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The Goddess of Roses, Aphrodite

Venus Verticordia

 If the scent of rose is in the air, then it must be the season of Aphrodite. She was otherwise known as Venus to the Romans, but we have a preference for the greek boys.

She was the ancient goddess of love, romance, intimacy, doves, sparrows, and of course–roses! In In Greek mythology, Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus, the god of fire, blacksmiths and metalworking.

Tannhäuser in the Venusberg

Tannhäuser in the Venusberg, John Collier

In the most famous story, Zeus hastily marries Aphrodite to Hephaestus in order to prevent the other gods from fighting over her. Needless to say, the sooty wild-eyed god of hammering, was overjoyed to marry the goddess of beauty. In his unwavering affection, he forged her beautiful jewlery and clothing accessories to include an undergarment we know as the “bra”. (Wiki)

Venus Verticordia

Venus Verticordia, Dante Gabriel Rossetti

According to medieval translations of her name, Aphrodite is a combination word meaning, "she who lives delicately". (Wiki)

Venus - Pompeii

Although we all know her as the goddess of beauty, in a rare sighting on Cyprus,  Aphrodite known as Aphroditus was worshiped with the dress of a woman but had a full beard. (Wiki)

Death of Adonis

Death of Adonis, James Barry

As for Aphrodite's association with the rose, its really her love of Adonis that was to blame. Adonis was one of only two mortals the goddess truly fell in love with. She loved him more gently and more profoundly than anyone before or since. Adonis loved Aphrodite almost as much as she loved him; unsurprisingly, every year he chose to spend his own four months with her. While the two lovers were together, the sun shone brightly and the soil was kind to the people, flowers bloomed and fruits ripened. Aphrodite omitted one crucial detail, that her lover Ares could transform himself into wild beasts. Consequently, some believe that it was Ares who transformed into a boar and killed Adonis. Aphrodite heard Adonis’ groans and rushed to her lover; but, unfortunately, she arrived just a tad too late. While running, she pricked her foot on a white rose and stained the flower with her blood; the rose turned red. It is said that this was the first red rose ever to appear on the earth; it stands for passionate love ever since then. (Source)

 Cupid in a Tree, Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier

Cupid in a Tree, Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier

In another tale of rose let loose, Cupid, one her children with Aries (one of many side flings). Tipsy Cupid was standing on a table beside Bacchus; and knocked over a bowl of wine with his wing. From this pool of spilled wine on the ground, came a rose bush. (Source)


"For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation."

-Rainer Maria Rilke, poet and novelist (4 Dec 1875-1926)


Cover image: Venus and Anchises, William Blake Richmond