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Greek goddess of sexual love and beauty. She is also associated with the sea and, according to legend, was born of sea foam arising from the genitals of Uranus. Sparta, Thebes, and Cyprus honored her as a goddess of war. Many scholars believe that her cult is Semitic rather than Greek in origin. According to Homer, she was the daughter of Zeus and his consort Dione, and she married Hephaestus but betrayed him with Ares. She had many mortal lovers. Her main centres of worship were on the islands of Cyprus and Cythera and at Corinth. As a fertility goddess, she is associated with Eros, the Graces, and the Horae (seasons). Venus is her Roman counterpart.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Aphrodite, visit Britannica.com.