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Venus () is a Roman goddess, whose functions encompass love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity, and victory. In Roman mythology, she was the ancestor of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, and was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles.

Venus
Goddess of love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory
Member of Dii Consentes
Venus rising from the sea, from the Casa della Venere in conchiglia, Pompeii. Before AD 79
PlanetVenus
Symbolsrose, common myrtle
DayFriday (dies Veneris)
FestivalsVeneralia
Vinalia Rustica
Vinalia Urbana
Personal information
ParentsCaelus
ConsortMars and Vulcan
ChildrenCupid, Aeneas
Greek equivalentAphrodite

The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the later classical tradition of the West, Venus became one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality. She is usually depicted nude in paintings.

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The Latin name Venus ('love, charm') stems from Proto-Italic *wenos- ('desire'), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European (PIE)*wenh₁-os ('desire'; compare with Messapic Venas, Old Indic vánas 'desire').

It is cognate with the Latin venia ("favour, permission") through to common PIE root*wenh₁- ("to strive for, wish for, desire, love"). The Latin verb venerārī ("to honour, worship, pay homage") is a derivative of Venus.

A 2nd- or 3rd-century bronze figurine of Venus, in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon

Venus has been described as perhaps "the most original creation of the Roman pantheon",: 146 and "an ill-defined and assimilative" native goddess, combined "with a strange and exotic Aphrodite". Her cults may represent the religiously legitimate charm and seduction of the divine by mortals, in contrast to the formal, contractual relations between most members of Rome's official pantheon and the state, and the unofficial, illicit manipulation of divine forces through magic.: 13–64 The ambivalence of her persuasive functions has been perceived in the relationship of the root *wenos- with its Latin derivative venenum ('poison'; from *wenes-no 'love drink' or 'addicting'), in the sense of "a charm, magic philtre".

In myth, Venus-Aphrodite was born, already in adult form, from the sea foam (Greek αφρός, aphros) produced by the severed genitals of Caelus-Uranus. Roman theology presents Venus as the yielding, watery female principle, essential to the generation and balance of life. Her male counterparts in the Roman pantheon, Vulcan and Mars, are active and fiery. Venus absorbs and tempers the male essence, uniting the opposites of male and female in mutual affection. She is essentially assimilative and benign, and embraces several otherwise quite disparate functions. She can give military victory, sexual success, good fortune and prosperity. In one context, she is a goddess of prostitutes; in another, she turns the hearts of men and women from sexual vice to virtue. Varro's theology identifies Venus with water as an aspect of the female principle. To generate life, the watery matrix of the womb requires the virile warmth of fire. To sustain life, water and fire must be balanced; excess of either one, or their mutual antagonism, are unproductive or destructive.: 12, 15–16, 24–26, 149–50

Prospective brides offered Venus a gift "before the wedding"; the nature of the gift, and its timing, are unknown. The wedding ceremony itself, and the state of lawful marriage, belonged to Juno – whose mythology allows her only a single marriage, and no divorce from her habitually errant spouse, Jupiter – but Venus and Juno are also likely "bookends" for the ceremony; Venus prepares the bride for "conubial bliss" and expectations of fertility within lawful marriage. Some Roman sources say that girls who come of age offer their toys to Venus; it is unclear where the offering is made, and others say this gift is to the Lares. In dice-games played with knucklebones, a popular pastime among Romans of all classes, the luckiest, best possible roll was known as "Venus".

Venus and Mars, with Cupid attending, in a wall painting from Pompeii

Like other major Roman deities, Venus was given a number of epithets that referred to her different cult aspects, roles, and her functional similarities to other deities. Her "original powers seem to have been extended largely by the fondness of the Romans for folk-etymology, and by the prevalence of the religious idea nomen-omen which sanctioned any identifications made in this way.": 457

Venus Acidalia, in Virgil's Aeneid (1.715–22, as mater acidalia). Servius speculates this as reference to a mooted "Fountain of Acidalia" (fons acidalia) where the Graces (Venus' daughters) were said to bathe; but he also connects it to the Greek word for "arrow", whence "love's arrows" and love's "cares and pangs". Ovid uses acidalia only in the latter sense. Venus Acidalia is likely a literary conceit, formed by Virgil from earlier usages in which acidalia had no evident connection to Venus. It was almost certainly not a cultic epithet.

Venus Anadyomene (Venus "rising from the sea"), based on a once-famous painting by the Greek artist Apelles showing the birth of Venus from sea-foam, as fully adult and supported by a more-than-lifesized scallop shell. The Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli used the type in his The Birth of Venus. Other versions of Venus' birth show her standing on land or shoreline, wringing the sea-water from her hair.

Venus Caelestis (Celestial or Heavenly Venus), used from the 2nd century AD for Venus as an aspect of a syncretised supreme goddess. Venus Caelestis is the earliest known Roman recipient of a taurobolium (a form of bull sacrifice), performed at her shrine in Pozzuoli on 5 October 134. This form of the goddess, and the taurobolium, are associated with the "Syrian Goddess", understood as a late equivalent to Astarte, or the Roman Magna Mater, the latter being another supposedly Trojan "Mother of the Romans", as well as "Mother of the Gods".

Venus Calva ("Venus the bald one"), a legendary form of Venus, attested only by post-Classical Roman writings which offer several traditions to explain this appearance and epithet. In one, it commemorates the virtuous offer by Roman matrons of their own hair to make bowstrings during a siege of Rome. In another, king Ancus Marcius' wife and other Roman women lost their hair during an epidemic; in hope of its restoration, unafflicted women sacrificed their own hair to Venus.: 83–89

Imperial image of Venus suggesting influence from Syria or Palestine, or from the cult of Isis

Venus Cloacina ("Venus the Purifier"); a fusion of Venus with the Etruscan water goddess Cloacina, who had an ancient shrine above the outfall of the Cloaca Maxima, originally a stream, later covered over to function as Rome's main sewer. The rites conducted at the shrine were probably meant to purify the culvert's polluted waters and noxious airs. Pliny the Elder, remarking Venus as a goddess of union and reconciliation, identifies the shrine with a legendary episode in Rome's earliest history, in which the Romans, led by Romulus, and the Sabines, led by Titus Tatius, met there to make peace following the rape of the Sabine women, carrying branches of myrtle. In some traditions, Titus Tatius was responsible for the introduction of lawful marriage to Rome, and Venus-Cloacina promoted, protected and purified sexual intercourse between married couples.

Venus Erycina ("Erycine Venus"), a Punic statue of Astarte captured from Eryx, in Sicily, and worshiped in Romanised form by the elite and respectable matrons at a temple on the Capitoline Hill. A later temple, outside the Porta Collina and Rome's sacred boundary, may have preserved some Erycine features of her cult. It was considered suitable for "common girls" and prostitutes". : 80, 83

Venus Euploia (Venus of the "fair voyage"), also known as Venus Pontia (Venus of the Sea"), because she smooths the waves for mariners. She is probably based on the influential image of Aphrodite by Praxiteles, once housed in a temple by the sea but now lost. Most copies would have been supported by dolphins, and worn diadems and carved veils, inferring her birth from sea-foam, and a consequent identity as Queen of the Sea, and patron of sailors and navigation. Roman copies of her image would have embellished baths and gymnasiums.

Venus Frutis honoured by all the Latins with a federal cult at the temple named Frutinal in Lavinium. Inscriptions found at Lavinium attest the presence of federal cults, without giving precise details.

Venus Felix ("Lucky Venus"), probably a traditional epithet, combining aspects of Venus and Fortuna, goddess of both good and bad fortune and personification of luck, whose iconography includes the rudder of a ship, found in some Pompeian examples of the regal Venus Physica. A form of Venus usually identified as Venus Felix was adopted by the dictator Sulla to legitimise his victories over his domestic and foreign opponents during Rome's late Republican civil and foreign wars; Rives finds it very unlikely that Sulla would have imposed this humiliating connection on unwilling or conquered domestic territories once allied to Samnium, such as Pompei. The emperor Hadrian built a temple to Venus Felix et Roma Aeterna on the Via Sacra. The same epithet is used for a specific sculpture at the Vatican Museums.

Venus Genetrix ("Venus the Mother"), as a goddess of motherhood and domesticity, with a festival on September 26, a personal ancestress of the Julian lineage and, more broadly, the divine ancestress of the Roman people. Julius Caesar dedicated a Temple of Venus Genetrix in 46 BC. This name has attached to an iconological type of statue of Aphrodite/Venus.

Venus Heliopolitana ("Venus of Heliopolis Syriaca"), a Romano-Syrian form of Venus at Baalbek, variously identified with Ashtart, Dea Syria and Atargatis, though inconsistently and often on very slender grounds. She has been historically identified as one third of a so-called Heliopolitan Triad, and thus a wife to presumed sun-god "Syrian Jupiter" (Baal) and mother of "Syrian Mercury" (Adon). The "Syrian Mercury" is sometimes thought another sun-god, or a syncretised form of Bacchus as a "dying and rising" god, and thus a god of Springtime. No such Triad seems to have existed prior to Baalbek's 15 BC colonisation by Augustus' veterans. It may be a modern scholarly artifice.

Venus Kallipygos ("Venus with the beautiful buttocks"), a statue, and possibly a statue type, after a lost Greek original. From Syracuse, Sicily.

Venus Libertina ("Venus the Freedwoman"), probably arising through the semantic similarity and cultural links between libertina (as "a free woman") and lubentina (possibly meaning "pleasurable" or "passionate"). Further titles or variants acquired by Venus through the same process, or through orthographic variance, include Libentia, Lubentina, and Lubentini. Venus Libitina links Venus to a patron-goddess of funerals and undertakers, Libitina, who also became synonymous with death; a temple was dedicated to Venus Libitina in Libitina's grove on the Esquiline Hill, "hardly later than 300 BC."

Julius Caesar, with Venus holding Victoria on reverse, from February or March 44 BC
Crispina, wife of Commodus, with enthroned Venus Felix holding Victory on reverse

Venus Murcia ("Venus of the Myrtle"), merging Venus with the little-known deity Murcia (or Murcus, or Murtia). Murcia was associated with Rome's Mons Murcia (the Aventine's lesser height), and had a shrine in the Circus Maximus. Some sources associate her with the myrtle-tree. Christian writers described her as a goddess of sloth and laziness.

Venus Obsequens ("Indulgent Venus"), Venus' first attested Roman epithet. It was used in the dedication of her first Roman temple, on August 19 in 295 BC during the Third Samnite War by Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges. It was sited somewhere near the Aventine Hill and Circus Maximus, and played a central role in the Vinalia Rustica. It was supposedly funded by fines imposed on women found guilty of adultery.: 89

Venus Physica: Venus as a universal, natural creative force that informs the physical world. She is addressed as "Alma Venus" ("Mother Venus") by Lucretius in the introductory lines of his vivid, poetic exposition of Epicurean physics and philosophy, De Rerum Natura. She seems to have been a favourite of Lucretius' patron, Memmius.

Venus Physica Pompeiana was Pompeii's protective goddess, antedating Sulla's imposition of a colonia named Colonia Veneria Cornelia after his family and Venus, following his siege and capture of Pompeii from the Samnites. Venus also had a distinctive, local form as Venus Pescatrice ("Venus the Fisher-woman") a goddess of the sea, and trade. For Sulla's claims of Venus' favour, see Venus Felix above). Pompeii's Temple of Venus was built sometime in the 1st century BC, before Sulla's colonisation. This local form of Venus had Roman, Oscan and local Pompeiian influences. Like Venus Physica, Venus Physica Pompeiana is also a regal form of "Nature Mother" and a guarantor of success in love.

