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8.  Aphrodíti (Aphrodite; Gr. Ἀφροδίτη, ΑΦΡΟΔΙΤΗ. Etym. ἀφρός "foam" + δύτης "diver," the diver rises from the sea, and evoking ἀναδύομαι, "come up from" [especially the sea]Pronunciation: ah-froh-THEE-tee, roll the 'r' slightly; the d (dælta) is pronounced like the soft th in this, not like the hard th in theory.) 

Aphrodíti is one of the most important deities of all Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, being one of the Twelve Olympian Gods. She is the great Goddess of Armonía (Harmony; Gr. Ἁρμονία).

Pándimos Aphrodíti and Ouranía Aphrodíti

According to the mythology presented in the Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony, there are two births of Aphrodíti. First she is born from the castrated genitals of Ouranós (Uranus; Gr. Οὐρανός) as they fell into the sea and created a foam [1] . She is, therefore, known as Ouranía (Gr. Οὐρανία), the "heavenly" Goddess, she who was born of Ouranós or the Sky.

In the story of the second birth of Aphrodíti, Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) pursues the Goddess Dióhni (Dione; Gr. Διώνη) [2] , but his advances are resisted and his seed falls into the sea from which later emerges Pándimos (common or vulgar; Gr. Πάνδημος) Aphrodíti, she who blesses the sexual unions of mortals.

These two mythologies can be seen as revealing two aspects, or two faces, of one Goddess.

"But since there are two Venuses (ed. Aphrodíti), there must of necessity be two loves (ed. Ǽrohs or Eros; Gr. Ἔρως). For it is undeniable, that two different Goddesses there are, each of whom is a Venus: one of them elder, who had no mother, and was born only from Uranus (ed. Ouranós), or Heaven, her father; she is called the celestial Venus: the other, younger, daughter of Jupiter (ed. Zefs) and Dione (ed. Dióhni); and to her we give the name of the vulgar Venus." [3]

Considering this, we can see that Aphrodíti has two general aspects. She is Ouranía, the great mystical Goddess who harmonizes the struggles of Life, the dominion of quarrelsome Áris. Aphrodíti is also Pándimos, she of the common popular religion, the great Goddess who sanctions the necessary physical unions of the mortal creatures; she fosters and blesses the Ǽrohs of sex (Ἵμερος and the mundane Ἔρωτες), the natural reproductive functions of the humans and the many creatures (but this Ǽrohs is not quite the same as the Kozmogonic Ǽrohs, which is the dominion of the Goddess Íra [Hera; Gr. Ήρα]). In our religion, sex or generation, is not in any way condemned, but is considered sacred and is protected by the beautiful Goddess.

Generalities Concerning Aphrodíti

Who is Aphrodíti? There are many people in our time who love the Goddess because they think she is a great deity of pleasure, but the Neoplatonic philosopher Damáskios (Damascius; Gr. Δαμάσκιος), writing in the sixth century C.E., has a different opinion:

"None of the ancients identifies Aphrodite with Pleasure: how do we account for this? Because Aphrodite is the cause of union, of which pleasure is only an accompaniment; and because there is much ugliness in bodily pleasure at least, whereas Aphrodite is beauty, not only the beauty that comes from divine inspiration, but also that of nature." [4]

Aphrodíti, like Poseidóhn, is identified with the Sea because of the mythology which states that she was born from the genitive material of Ouranós which fell into the ocean, and, thus, the scallop-shell is associated with her.

Aphrodíti is the personification of nature's generative ability. Thus, she is popularly believed to be the Goddess of love and thought of as the most beautiful and graceful. 

Like the Goddess ÍraAphrodíti governs and blesses marriage. 

Aphrodíti possesses a girdle or belt which has the ability to attract the object of one's desire to the one who wears it. 

