Queen of the dirty girdle, born from the sea washed genitals of another god and add a bit of foam on top, and you have Aphrodite! She was the prettiest of all Greek Goddesses, shining in the sky at morning and night as Venus or screwing the God of War Ares behind her husband's back, Aphrodite must have been one hell of a MILF in her time. No wonder the prudes hated her and tore down her temples when they imposed the monotheistic religions of Judiasm, Christianity and Islam on top.
That Aphrodite was something of Olympus's good time girl doesn't mean she could be really bad if you got in her wrong side. She couldn't kill you with a weapon like Zeus's with his thunderbolts or Poseidon with his trident. No, her weapons were far more subtler. Weaken an arrogant he-man where it will always hurt: In his self esteem.
From the Sea
The Ancient Greeks were quite honest with their myth of Aphrodite: Her 'father' was Uranus's severed nut sack and member, cut off by Cronus in a macho example of godly power play. Mixing bollocks and sea water produced Aphrodite who emerged from the sea on a giant sea shell. Stepping on to shore, Aphrodite used her long blonde hair to create herself a hairy one piece bathing suit to avoid arrest for indecent exposure.
The position of Goddess of Love and Beauty being vacant, Aphrodite applied for the job and was installed on Mount Olympus. The male Greek Gods all wanted to be first to bed her but Zeus decreed that first she had to marry the pug ugly Hesphaestus, god of bashing things into metal over a hot furnace. Aphrodite expressed disgust and kept a separate bedroom where she instead entertained the Ares, Hermes and Apollo - though she didn't say no to an older man either. Only Zeus resisted the temptation, perhaps reasoning that Aphrodite would produce a pretty boy with a very ruthless streak. No wonder all the female Greek Gods hated her and tried to get Aphrodite into trouble. And the only way to stay out of trouble was to stay a virgin like the beefy biceped Athena or Artemis and her close relationships with four legged friends.
Aphrodite was soon producing children without apparently going through the agonies of pregnancy and comfort food eating. From her busy loins emerged Eros the God of Love, Harmonia, Mouth Organ (later renamed Hermaphroditus) and later the mortal hero Aeneas, a participant in the Trojan Wars and the supposed founder of the New Trojans - aka Romans - when they moved to Italy. None of the children inherited all of Aprhrodite's looks, though Hermaphroditus certainly had his mother's hip bones. He would later try to 'merge' his body with a local nymph and the result wasn't pretty.
Eros refused to grow up and kept his baby wings on till he later met Psycho, the Goddess of Soul and all round rapper with a prodigious 'Afro-dite' which she grew out in honour of her mother-in-law. Aphrodite saw the funny side and had Psycho persecuted which undoubtedly screwed her up.
Aphrodite's sexual appetite gave her Ares, Apollo and Hermes as her ready bed partners. Apollo was intelligent but had a nasty cruel streak whilst Hermes was a 'fast in-and-out immortal' and a very selfish lover. Aphrodite preferred Ares as he was handsome, fantastic in bed but so useless in his main job as God of War that Athena always beat him on a battlefield. Aphrodite didn't get on with the other female goddesses.
They resented her peach-perfect body and easy smile. Artemis said Aphrodite's breasts 'drooped' and Demeter expressed the view that testicles and sea water were not a good mix to produce a supposed 'Goddess'. Aphrodite's biggest rivals were Athena and Hera. Athena was about the same age as Aphrodite (both women had appeared to stop ageing after 25, something Hollywood does as a matter of practise). Athena said her body was 'purer' as she had never been touched by a man (the Greeks don't mention women so that leaves that option unspoken) whereas Aphrodite's had allowed hers to be 'pinched and pawed' by all manner of men. Hera said that only a mature woman was truly beautiful and truly converse with the ways of making love. Not some bubble brained blonde with seaweed in her hair.
This argument would have gone into infinity until a Golden Apple was delivered with the line 'To The Fairest'. Zeus ordered that only a mortal man could make a choice and sent Aphrodite, Athena and Hera to a remote hill side out Troy to make the decision. Athena objected that all of them had to 'jiggle their baps' for Paris, opining that if the sandal was on the other foot and it was a woman doing the choosing between three men then what was between the ears would count more than what they had dangling down between their legs..but that Aphrodite had told her to just get on with it. Paris preferred blondes...so Aphrodite won.
Aphrodite's temples became known as the spot for 'sacred prostitution'. Love Pure and Love Behind the Bike Sheds were catered for. The Romans would later claim Aphrodite was Venus and that they were all descended from her via Aeneas. Since the Romans were imitators and ruthless conquerors, it seemed an odd fit. In the Greek speaking East she was still known as Aphrodite and when Jerusalem was rebuilt in 135 AD, a temple was built over the site of Christ's supposed crucifixion site. So for the next couple hundred years a site sacred to Christians was dedicated to the Goddess of Love.
By the time of Emperor Theodosius the Great, all pagan worship was forbidden and the temples and sanctuaries closed down or destroyed. Aphrodite's worship survived, albeit in private and with the help of creams and vaseline. Her temples are now found elsewhere but they are called Beauty Salons.
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