Venus Urania ("Heavenly Venus"), used as the title of a book by Basilius von Ramdohr, a relief by Pompeo Marchesi, and a painting by Christian Griepenkerl. (cf. Aphrodite Urania.)

Venus Verticordia ("Venus the Changer of Hearts"). See #Festivals and Veneralia.

Venus Victrix ("Venus the Victorious"), a Romanised aspect of the armed Aphrodite that Greeks had inherited from the East, where the goddess Ishtar "remained a goddess of war, and Venus could bring victory to a Sulla or a Caesar." Pompey vied with his patron Sulla and with Caesar for public recognition as her protégé. In 55 BC he dedicated a temple to her at the top of his theater in the Campus Martius. She had a shrine on the Capitoline Hill, and festivals on August 12 and October 9. A sacrifice was annually dedicated to her on the latter date. In neo-classical art, her epithet as Victrix is often used in the sense of 'Venus Victorious over men's hearts' or in the context of the Judgement of Paris (e.g. Canova's Venus Victrix, a half-nude reclining portrait of Pauline Bonaparte).

The first known temple to Venus was vowed to Venus Obsequens ("Indulgent Venus") by Q. Fabius Gurges in the heat of a battle against the Samnites. It was dedicated in 295 BC, at a site near the Aventine Hill, and was supposedly funded by fines imposed on Roman women for sexual misdemeanours. Its rites and character were probably influenced by or based on Greek Aphrodite's cults, which were already diffused in various forms throughout Italian Magna Graeca. Its dedication date connects Venus Obsequens to the Vinalia rustica festival.: 456

Remains of the Temple of Venus Genetrix in the Forum of Caesar, Rome.

In 217 BC, in the early stages of the Second Punic War with Carthage, Rome suffered a disastrous defeat at the battle of Lake Trasimene. The Sibylline oracle suggested that Carthage might be defeated if the Venus of Eryx (Venus Erycina, patron goddess of Carthage's Sicilian allies, could be persuaded to change her allegiance. Rome laid siege to Eryx and promised its goddess a magnificent temple as reward for her defection. They captured her image, brought it to Rome and installed it in a temple on the Capitoline Hill, as one of Rome's twelve dii consentes. Shorn of her more overtly Carthaginian characteristics, this "foreign Venus" became Rome's Venus Genetrix ("Venus the Mother"),: 80, 83 Roman tradition made Venus the mother and protector of the Trojan prince Aeneas, ancestor of the Romans, so as far as the Romans were concerned, this was the homecoming of an ancestral goddess to her people. Soon after, Rome's defeat of Carthage confirmed Venus's goodwill to Rome, her links to its mythical Trojan past, and her support of its political and military hegemony.

The Capitoline cult to Venus seems to have been reserved to higher status Romans. A separate cult to Venus Erycina as a fertility deity, was established in 181 BC, in a traditionally plebeian district just outside Rome's sacred boundary, near the Colline Gate. The temple, cult and goddess probably retained much of the original's character and rites.: 4, 8, 14 Likewise, a shrine to Venus Verticordia ("Venus the changer of hearts"), established in 114 BC but with links to an ancient cult of Venus-Fortuna, was "bound to the peculiar milieu of the Aventine and the Circus Maximus" – a strongly plebeian context for Venus's cult, in contrast to her aristocratic cultivation as a Stoic and Epicurian "all-goddess".

Towards the end of the Roman Republic, some leading Romans laid personal claims to Venus' favour. The general and dictator Sulla adopted Felix ("Lucky") as a surname, acknowledging his debt to heaven-sent good fortune and his particular debt to Venus Felix, for his extraordinarily fortunate political and military career. His protégé Pompey competed for Venus' support, dedicating (in 55 BC) a large temple to Venus Victrix as part of his lavishly appointed new theatre, and celebrating his triumph of 54 BC with coins that showed her crowned with triumphal laurels.: 22–23

Pompey's erstwhile friend, ally, and later opponent Julius Caesar went still further. He claimed the favours of Venus Victrix in his military success and Venus Genetrix as a personal, divine ancestress – apparently a long-standing family tradition among the Julii. When Caesar was assassinated, his heir, Augustus, adopted both claims as evidence of his inherent fitness for office, and divine approval of his rule. Augustus' new temple to Mars Ultor, divine father of Rome's legendary founder Romulus, would have underlined the point, with the image of avenging Mars "almost certainly" accompanied by that of his divine consort Venus, and possibly a statue of the deceased and deified Caesar.: 199–200

Vitruvius recommends that any new temple to Venus be sited according to rules laid down by the Etruscan haruspices, and built "near to the gate" of the city, where it would be less likely to contaminate "the matrons and youth with the influence of lust". He finds the Corinthian style, slender, elegant, enriched with ornamental leaves and surmounted by volutes, appropriate to Venus' character and disposition. Vitruvius recommends the widest possible spacing between the temple columns, producing a light and airy space, and he offers Venus's temple in Caesar's forum as an example of how not to do it; the densely spaced, thickset columns darken the interior, hide the temple doors and crowd the walkways, so that matrons who wish to honour the goddess must enter her temple in single file, rather than arm-in arm.

In 135 AD the Emperor Hadrian inaugurated a temple to Venus and Roma Aeterna (Eternal Rome) on Rome's Velian Hill, underlining the Imperial unity of Rome and its provinces, and making Venus the protective genetrix of the entire Roman state, its people and fortunes. It was the largest temple in Ancient Rome.: 257–58, 260

Festivals

See also: Roman festivals
Fresco with a seated Venus, restored as a personification of Rome in the so-called "Dea Barberini" ("Barberini goddess"); Roman artwork, dated first half of the 4th century AD, from a room near the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Laterano

Venus was offered official (state-sponsored) cult in certain festivals of the Roman calendar. Her sacred month was April (Latin Mensis Aprilis) which Roman etymologists understood to derive from aperire, "to open," with reference to the springtime blossoming of trees and flowers. In the interpretatio romana of the Germanic pantheon during the early centuries AD, Venus became identified with the Germanic goddess Frijjo, giving rise to the loan translation "Friday" for dies Veneris.

Veneralia (April 1) was held in honour of Venus Verticordia ("Venus the Changer of Hearts"), and Fortuna Virilis (Virile or strong Good Fortune), whose cult was probably by far the older of the two. Venus Verticordia was invented in 220 BC, in response to advice from a Sibylline oracle during Rome's Punic Wars, when a series of prodigies was taken to signify divine displeasure at sexual offenses among Romans of every category and class, including several men and three Vestal Virgins.: 105–09 Venus Verticordias statue was dedicated by a young woman, chosen as the most pudica (sexually pure) in Rome by a committee of Roman matrons. At first, this statue was probably housed in the temple of Fortuna Virilis, perhaps as divine reinforcement against the perceived moral and religious failings of its cult. In 114 BC Venus Verticordia was given her own temple. She was meant to persuade Romans of both sexes and every class, whether married or unmarried, to cherish the traditional sexual proprieties and morality known to please the gods and benefit the State. During her rites, her image was taken from her temple to the men's baths, where it was undressed and washed in warm water by her female attendants, then garlanded with myrtle. Women and men asked Venus Verticordia's help in affairs of the heart, sex, betrothal and marriage. For Ovid, Venus's acceptance of the epithet and its attendant responsibilities represented a change of heart in the goddess herself.

Vinalia urbana (April 23), a wine festival shared by Venus and Jupiter, king of the gods. It offered opportunity to supplicants to ask Venus' intercession with Jupiter, who was thought to be susceptible to her charms, and amenable to the effects of her wine. Venus was patron of "profane" wine, for everyday human use. Jupiter was patron of the strongest, purest, sacrificial grade wine, and controlled the weather on which the autumn grape-harvest would depend. At this festival, men and women alike drank the new vintage of ordinary, non-sacral wine (pressed at the previous year's vinalia rustica) in honour of Venus, whose powers had provided humankind with this gift. Upper-class women gathered at Venus's Capitoline temple, where a libation of the previous year's vintage, sacred to Jupiter, was poured into a nearby ditch. Common girls (vulgares puellae) and prostitutes gathered at Venus' temple just outside the Colline gate, where they offered her myrtle, mint, and rushes concealed in rose-bunches and asked her for "beauty and popular favour", and to be made "charming and witty".

Vinalia Rustica (August 19), originally a rustic Latin festival of wine, vegetable growth and fertility. This was almost certainly Venus' oldest festival and was associated with her earliest known form, Venus Obsequens. Kitchen gardens and market-gardens, and presumably vineyards were dedicated to her. Roman opinions differed on whose festival it was. Varro insists that the day was sacred to Jupiter, whose control of the weather governed the ripening of the grapes; but the sacrificial victim, a female lamb (agna), may be evidence that it once belonged to Venus alone.

A festival of Venus Genetrix (September 26) was held under state auspices from 46 BC at her Temple in the Forum of Caesar, in fulfillment of a vow by Julius Caesar, who claimed her personal favour as his divine patron, and ancestral goddess of the Julian clan. Caesar dedicated the temple during his extraordinarily lavish quadruple triumph. At the same time, he was pontifex maximus and Rome's senior magistrate; the festival is thought to mark the unprecedented promotion of a personal, family cult to one of the Roman state. Caesar's heir, Augustus, made much of these personal and family associations with Venus as an Imperial deity. The festival's rites are not known.

Further information: Aphrodite
A Venus-Aphrodite velificans holding an infant, probably Aeneas, as Anchises and Luna-Selene look on (Roman-era relief from Aphrodisias)

As with most major gods and goddesses in Roman mythology, the literary concept of Venus is mantled in whole-cloth borrowings from the literary Greek mythology of her counterpart, Aphrodite, but with significant exceptions. In some Latin mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus and Mars, the god of war. At other times, or in parallel myths and theologies, Venus was understood to be the consort of Vulcan or as mother of the "second cupid", by Mercury. Virgil, in compliment to his patron Augustus and the gens Julia, embellished an existing connection between Venus, whom Julius Caesar had adopted as his protectress, and the Trojan prince Aeneas, refugee from Troy's destruction and eventual ancestor of the Roman people. Virgil's Aeneas is guided to Latium by Venus in her heavenly form, the morning star, shining brightly before him in the daylight sky; much later, she lifts Caesar's soul to heaven. In Ovid's Fasti Venus came to Rome because she "preferred to be worshipped in the city of her own offspring". In Virgil's poetic account of Octavian's victory at the sea-battle of Actium, the future emperor is allied with Venus, Neptune and Minerva. Octavian's opponents, Antony, Cleopatra and the Egyptians, assisted by bizarre and unhelpful Egyptian deities such as "barking" Anubis, lose the battle.

The Cupids

Main articles: Eros, Anteros, and Cupid

In modern scholarship, Cupid (lust or desire) and Amor (affectionate love) are taken to be different names for the same Roman love-god, the son of Venus and Mars. Ovid's Fasti, Book 4, invokes Venus not by name but as "Mother of the Twin Loves", the gemini amores. Childlike or boyish winged figures who accompany Venus, whether singly, in pairs or more, have been variously identified as Amores, Cupids, Erotes or forms of Greek Eros. The earliest of these is Eros, who was also a patron deity of Thespiae. Hesiod categorised him as a primordial deity, who emerged from Chaos as a generative power with neither mother nor father. An aniconic stone was the object of Eros' Thespian cult as late as the 2nd century AD. He also had the form of an adolescent or pre-adolescent male, in Ellis and elsewhere in Greece, from at least the 5th century BC, when he acquired wings, bow and arrows, and divine parents in the love-goddess Aphrodite and the war-god Ares. He had temples of his own, and shared others with Aphrodite.