The poppy flower as well as the rose, myrtle, and the apple are sacred to her. The milokydóhnion (ancient) or simply kydóhni (modern Gr. κυδώνι) is the quince, another fruit sacred to Aphrodíti, traditionally given as part of a Greek wedding ceremony. The dove and the swan are birds which are sacred to the Goddess, as well as swallows and sparrows. The tortoise is sacred to Ouranía Aphrodíti (see above) and the ram was sacred to Pándimos Aphrodíti (see above). The month of Távros (Taurus; Gr. Ταύρος) is sacred to her, and one of the planets, Venus, is named after her.

Aphrodíti and Íphaistos

Aphrodíti is said to be married to Íphaistos (Hephaestus; Gr. Ἥφαιστος); this is because she beautifies the Forms created by the mighty God. In the Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony the story is told somewhat differently, Íphaistos unites with Aphrodíti, creating the Form of the universe and he then mingles with the younger Kháritæs 
(Charities; Gr. Χάριτες) who beautify his work. The Younger Kháritæs are Splendor (Ἀγλαΐα) Good Glory (Εὔκλεια), Abundance (Ευθηνία), Good Fame (Εὐφήμη), and Friendliness (Φιλοφροσύνη). [5]

Aphrodíti and Áris

Also in the mythology, Aphrodíti is amorously tied to Áris (Ares; Gr. Ἄρης) by which they produce the child Armonía (Harmonia; Gr. Ἁρμονία). Armonía, or Harmony, is the result of the necessary struggles which are inherent in Life, the dominion of Áris, struggles which are harmonized at the Eighth Íkos (Oikos [i.e. zodiacal house]; Gr. Οἶκος) by Aphrodíti. Armonía is wedded to Kádmos (Cadmus; Gr. Κάδμος), a divine being, a Light Being, the founder of Thívai (Thebes; Gr. Θῆβαι) and the first Hero. Armonía and Kádmos produce a child, Sæmǽli (Semele; Gr. Σεμέλη), who later unites with mighty Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς). And when Sæmǽli is burnt in the famous myth, Zefs retrieves from her body the tiny fetus conceived from the heart of Zagréfs and sews it into his leg. When the time is up, Diónysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος) the Liberator is born from the leg of Zefs, who later reveals to mankind the great Mysteries which free us from the sufferings of the sorrowful cycle of births (κύκλος γενέσεως). All this story may be found in the Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony (See The Sixth King). Thus we can see how in many ways, the great Goddess is deeply involved in the Mysteries of our religion.

Aphrodíti, Áris, and Ádohnis

For this story, we follow that told by Panyásis (Gr. Πανυάσις) as recorded in The Library of Apollódohros (Gr. Ἀπολλόδωρος).

Smýrna (Gr. Σμύρνα) was the daughter of Theias (Gr. Θείας), king of the Assyrians. According to the mythology, she had angered the Goddess Aphrodíti who placed an unnatural desire into her heart for her own father. She tricked him into sleeping with her for twelve nights, but at last he discovered her deception. King Theias was furious and flew into a rage, running at the girl with a sword. Smýrna petitioned the Gods to save her and in answer to her prayer, they transformed her into a myrrh tree. But she had conceived a child and when the months were up, the trunk split to reveal a beautiful baby boy: Ádohnis (Adonis; Gr. Ἄδωνις). When Aphrodíti beheld the child she was instantly enamored of his bountiful loveliness. She hid him away in a chest and gave him to Pærsæphóni (Persephone or Proserpina; Gr. Περσεφόνη) for safekeeping. But Pærsæphóni was curious and opened the box. When the Goddess looked upon the child, she loved him and raised him in her kingdom. But when Aphrodíti returned, they fought over Ádohnis who was now a strikingly handsome young man. The case was put before Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) and it was decided that each Goddess would be given Ádohnis for four months of the year and the remaining four months were to be his own. But Ádohnis chose to remain with Aphrodíti for these four months also. Later one day, Ádohnis was hunting and he was killed by a boar
[6] . The boar, it is said, was actually a transformation of Áris [7]

The story of Ádohnis has several variants, but this one, perhaps the most familiar, would seem to be most coherent. Aphrodíti, the Goddess of the pair, prepares the ground for the action of the male deity Áris, and the killing by a God is symbolic (always) of deification.

