Aphrodite

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Aphrodite - Photo of Aphrodite Known as Lely's Venus

Lely's Venus (Aphrodite)
1st or 2nd century A.D. Roman copy of a Greek original of Aphrodite. Alun Salt at Flickr.com

This nude statue of Aphrodite is known as "Lely's Venus". Now in the British Museum Lely's Venus was sculpted in the 2nd century A.D.

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of beauty and love. She is often shown nude or semi-nude, often with a hand to help with modesty. Statues of Aphrodite are often called Venus, which is a Roman name. There are many stories in Greek mythology about Aphrodite -- especially of her loves, but also of her birth.

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Aphrodite - Photo of the Roman Version of the Birth of Aphrodite or Venus

Venus in a Half Shell From Pompeii
Venus in a Half Shell From Pompeii. CC bengal*foam at Flickr.

The story of the birth of Aphrodite explains her presence on something found at sea, the half shell: Aphrodite was born from the foam that surfaced from the casting by Uranus of his father Cronus' testicles into the sea. For this reason, Aphrodite is called the foam-born. Because she landed at either Cyprus or Cythera, Aphrodite is referred to as the Cyprian or Cytherea.

The other version of the birth of Aphrodite makes her the daughter of Zeus and Dione.

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Aphrodite - Photo of a Copy of Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Knidos

Copy of Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Knidos.
Copy of Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Knidos. Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons.

The Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Knidos from c. 350 B.C. was the first major statue of a female figure in the nude. One hand modestly covers her private parts. Legend has it that Praxiteles used the beautiful courtesan Phryne as his model.

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Aphrodite - Photo of Aphrodite of Melos aka Venus de Milo

Venus de Milo or Aphrodite of Milos
Venus de Milo or Aphrodite of Milos. CC Flickr User Jay8085

In 1820, the half naked marble Aphrodite statue now known as the Venus de Milo (Venus di Milo) was found on the island of Melos in the Cyclades [See Southern Greece Map.]. The French King Louis XVIII donated it to the Louvre. The Louvre website suggests the statue might not be Aphrodite at all, but the sea nymph Amphitrite. The date of the statue is unknown, but the same site gives reasons for calling it a Hellenistic sculpture probably dating to the late 2nd century B.C.

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Gill, N.S. "Aphrodite." ThoughtCo, Aug. 11, 2016, thoughtco.com/aphrodite-117053. Gill, N.S. (2016, August 11). Aphrodite. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/aphrodite-117053 Gill, N.S. "Aphrodite." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/aphrodite-117053 (accessed September 20, 2017).