Fragmentary base for an altar of Venus and Mars, showing cupids or erotes playing with the war-god's weapons and chariot. From the reign of Trajan (98–117 AD)

At Elis (on the Peloponnese), and in Athens, Eros shared cult with a twin, named Anteros. Xenophon's Socratic Symposion 8. 1, features a dinner-guest with eros (love) for his wife; in return, she has anteros (reciprocal love) for him. Some sources suggest Anteros as avenger of "slighted love". In Servius' 4th century commentary on Virgil's Aeneas, Cupid is a deceptive agent of Venus, impersonating Aeneas' son and making Dido, queen of Carthage, forget her husband. When Aeneas rejects her love, and covertly leaves Carthge to fulfill his destiny as ancestor of the Roman people, Dido is said to invoke Anteros as "contrary to Cupid". She falls into hatred and despair, curses Rome and ultimately, commits suicide.

"Amor" is the Latin name preferred by Roman poets and literati for the personification of "kindly" love. Where Cupid (lust) can be imperious, cruel, prone to mischief or even war-like, Amor softly persuades. Cato the Elder, having a Stoic's outlook, thought Cupid a deity of greed and blind passion, morally inferior to Amor. The Roman playwright Plautus, however, has Venus, Cupid and Amor working together.

In Roman cult inscriptions and theology, "Amor" is rare, and "Cupido" relatively common. No Roman temples seem dedicated to Cupid alone but the joint dedication formula Venus Cupidoque ("Venus and Cupid") is evidence of his cult, shared with Venus at her Temple just outside the Colline Gate and elsewhere. He would also have featured in many private household cults. In private and public areas alike, statues of Venus and Mars attended by Cupid, or Venus, Cupid and minor erotes were sometimes donated by wealthy sponsors, to serve both religious and artistic purposes. Cupid's roles in literary myth are usually limited to actions on behalf of Venus; in Cupid and Psyche, one of the stories within The Golden Ass, by the Roman author Apuleius, the plot and its resolution are driven by Cupid's love for Psyche ("soul"), his filial disobedience, and his mother's envy.

Signs, context and symbols

A medallion painting from the House of Marcus Fabius Rufus in Pompeii, Italy, executed in the Second Style and depicting the Greco-Roman goddess Venus-Aphrodite in regalia, with diadem and scepter; it is dated to the 1st century BC.

Images of Venus have been found in domestic murals, mosaics and household shrines (lararia). Petronius, in his Satyricon, places an image of Venus among the Lares (household gods) of the freedman Trimalchio's lararium.

The Venus types known as Venus Pompeiana ("Venus of Pompeii") and Venus Pescatrice ("Venus the Fisher-woman") are almost exclusive to Pompeii. Both forms of Venus are represented within Pompeian homes of the well-off, with Venus Pompeiana more commonly found in formal reception spaces, typically depicted in full regalia, draped with a mantle, standing rigidly upright with her right arm across her chest. Images of Venus Pescatrice tend to be more playful, usually found in less formal and less public "non-reception" areas: here, she usually holds a fishing rod, and sits amidst landscape scenery, accompanied by at least one cupid.

Venus' signs are for the most part the same as Aphrodite's. They include roses, which were offered in Venus' Porta Collina rites, and above all, myrtle (Latin myrtus), which was cultivated for its white, sweetly scented flowers, aromatic, evergreen leaves and its various medical-magical properties. Venus' statues, and her worshipers, wore myrtle crowns at her festivals. Before its adoption into Venus' cults, myrtle was used in the purification rites of Cloacina, the Etruscan-Roman goddess of Rome's main sewer; later, Cloacina's association with Venus' sacred plant made her Venus Cloacina. Likewise, Roman folk-etymology transformed the ancient, obscure goddess Murcia into "Venus of the Myrtles, whom we now call Murcia".

Myrtle was thought a particularly potent aphrodisiac. As goddess of love and sex, Venus played an essential role at Roman prenuptial rites and wedding nights, so myrtle and roses were used in bridal bouquets. Marriage itself was not a seduction but a lawful condition, under Juno's authority; so myrtle was excluded from the bridal crown. Venus was also a patron of the ordinary, everyday wine drunk by most Roman men and women; the seductive powers of wine were well known. In the rites to Bona Dea, a goddess of female chastity, Venus, myrtle and anything male were not only excluded, but unmentionable. The rites allowed women to drink the strongest, sacrificial wine, otherwise reserved for the Roman gods and Roman men; the women euphemistically referred to it as "honey". Under these special circumstances, they could get virtuously, religiously drunk on strong wine, safe from Venus' temptations. Outside of this context, ordinary wine (that is, Venus' wine) tinctured with myrtle oil was thought particularly suitable for women.

Venus' long association with wine reflects the inevitable connections between wine, intoxication and sex, expressed in the proverbial phrase sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus (loosely translated as "without food and wine, Venus freezes). It was used in various forms, notably by the Roman playwright, Terence, probably by others before him, and certainly into the early modern era. Although Venus played a central role in several wine festivals, the Roman god of wine was Bacchus, identified with Greek Dionysus and the early Roman wine-god Liber Pater (Father of Freedom).

Roman generals given an ovation, a lesser form of Roman triumph, wore a myrtle crown, perhaps to purify themselves and their armies of blood-guilt. The ovation ceremony was assimilated to Venus Victrix ("Victorious Venus"), who was held to have granted and purified its relatively "easy" victory.: 63, 113

Classical art

Venus riding a quadriga of elephants, fresco from Pompeii, 1st century AD
Statue of nude Venus of the Capitoline type, Roman, 2nd century AD, from Campo Iemini, housed in the British Museum

Roman and Hellenistic art produced many variations on the goddess, often based on the Praxitlean type Aphrodite of Cnidus. Many female nudes from this period of sculpture whose subjects are unknown are in modern art history conventionally called "Venus", even if they originally may have portrayed a mortal woman rather than operated as a cult statue of the goddess.

Examples include:

Medieval art

Venus is remembered in De Mulieribus Claris, a collection of biographies of historical and mythological women by the Florentine author Giovanni Boccaccio, composed in 1361–62. It is notable as the first collection devoted exclusively to biographies of women in Western literature.

Medieval representation of Venus, sitting on a rainbow, with her devotees who offer their hearts to her, 15th century.
Venus, setting fire to the castle where the Rose is imprisoned, in the medieval French romance Roman de la Rose. In this story Venus is portrayed as the mother of Cupid

Art in the classical tradition

Venus became a popular subject of painting and sculpture during the Renaissance period in Europe. As a "classical" figure for whom nudity was her natural state, it was socially acceptable to depict her unclothed. As the goddess of sexuality, a degree of erotic beauty in her presentation was justified, which appealed to many artists and their patrons. Over time, venus came to refer to any artistic depiction in post-classical art of a nude woman, even when there was no indication that the subject was the goddess.

In the field of prehistoric art, since the discovery in 1908 of the so-called "Venus of Willendorf" small Neolithic sculptures of rounded female forms have been conventionally referred to as Venus figurines. Although the name of the actual deity is not known, the knowing contrast between the obese and fertile cult figures and the classical conception of Venus has raised resistance to the terminology.[citation needed]

