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The Greek goddess Aphrodite

Aphrodite was the goddess of love, identified in Rome with the ancient Italic goddess Venus.

There are two different accounts of Aphrodite's birth: sometimes she is described as the child of Zeus and Dione, sometimes as the daughter of Ouranos. Aphrodite was married to the lame smith-god Hephaistos, but she loved Ares, the god of war. The love-affair between Aphrodite and Ares resulted in the births of Eros, Deimos, Phobos and Harmonia.

The Trojan prince Paris judged Aphrodite to be more beautiful than Athena or Hera. Her promise to him of the hand of Helen of Sparta, the most beautiful woman in the world, was the underlying cause of the Trojan War. Throughout the War she granted her protection to the Trojans, and to Paris in particular. She was unable to prevent the fall of Troy or the death of Paris, but she did manage to preserve the Trojan race by ensuring that her son Aeneas, a Trojan prince whom she bore to the mortal Anchises, escaped to establish the city of Rome.

Aphrodite was worshipped in many places throughout Greece, particularly on the island of Cyprus. The goddess is shown in art as young and beautiful, and is sometimes accompanied by Erotes or cupids and doves.

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