Aphrodite vs Venus
Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty and romance in Greek mythology. Her origin traces back to the time when Cronus severed the genitals of his father, Uranus, god of heaven. Greek mythology states that the nasty Uranus imprisoned his children as they born so that no son of his may challenge his rule. This greatly saddened his wife Gaia (mother earth) that she and her son, Cronus, planned an ambush for the latter to take over his father’s throne. Cronus castrated his father and threw Uranus’ genitals into the sea which started foaming. Then, out stepped a fully grown Aphrodite from Uranus’ blood and semen. Hence, Aphodite means “from the sea foam (aphros)”.
The sea then carried her to either Cyprus or Cythera which is why Aphrodite is referred to as Kypris (Lady of Cyprus) and Cytherea (Lady of Cythera). Goddess Aphrodite is also depicted on her other role as the goddess of sexual and pleasurable love for her numerous affairs. She bore children from six different liasons, not one of which was with her husband, Hephaestus. Even so, goddess Aphrodite was known for her willingness to help both the deities and mortals to find the loves they sought. Women prayed to Aphrodite to give them the sexual power to ensnare a man forever.
Aphrodite was loved by gods and mortals alike. She had this unique ability to control men’s innermost feelings such as love or passion unlike the powers of any of other Greek deities. Among her mortal lovers, the most important mortal was the Trojan shepherd named Anchises, who fathered her son, Aeneas. Her most famous lover was the handsome Adonis. Aphrodite’s jilted ex-lover and god of war Ares so jealous of Adonis, that he turned himself into a giant boar that killed Adonis.
Aphrodite was also responsible for the Trojan war. As the legend goes, three goddesses – Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, were arguing over who was the prettiest. They picked a mortal man, Paris, to be the judge. Each goddess offered him a bribe to choose her as the most beautiful. Hera’s offer of domestic happiness and Athena’s offer of wisdom were turned down in favor of Aphrodite’s offer of the love of the most beautiful and desirable woman on earth, Helen of Troy, who was already married to Menaleous, a famous and sucessful warrior. Aphrodite caused Helen to fall in love with Paris immediately. They eloped, and Menaleous’ army followed, starting the Trojan War.
Aphrodite’s festival is called the Aphrodisiac, which was celebrated in various centers of Greece and especially in Athens and Corinth. Her priestesses were not prostitutes but women who represented the goddess. Sexual intercourse with them was considered just one of the methods of worship.
When Roman culture spread, the native gods of the Romans mingled with local culture and religion wherever they conquered. Venus, a minor Roman Goddess associated with gardens was identified with Aphrodite.
Venus is actually just the Roman name for the Greek Aphrodite. In Roman mythology, it is obviously clear that the Romans have a special affinity to naming their deities with the stars or planets. It is also clear that Venus and Aphrodite are the same goddesses of love. The Romans gave roman names to all of the Greek gods and goddesses, and told the same myths and stories about them.
The early Latin goddess of vegetation, a patroness of vineyards and gardens thus became deliberately associated with the Greek Goddess Aphrodite. Under Greek influence, Venus was equated with Aphrodite and assumed many of her aspects. The name of Venus then became interchangeable with Aphrodite. Most of the tales of these two goddesses are identical. Both are known for their jealousy, their beauty and for their affairs with both gods and mortals. Venus took on the aspect of a gracious Mother Goddess full of pure love. She assumed the divine responsibility for domestic bliss and procreation, and domestic bliss rather than Aphrodite’s uninhibited, promiscuous side.
Roman goddess Venus is the daughter of the god Jupiter and the goddess, Dione. Her husband is the Greek god of fire, Vulcan. She is the mother of two children, one with her husband and one with a mortal lover, Anchises. Her mortal son Aenaes, fled Troy and founded the Nation of Italy. It is through this that he became the mythical ancestor of the Roman people. In turn, Venus was treated with special honor being the divine ancestor of the Roman empire.
Venus’ importance and her cult, through the influence of several Roman political leaders like Sulla, Julius Caesar and Augustus. The dictator Sulla made her his patroness. Though Venus is often associated with love and fertility, she is also known as the patron goddess of prostitutes and the protector against vice. Julius Caesar himself worshiped her as “Mother Venus” and had a temple erected in 46 BCE under her name. He thought that the Roman people were descendants of this goddess and introduced the cult of Venus Genetrix, the goddess of motherhood and marriage. She was also worshiped under many other epithets. The emperor Augustus named Venus as the ancestor of their (Julian) family.
1. There is a difference between the two mythologies’ goddess of love wherein Aphrodite (Greek) is only regarded as a goddess of love, beauty and sexuality whereas Venus (the Roman counterpart) is also perceived as goddess of vegetation, fertility and a patroness of prostitutes other than being a goddess of love, beauty and sexuality.
2. In historical literature, the Greek gods and goddesses came into existence first than the Roman gods and goddess.
3. Venus is identical to the Greek representations of Aphrodite as a beautiful, seductive woman.
4. The literatures on Venus were borrowed from the literary Greek mythology of her equivalent counterpart, Aphrodite.
5. The difference between Greek and Roman culture’s mythology lies on how the people interpret them and how they picture their lives.