Gallery

  1. Latin: Venus, Veneris
    Classical Latin: ,
    Modern Latin: ,
  2. Eden (1963): 458ff discusses possible associations between Astarte or the "Venus of Eryx" and the brassica species E. sativa, which the Romans considered an aphrodisiac.
  3. For further exposition of nomen-omen (or nomen est omen) see
  4. Ashby (1929) finds the existence of a temple to Venus Calva "very doubtful"; see
  5. "At the midway between Ostia and Antium lies Lavinium that has a sanctuary of Aphrodite common to all Latin nations, but which is under the care of the Ardeans, who have entrusted the task to intendants".
  6. "Sp. Turrianus Proculus Gellianus ... pater patratus ... Lavinium sacrorum principiorum p(opuli) R(omani) Quirt(ium) nominisque Latini qui apud Laurentis coluntur".
  7. Eden (1963): 457 states that Varro rationalises the connections as "lubendo libido, libidinosus ac Venus Libentina et Libitina"
  8. Schilling (1954): 87 suggests that Venus began as an abstraction of personal qualities, later assuming Aphrodite's attributes.
  9. Her Sicillian form probably combined elements of Aphrodite and a more warlike Carthaginian-Phoenician Astarte
  10. Venus' links with Troy can be traced to the epic, mythic history of the Trojan War, and the Judgement of Paris, in which the Trojan prince Paris chose Aphrodite over Hera and Athena, setting off a train of events that led to war between the Greeks and Trojans, and eventually to Troy's destruction. In Rome's foundation myth, Venus was the divine mother of the Trojan prince Aeneas, and thus a divine ancestor of the Roman people as a whole.: 23 The Punic Wars saw many similar introductions of foreign cult, including the Phrygian cult to Magna Mater, who also had mythical links to Troy. See also: 80.
  11. The aristocratic ideology of an increasingly Hellenised Venus is "summarized by the famous invocation to Venus Physica in Lucretius' poem."
  12. Plutarch's original Greek translates this adopted surname, Felix, as Epaphroditus (Aphrodite's beloved); see
  13. "At the battle of Pharsalus, Caesar also vowed a temple, in best republican fashion, to Venus Victrix, almost as if he were summoning Pompey's protectress to his side in the manner of an evocatio. Three years after Pompey's defeat at the battle of Actium, Caesar dedicated his new Roman Forum, complete with a temple to his ancestor Venus Genetrix, "apparently in fulfillment of the vow". The goddess helped provide a divine aura for her descendant, preparing the way for Caesar's own cult as a divus and the formal institution of the Roman Imperial cult.
  14. Immediately after these remarks, Vitruvius prescribes the best positioning for temples to Venus' two divine consorts, Vulcan and Mars. Vulcan's should be outside the city, to reduce the dangers of fire, which is his element; Mars' too should be outside the city, so that "no armed frays may disturb the peace of the citizens, and that this divinity may, moreover, be ready to preserve them from their enemies and the perils of war."
  15. The widely spaced, open style preferred by Vitruvius is eustylos. The densely pillared style he criticises is pycnostylos.
  16. The origin is unknown, but it might derive from Apru, an Etruscan form of Greek Aphrodite's name.
  17. Either the Sibylline Books, per Valerius Maximus. Factorum ac dictorum memorabilium libri IX [Nine books of memborable deeds and sayings]. 8.15.12; or the Cumaean Sibyl, per Ovid. Fasti. 4.155–62.
  18. Romans considered personal ethics or mentality to be functions of the heart.
  19. Vegetable-growers may have been involved in the dedications as a corporate guild.: 451
  20. For associations of kind between Roman deities and their sacrificial victims, see Victima.
  21. Varro explicitly denies that the festival belongs to Venus; that implies he was aware of opposite scholarly and / or commonplace opinion. Lipka (2009) offers this apparent contradiction as an example of two Roman cults that offer "complementary functional foci".: 42
  22. Sulla may have set some form of precedent, but there is no evidence that he built her a Temple. Caesar's associations with Venus as both a personal and state goddess may also have been propagated in the Roman provinces.
  23. Sometimes interpreted as Eros-Cupid, as a symbol of the sexual union between the goddess and Anchises, but perhaps alluding also to the scene in the Aeneid when Dido holds Cupid disguised as Ascanius in her lap as she falls in love with Aeneas.
  24. Cicero, On the nature of the Gods, 3.59 - 3.60; "The first Venus is the daughter of the Sky and the Day; I have seen her temple at Elis. The second was engendered from the sea‑foam, and as we are told became the mother by Mercury of the second Cupid. The third is the daughter of Jupiter and Dione, who wedded Vulcan, but who is said to have been the mother of Anteros by Mars. The fourth was conceived of Syria and Cyprus and is called Astarte; it is recorded that she married Adonis."
  25. Venus as a guide and protector of Aeneas and his descendants is a frequent motif in the Aeneid. See discussion throughout Williams (2003).
  26. Ovid, Fasti, 4, 1: Amores, 3. 15. 1: Heroides, 7. 59: 16. 203. See also Catullus C. 3. 1, 13. 2: Horace, 1. 19. 1 :4. 1. 5.
  27. Cicero presents Anteros as a "third Cupid", fathered by Mars and birthed by a "third Venus", the huntress Diana (more usually described as virgin). See Cicero, On the nature of the Gods, 3.59-3.60
  28. Eden (1963),: 456 citing Ovid. Fasti. 4:869–70, cf. I35–I38. Ovid describes the rites observed in the early Imperial era, when the temple environs were part of the Gardens of Sallust.
  29. "Bona Dea" means "The Good Goddess". She was also a "Women's goddess".
  1. de Vaan 2008, p. 663. sfn error: no target: CITEREFde_Vaan2008 (help)
  2. de Simone, Carlo (2017). "Messapic". In Klein, Jared; Joseph, Brian; Fritz, Matthias (eds.). Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics. Vol. 3. Walter de Gruyter. p. 1843. ISBN 978-3-11-054243-1.
  3. Mallory, J.P.; Adams, D.Q., eds. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 158. ISBN 1-884964-98-2.
  4. Vénus – figurine (photograph). Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon. Retrieved19 February 2021.
  5. Schilling, R. (1954). La religion romaine de Venus depuis les origines jusqu'au temps d' Auguste. Paris, FR: Editions E. de Boccard.
  6. Eden, P.T. (1963). "Venus and the Cabbage". Hermes. 91: 448–59.
  7. R., Schilling (1962). "La relation Venus venia". Latomus. 21: 3–7.
  8. de Vaan 2008, p. 660. sfn error: no target: CITEREFde_Vaan2008 (help)
  9. Linked through an adjectival form *venes-no-: William W. Skeat ibid. s.v. "venom"
  10. Hesiod. Theogony. 176.
  11. Staples, Ariadne (1998). From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins: Sex and category in Roman religion. Routledge.
  12. Hersch, Karen K., The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity, Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 66–67, 231-266.
  13. Whoever threw "Venus" had the right to appoint a "King of the Feast"; the "Venus" throw was also known as the "Basilicus" (from the Greek "king"). See article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S., and primary sources on entry Talus, pp. 1095‑1096 of William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.
  14. del Bello, Davide (2007). Forgotten Paths: Etymology and the allegorical mindset. The Catholic University of America Press. pp. 52 ff. ISBN 978-0-8132-1484-9.
  15. O'Hara, James J. (1990). "The significance of Vergil's Acidalia Mater, and Venus Erycina in Catullus and Ovid". Harvard Studies in Classical Philology. 93: 335–42. doi:10.2307/311293. JSTOR 311293.
  16. Marcovich, Miroslav (1996). "From Ishtar to Aphrodite". Journal of Aesthetic Education. 30 (2): 43–59. doi:10.2307/3333191. JSTOR 3333191.
  17. Turcan, pp. 141–43.
  18. Platner, Samuel Ball; Ashby, Thomas (1929). A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome. London: Oxford University Press. p. 551 – via Penelope, U.Chicago.
  19. Description from Walters Art Museum
  20. Eden (1963),: 457 citing Pliny the Elder. Natural History. Vol. Book 15. pp. 119–21.
  21. Pliny the Elder. Natural History. Vol. Book 15. p. 119, cited in Wagenvoort, p. 180.
  22. Smith, William. "Venus". A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: John Murray – via Perseus, Tufts University.
  23. Livy. Ab Urbe Condita. 23.31.
  24. McGinn, Thomas A.J. (1998). Prostitution, Sexuality, and the Law in Ancient Rome. Oxford University Press. p. 25.
  25. Beard, M.; Price, S.; North, J. (1998). Religions of Rome: A history, illustrated. Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press.
  26. Christie's online catalogue essay, citing Vermuele and Brauer, Stone Sculptures, The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, pp. 50-51
  27. Paulus-Festus s. v. p. 80 L: Frutinal templum Veneris Fruti
  28. Strabo V 3, 5
  29. CIL X 797; cited in Liou-Gilles, B. (1996). "Naissance de la ligue latine. Mythe et culte de fondation". Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire. 74 (1): 85.
  30. Rives, James (1994). "Venus Genetrix outside Rome". Phoenix. 48 (4): 294–306. doi:10.2307/1192570. JSTOR 1192570.
  31. Kropp, Andreas J. M. (2010). "Jupiter, Venus and Mercury of Heliopolis (Baalbek). The images of the 'triad' and its alleged syncretisms". Syria. 87: 229–264. doi:10.4000/syria.681. JSTOR 41681338.
  32. Havelock, Christine Mitchell,The Aphrodite of Knidos and Her Successors: A Historical Review of the Female Nude in Greek Art, University of Michigan Press, 2007, pp 100-102, ISBN 978-0-472-03277-8
  33. Varro. Lingua Latina. 6, 47.
  34. Augustine, De civitate Dei, IV. 16; Arnobius, Adversus Nationes, IV. 9. 16; Murcus in Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 1, 33, 5 – cf murcidus = "slothful".
  35. "The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome", v. 1, p. 167
  36. Elisabeth Asmis, "Lucretius' Venus and Stoic Zeus", Hermes, 110, (1982), p. 458 ff.
  37. Lill, Anne (2011). "Myths of Pompeii: reality and legacy". Baltic Journal of Art History. 3.
  38. Carroll, Maureen (2010). "Exploring the sanctuary of Venus and its sacred grove: politics, cult and identity in Roman Pompeii". Papers of the British School at Rome. 78: 63–351. doi:10.1017/S0068246200000817. JSTOR 41725289. S2CID 154443189.
  39. The world of Pompeii. John Joseph Dobbins, Pedar William Foss. London: Routledge. 2007. ISBN 978-0-415-17324-7. OCLC 74522705.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)[page needed]
  40. Beard, Mary (2008). The fires of Vesuvius : Pompeii lost and found. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02976-7. OCLC 225874239.[page needed]
  41. Grant, Michael (2005). Cities of Vesuvius : Pompeii and Herculaneum. London: Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-898800-45-6. OCLC 61680895.[page needed]
  42. Thus Walter Burkert, in Homo Necans (1972) 1983:80, noting C. Koch on "Venus Victrix" in Realencyclopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, 8 A860-64.
  43. Livy. Ab Urbe Condita. 23.31.
  44. Orlin, Eric (2007), in Rüpke, J, ed. A Companion to Roman Religion, Blackwell publishing, p. 62.
  45. Beard, Mary (2007). The Roman Triumph. The Belknap Press.
  46. Lipka gives a foundation date of 181 BC for Venus' Colline temple.: 72–73
  47. Lipka, Michael (2009). Roman Gods: A conceptual approach. Brill.
  48. Orlin, Eric M. (2002). "Foreign cults in republican Rome: Rethinking the pomerial rule". Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome. University of Michigan Press. 47: 1–18. doi:10.2307/4238789. JSTOR 4238789.
  49. Torelli, Mario (1992). Typology and Structure of Roman Historical Reliefs. University of Michigan Press. pp. 8–9.
  50. Plutarch. Life of Sulla. 19.9.
  51. Orlin, in Rüpke (ed), pp. 67–69
  52. Vitruvius. "Book 1". De architectura. 7.1 – via Penelope, U. Chicago.
  53. Vitruvius. "Book 3". De architectura. 1.5 – via Penelope, U. Chicago.
  54. Grout, James. "Temple of Venus and Rome". Encyclopedia Romana – via Penelope, U. Chicago.
  55. "April". Etymology Online.
  56. Carter, Jesse Benedict (1900). "The cognomina of the goddess 'Fortuna'". Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association. 31: 66. doi:10.2307/282639. JSTOR 282639.
  57. Langlands, p. 59, citing Ovid. Fasti. 4. 155–62.
  58. de Cazanove, Olivier (1988). "Jupiter, Liber et le vin latin". Revue de l'histoire des religions. 205 (3): 245–265. doi:10.3406/rhr.1988.1888.
  59. Staples: 122 citing Ovid. Fasti. 4.863–72.
  60. Varro. Lingua Latina. 6.16.
  61. Williams, M.F. (2003). "The Sidus Iulium, the divinity of men, and the Golden Age in Virgil's Aeneid"(PDF). Leeds International Classical Studies. 1. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2014-06-11. Retrieved2014-03-23.
  62. Orlin,: 4, note 14 citing Ovid. Fasti. 4.876.
  63. Vergil. Aeneid. 8.696–700.
  64. O'Hara, James J. (1990). "The significance of Vergil's Acidalia Mater, and Venus Erycina in Catullus and Ovid". Harvard Studies in Classical Philology. 93: 335–338. doi:10.2307/311293. JSTOR 311293.
  65. Wlosok, Antonie (1975). "Amor and Cupid". Harvard Studies in Classical Philology. 79: 165–179. doi:10.2307/311134. JSTOR 311134.
  66. O'Hara, James J. (1990). "The significance of Vergil's Acidalia Mater, and Venus Erycina in Catullus and Ovid". Harvard Studies in Classical Philology. 93: 335–338. doi:10.2307/311293. JSTOR 311293.
  67. Clark, Anna, Divine Qualities: Cult and Community in Republican Rome, Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 177.
  68. Leonard A. Curchin, Leonard A., "Personal Wealth in Roman Spain," Historia 32.2 (1983), p. 230
  69. Kaufmann-Heinimann, in Rüpke (ed), pp. 197–98.
  70. Brain (2017), pp. 51–56
  71. Versnel, H.S. (1994). "Transition and reversal in myth and ritual". Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion. Vol. 2. Brill. p. 262.
  72. Eden (1963): 457–58 citing Pliny the Elder. Natural History. Vol. Book 15. pp. 119–21. Murcia had a shrine at the Circus Maximus.
  73. Versnel, H.S. (1994). "Transition and reversal in myth and ritual". Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion. Vol. 2. Brill. p. 262; see also Versnel, H.S. (April 1992). "The Festival for Bona Dea and the Thesmophoria". Greece & Rome. Second Series. 39 (1): 44. doi:10.1017/S0017383500023974. S2CID 162683316, citing Plutarch. Quaestiones Romanae. 20. For the total exclusion of myrtle (and therefore Venus) at Bona Dea's rites, see Bona Dea article.
  74. Bull, Malcolm, The Mirror of the Gods, How Renaissance Artists Rediscovered the Pagan Gods, Oxford UP, 2005, pp. 218_219ISBN 978-0195219234
  75. Brouwer, Henrik H.J. (1997). Bona Dea : The sources and a description of the cult. E.J. Brill. p. 337. ISBN 978-9004086067, citing Pliny the Elder. Natural History. Book 23, pp. 152–58; Book 15, [Ch. 38], p. 125.
  76. Boccaccio, Giovanni (2003). Famous Women. I Tatti Renaissance Library. Vol. 1. Translated by Virginia Brown. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. xi. ISBN 0-674-01130-9.

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Wikiquote has quotations related to Venus (mythology).

