Venus: the goddess of beauty and love

In Roman mythology, the goddess of beauty and love. Originally of minor importance, she became through identification with the Greek Aphrodite one of the major characters in classical myths. She was the daughter of Jupiter and Dione. According to another view (influenced by association with the Greek term aphros, "foam") she had sprung from the foam of the sea at Cyprus. Jupiter gave her in wedlock to Vulcan. She was the mother, by Vulcan, of Eros and Anteros; by Mars, of Harmonia; by Anchises, of Aeneas; etc.

She wore a magic girdle which enabled its wearer to arouse love in others. She plays an important part in many legends and stories: she gave beauty as a gift to Pandora, the first woman; she fell in love with Adonis and after his death changed his blood into the anemone; she first objected and finally consented to her son Cupid's (Eros) love for Psyche; she had Atalanta and Hippomenes changed into lions; she consoled Ariadne and gave her Bacchus as her husband; she competed against Juno and Minerva for the apple of discord and was given the prize by Paris; she destined Helen, the wife of Menelaus, for Paris and caused thus the Trojan war; she sided with the Trojans against the Greeks and enlisted the help of her admirer Mars; etc., etc.

Her name is given to the second planet from the sun, and in astrology "` the white men or browne . . . joyfull, laughter, liberall, pleasers, dauncers, entertayners of women, players, perfumers, musitions, messengers of love."

In CamoƄns' epic poem The Lusiad, Uranian Venus is the impersonation of divine love and the presiding deity of the Lusians. The Isle of Venus is a paradise created for the Lusian heroes, Here Uranian Venus gives Vasco da Gama the empire of the sea.

In Wagner's opera Tannhauser, Venus is goddess of love and illicit delights and entertain the hero in her magic grotto beneath the Venusberg.

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