith’s hands fell too the work he held. At once he forged a net, a mesh of thinnest links of bronze, too fine for eye to see, a triumph not surpassed by finest threads of silk or by the web the spider hands below the rafters’ beam. He fashioned it to respond to the least touch or slightest movement; then with subtle skill arranged it round the bed. So when his wife lay down together with her paramour, her husband’s mesh, so cleverly contrived, secured them both ensnared as they embraced. Straightway Lemnius [Hephaistos] flung wide the ivory doors and ushered in the gods. The two lay there, snarled in their shame. The gods were not displeased; one of them prayed for shame like that. They laughed and laughed; the joyful episode was long the choicest tale to go the rounds of heaven."

Virgil, Georgics 4. 345 ff (trans. Fairclough) (Roman bucolic C1st B.C.) :
"Among these [the nymphs] Clymene was telling of of Vulcanus' [Hephaistos'] baffled care, of the wiles and stolen joys of Mars [Ares]."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2. 21 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"[Aphrodite] the daughter of Jupiter [Zeus] and Dione, wedded Vulcanus [Hephaistos], but is said to have been the mother of Anteros by Mars [Ares]."

Statius, Silvae 1. 2. 51 (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"Once on a time, where the milky region is set in a tranquil heaven, lay kindly Venus [Aphrodite] in her bower, whence night had but lately fled, faint in the rough embrace of her Getic lord [Ares] . . . Weary she lies upon her cushions, where once the Lemnian chains [of Hephaistos] crept over the bed and held it fast, learning its guilty secret."

Seneca, Phaedra 124 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Venus [Aphrodite], detesting the offspring of the hated Sol [Helios the Sun], is avenging through us [i.e. Pasiphae, Phaedra] the chains that bound her to her loved Mars [Ares], and loads the whole race of Phoebus [Helios] with shame unspeakable [i.e. by inflicting them with unnatural sexual desires]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 3. 400 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Both the parents of Harmonia, Ares and Kythereia [Aphrodite], who mounted one bed, were of one father, another pair of blood-kindred."

Suidas s.v. Moixagria (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Moixagria (Adultery fine): The fine for adultery, paid by the man caught [acting as] an adulterer." [N.B. the word occurs in Homer, Odyssey 8.332, of the adultery between Ares and Aphrodite.]

Suidas s.v. Helios :
"[N.B. The following is a rationalisation of the myth by some late classical author:]
Helios: After the death of Hephaistos [Ptah], the king of Egypt, Helios [Ra] his son took the rule . . . Helios, then, maintained the laws of his father, and denounced his wife when he discovered she had been debauched. Homer changed this to make it poetic, saying that the sun (helios) exposed the fact that Aphrodite had lain with Ares, calling her desire ‘Aphrodite’ and the soldier who was caught with her ‘Ares.’ "


K9.3 ARES,
APHRODITE
F10.2 APHRODITE,
ARES, EROTES
F9.1 APHRODITE,
ARES, EROS
Z10.4 APHRODITE,
ARES, EROTES

V) DIVORCE OF APHRODITE & HEPHAISTOS

Homer's story of the adultery of Aphrodite appears to have ended with her divorce from Hephaistos. Indeed, in the time of the Trojan War, Homer describes the goddess as the consort of Ares, and names Hephaistos' bride as Aglaia. Other authors are more explicit in describing the termination of the marriage.

Homer, Odyssey 8. 267 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Cut to the heart, he [Hephaistos] neared his house and halted inside the porch [and saw his wife Aphrodite trapped in the embrace of Ares]; savage anger had hold of him, and he roared out hideously, crying to all the gods: ‘Come, Father Zeus; come, all you blessed immortals with him; see what has happened here . . . You will see the pair of lovers now as they lie embracing in my bed; the sight of them makes me sick at heart. Yet I doubt their desire to rest there longer, fond as they are. They will soon unwish their posture there; but my cunning chains shall hold them both fast till her father Zeus has given me back all the betrothal gifts I bestowed on him for his wanton daughter; beauty she has, but no sense of shame.’" [N.B. Homer seems to suggest that the couple were afterwards divorced. In the Iliad, Aglaia is Hephaistos' wife, and Aphrodite consorts freely with Ares.]

