Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation. Her Roman counterpart is Venus. Yet, her cult is even older and is based on or was influenced by the Phoenician cult of Astarte.
Aphrodite was born from the seafoam after Cronus defeated Uranus, cut off his genitalia and threw it into the sea, hence her name (aphros is the old Greek word for seafoam). Her beauty was reason for dispute on the Pantheon. To avoid open war between the gods out of jealousy, Zeus married Aphrodite to Hephaestus (yep, Vulcan – here he is again). But she had many lovers – both gods and mortals.
Her festival was called Aphrodisia and was celebrated throughout Greece though the centers of her worship were in Cyprus and Cytheria. Both places claimed to be Aphrodite’s birth place. As a fertility goddess one aspect of her cult was ritual prostitution.
Aphrodite is associated with the sea, dolphins, doves, swans, pomegranates, apples, myrtle, clams, scallop shells, pearls and rose trees. Hence the flower of Aphrodite is a stylized rose.