Aphrodíti in Iconography

In iconography, Aphrodíti is always a Goddess of incredible beauty and is often depicted naked or partially naked, unlike most of the female Goddesses. 

"...Venus is naked; since harmony generates beauty, and beauty is not concealed in objects of sensible inspection." [8] 

Aphrodíti from
A Classical Manual 

There are few characters in fabled story to which the attention of the ancients has been more directed, or in the contemplation and representation of which they have more indulged their imagination, than that of Aphrodíti, the Goddess of love, of grace, and of beauty. Cicero enumerates four of this name: the first, the daughter of heaven and light; the second, the Aphrodíti acknowledged by Hesiod, who sprang from the froth of the sea, and was mother of Eros; the third, the daughter of Zeus and Dione, who was the wife of Hephaestus, and the mistress of the the God Ares; and the fourth, the Astarte of the Phœnicians, who was the wife of Adonis. Homer has adopted the Aphrodíti the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Plato admits but two: the one the daughter of Uranus, and the other of Zeus. Pausanias distinguishes three, as illustrative of the different character of the passion over which she presided. Sir Isaac Newton considers Aphrodíti the mother of Æneas, to have been a daughter of Otreus, king of Phrygia. It is, however, a received opinion among mythologists, that the origin of the worship of Aphrodíti is to be found among the Phœnicians, who adored her as the celestial Aphrodíti, or the planet which bears that name; and that the worship of Astarte, the wife of Adonis, was blended with that of the planet; that the Phœnicians introduced her worship in conducting their colonies through the islands of the Mediterranean into Greece, landing first in Cyprus and then in Cythera; and that the fertile imaginations of the Greeks thence charged their Aphrodíti with all the properties and actions ascribed to the many Goddesses of that name. In their description of her they state, that, seated on a shell, she emerged from the sea, near the town of Palæpaphos, in the island of Cyprus, where flowers sprang up under her feet; that the Hours were entrusted with the care of her education, and conducted her to heaven, where, having attracted the admiration and received the devotion of all the Gods, she selected as her husband Hephaestus, the most deformed of their number; that she and Ares were the parents of Eros; that she was attended by Bacchus; that she presided over love; and that she wore a mysterious girdle, by which whe was enabled to transfer to her votaries the degree of influence which they required to command the affections of the object beloved.

The worship of Aphrodíti was universal; and, among her various representations, the following are the most known: as accompanied by two cupids, holding a thyrsus covered with vine leaves and bunches of grapes, and surmounted with ears of corn, and three arrows, to indicate that her wounds were more effectual when inflicted with the aid of Bacchus and Demeter: drawn in a car by doves, swans, or sparrows, with some of the first upon her hand: armed (as at Sparta) like Athena: decorated with a garland of lilies, and holding a mirror and a dart, in her character of Goddess of beauty: seated on a goat, with one foot resting on a tortoise: leaning against a pillar, with a globe at her feet: holding a mirror in one hand and an apple or a poppy in the other: as Aphrodíti Cœlestis, with a sceptre in one hand, an apple in the other, and a star or conical crown on her head: as Aphrodíti Morpho, veiled, and with chains on her feet: as Aphrodíti Genetrix, with an apple in one hand and an infant in swaddling clothes in the other: as Aphrodíti Victrix, holding a victory and a shield: endeavouring, by her caresses, to detain Ares; or, standing before the God (who is seated, leaning on a stick), placing her right hand on her mouth, and holding a horse by the bridle with her left: or, as in more modern representations, she is seen drawn through the air in a car by doves or swans, decorated with a crown of myrtle and roses, and surrounded by little cupids. The two celebrated statues of the Goddesss, by Praxiteles, were at Cos and at Cnidus. At Cyprus she was exhibited under the name of Aprhoditus, with a beard; and by Phidias she was represented rising out of the sea, received by Eros, and crowned by Persuasion.