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 187 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Athene went to Hephaistos because she wanted to make some weapons. But he, deserted by Aphrodite, let himself become aroused by Athene, and started chasing her as she ran from him."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 5. 562 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Lemnian Hephaistos [seeking the hand of the maiden Persephone in marriage] held out a curious necklace of many colours, new made and breathing still of the furnace, poor hobbler! For he had already, though unwilling, rejected his former bride Aphrodite, when he spied her rioting with Ares."

VI) HEPHAISTOS AVENGES HIMSELF ON APHRODITE'S DAUGHTER

A daughter named Harmonia was born from Aphrodite's adulterous affair with Ares. Hephaistos cursed the girl and her descendants by presenting her with a cursed necklace as a wedding gift.

Statius, Thebaid 2. 265 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"The Lemnian [Hephaistos], so they of old believed, long time distressed at Mars' [Ares'] deceit and seeing that no punishment gave hindrance to the disclosed armour, and the avenging chains removed not the offence [of his affair with Hephaistos' then wife Aphrodite], wrought this [a cursed necklace] for Harmonia [the daughter born of the love affair] on her bridal day to be the glory of her dower."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 5. 88 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Aphrodite wishing to delight Ares in the deep shrewdness of her mind, clasped a golden necklace showing place about the girl’s blushing neck [a gift to their daughter Harmonia at her marriage to Kadmos], a clever work of Hephaistos set with sparkling gems in masterly refinement. This he had made for his Kyprian bride, a gift for his first glimpse of Archer Eros (Love) [born to Aphrodite the wife of Hephaistos but fathered by her lover Ares]. For the heavyknee bridegroom always expected that Kythereia would bear him a hobbling son, having the image of his father in his feet. But his though was mistaken; and when he beheld a whole-footed son [Eros] brilliant with wings like Maia's son Hermes, he made this magnificent necklace."

For MORE information on Harmonia & her curse see HARMONIA

VII) APHRODITE CONSORT OF ARES

Aphrodite was usually depicted as the consort of Ares. In art she is frequently paired with him in scenes ranging from the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, the Gigantomachia, the Trojan War, and of the gods feasting on Olympos.
Of their children, Harmonia was the product of their adulterous union, during Aphrodite's marriage to Hephaistos. The others, Eros (or Anteros), Deimos and Phobos appear to have been born afterwards.

Hesiod, Theogony 933 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Kythereia [Aphrodite] bare to Ares the shield-piercer Phobos (Panic) and Deimos (Fear), terrible gods who drive in disorder the close ranks of men in numbing war, with the help of Ares, sacker of towns: and Harmonia whom high-spirited Kadmos made his wife."

Ibycus, Fragment 575 (from Scholiast on Apollonius of Rhodes) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (Greek lyric C6th B.C.) :
"Apollonius makes Eros child of Aphrodite . . . Simonides makes him child of Aphrodite and Ares."

Ibycus, Fragment 575 :
"[Eros] you cruel child of guileful Aphrodite, whom she bore to Ares."

Simonides, Fragment 575 (from Scholiast on Apollonius of Rhodes) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C6th to 5th B.C.) :
"Simonides makes him [Eros] child of Aphrodite and Ares. ‘You cruel child of guileful Aphrodite, whom she bore to . . . Ares.’"

Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 662 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Ares, the partner of Aphrodite's bed."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 27 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Eos [goddess of the dawn], whom Aphrodite tormented with constant passion as punishment for sleeping with Ares."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 909 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Aphrodite glorious-crowned, the Bride of strong Ares."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 18. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"There is also [depicted on the chest of Kypselos at Olympia] Ares clad in armour and leading Aphrodite. The inscription by him is ‘Enyalios.’ "

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Venus [Aphrodite] and Mars [Ares] [were born], Harmonia and Formido [Phobos, Fear]."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 21 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"[Aphrodite] the daughter of Jupiter [Zeus] and Dione, wedded Vulcanus [Hephaistos], but is said to have been the mother of Anteros by Mars [Ares]."

Statius, Silvae 1. 2. 51 (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"Where the milky region is set in a tranquil heaven, lay kindly Venus [Aphrodite] in her bower, whence night had but lately fled, faint in the rough embrace of her Getic lord [Ares]. About the posts and pillows of her couch swarm a troop of tender Amores [Erotes the Loves]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 5. 88 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"His [Hephaistos'] first glimpse of Archer Eros (Love). For the heavyknee bridegroom always expected that Kythereia [Aphrodite] would bear him a hobbling son, having the image of his father in his feet. But his thought was mistaken; and he beheld a whole-footed son [Eros] brilliant with wings [whose real father was Ares]."