Venus mythology Article Talk Language Watch Edit Venus ˈ v iː n e s a is a Roman goddess whose functions encompass love beauty desire sex fertility prosperity and victory In Roman mythology she was the ancestor of the Roman people through her son Aeneas who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor Venus was central to many religious festivals and was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles VenusGoddess of love beauty desire sex fertility prosperity and victoryMember of Dii ConsentesVenus rising from the sea from the Casa della Venere in conchiglia Pompeii Before AD 79PlanetVenusSymbolsrose common myrtleDayFriday dies Veneris FestivalsVeneralia Vinalia Rustica Vinalia UrbanaPersonal informationParentsCaelusConsortMars and VulcanChildrenCupid AeneasGreek equivalentAphrodite The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature In the later classical tradition of the West Venus became one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality She is usually depicted nude in paintings Contents 1 Etymology 2 Origins 3 Epithets 4 Cult history and temples 4 1 Festivals 5 Mythology and literature 5 1 The Cupids 6 Iconography 6 1 Signs context and symbols 6 2 Classical art 7 Post classical culture 7 1 Medieval art 7 2 Art in the classical tradition 7 3 Gallery 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 10 1 Bibliography 11 External linksEtymology EditThe Latin name Venus love charm stems from Proto Italic wenos desire ultimately from Proto Indo European PIE wenh os desire compare with Messapic Venas Old Indic vanas desire 1 2 It is cognate with the Latin venia favour permission through to common PIE root wenh to strive for wish for desire love 1 3 The Latin verb venerari to honour worship pay homage is a derivative of Venus 1 A 2nd or 3rd century bronze figurine of Venus in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon 4 Origins EditVenus has been described as perhaps the most original creation of the Roman pantheon 5 146 and an ill defined and assimilative native goddess combined with a strange and exotic Aphrodite b Her cults may represent the religiously legitimate charm and seduction of the divine by mortals in contrast to the formal contractual relations between most members of Rome s official pantheon and the state and the unofficial illicit manipulation of divine forces through magic 5 13 64 7 The ambivalence of her persuasive functions has been perceived in the relationship of the root wenos with its Latin derivative venenum poison from wenes no love drink or addicting 8 in the sense of a charm magic philtre 9 In myth Venus Aphrodite was born already in adult form from the sea foam Greek afros aphros produced by the severed genitals of Caelus Uranus 10 Roman theology presents Venus as the yielding watery female principle essential to the generation and balance of life Her male counterparts in the Roman pantheon Vulcan and Mars are active and fiery Venus absorbs and tempers the male essence uniting the opposites of male and female in mutual affection She is essentially assimilative and benign and embraces several otherwise quite disparate functions She can give military victory sexual success good fortune and prosperity In one context she is a goddess of prostitutes in another she turns the hearts of men and women from sexual vice to virtue Varro s theology identifies Venus with water as an aspect of the female principle To generate life the watery matrix of the womb requires the virile warmth of fire To sustain life water and fire must be balanced excess of either one or their mutual antagonism are unproductive or destructive 11 12 15 16 24 26 149 50 Prospective brides offered Venus a gift before the wedding the nature of the gift and its timing are unknown The wedding ceremony itself and the state of lawful marriage belonged to Juno whose mythology allows her only a single marriage and no divorce from her habitually errant spouse Jupiter but Venus and Juno are also likely bookends for the ceremony Venus prepares the bride for conubial bliss and expectations of fertility within lawful marriage Some Roman sources say that girls who come of age offer their toys to Venus it is unclear where the offering is made and others say this gift is to the Lares 12 In dice games played with knucklebones a popular pastime among Romans of all classes the luckiest best possible roll was known as Venus 13 Epithets Edit Venus and Mars with Cupid attending in a wall painting from Pompeii Like other major Roman deities Venus was given a number of epithets that referred to her different cult aspects roles and her functional similarities to other deities Her original powers seem to have been extended largely by the fondness of the Romans for folk etymology and by the prevalence of the religious idea nomen omen which sanctioned any identifications made in this way 6 457 c Venus Acidalia in Virgil s Aeneid 1 715 22 as mater acidalia Servius speculates this as reference to a mooted Fountain of Acidalia fons acidalia where the Graces Venus daughters were said to bathe but he also connects it to the Greek word for arrow whence love s arrows and love s cares and pangs Ovid uses acidalia only in the latter sense Venus Acidalia is likely a literary conceit formed by Virgil from earlier usages in which acidalia had no evident connection to Venus It was almost certainly not a cultic epithet 15 Venus Anadyomene Venus rising from the sea based on a once famous painting by the Greek artist Apelles showing the birth of Venus from sea foam as fully adult and supported by a more than lifesized scallop shell The Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli used the type in his The Birth of Venus Other versions of Venus birth show her standing on land or shoreline wringing the sea water from her hair 16 Venus Caelestis Celestial or Heavenly Venus used from the 2nd century AD for Venus as an aspect of a syncretised supreme goddess Venus Caelestis is the earliest known Roman recipient of a taurobolium a form of bull sacrifice performed at her shrine in Pozzuoli on 5 October 134 This form of the goddess and the taurobolium are associated with the Syrian Goddess understood as a late equivalent to Astarte or the Roman Magna Mater the latter being another supposedly Trojan Mother of the Romans as well as Mother of the Gods 17 Venus Calva Venus the bald one a legendary form of Venus attested only by post Classical Roman writings which offer several traditions to explain this appearance and epithet In one it commemorates the virtuous offer by Roman matrons of their own hair to make bowstrings during a siege of Rome In another king Ancus Marcius wife and other Roman women lost their hair during an epidemic in hope of its restoration unafflicted women sacrificed their own hair to Venus 5 83 89 d Imperial image of Venus suggesting influence from Syria or Palestine or from the cult of Isis 19 Venus Cloacina Venus the Purifier a fusion of Venus with the Etruscan water goddess Cloacina who had an ancient shrine above the outfall of the Cloaca Maxima originally a stream later covered over to function as Rome s main sewer The rites conducted at the shrine were probably meant to purify the culvert s polluted waters and noxious airs 20 Pliny the Elder remarking Venus as a goddess of union and reconciliation identifies the shrine with a legendary episode in Rome s earliest history in which the Romans led by Romulus and the Sabines led by Titus Tatius met there to make peace following the rape of the Sabine women carrying branches of myrtle 21 In some traditions Titus Tatius was responsible for the introduction of lawful marriage to Rome and Venus Cloacina promoted protected and purified sexual intercourse between married couples 22 Venus Erycina Erycine Venus a Punic statue of Astarte captured from Eryx in Sicily and worshiped in Romanised form by the elite and respectable matrons at a temple on the Capitoline Hill A later temple outside the Porta Collina and Rome s sacred boundary may have preserved some Erycine features of her cult It was considered suitable for common girls and prostitutes 23 24 25 80 83 Venus Euploia Venus of the fair voyage also known as Venus Pontia Venus of the Sea because she smooths the waves for mariners She is probably based on the influential image of Aphrodite by Praxiteles once housed in a temple by the sea but now lost Most copies would have been supported by dolphins and worn diadems and carved veils inferring her birth from sea foam and a consequent identity as Queen of the Sea and patron of sailors and navigation Roman copies of her image would have embellished baths and gymnasiums 26 16 Venus Frutis honoured by all the Latins with a federal cult at the temple named Frutinal in Lavinium 27 e Inscriptions found at Lavinium attest the presence of federal cults without giving precise details f Venus Felix Lucky Venus probably a traditional epithet combining aspects of Venus and Fortuna goddess of both good and bad fortune and personification of luck whose iconography includes the rudder of a ship found in some Pompeian examples of the regal Venus Physica A form of Venus usually identified as Venus Felix was adopted by the dictator Sulla to legitimise his victories over his domestic and foreign opponents during Rome s late Republican civil and foreign wars Rives finds it very unlikely that Sulla would have imposed this humiliating connection on unwilling or conquered domestic territories once allied to Samnium such as Pompei 30 The emperor Hadrian built a temple to Venus Felix et Roma Aeterna on the Via Sacra The same epithet is used for a specific sculpture at the Vatican Museums Venus Genetrix Venus the Mother as a goddess of motherhood and domesticity with a festival on September 26 a personal ancestress of the Julian lineage and more broadly the divine ancestress of the Roman people Julius Caesar dedicated a Temple of Venus Genetrix in 46 BC 30 This name has attached to an iconological type of statue of Aphrodite Venus Venus Heliopolitana Venus of Heliopolis Syriaca a Romano Syrian form of Venus at Baalbek variously identified with Ashtart Dea Syria and Atargatis though inconsistently and often on very slender grounds She has been historically identified as one third of a so called Heliopolitan Triad and thus a wife to presumed sun god Syrian Jupiter Baal and mother of Syrian Mercury Adon The Syrian Mercury is sometimes thought another sun god or a syncretised form of Bacchus as a dying and rising god and thus a god of Springtime No such Triad seems to have existed prior to Baalbek s 15 BC colonisation by Augustus veterans It may be a modern scholarly artifice 31 Venus Kallipygos Venus with the beautiful buttocks a statue and possibly a statue type after a lost Greek original From Syracuse Sicily 32 Venus Libertina Venus the Freedwoman probably arising through the semantic similarity and cultural links between libertina as a free woman and lubentina possibly meaning pleasurable or passionate Further titles or variants acquired by Venus through the same process or through orthographic variance include Libentia Lubentina and Lubentini Venus Libitina links Venus to a patron goddess of funerals and undertakers Libitina who also became synonymous with death a temple was dedicated to Venus Libitina in Libitina s grove on the Esquiline Hill hardly later than 300 BC g Julius Caesar with Venus holding Victoria on reverse from February or March 44 BC Crispina wife of Commodus with enthroned Venus Felix holding Victory on reverse Venus Murcia Venus of the Myrtle merging Venus with the little known deity Murcia or Murcus or Murtia Murcia was associated with Rome s Mons Murcia the Aventine s lesser height and had a shrine in the Circus Maximus Some sources associate her with the myrtle tree Christian writers described her as a goddess of sloth and laziness 34 Venus Obsequens Indulgent Venus 35 Venus first attested Roman epithet It was used in the dedication of her first Roman temple on August 19 in 295 BC during the Third Samnite War by Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges It was sited somewhere near the Aventine Hill and Circus Maximus and played a central role in the Vinalia Rustica It was supposedly funded by fines imposed on women found guilty of adultery 11 89 Venus Physica Venus as a universal natural creative force that informs the physical world She is addressed as Alma Venus Mother Venus by Lucretius in the introductory lines of his vivid poetic exposition of Epicurean physics and philosophy De Rerum Natura She seems to have been a favourite of Lucretius patron Memmius 36 Venus Physica Pompeiana was Pompeii s protective goddess antedating Sulla s imposition of a colonia named Colonia Veneria Cornelia after his family and Venus following his siege and capture of Pompeii from the Samnites Venus also had a distinctive local form as Venus Pescatrice Venus the Fisher woman a goddess of the sea and trade For Sulla s claims of Venus favour see Venus Felix above 37 38 Pompeii s Temple of Venus was built sometime in the 1st