The Children of Zeus: Aphrodite (page 104)

Chapter 2: The Olympians

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Athenaios 2.69d

Cratinus also says that Venus when in love with Phaon hid him also in the leaves of the lettuce. Greek Text

♠ Aelianus, Varia Historia 12.15 – Claudii Aeleani Varia Historia, ed. M. R. Dilts. Leipzig 1974

Sappho 198 LP – Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, p. 105, ed. E. Lobel and D. L. Page. Oxford 1955

Sappho traces Eros back to Gaia and Ouranos.

Alkaios said that Eros was the son of Iris and Zephyros, Sappho the son of Aphrodite and Ouranos.

Sappho from Lesbos sang many things and not all in agreement with other poets regarding Eros. (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

Simonides 575 PMG Poetae Melici Graeci, p. 296, ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

Apollonios traces Eros back to Aphrodite,… and Simonides to Aphrodite and Ares:

Cruel child of crafty Aphrodite,

whom she bore to wily Ares (Transl. E. Bianchelli)


Diodoros Siculus 4.6.1

Now the ancients record in their myths that Priapus was the son of Dionysus and Aphroditê and they present a plausible argument for this lineage; for men when under the influence of wine find the members of their bodies tense and inclined to the pleasures of love. Greek Text

Diodoros Siculus 4.6.5

A birth like that of Priapus is ascribed by some writers of myths to Hermaphroditus, as he has been called, who was born of Hermes and Aphroditê and received a name which is a combination of those of both his parents. Greek text

Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.285-388

Learn how the fountain, Salmacis, became
so infamous; learn how it enervates
and softens the limbs of those who chance to bathe.
Although the fountain’s properties are known,
the cause is yet unknown. The Naiads nursed
an infant son of Hermes, surely his
of Aphrodite gotten in the caves
of Ida, for the child resembled both
the god and goddess, and his name was theirs.

The years passed by, and when the boy had reached
the limit of three lustrums, he forsook
his native mountains; for he loved to roam
through unimagined places, by the banks
of undiscovered rivers; and the joy
of finding wonders made his labour light. Continue Reading. Latin Text

Sappho 200 LP – Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, p. 105, ed. E. Lobel and D. L. Page. Oxford 1955

Sappho says that Peitho is Aphrodite’s daughter. (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

Diodoros Siculus 4.83.1

But as regards Aristaeus we shall rest content with what has been said, and we shall next endeavour to set forth what relates to Daphnis and Eryx. This is what is told of them: Eryx was a son of Aphroditê and Butas, a certain native king of Sicily of very great fame, and he was admired by the natives because of his noble birth on his mother’s side and became king over a part of the island. Greek Text

Apollonios of Rhodes, Argonautika 4.912-19 

But even so the goodly son of Teleon alone of the comrades leapt before them all from the polished bench into the sea, even Butes, his soul melted by the clear ringing voice of the Sirens; and he swam through the dark surge to mount the beach, poor wretch. Quickly would they have robbed him of his return then and there, but the goddess that rules Eryx, Cypris, in pity snatched him away, while yet in the eddies, and graciously meeting him saved him to dwell on the Lilybean height. Greek Text

Pindar, Olympian 7.14

singing the sea-child of Aphrodite and bride of Helios, Rhodes Greek Text

Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) frr 72-76 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 46-49, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967. 

Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.560-680

Perhaps you may have heard of a swift maid,
who ran much faster than swift-footed men
contesting in the race. What they have told
is not an idle tale.—She did excel
them all—and you could not have said
whether her swift speed or her beauty was
more worthy of your praise. When this maid once
consulted with an oracle, of her
fate after marriage, the god answered her:
“You, Atalanta, never will have need
of husband, who will only be your harm.
For your best good you should avoid the tie;
but surely you will not avoid your harm;
and while yet living you will lose yourself.”

She was so frightened by the oracle,
she lived unwedded in far shaded woods;
and with harsh terms repulsed insistent throngs
of suitors. “I will not be won,” she said,
“Till I am conquered first in speed. Contest
the race with me. A wife and couch shall both
be given to reward the swift, but death
must recompense the one who lags behind.
This must be the condition of a race.”
Indeed she was that pitiless, but such
the power of beauty, a rash multitude
agreed to her harsh terms. Continue Reading.  Latin Text

Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.681-707

Adonis, did I not deserve his thanks
with tribute of sweet incense? But he was
ungrateful, and, forgetful of my help,
he gave me neither frankincense nor thanks.
Such conduct threw me into sudden wrath,
and, fretting at the slight, I felt I must
not be despised at any future time.
I told myself ’twas only right to make
a just example of them. They were near
a temple, hidden in the forest, which
glorious Echion in remembered time
had built to Rhea, Mother of the gods,
in payment of a vow. So, wearied from
the distance traveled, they were glad to have
a needed rest. Hippomenes while there,
was seized with love his heart could not control.—
a passion caused by my divinity.

Quite near the temple was a cave-like place,
covered with pumice. It was hallowed by
religious veneration of the past.
Within the shadows of that place, a priest
had stationed many wooden images
of olden gods. The lovers entered there
and desecrated it. The images
were scandalized, and turned their eyes away.
The tower-crowned Mother, Cybele, at first
prepared to plunge the guilty pair beneath
the waves of Styx, but such a punishment
seemed light. And so their necks, that had been smooth.
Were covered instantly with tawny manes;
their fingers bent to claws; their arms were changed
to fore-legs; and their bosoms held their weight;
and with their tails they swept the sandy ground. Continue Reading.  Latin Text

Palaiphatos 13 Mythographi Graeci 3.2, p. 21, ed. N. Festa. Leipzig 1902.

Atalante and Melanion:  About Atalante and Melanion, it is said that he became a lion, she a lioness. The truth is this: Atalante and Melanion were hunters. Melanion persuaded the girl to have sex with him. They went into some cave to have sex. A lion and lioness had their lair in the cave. They heard voices, came out, fell upon the two and killed them. And some time the lion and lioness went out. Seeing them, Melanion’s fellow hunters opined that they have been transformed into these animals. Going back to the city they advertised how Atalante and Melanion had been turned into lions.  Greek Text

Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.243-97

Pygmalion saw these women waste their lives
in wretched shame, and critical of faults
which nature had so deeply planted through
their female hearts, he lived in preference,
for many years unmarried.—But while he
was single, with consummate skill, he carved
a statue out of snow-white ivory,
and gave to it exquisite beauty, which
no woman of the world has ever equalled:
she was so beautiful, he fell in love
with his creation. It appeared in truth
a perfect virgin with the grace of life,
but in the expression of such modesty
all motion was restrained—and so his art
concealed his art. Pygmalion gazed, inflamed
with love and admiration for the form,
in semblance of a woman, he had carved. Continue Reading.  Latin Text

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

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