Another myth (not included in the texts quoted here) says that Ares, jealous at Aphrodite's love for the youth Adonis, took the form of a boar and killed him when he was out hunting.

For other MYTHS of Ares and Aphrodite as consorts see Aphrodite & Trojan War
For MORE information on the two gods see ARES and HEPHAISTOS


APHRODITE LOVES: HERMES

LOCALE: Aitolia (in Central Greece) AND Amythaonia (in Egypt) OR Mt Ida, Troia (in Asia Minor)

I) SEDUCED IN EGYPT

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 16 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Mercurius [Hermes] stirred by Venus’s [Aphrodite's] beauty, fell in love with her, and when she permitted no favours, became greatly downcast, as if in disgrace. Jove [Zeus] pitied him, and when Venus [Aphrodite] was bathing in the river Achelous he sent and eagle to take her sandal to Amythaonia of the Egypitans and give it to Mercurius [Hermes]. Venus [Aphrodite], in seeking for it, came to him who loved her, and so he, on attaining his desire, as a reward put the eagle in the sky."

II) THEIR CHILD HERMAPHRODITOS

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 6. 5 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Hermaphroditos, as he has been called, who was born of Hermes and Aphrodite and received a name which is a combination of those of both his parents."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 271 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Youths who were most handsome . . . Atlantius, son of Mercurius [Hermes] and Venus [Aphrodite], who is called Hermaphroditus."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 288 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"To Mercurius [Hermes], runs the tale, and Cythereia [Aphrodite] a boy was born whom in Mount Ida’s caves the Naides nurtured; in his face he showed father and mother and took his name from both. When thrice five years had passed, the youth forsook Ida, his fostering home, his mountain haunts, eager to roam strange lands afar."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 21 - 23 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"Engendered form the sea-foam, we are told she [Aphrodite] became the mother by Mercurius [Hermes] of the second Cupidus [literally Eros, but Cicero is probably referring to Hermaphroditos]."

For MORE information on these gods see HERMES and HERMAPHRODITOS


APHRODITE LOVES: ZEUS

LOCALE: Kypros (Eastern Meditteranean) AND Lampsakos, Mysia (Anatolia)

I) ATTEMPTED RAPE APHRODITE IN KYPROS

Zeus once tried to rape Aphrodite on the island of Kypros but the goddess managed to escape his pursuit.

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 5. 611 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Wild his [Zeus’] desire had been for Kypris [Aphrodite], when craving but not attaining he scattered his seed on the ground, and shot out the hot foam of love self-sown, where in the fruitful land horned Kypros flourished the two-coloured generation of wild creatures with horns (Pheres) [Kentauroi, Centaurs]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 14. 193 ff :
"Once when Kypris [Aphrodite] fled like the wind from the pursuit of her lascivious father [Zeus], that she might not see an unhallowed bedfellow in her own begetter, Zeus the Father gave up the chase and left the union unattempted, because unwilling Aphrodite was too fast and he could not catch her: instead of Kypris' bed, he dropt on the ground the love-shower of seed from the generative plow. Gaia (Earth) received Kronion’s fruitful dew, and shot up a strange-looking horned generation [the Kentauroi or Centaurs of the island of Kypros]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 32. 65 ff :
"I [Zeus] desired Paphia [Aphrodite], for whose sake I dropt seed in the furrow of the plowland and begat the Kentauroi (Centaurs)."

II) CURSED BIRTH OF PRIAPOS

Aphrodite later and of her own volition had an affair with Zeus, but his jealous wife Hera laid her hands upon the belly of the goddess and cursed their offspring with malformity. Their child was the ugly god Priapos.

Suidas s.v. Priapos (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Priapos: was conceived from Zeus and Aphrodite; but Hera in a jealous rage laid hands by a certain trickery on the belly of Aphrodite and readied a shapeless and ugly and over-meaty babe to be born. His mother flung it onto a mountain; a shepherd raised it up. He had genitals [rising up] above his butt."


APHRODITE LOVES: DIONYSOS

LOCALE: Lampsakos, Mysia (Anatolia)

Orphic Hymn 57 to Chthonian Hermes (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"O Bakkheios Hermes [probably Iakkhos], progeny divine of Dionysos, parent of the vine, and of celestial Aphrodite, Paphian queen, dark-eyelashed Goddess, of a lovely mien."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 31. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"By the people of Lampsakos he [Priapos] is more revered than any other god, being called by them a son of Dionysos and Aphrodite."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 6. 1 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Now the ancients record in their myths that Priapos was the son of Dionysos and Aphrodite and they present a plausible argument for this lineage; for men when under the influence of wine find the members of their bodies tense and inclined to the pleasures of love."