century BC before Sulla s colonisation 39 This local form of Venus had Roman Oscan and local Pompeiian influences 40 Like Venus Physica Venus Physica Pompeiana is also a regal form of Nature Mother and a guarantor of success in love 41 Venus Urania Heavenly Venus used as the title of a book by Basilius von Ramdohr a relief by Pompeo Marchesi and a painting by Christian Griepenkerl cf Aphrodite Urania Venus Verticordia Venus the Changer of Hearts See Festivals and Veneralia Venus Victrix Venus the Victorious a Romanised aspect of the armed Aphrodite that Greeks had inherited from the East where the goddess Ishtar remained a goddess of war and Venus could bring victory to a Sulla or a Caesar 42 Pompey vied with his patron Sulla and with Caesar for public recognition as her protege In 55 BC he dedicated a temple to her at the top of his theater in the Campus Martius She had a shrine on the Capitoline Hill and festivals on August 12 and October 9 A sacrifice was annually dedicated to her on the latter date In neo classical art her epithet as Victrix is often used in the sense of Venus Victorious over men s hearts or in the context of the Judgement of Paris e g Canova s Venus Victrix a half nude reclining portrait of Pauline Bonaparte Cult history and temples EditThe first known temple to Venus was vowed to Venus Obsequens Indulgent Venus 35 by Q Fabius Gurges in the heat of a battle against the Samnites It was dedicated in 295 BC at a site near the Aventine Hill and was supposedly funded by fines imposed on Roman women for sexual misdemeanours Its rites and character were probably influenced by or based on Greek Aphrodite s cults which were already diffused in various forms throughout Italian Magna Graeca Its dedication date connects Venus Obsequens to the Vinalia rustica festival 6 456 h Remains of the Temple of Venus Genetrix in the Forum of Caesar Rome In 217 BC in the early stages of the Second Punic War with Carthage Rome suffered a disastrous defeat at the battle of Lake Trasimene The Sibylline oracle suggested that Carthage might be defeated if the Venus of Eryx Venus Erycina patron goddess of Carthage s Sicilian allies could be persuaded to change her allegiance Rome laid siege to Eryx and promised its goddess a magnificent temple as reward for her defection They captured her image brought it to Rome and installed it in a temple on the Capitoline Hill as one of Rome s twelve dii consentes Shorn of her more overtly Carthaginian characteristics i this foreign Venus became Rome s Venus Genetrix Venus the Mother 25 80 83 43 44 Roman tradition made Venus the mother and protector of the Trojan prince Aeneas ancestor of the Romans so as far as the Romans were concerned this was the homecoming of an ancestral goddess to her people Soon after Rome s defeat of Carthage confirmed Venus s goodwill to Rome her links to its mythical Trojan past and her support of its political and military hegemony j The Capitoline cult to Venus seems to have been reserved to higher status Romans A separate cult to Venus Erycina as a fertility deity 46 was established in 181 BC in a traditionally plebeian district just outside Rome s sacred boundary near the Colline Gate The temple cult and goddess probably retained much of the original s character and rites 46 48 4 8 14 Likewise a shrine to Venus Verticordia Venus the changer of hearts established in 114 BC but with links to an ancient cult of Venus Fortuna was bound to the peculiar milieu of the Aventine and the Circus Maximus a strongly plebeian context for Venus s cult in contrast to her aristocratic cultivation as a Stoic and Epicurian all goddess k Towards the end of the Roman Republic some leading Romans laid personal claims to Venus favour The general and dictator Sulla adopted Felix Lucky as a surname acknowledging his debt to heaven sent good fortune and his particular debt to Venus Felix for his extraordinarily fortunate political and military career l His protege Pompey competed for Venus support dedicating in 55 BC a large temple to Venus Victrix as part of his lavishly appointed new theatre and celebrating his triumph of 54 BC with coins that showed her crowned with triumphal laurels 45 22 23 Pompey s erstwhile friend ally and later opponent Julius Caesar went still further He claimed the favours of Venus Victrix in his military success and Venus Genetrix as a personal divine ancestress apparently a long standing family tradition among the Julii When Caesar was assassinated his heir Augustus adopted both claims as evidence of his inherent fitness for office and divine approval of his rule m Augustus new temple to Mars Ultor divine father of Rome s legendary founder Romulus would have underlined the point with the image of avenging Mars almost certainly accompanied by that of his divine consort Venus and possibly a statue of the deceased and deified Caesar 25 199 200 Vitruvius recommends that any new temple to Venus be sited according to rules laid down by the Etruscan haruspices and built near to the gate of the city where it would be less likely to contaminate the matrons and youth with the influence of lust He finds the Corinthian style slender elegant enriched with ornamental leaves and surmounted by volutes appropriate to Venus character and disposition n Vitruvius recommends the widest possible spacing between the temple columns producing a light and airy space and he offers Venus s temple in Caesar s forum as an example of how not to do it the densely spaced thickset columns darken the interior hide the temple doors and crowd the walkways so that matrons who wish to honour the goddess must enter her temple in single file rather than arm in arm o In 135 AD the Emperor Hadrian inaugurated a temple to Venus and Roma Aeterna Eternal Rome on Rome s Velian Hill underlining the Imperial unity of Rome and its provinces and making Venus the protective genetrix of the entire Roman state its people and fortunes It was the largest temple in Ancient Rome 54 25 257 58 260 Festivals Edit See also Roman festivals Fresco with a seated Venus restored as a personification of Rome in the so called Dea Barberini Barberini goddess Roman artwork dated first half of the 4th century AD from a room near the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Laterano Venus was offered official state sponsored cult in certain festivals of the Roman calendar Her sacred month was April Latin Mensis Aprilis which Roman etymologists understood to derive from aperire to open with reference to the springtime blossoming of trees and flowers p In the interpretatio romana of the Germanic pantheon during the early centuries AD Venus became identified with the Germanic goddess Frijjo giving rise to the loan translation Friday for dies Veneris Veneralia April 1 was held in honour of Venus Verticordia Venus the Changer of Hearts and Fortuna Virilis Virile or strong Good Fortune whose cult was probably by far the older of the two Venus Verticordia was invented in 220 BC in response to advice from a Sibylline oracle during Rome s Punic Wars q when a series of prodigies was taken to signify divine displeasure at sexual offenses among Romans of every category and class including several men and three Vestal Virgins 11 105 09 Venus Verticordias statue was dedicated by a young woman chosen as the most pudica sexually pure in Rome by a committee of Roman matrons At first this statue was probably housed in the temple of Fortuna Virilis perhaps as divine reinforcement against the perceived moral and religious failings of its cult In 114 BC Venus Verticordia was given her own temple 56 She was meant to persuade Romans of both sexes and every class whether married or unmarried to cherish the traditional sexual proprieties and morality known to please the gods and benefit the State During her rites her image was taken from her temple to the men s baths where it was undressed and washed in warm water by her female attendants then garlanded with myrtle Women and men asked Venus Verticordia s help in affairs of the heart sex betrothal and marriage For Ovid Venus s acceptance of the epithet and its attendant responsibilities represented a change of heart in the goddess herself r 57 Vinalia urbana April 23 a wine festival shared by Venus and Jupiter king of the gods It offered opportunity to supplicants to ask Venus intercession with Jupiter who was thought to be susceptible to her charms and amenable to the effects of her wine Venus was patron of profane wine for everyday human use Jupiter was patron of the strongest purest sacrificial grade wine and controlled the weather on which the autumn grape harvest would depend At this festival men and women alike drank the new vintage of ordinary non sacral wine pressed at the previous year s vinalia rustica in honour of Venus whose powers had provided humankind with this gift Upper class women gathered at Venus s Capitoline temple where a libation of the previous year s vintage sacred to Jupiter was poured into a nearby ditch 58 Common girls vulgares puellae and prostitutes gathered at Venus temple just outside the Colline gate where they offered her myrtle mint and rushes concealed in rose bunches and asked her for beauty and popular favour and to be made charming and witty 59 Vinalia Rustica August 19 originally a rustic Latin festival of wine vegetable growth and fertility This was almost certainly Venus oldest festival and was associated with her earliest known form Venus Obsequens Kitchen gardens and market gardens and presumably vineyards were dedicated to her s Roman opinions differed on whose festival it was Varro insists that the day was sacred to Jupiter whose control of the weather governed the ripening of the grapes but the sacrificial victim a female lamb agna may be evidence that it once belonged to Venus alone t u A festival of Venus Genetrix September 26 was held under state auspices from 46 BC at her Temple in the Forum of Caesar in fulfillment of a vow by Julius Caesar who claimed her personal favour as his divine patron and ancestral goddess of the Julian clan Caesar dedicated the temple during his extraordinarily lavish quadruple triumph At the same time he was pontifex maximus and Rome s senior magistrate the festival is thought to mark the unprecedented promotion of a personal family cult to one of the Roman state Caesar s heir Augustus made much of these personal and family associations with Venus as an Imperial deity v The festival s rites are not known Mythology and literature EditFurther information Aphrodite A Venus Aphrodite velificans holding an infant probably Aeneas w as Anchises and Luna Selene look on Roman era relief from Aphrodisias As with most major gods and goddesses in Roman mythology the literary concept of Venus is mantled in whole cloth borrowings from the literary Greek mythology of her counterpart Aphrodite but with significant exceptions In some Latin mythology Cupid was the son of Venus and Mars the god of war At other times or in parallel myths and theologies Venus was understood to be the consort of Vulcan or as mother of the second cupid by Mercury x Virgil in compliment to his patron Augustus and the gens Julia embellished an existing connection between Venus whom Julius Caesar had adopted as his protectress and the Trojan prince Aeneas refugee from Troy s destruction and eventual ancestor of the Roman people Virgil s Aeneas is guided to Latium by Venus in her heavenly form the morning star shining brightly before him in the daylight sky much later she lifts Caesar s soul to heaven y In Ovid s Fasti Venus came to Rome because she preferred to be worshipped in the city of her own offspring 62 In Virgil s poetic account of Octavian s victory at the sea battle of Actium the future emperor is allied with Venus Neptune and Minerva Octavian s opponents Antony Cleopatra and the Egyptians assisted by bizarre and unhelpful Egyptian deities such as barking Anubis lose the battle 63 The Cupids Edit Main articles Eros Anteros and Cupid In modern scholarship Cupid lust or desire and Amor affectionate love are taken to be different names for the same Roman love god the son of Venus and Mars Ovid s Fasti Book 4 invokes Venus not by name but as Mother of the Twin Loves the gemini amores z Childlike or boyish winged figures who accompany Venus whether singly in pairs or more have been variously identified as Amores Cupids Erotes or forms of Greek Eros The earliest of these is Eros who was also a patron deity of Thespiae Hesiod categorised him as a primordial deity who emerged from Chaos as a generative power with neither mother nor father An aniconic stone was the object of Eros Thespian cult as late as the 2nd century AD He also had the form of an adolescent or pre adolescent male in Ellis and elsewhere in Greece from at least the 5th century BC when he acquired wings bow and arrows and divine parents in the love goddess Aphrodite and the war god Ares He had temples of his own and shared others with Aphrodite 64 65 Fragmentary base for an altar of Venus and Mars showing cupids or erotes playing with the war