I decided on Venus over vampires for this post because some of you know so much about vampires than I. Seriously, I have considered turtle necks on more than one occasion.
Venus is not just any Roman goddess. She is the. We are talking love, beauty, prosperity, fertility, and victory. And she oversees sex. I could add music, art, and passion. She was so important to Romans that they claimed her as their ancestress. According to mythology, her son Aeneas fled from Troy to Italy. He became the ancestor of Remus and Romulus, who founded Rome. That is a big deal, if you’re a Roman.
So, Venus is mother of Rome, sort of. She has other ties to Greek mythology. The Romans claimed she was the same goddess as Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. For Venus the Romans adopted many Aphrodite symbols, like roses and myrtle. Myrtle was so important to this goddess that even statues of her wore myrtle wreaths.
Venus’s festival happens on the first day of April. It was called the Veneralia. Aside from draping Venus in flowers, followers also carefully washed her statue, and promised to fulfill the moral obligations of good Roman wives and husbands. Many men and women also asked her advice on matters of the heart. I am sure they got dependable answers.
Other symbols of Venus included the scallop shell, doves, dolphins, pomegranates, pearls, mirrors, and girdles. Girdles? Some of these were borrowed from Aphrodite. So was her origin story which claims that was born of seafoam.
There is a ton of artwork depicting Venus. At one point in history painting Venus was so popular, after the classical era, any unclothed female figure came to be called a Venus.
Venus had many titles which further demonstrated her importance. Venus Cloacina was the purifier; Venus Felix was the lucky (she could be prayed to for good fortune); Venus Genetrix, mother; Venus Murcia, representing the importance of myrtle to her; Venus Verticordia, the changer of hearts; Venus Victrix, the goddess of victory.
Venus was married to Vulcan, the god of fire and the forge. Oddly, Vulcan was one of the ugliest of the gods. But he loved her so much that he created a golden carriage to pull her around. The carriage was drawn by doves to match Venus’s own beauty.
Venus was also the mother of Cupid, the Roman god of love.
Despite identification with Aphrodite, Venus was a native Roman goddess. Her name is the same as a Roman word for a particular kind of love. That name can be traced all the way back to the language before Latin, to a word meaning “to desire or love”. It’s clear that Venus was with the Romans for a long time.
The planet is named Venus. It was visible in the ancient night sky and because it was so bright and beautiful, it was named Venus. Although Venus is no longer worshiped by large numbers of people, we still remember her in music and in other in art and science thanks to her widespread influence.
(Requested source reference: https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/goddesses/venus/ Greek Gods & Goddesses, February 22, 2017)
Two oldie Venus songs…
Look both ways for the goddess of love. Mind the gaps.