Venus and Aphrodite: Were they Both Goddesses of Love?

The Roman Goddess Venus is the Greek version of Aphrodite. Their stories are similar, and both are the main deity honored in May Day celebrations during the first week of May in the neopagan belief.

Venus was the daughter of the Sea and Heaven, a child born of Uranus and Gaia. Sadly, Venus was not born through love, but as a result of Gaia becoming so angered with Uranus that she cut off his genitals and tossed them into the ocean. Mixing with the foam from the sea, Venus was formed. She represents not maternity, but closer to lust. Her depiction of the birth has been made famous with Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" which depicts the "Greek" Goddess Venus rising from the sea on a scallop shell. The print was misnamed, as the woman is, in fact, the Roman Goddess.

True to her nature, Venus married but had no particular liking for motherhood or hearth and home. She was quite the tart, in fact, and had many lovers including Adonis and Aries, known once again in Greek mythology as the God of War.

While Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love is typically the deity honored for family and home life, her ''Counterpart" Venus has almost always been seen as a pampered, vain woman who can have any man she wants, and knows it. Even today you are much more likely to find perfumes, love potions, and even women's skin care products including shavers with the name "Venus" rather than Aphrodite.

This could have something to do with the fact that there is a planet named Venus, rather than Aphrodite as well. The planet Venus is associated with the earth signs of the zodiac, including Taurus, and party because of its reddish tint (not, however, to be confused with the planet Mars) it is reminiscent of a heart, blood flow, and all things feminine.

Roman Goddesses are still confused with the Greek mythology, and many of the legends and stories overlap. For a better understanding of which is which, you can read more about both by typing the respective names into your search engine. But remember, it’s the Roman Goddess Venus and the Greek Goddess Aphrodite.