For MORE information on these gods see DIONYSOS and PRIAPOS


APHRODITE LOVES: POSEIDON

LOCALE: Aegean Sea (Greek Aegean)

Aphrodite's gratitude to Poseidon and their subsequent affair is described by one of the ancient scholia in discussing the passage from Homer's Odyssey in which Poseidon secures the release of Aphrodite and Ares from the chains of Hephaistos after they were caught in their adultery.

Homer, Odyssey 8. 267 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Ares and Aphrodite] went to the bed and there lay down, but the cunning chains of crafty Hephaistos [Aphrodite's husband] enveloped them, and they could neither raise their limbs nor shift them at all; so they saw the truth when there was no escaping. Meanwhile the lame craftsman god approached [and called the gods to see the entrapped lovers] . . . and the gods came thronging there in front of the house with its brazen floor . . . For Poseidon there was no laughing; he kept imploring the master smith Hephaistos in hopes that he would let Ares go. He spoke in words of urgent utterance: ‘Let him go; I promise that he shall pay in full such rightful penalty as you ask for - pay in the presence of all the gods.’ "

Pindar, Olympian Ode 7 ep1 (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Praise the sea maid [Rhode], daughter of Aphrodite, bride of Helios, [demi-goddess of] this isle of Rhodes."

For MORE information on this god see POSEIDON


APHRODITE LOVES: NERITES

LOCALE: Aegean Sea (Greek Aegean)

Aelian, On Animals 14. 28 (trans. Schofield) (Greek natural history C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"There is in the sea a shellfish with a spiral shell, small in size but of surpassing beauty, and it is born where the water is at its purest and upon rocks beneath the sea and on what are called sunken reefs. Its name is Nerites: two stories are in circulation touching this creature, and both have reached me; moreover the telling of a short tale in the middle of a lengthy history is simply giving the hearer a rest and sweetening the narrative.
Hesiod sings of how Doris the daughter of Okeanos bore fifty daughters to Nereus the sea-god, whom to this day we always hear of as truthful and unlying. Homer also mentions them in his poems. But they do not state that one son was born after all that number of daughters, though he is celebrated in mariners' tales. And they say that he was named Nerites and was the most beautiful of men and gods; also that Aphrodite delighted to be with Nerites in the sea and loved him. And when the fated time arrived, at which, at the bidding of [Zeus] the Father of the gods, Aphrodite also had to be enrolled among the Olympians, I have heard that she ascended and wished to bring her companion and play-fellow. But the story goes that he refused, preferring life with his sisters and parents to Olympos. And then he was permitted to grow wings: this, I imagine, was a gift from Aphrodite. But even this favour he counted as nothing. And so the daughter of Zeus was moved to anger and transformed his shape into a shell, and of her own accord chose in his place for her attendant and servant Eros, who also was young and beautiful, and to him she gave the wings of Nerites."

For MORE information on this god see NERITES


Sources:

  • Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C9th-8th BC
  • Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th BC
  • Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th BC
  • Greek Lyric III Ibycus, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th BC
  • Greek Lyric III Simonides, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th-5th BC
  • Aeschylus, Suppliant Women - Greek Tragedy C5th BC
  • Plato, Republic - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd BC
  • Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd BC
  • The Orphic Hymns - Greek Hymns BC
  • Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy - Greek Epic C4th AD
  • Pausanias, Guide to Greece - Greek Geography C2nd AD
  • Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st BC
  • Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses - Greek Mythography C2nd AD
  • Aelian, On Animals - Greek Natural History C2nd - C3rd AD
  • Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana - Greek Biography C2nd AD
  • Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae - Greek Cullinary Guide C3rd AD
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd AD
  • Hyginus, Astronomica - Latin Mythography C2nd AD
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st BC - C1st AD
  • Virgil, Aeneid - Latin Epic C1st BC
  • Virgil, Georgics - Latin Idyllic C1st BC
  • Cicero, De Natura Deorum - Latin Philosophy C1st BC
  • Seneca, Phaedra - Latin Tragedy C1st AD
  • Statius, Thebaid - Latin Epic C1st AD
  • Statius, Silvae - Latin Epic C1st AD
  • Nonnos, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th AD
  • Suidas - Byzantine Lexicon C10th AD