Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility, was portrayed and revered in many different ways. Because she was the goddess of sexuality Aphrodite holds great power over both mortals and immortals. Aphrodite is a particularly interesting goddess who possesses a constant desire to show the other gods how powerful she is. Even Aphrodite’s attendants represent women embodiment. She deceives several gods, not only to gain their trust but also to make herself known and respected.
Because she is the goddess of beauty she has numerous with relationships with several gods, some including Ares, Anchises, and Hermes. Aphrodite was one of the twelve main gods and was one of the most powerful when it came to the opposite sex. Aphrodite, when portrayed in a work of art, represents all that female sexuality possesses. She is believed to have inspired all lust in all the humans and animals on earth. Aphrodite was portrayed as a goddess of immense beauty and a power, but also one that was vain and easily offended.
There are numerous myths surrounding the birth of Aphrodite, but the one most commonly spoken of is that she was born out of sea foam as her name literally means sea foam. It is said that she arose full-grown and nude out of the ocean and then rode to the shore of Cythera on a scallop. She found Cythera to be to small and so went to live in Pathos. This immediately gives an idea of the kind of goddess Aphrodite is, one who expects the best for herself. Her vanity and self-obsession is made evident from the moment she is born.
One of the more famous Aphrodite tales is that of Aphrodite and Ankhises. When Ankhises originally meets Aphrodite he greets her as a goddess and asks for her blessing. She deceives Ankhises and convinces him that she is in fact a mortal. Quickly after learning this Ankhises undresses Aphrodite and has sex with her. She becomes pregnant and bears an immortal son and soon reveals to Ankhises that she is in fact immortal. She reveals this to him thinking he will be grateful for the great gift he will be giving her and thanks him for sleeping with her under the pretense that she was mortal.
It is said though that Aphrodite had alterior motives and that by doing this she was able to show the other deities just how strong she is. This story has a very important theme to it though, by giving birth to an immortal son with a mortal father she is in a sense giving humans immortality. Humans now have a taste of immortality, although it is vastly different from that of the gods. This immortality that humans have is that of generations in which a father can pass traits and stories to his son, in this sense a humans bloodline can go on forever, thus being in way immortal as a part of them never dies.
This is the most important form of humans. Aphrodite has a large family due to the number of partners she possesses, being the goddess of beauty she was sought after often. She is one of the few goddesses who is married but was frequently unfaithful. Zeus married Aphrodite to Hephaestus, the god of smithing. His extreme joy at being married to the goddess of beauty inspired him to create mass amounts of jewelry, one of which was a magic girdle. This girdle caused her to become even more irresistible to men.
This caused jealousy from other goddesses and is another reason why Aphrodite is portrayed the way she is, because she made both male and female desire her. Because of her immense beauty and power over the gods and her numerous relationships with different gods she has always been portrayed as one of the most powerful deities in classical mythology. When one of the first nude statues of Aphrodite was made she was angered because it was so realistic.
It was said that she was upset because the artist had to of either seen her naked or that her flaws were so obvious it was easy to depict. She became one of the first acceptable nude statues because of the religion surrounding it and influenced many other artists. Aphrodite is one of the most famous goddesses in mythology because of her massive impact on not only the image of the female for but also for her influence in art. She is portrayed as a strong, independent goddess who used her beauty and wit to make her mark in the world of immortals.