god s weapons and chariot From the reign of Trajan 98 117 AD At Elis on the Peloponnese and in Athens Eros shared cult with a twin named Anteros Xenophon s Socratic Symposion 8 1 features a dinner guest with eros love for his wife in return she has anteros reciprocal love for him Some sources suggest Anteros as avenger of slighted love In Servius 4th century commentary on Virgil s Aeneas Cupid is a deceptive agent of Venus impersonating Aeneas son and making Dido queen of Carthage forget her husband When Aeneas rejects her love and covertly leaves Carthge to fulfill his destiny as ancestor of the Roman people Dido is said to invoke Anteros as contrary to Cupid She falls into hatred and despair curses Rome and ultimately commits suicide aa 66 65 Amor is the Latin name preferred by Roman poets and literati for the personification of kindly love Where Cupid lust can be imperious cruel prone to mischief or even war like Amor softly persuades Cato the Elder having a Stoic s outlook thought Cupid a deity of greed and blind passion morally inferior to Amor The Roman playwright Plautus however has Venus Cupid and Amor working together 65 In Roman cult inscriptions and theology Amor is rare and Cupido relatively common No Roman temples seem dedicated to Cupid alone but the joint dedication formula Venus Cupidoque Venus and Cupid is evidence of his cult shared with Venus at her Temple just outside the Colline Gate and elsewhere He would also have featured in many private household cults In private and public areas alike statues of Venus and Mars attended by Cupid or Venus Cupid and minor erotes were sometimes donated by wealthy sponsors to serve both religious and artistic purposes 67 68 Cupid s roles in literary myth are usually limited to actions on behalf of Venus in Cupid and Psyche one of the stories within The Golden Ass by the Roman author Apuleius the plot and its resolution are driven by Cupid s love for Psyche soul his filial disobedience and his mother s envy 65 Iconography EditSigns context and symbols Edit A medallion painting from the House of Marcus Fabius Rufus in Pompeii Italy executed in the Second Style and depicting the Greco Roman goddess Venus Aphrodite in regalia with diadem and scepter it is dated to the 1st century BC Images of Venus have been found in domestic murals mosaics and household shrines lararia Petronius in his Satyricon places an image of Venus among the Lares household gods of the freedman Trimalchio s lararium 69 The Venus types known as Venus Pompeiana Venus of Pompeii and Venus Pescatrice Venus the Fisher woman are almost exclusive to Pompeii Both forms of Venus are represented within Pompeian homes of the well off with Venus Pompeiana more commonly found in formal reception spaces typically depicted in full regalia draped with a mantle standing rigidly upright with her right arm across her chest Images of Venus Pescatrice tend to be more playful usually found in less formal and less public non reception areas here she usually holds a fishing rod and sits amidst landscape scenery accompanied by at least one cupid 70 Venus signs are for the most part the same as Aphrodite s They include roses which were offered in Venus Porta Collina rites ab and above all myrtle Latin myrtus which was cultivated for its white sweetly scented flowers aromatic evergreen leaves and its various medical magical properties Venus statues and her worshipers wore myrtle crowns at her festivals 71 Before its adoption into Venus cults myrtle was used in the purification rites of Cloacina the Etruscan Roman goddess of Rome s main sewer later Cloacina s association with Venus sacred plant made her Venus Cloacina Likewise Roman folk etymology transformed the ancient obscure goddess Murcia into Venus of the Myrtles whom we now call Murcia 72 Myrtle was thought a particularly potent aphrodisiac As goddess of love and sex Venus played an essential role at Roman prenuptial rites and wedding nights so myrtle and roses were used in bridal bouquets Marriage itself was not a seduction but a lawful condition under Juno s authority so myrtle was excluded from the bridal crown Venus was also a patron of the ordinary everyday wine drunk by most Roman men and women the seductive powers of wine were well known In the rites to Bona Dea a goddess of female chastity ac Venus myrtle and anything male were not only excluded but unmentionable The rites allowed women to drink the strongest sacrificial wine otherwise reserved for the Roman gods and Roman men the women euphemistically referred to it as honey Under these special circumstances they could get virtuously religiously drunk on strong wine safe from Venus temptations Outside of this context ordinary wine that is Venus wine tinctured with myrtle oil was thought particularly suitable for women 73 Venus long association with wine reflects the inevitable connections between wine intoxication and sex expressed in the proverbial phrase sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus loosely translated as without food and wine Venus freezes It was used in various forms notably by the Roman playwright Terence probably by others before him and certainly into the early modern era Although Venus played a central role in several wine festivals the Roman god of wine was Bacchus identified with Greek Dionysus and the early Roman wine god Liber Pater Father of Freedom 74 Roman generals given an ovation a lesser form of Roman triumph wore a myrtle crown perhaps to purify themselves and their armies of blood guilt The ovation ceremony was assimilated to Venus Victrix Victorious Venus who was held to have granted and purified its relatively easy victory 75 45 63 113 Classical art Edit Venus riding a quadriga of elephants fresco from Pompeii 1st century AD Statue of nude Venus of the Capitoline type Roman 2nd century AD from Campo Iemini housed in the British Museum Roman and Hellenistic art produced many variations on the goddess often based on the Praxitlean type Aphrodite of Cnidus Many female nudes from this period of sculpture whose subjects are unknown are in modern art history conventionally called Venus even if they originally may have portrayed a mortal woman rather than operated as a cult statue of the goddess Examples include Venus de Milo 130 BC Venus PudicaCapitoline Venus Venus de MediciEsquiline Venus Venus Felix Venus of Arles Venus Anadyomene also here Venus Pan and Eros Venus Genetrix Venus of Capua Venus KallipygosPost classical culture EditMedieval art Edit Venus is remembered in De Mulieribus Claris a collection of biographies of historical and mythological women by the Florentine author Giovanni Boccaccio composed in 1361 62 It is notable as the first collection devoted exclusively to biographies of women in Western literature 76 Medieval representation of Venus sitting on a rainbow with her devotees who offer their hearts to her 15th century Venus setting fire to the castle where the Rose is imprisoned in the medieval French romance Roman de la Rose In this story Venus is portrayed as the mother of CupidArt in the classical tradition Edit Venus became a popular subject of painting and sculpture during the Renaissance period in Europe As a classical figure for whom nudity was her natural state it was socially acceptable to depict her unclothed As the goddess of sexuality a degree of erotic beauty in her presentation was justified which appealed to many artists and their patrons Over time venus came to refer to any artistic depiction in post classical art of a nude woman even when there was no indication that the subject was the goddess The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli c 1485 1486 Venus Mars and Vulcan by Tintoretto The Birth of Venus Botticelli c 1485 Sleeping Venus c 1501 Venus of Urbino 1538 Venus with a Mirror c 1555 Rokeby Venus 1647 1651 Olympia 1863 The Birth of Venus Cabanel 1863 The Birth of Venus Bouguereau 1879 Venus of Cherchell Gsell museum in Algeria Venus Victrix and Venus Italica by Antonio Canova In the field of prehistoric art since the discovery in 1908 of the so called Venus of Willendorf small Neolithic sculptures of rounded female forms have been conventionally referred to as Venus figurines Although the name of the actual deity is not known the knowing contrast between the obese and fertile cult figures and the classical conception of Venus has raised resistance to the terminology citation needed Gallery Edit Venus Anadyomene ca 1525 by Titian Venus with a Mirror ca 1555 by Titian Venus by Frans Floris Hallwyl Museum Venus and Cupid painting ca 1650 1700 by Peter Paul Rubens Mars Being Disarmed by Venus 1822 1825 by Jacques Louis David Birth of Venus 1863 by Alexandre Cabanel Tannhauser in the Venusberg 1901 by John Collier Russian Venus 1926 by Boris Kustodiev Iris presenting the wounded Venus to Mars by Sir George Hayter 1820 Ante Library Chatsworth HouseSee also EditLove goddess Planets in astrology Venus Hottentot Venus Venus planet Venus symbolNotes Edit Latin Venus Veneris Classical Latin ˈu ɛnʊs ˈu ɛnɛɾɪs Modern Latin ˈvɛ ː nus ˈvɛ ː nɛris Eden 1963 6 458ff discusses possible associations between Astarte or the Venus of Eryx and the brassica species E sativa which the Romans considered an aphrodisiac For further exposition of nomen omen or nomen est omen see 14 Ashby 1929 finds the existence of a temple to Venus Calva very doubtful see 18 At the midway between Ostia and Antium lies Lavinium that has a sanctuary of Aphrodite common to all Latin nations but which is under the care of the Ardeans who have entrusted the task to intendants 28 Sp Turrianus Proculus Gellianus pater patratus Lavinium sacrorum principiorum p opuli R omani Quirt ium nominisque Latini qui apud Laurentis coluntur 29 Eden 1963 6 457 states that Varro rationalises the connections as lubendo libido libidinosus ac Venus Libentina et Libitina 33 Schilling 1954 5 87 suggests that Venus began as an abstraction of personal qualities later assuming Aphrodite s attributes Her Sicillian form probably combined elements of Aphrodite and a more warlike Carthaginian Phoenician Astarte Venus links with Troy can be traced to the epic mythic history of the Trojan War and the Judgement of Paris in which the Trojan prince Paris chose Aphrodite over Hera and Athena setting off a train of events that led to war between the Greeks and Trojans and eventually to Troy s destruction In Rome s foundation myth Venus was the divine mother of the Trojan prince Aeneas and thus a divine ancestor of the Roman people as a whole 45 23 The Punic Wars saw many similar introductions of foreign cult including the Phrygian cult to Magna Mater who also had mythical links to Troy See also 25 80 The aristocratic ideology of an increasingly Hellenised Venus is summarized by the famous invocation to Venus Physica in Lucretius poem 49 Plutarch s original Greek translates this adopted surname Felix as Epaphroditus Aphrodite s beloved see 50 At the battle of Pharsalus Caesar also vowed a temple in best republican fashion to Venus Victrix almost as if he were summoning Pompey s protectress to his side in the manner of an evocatio Three years after Pompey s defeat at the battle of Actium Caesar dedicated his new Roman Forum complete with a temple to his ancestor Venus Genetrix apparently in fulfillment of the vow The goddess helped provide a divine aura for her descendant preparing the way for Caesar s own cult as a divus and the formal institution of the Roman Imperial cult 51 Immediately after these remarks Vitruvius prescribes the best positioning for temples to Venus two divine consorts Vulcan and Mars Vulcan s should be outside the city to reduce the dangers of fire which is his element Mars too should be outside the city so that no armed frays may disturb the peace of the citizens and that this divinity may moreover be ready to preserve them from their enemies and the perils of war 52 The widely spaced open style preferred by Vitruvius is eustylos The densely pillared style he criticises is pycnostylos 53 The origin is unknown but it might derive from Apru an Etruscan form of Greek Aphrodite s name 55 Either the Sibylline Books per Valerius Maximus Factorum ac dictorum memorabilium libri IX Nine books of memborable deeds and sayings 8 15 12 or the Cumaean Sibyl per Ovid Fasti 4 155 62 Romans considered personal ethics or mentality to be functions of the heart Vegetable growers may have been involved in the dedications as a corporate guild 6 451 For associations of kind between Roman deities and their sacrificial victims see Victima Varro explicitly denies that the festival belongs to Venus 60 that implies he was aware of opposite scholarly and or commonplace opinion Lipka 2009 offers this apparent contradiction as an example of two Roman cults that offer complementary functional foci 47 42 Sulla may have set some form of precedent but there is no evidence that he built her a Temple Caesar s associations with Venus as both a personal and state goddess may also have been propagated in the Roman provinces 30 Sometimes interpreted as Eros Cupid as a