nature combined with the dignity of a goddess; the drapery falls in
careless folds from the waist downwards, and her whole attitude is the
embodiment of all that is graceful and lovely in womanhood. She is of
medium height, and the form is perfect in its symmetry and faultless
Aphrodite is also frequently represented in the act of confining her
dripping locks in a knot, whilst her attendant nymphs envelop her in a
The animals sacred to her were the dove, swan, swallow, and sparrow.
Her favourite plants were the myrtle, apple-tree, rose, and poppy.
The worship of Aphrodite is supposed to have been introduced into
Greece from Central Asia. There is no doubt that she was originally
identical with the famous Astarté, the Ashtoreth of the Bible, against
whose idolatrous worship and infamous rites the prophets of old hurled
forth their sublime and powerful anathemas.
The Venus of the Romans was identified with the Aphrodite of the
Greeks. The worship of this divinity was only established in Rome in
comparatively later times. Annual festivals, called Veneralia, were held
in her honour, and the month of April, when flowers and plants spring
forth afresh, was sacred to her. She was worshipped as Venus Cloacina (or
the Purifier), and as Venus Myrtea (or the myrtle goddess), an epithet
derived from the myrtle, the emblem of Love.
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