Among flowers the rose and the myrtle were sacred to her; among fruits, the apple; among birds, the swan, the dove, and the sparrow; and among fishes, the aphya and the lycostomus. The month of April was also sacred to her.

The Orphic Hymn to Aphrodíti

Please visit this page for a thorough examination of the Orphic hymn to Aphrodíti, a veritable snapshot of the essence of the Goddess. It includes the Thomas Taylor translation, the original Greek text, an easy transliteration of the Greek text for anyone who may wish to learn the hymn in ancient Greek, and a word-by-word examination of the poem:

The Orphic Hymn to Aphrodíti

Aphrodíti in Orphismós

Aphrodíti rules the eighth Orphic House, the month of Távros (Taurus; Gr. Ταύρος) from April 21 to May 20. The Divine Consort of Aphrodíti is Áris (Ares; Gr. Ἄρης), with whom she unites and produces the child Armonía (Harmonia; Gr. Ἁρμονία). [10] Thus, the dominion of Aphrodíti at the Eight Íkos (= House = Oikos; Gr. Οἶκος) is that of Harmony: she harmonizes the soul, producing Armonía, a semi-divine being who has been harmonized of the necessary internal battles presented by Áris. Armonía is then united with Kádmos (Cadmus; Gr. Κάδμος) and they produce the child Sæmǽli (Semele; Gr. Σεμέλη) [11] who, after uniting with Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς), produce the child Diόnysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος). [12] This is the mythological story of the the birth of the great liberator-God, but it is also symbolic of all souls who accept the influence of Zefs at the Eighth Íkos where they become a Semi-God, i.e. almost a God. And without it being harmonized by Aphrodíti, the soul cannot be deified at the next level, that of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). When the souls are deified, because they have undergone the same process as Diόnysos, they are sometimes called "Diόnysi." [13]


Please visit this page: Epithets of Aphrodíti

The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.


[1] See Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony: The Third King. See also Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. ἩσίοδοςThæogonía (Theogony; Gr. Θεογονία) 188.

[2] See Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony: The Fifth King, after the Great Orphic Hymn to Zefs. See also Ómiros (Homer; Gr. ὍμηροςIliás (Iliad; Gr. λιάς) Book 5, line 370.

[3] Plátohn [Plato; Gr. ΠλάτωνSymposion [Symposium; Gr. Συμπόσιον]180.d-e, speech of Pafsanías [Pausanias, not the geographer; Gr. Παυσανίας ]; trans. Thomas Taylor, 1804; found here in The Works of Plato, Vol. III published by The Prometheus Trust, Somerset UK, in 1996, Vol. XI of The Thomas Taylor Series (TTS XI) p. 501.

[4] Damáskios (Damascius; Gr. Δαμάσκιος) On the Phílivos (Philebus; Gr. Φίληβος) of Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) i.21. trans. L. G. Westerink, first published in 1959 by New Holland Publishing.  We are using the revised third edition from 2010 published by Prometheus Trust (Wiltshire UK), p. 14.

[5] Orphic fragment 182. Also see Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony, the Fifth King.

[6] Apollódohros Library 3.183 Ádohnis, as numbered in R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma's translation; or as numbered in J.G. Frazier's translation: Book III. xiv. 4.

[7] Serv. ad Virg. Ecl. x. 18; Ptolem. Hephaest. i. p. 306, ed. Gale (as cited by William Smith DGRBM). Some versions of the story say that the boar was actually other deities, but from an Orphic perspective, Áris makes most sense. 

[8] Sallust(ius) On the Gods and the World, Chap. 6 Concerning the Super-Mundane and Mundane Gods, trans. Thomas Taylor, 1793, London: Printed for Edward Jeffrey, Pall Mall, p. 30.

