Goddesses in Greek mythology are known for their beauty, but is there a Greek goddess who is known for being the most beautiful?
The goddess of sex, love, and passion is Aphrodite, and she is considered the most beautiful Greek goddess in Mythology.
There are two versions of how Aphrodite was born. In the first version, Aphrodite is born of the sea foam from the castrated genitalia of Uranus. The other version gives Aphrodite parents Zeus and Dione. Regardless of her birth into existence, Aphrodite was born the goddess of love and was known for being the most beautiful Greek goddess.
Aphrodite Marries Hephaestus
Because of her beauty, many gods desired to be with Aphrodite. Zeus was afraid there would be a war among the gods if they fought for her hand, so he married Aphrodite to Hephaestus. Hephaestus was the god of fire who had a deformed foot and hideous face. Aphrodite would not remain faithful to Hephaestus.
Hephaestus was the god of fire and a skilled craftsman. Knowing that Aphrodite was unfaithful to him, Hephaestus literally caught Aphrodite and Ares with a chain-link net in bed together and took them to Mount Olympus to be displayed and ridiculed. Because of Aphrodite’s beauty, Poseidon, god of the sea, helped free Aphrodite where she returned to Cyprus.
Aphrodite and the Trojan War
The Trojan War is the famous war in Greek mythology, which describes the war between the city of Troy and the Greeks. The war was sparked because Paris kidnapped Queen Helen of Sparta, but Aphrodite is the reason to blame for Paris kidnapping her.
Eris, goddess of strife, offered a golden apple to the most beautiful goddess, and Zeus deemed Paris would be the judge of their beauty. Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite all strived to receive the golden apple. Paris requested that each goddess bring him the best offering. The best offering will determine who the most beautiful goddess is. Aphrodite offered Paris the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta.
Paris chose Aphrodite’s offering of Helen of Sparta and sent for her to be retrieved. Helen of Sparta was already married to Melanaos. Melanaos sent an army to Troy to take back Helen, which was the beginning of the Trojan War.
Aphrodite and Eros
Aphrodite had an intimate relationship with Ares, god of war, and they created a son, Eros. Eros was an Erotes, which was a winged god. Eros was the god of sex and was often depicted with a bow and arrow.
As Eros was the god of sex, lust, and desires, he would take his bow and shoot an arrow at the person whom he wanted to inflict desires upon.
Aphrodite and the Pygmalion
There was a famous sculptor, Pygmalion, who sculpted a beautiful woman out of ivory. The woman was called Galatea, and she became the most beautiful woman in Pygmalion’s eyes.
Pygmalion made an offering to Aphrodite that she would send him a wife like Galatea. Pygmalion returned to his home and visited the statue Galatea. He had fallen in love with Galatea and begun to kiss her. Pygmalion felt the warmth of the statue as the statue came to life and kissed him back. Aphrodite had granted Pygmalion his request of receiving a wife like Galatea, as she had brought Galatea to life.
Popular Myths about Aphrodite
As Aphrodite is the goddess of sex, lust, passion, and desire, there are many myths that revolve around her divine power.
Aphrodite had many lovers and relationships with gods and mortals. Some relationships were her choice, while other relationships were curses or commands from Zeus.
Zeus made Aphrodite fall in love with the mortal Trojan prince, Anchises. Aphrodite dressed as a mortal princess and gave herself to the prince. Aphrodite later revealed that she was Aphrodite, goddess of sex, and asked him to keep their affair secret at the promise of giving him a son, Aeneas. The myth describes that Anchises was unable to keep the affair a secret, so Zeus blinded Anchises with a lightning bolt; thus, Anchises was never able to see his son.
In another myth, Aphrodite found a baby boy beside a myrrh tree and delivered him to Persephone to care for. Years later, Aphrodite revisited Persephone and noticed the boy had grown into an attractive young man. Aphrodite asked Persephone for the boy, who had been named Adonis, to be returned to her. Persephone refused, so Zeus allowed Adonis to be shared between the two.
Adonis preferred Aphrodite over Persephone and did not want to return to the underworld with Persephone. Persephone sent a wild boar to kill Adonis, where Adonis died in the arms of Aphrodite.
Aphrodite in the Arts
Aphrodite is depicted in paintings and sculptures as naked or elegantly clothed. Some renderings of Aphrodite would be individual, while others may show her with her lovers or children. Aphrodite is most popularly shown with her lover, Ares, or her child, Eros. Aphrodite was often painted and sculpted because of her beauty.
In early Greek art, Aphrodite was represented as either the Oriental, nude-goddess type or as a seated or standing figure that was very similar to the other goddesses. One of the most famous statues, Praxiteles, became the model for future masterpieces including the Venus de Milo in 2nd Century BCE. That statue was also when Aphrodite began to be given a semblance of individuality by the Greek sculptors.