The Children of Zeus: Aphrodite (page 102)

Chapter 2: The Olympians

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Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 5

Muse, tell me the deeds of golden Aphrodite the Cyprian, who stirs up sweet passion in the gods and subdues the tribes of mortal men and birds that fly in air and all the many creatures that the dry land rears, and all that the sea: all these love the deeds of rich-crowned Cytherea.

Yet there are three hearts that she cannot bend nor yet ensnare. First is the daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis, bright-eyed Athena; for she has no pleasure in the deeds of golden Aphrodite, but delights in wars and in the work of Ares, in strifes and battles and in preparing famous crafts. She first taught earthly craftsmen to make chariots of war and cars variously wrought with bronze, and she, too, teaches tender maidens in the house and puts knowledge of goodly arts in each one’s mind. Nor does laughter-loving Aphrodite ever tame in love Artemis, the huntress with shafts of gold; for she loves archery and the slaying of wild beasts in the mountains, the lyre also and dancing and thrilling cries and shady woods and the cities of upright men. Nor yet does the pure maiden Hestia love Aphrodite’s works. She was the first-born child of wily Cronos and youngest too, by will of Zeus who holds the aegis, —a queenly maid whom both Poseidon and Apollo sought to wed. But she was wholly unwilling, nay, stubbornly refused; and touching the head of father Zeus who holds the aegis, she, that fair goddess, swear a great oath which has in truth been fulfilled, that she would be a maiden all her days. So Zeus the Father gave her an high honor instead of marriage, and she has her place in the midst of the house and has the richest portion. In all the temples of the gods she has a share of honor, and among all mortal men she is chief of the goddesses. Continue Reading  Greek Text

Homer, Iliad 2.819-21

Of the Dardanians again the valiant son of Anchises was captain, even Aeneas, whom fair Aphrodite conceived to Anchises amid the spurs of Ida, a goddess couched with a mortal man. Greek Text

Hesiod, Theogony 1008-10

And Cytherea with the beautiful crown was joined in sweet love with the hero Anchises and bore Aeneas on the peaks of Ida with its many wooded glens. Greek Text

Sophokles, Laokoon fr 373 R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta vol. 4, pp. 332-33, ed. S.L. Radt. Göttingen 1977.

Vergil, Aeneid 2.648-49

“I tarry in this world
a useless burden, since that fatal hour
when Jove, of gods the Sire and men the King,
his lightnings o’er me breathed and blasting fire.” Latin Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 94

ANCHISES: Venus is said to have loved Anchises and to have lain with him. By him she conceived Aeneas, but she warned him not to reveal it to anyone. Anchises, however, told it over the wine to his companions, and for this was struck by the thunderbolt of Jove. Some say that he died by his own hand. Latin Text

Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 5.189-90

“I beseech you, leave me not to lead a palsied life among men, but have pity on me; for he who lies with a deathless goddess is no hale man afterwards.” Greek Text

Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) fr 139 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 67-68, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967. 

ApB 3.14.4 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

And Adonis, while still a boy, was wounded and killed in hunting by a boar through the anger of Artemis. Hesiod, however, affirms that he was a son of Phoenix and Alphesiboea; and Panyasis says that he was a son of Thias, king of Assyria, who had a daughter Smyrna. In consequence of the wrath of Aphrodite, for she did not honor the goddess, this Smyrna conceived a passion for her father, and with the complicity of her nurse she shared her father’s bed without his knowledge for twelve nights. But when he was aware of it, he drew his sword and pursued her, and being overtaken she prayed to the gods that she might be invisible; so the gods in compassion turned her into the tree which they call smyrna ( myrrh). Ten months afterwards the tree burst and Adonis, as he is called, was born, whom for the sake of his beauty, while he was still an infant, Aphrodite hid in a chest unknown to the gods and entrusted to Persephone. Greek Text

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2021

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