[9] A Classical Manual, Being a Mythological, Historical, and Geographical Commentary on Pope's Homer, and Dryden's Æneid of Virgil, 1833.  John Murray, Albemarle St. [London, England], pp. 127-128.

[10] "Never may pestilence empty this city of its men nor strife stain the soil of the land with the blood of slain inhabitants. But may the flower of its youth be unplucked, and may Ares, the partner of Aphrodite's bed, he who makes havoc of men, not shear off their bloom."  
(Aiskhýlos [Aeschylus; Gr. Αἰσχύλος] Ikǽtidæs [The Suppliant Women; Gr. Ἱκέτιδες659-666; trans. Herbert Weir Smyth, 1922)

"Also Cytherea (ed. Aphrodíti) bare to Ares the shield-piercer Panic and 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 Cadmus made his wife." 
(Isíodos [Hesiod; Gr. ἩσίοδοςThæogonía [Theogony; Gr. Θεογονία] 933, trans. H.G. Evelyn-White 1914; found here in the 1936 Harvard [Cambridge, MA USA]-Heinemann [London, England] Loeb Classical Library edition, on p. 149)

[11] "And Harmonia, the daughter of golden Aphrodite, bare to Cadmus Ino and Semele and fair-cheeked Agave and Autonoe whom long haired Aristaeus wedded, and Polydorus also in rich-crowned Thebe."  
(Ibid. Isíodos Thæogonía 975, H.G. Evelyn-White p. 151)

"Kadmos made a brilliant marriage, if, as the Greek legend says, he indeed took to wife a daughter of Aphrodite and Ares. His daughters too have made him a name; Semele was famed for having a child by Zeus, Ino for being a divinity of the sea." (Pafsanías [Pausanias; Gr. Παυσανίας] Description of Greece, Book IX Boeotia V.2; trans. W.H.S. Jones, 1935; found on p. 191, vol. IV, of the 1961 William Heineman [London England] Harvard Univ. Press [Cambridge MA] Loeb Classical Library edition)
"Me too hath the Muse raised up for Hellas as a chosen herald of wise words, who am proud that my race and my home are in Thebes the city of chariots, where of old the story telleth how Cadmus by high design won sage Harmonia, as his wedded wife, who obeyed the voice of Zeus, and became the mother of Semele famed among men." (Píndaros [Pindar; Gr. Πίνδαρος] dithýramvos [dithyramb; Gr. διθύραμβος] Herakles the Bold 25-30, trans. J. E. Sandys, 1915; found on p. 561 of the book entitled Pindar, in the 1968 edition published by William Heinemann [London England] Harvard Univ. Press, Loeb Classical Library edition)

[12] "And Semele, daughter of Cadmus was joined with him [ed. Zeus] in love and bare him a splendid son, joyous Dionysos,--a mortal woman an immortal son. And now they both are Gods." 
(Isíodos Thæogonía  940, Evelyn-White p. 149)

"For some say, at Dracanum; and some, on windy Icarus; and some, in Naxos, O Heaven-born, Insewn; and others by the deep-eddying river Alpheus that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus the thunder-lover." 
(Homeric Hymn I,To Diónysostrans. H.G. Evelyn-White 1914; found here in the 1936 Harvard [Cambridge, MA USA]-Heinemann [London, England] Loeb Classical Library edition entitled Hesiod: The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, on p. 287)

Zefs (Zeus) fathered "Liber (ed. 
Diόnysos) by Semele, the daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia." 
(Hyginus' Fabulae, 155 Jupiter's Children, translated by R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma, 2007, in the publication entitled Apollodorus' Library and Hyginus' Fabulae, Hackett Publishing [Indianapolis Cambridge MA USA], p.150)

[13]  While any soul which becomes deified by the Gods may be called a Diónysos, not all Gods are the true Diónysos, but only those which have been deified by Zefs (Zeus) at the Ninth House of Apόllohn.

The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The 
Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

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