symbol of the sexual union between the goddess and Anchises but perhaps alluding also to the scene in the Aeneid when Dido holds Cupid disguised as Ascanius in her lap as she falls in love with Aeneas Cicero On the nature of the Gods 3 59 3 60 The first Venus is the daughter of the Sky and the Day I have seen her temple at Elis The second was engendered from the sea foam and as we are told became the mother by Mercury of the second Cupid The third is the daughter of Jupiter and Dione who wedded Vulcan but who is said to have been the mother of Anteros by Mars The fourth was conceived of Syria and Cyprus and is called Astarte it is recorded that she married Adonis Venus as a guide and protector of Aeneas and his descendants is a frequent motif in the Aeneid See discussion throughout Williams 2003 61 Ovid Fasti 4 1 Amores 3 15 1 Heroides 7 59 16 203 See also Catullus C 3 1 13 2 Horace 1 19 1 4 1 5 Cicero presents Anteros as a third Cupid fathered by Mars and birthed by a third Venus the huntress Diana more usually described as virgin See Cicero On the nature of the Gods 3 59 3 60 Eden 1963 6 456 citing Ovid Fasti 4 869 70 cf I35 I38 Ovid describes the rites observed in the early Imperial era when the temple environs were part of the Gardens of Sallust Bona Dea means The Good Goddess She was also a Women s goddess References Edit a b c de Vaan 2008 p 663 sfn error no target CITEREFde Vaan2008 help de Simone Carlo 2017 Messapic In Klein Jared Joseph Brian Fritz Matthias eds Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo European Linguistics Vol 3 Walter de Gruyter p 1843 ISBN 978 3 11 054243 1 Mallory J P Adams D Q eds 1997 Encyclopedia of Indo European Culture Taylor amp Francis p 158 ISBN 1 884964 98 2 Venus figurine photograph Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon Retrieved 19 February 2021 a b c d Schilling R 1954 La religion romaine de Venus depuis les origines jusqu au temps d Auguste Paris FR Editions E de Boccard a b c d e f g h Eden P T 1963 Venus and the Cabbage Hermes 91 448 59 R Schilling 1962 La relation Venus venia Latomus 21 3 7 de Vaan 2008 p 660 sfn error no target CITEREFde Vaan2008 help Linked through an adjectival form venes no William W Skeat ibid s v venom Hesiod Theogony 176 a b c d Staples Ariadne 1998 From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins Sex and category in Roman religion Routledge Hersch Karen K The Roman Wedding Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity Cambridge University Press 2010 pp 66 67 231 266 Whoever threw Venus had the right to appoint a King of the Feast the Venus throw was also known as the Basilicus from the Greek king See article by James Yates M A F R S and primary sources on entry Talus pp 1095 1096 of William Smith D C L LL D A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities John Murray London 1875 del Bello Davide 2007 Forgotten Paths Etymology and the allegorical mindset The Catholic University of America Press pp 52 ff ISBN 978 0 8132 1484 9 O Hara James J 1990 The significance of Vergil s Acidalia Mater and Venus Erycina in Catullus and Ovid Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 93 335 42 doi 10 2307 311293 JSTOR 311293 a b Marcovich Miroslav 1996 From Ishtar to Aphrodite Journal of Aesthetic Education 30 2 43 59 doi 10 2307 3333191 JSTOR 3333191 Turcan pp 141 43 Platner Samuel Ball Ashby Thomas 1929 A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome London Oxford University Press p 551 via Penelope U Chicago Description from Walters Art Museum Eden 1963 6 457 citing Pliny the Elder Natural History Vol Book 15 pp 119 21 Pliny the Elder Natural History Vol Book 15 p 119 cited in Wagenvoort p 180 Smith William Venus A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology London John Murray via Perseus Tufts University Livy Ab Urbe Condita 23 31 McGinn Thomas A J 1998 Prostitution Sexuality and the Law in Ancient Rome Oxford University Press p 25 a b c d e Beard M Price S North J 1998 Religions of Rome A history illustrated Vol 1 Cambridge University Press Christie s online catalogue essay citing Vermuele and Brauer Stone Sculptures The Greek Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums pp 50 51 Paulus Festus s v p 80 L Frutinal templum Veneris Fruti Strabo V 3 5 CIL X 797 cited in Liou Gilles B 1996 Naissance de la ligue latine Mythe et culte de fondation Revue belge de philologie et d histoire 74 1 85 a b c Rives James 1994 Venus Genetrix outside Rome Phoenix 48 4 294 306 doi 10 2307 1192570 JSTOR 1192570 Kropp Andreas J M 2010 Jupiter Venus and Mercury of Heliopolis Baalbek The images of the triad and its alleged syncretisms Syria 87 229 264 doi 10 4000 syria 681 JSTOR 41681338 Havelock Christine Mitchell The Aphrodite of Knidos and Her Successors A Historical Review of the Female Nude in Greek Art University of Michigan Press 2007 pp 100 102 ISBN 978 0 472 03277 8 Varro Lingua Latina 6 47 Augustine De civitate Dei IV 16 Arnobius Adversus Nationes IV 9 16 Murcus in Livy Ab Urbe Condita 1 33 5 cf murcidus slothful a b The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome v 1 p 167 Elisabeth Asmis Lucretius Venus and Stoic Zeus Hermes 110 1982 p 458 ff Lill Anne 2011 Myths of Pompeii reality and legacy Baltic Journal of Art History 3 Carroll Maureen 2010 Exploring the sanctuary of Venus and its sacred grove politics cult and identity in Roman Pompeii Papers of the British School at Rome 78 63 351 doi 10 1017 S0068246200000817 JSTOR 41725289 S2CID 154443189 The world of Pompeii John Joseph Dobbins Pedar William Foss London Routledge 2007 ISBN 978 0 415 17324 7 OCLC 74522705 a href wiki Template Cite book title Template Cite book cite book a CS1 maint others link page needed Beard Mary 2008 The fires of Vesuvius Pompeii lost and found Cambridge Mass Belknap Press of Harvard University Press ISBN 978 0 674 02976 7 OCLC 225874239 page needed Grant Michael 2005 Cities of Vesuvius Pompeii and Herculaneum London Phoenix Press ISBN 1 898800 45 6 OCLC 61680895 page needed Thus Walter Burkert in Homo Necans 1972 1983 80 noting C Koch on Venus Victrix in Realencyclopadie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft 8 A860 64 Livy Ab Urbe Condita 23 31 Orlin Eric 2007 in Rupke J ed A Companion to Roman Religion Blackwell publishing p 62 a b c Beard Mary 2007 The Roman Triumph The Belknap Press a b Lipka gives a foundation date of 181 BC for Venus Colline temple 47 72 73 a b Lipka Michael 2009 Roman Gods A conceptual approach Brill a b Orlin Eric M 2002 Foreign cults in republican Rome Rethinking the pomerial rule Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome University of Michigan Press 47 1 18 doi 10 2307 4238789 JSTOR 4238789 Torelli Mario 1992 Typology and Structure of Roman Historical Reliefs University of Michigan Press pp 8 9 Plutarch Life of Sulla 19 9 Orlin in Rupke ed pp 67 69 Vitruvius Book 1 De architectura 7 1 via Penelope U Chicago Vitruvius Book 3 De architectura 1 5 via Penelope U Chicago Grout James Temple of Venus and Rome Encyclopedia Romana via Penelope U Chicago April Etymology Online Carter Jesse Benedict 1900 The cognomina of the goddess Fortuna Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 31 66 doi 10 2307 282639 JSTOR 282639 Langlands p 59 citing Ovid Fasti 4 155 62 de Cazanove Olivier 1988 Jupiter Liber et le vin latin Revue de l histoire des religions 205 3 245 265 doi 10 3406 rhr 1988 1888 Staples 11 122 citing Ovid Fasti 4 863 72 Varro Lingua Latina 6 16 Williams M F 2003 The Sidus Iulium the divinity of men and the Golden Age in Virgil s Aeneid PDF Leeds International Classical Studies 1 Archived from the original PDF on 2014 06 11 Retrieved 2014 03 23 Orlin 48 4 note 14 citing Ovid Fasti 4 876 Vergil Aeneid 8 696 700 O Hara James J 1990 The significance of Vergil s Acidalia Mater and Venus Erycina in Catullus and Ovid Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 93 335 338 doi 10 2307 311293 JSTOR 311293 a b c d Wlosok Antonie 1975 Amor and Cupid Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 79 165 179 doi 10 2307 311134 JSTOR 311134 O Hara James J 1990 The significance of Vergil s Acidalia Mater and Venus Erycina in Catullus and Ovid Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 93 335 338 doi 10 2307 311293 JSTOR 311293 Clark Anna Divine Qualities Cult and Community in Republican Rome Oxford University Press 2007 p 177 Leonard A Curchin Leonard A Personal Wealth in Roman Spain Historia 32 2 1983 p 230 Kaufmann Heinimann in Rupke ed pp 197 98 Brain 2017 pp 51 56 Versnel H S 1994 Transition and reversal in myth and ritual Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion Vol 2 Brill p 262 Eden 1963 6 457 58 citing Pliny the Elder Natural History Vol Book 15 pp 119 21 Murcia had a shrine at the Circus Maximus Versnel H S 1994 Transition and reversal in myth and ritual Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion Vol 2 Brill p 262 see also Versnel H S April 1992 The Festival for Bona Dea and the Thesmophoria Greece amp Rome Second Series 39 1 44 doi 10 1017 S0017383500023974 S2CID 162683316 citing Plutarch Quaestiones Romanae 20 For the total exclusion of myrtle and therefore Venus at Bona Dea s rites see Bona Dea article Bull Malcolm The Mirror of the Gods How Renaissance Artists Rediscovered the Pagan Gods Oxford UP 2005 pp 218 219ISBN 978 0195219234 Brouwer Henrik H J 1997 Bona Dea The sources and a description of the cult E J Brill p 337 ISBN 978 9004086067 citing Pliny the Elder Natural History Book 23 pp 152 58 Book 15 Ch 38 p 125 Boccaccio Giovanni 2003 Famous Women I Tatti Renaissance Library Vol 1 Translated by Virginia Brown Cambridge MA Harvard University Press p xi ISBN 0 674 01130 9 Bibliography Edit Beard M Price S North J Religions of Rome Volume 1 a History illustrated Cambridge University Press 1998 Beard Mary The Roman Triumph The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press Cambridge Mass and London England 2007 hardcover ISBN 978 0 674 02613 1 Brain Carla 23 March 2017 Venus in Pompeian Domestic Space Decoration and Context Theoretical Roman Archaeology Journal 2016 51 66 doi 10 16995 TRAC2016 51 66 Champeaux J 1987 Fortuna Recherches sur le culte de la Fortuna a Rome et dans le monde romain des origines a la mort de Cesar II Les Transformations de Fortuna sous le Republique Rome Ecole Francaise de Rome pp 378 395 de Vaan Michiel 2018 Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages ISBN 978 90 04 16797 1 Eden P T Venus and the Cabbage Hermes 91 1963 pp 448 459 Hammond N G L and Scullard H H eds 1970 The Oxford Classical Dictionary Oxford Oxford University Press p 113 Langlands Rebecca 2006 Sexual Morality in Ancient Rome Cambridge University Press ISBN 978 0 521 85943 1 1 Lloyd Morgan G 1986 Roman Venus public worship and private rites In M Henig and A King eds Pagan Gods and Shrines of the Roman Empire pp 179 188 Oxford Oxford Committee for Archaeology Monograph 8 Nash E 1962 Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Rome Volume 1 London A Zwemmer Ltd pp 272 263 424 Richardson L 1992 A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome Baltimore and London The Johns Hopkins University Press pp 92 165 167 408 409 411 ISBN 0 8018 4300 6 Room A 1983 Room s Classical Dictionary London and Boston Routledge amp Kegan Paul pp 319 322 Rupke Jorg Editor A Companion to Roman Religion Wiley Blackwell 2007 ISBN 978 1 4051 2943 5 Schilling R 1982 2nd ed La Religion Romaine de Venus depuis les origines jusqu au temps d Auguste Paris Editions E de Boccard Schilling R in Bonnefoy Y and Doniger W Editors Roman and European Mythologies English translation University of Chicago Press 1991 pp 146 2 Scullard H H 1981 Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic London Thames and Hudson pp 97 107 Simon E 1990 Die Gotter der Romer Munich Hirmer Verlag pp 213 228 Staples Ariadne 1998 From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins Sex and Category in Roman Religion London Routledge ISBN 0415132339 Turcan Robert 2001 The Cults of the Roman Empire Blackwell ISBN 0631200460 Wagenvoort Hendrik The Origins of the goddess Venus first published as De deae Veneris origine Mnemnosyne Series IV 17 1964 pp 47 77 in Pietas selected studies in Roman religion Brill 1980 Weinstock S 1971 Divus Julius Oxford Clarendon Press pp 80 90 Gerd Scherm Brigitte Tast Astarte und Venus Eine foto lyrische Annaherung 1996 ISBN 3 88842 603 0External links EditWikisource has the text of the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology s article about Venus Media related to Venus dea at Wikimedia CommonsWikiquote has quotations related to Venus mythology Britannica Online Encyclopedia The Roman goddess Venus highlights at The British Museum Warburg Institute Iconographic Database ca 2 300 images of Venus Venus Chiding Cupid for Learning to Cast Accounts by Sir Joshua Reynolds at the Lady Lever Art Gallery Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Venus mythology amp oldid 1094112461, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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