Ans. She was the goddess of love and beauty. She sprang from the froth of the sea; for this reason the Greeks called her Aphrodi´te, from Aphros, meaning foam. As soon as she was born, she was placed like a pearl in a shell instead of a cradle, and the god Zephyrus (the west wind) wafted her to the shores of Cyprus.
Ques. By whom was she educated?
Ans. She was educated and adorned by the Horæ or Hours, who carried her to heaven as soon she became of age. All the gods were astonished at the beauty of Venus, and many demanded her in marriage; but Jupiter betrothed her to Vulcan, an ugly and deformed divinity.
Ques. How is Venus represented?
Ans. Sometimes as a young virgin rising from the sea, or riding on the waves in a shell, while Cupids, Nereids and Dolphins are sporting around her—again, she is pictured as traversing the heavens in an ivory chariot drawn by doves. She wears a wonderful girdle called the Cestus, her doves are harnessed with golden chains, and Cupids flutter around her on silken wings. Venus is always crowned with roses.
Ques. What was there remarkable in the Cestus of Venus?
Ans. It had the property of conferring grace, beauty, and irresistible attractions on the wearer.
Ques. Where had Venus temples?
Ans. In many places. The most celebrated were at Paphos, Cytherea, Idalia and Cnidos.
Ques. Who were the companions of Venus?
Ans. The Graces were her attendants, and she was generally accompanied by her son Cupid, who was the god of love.
Ques. How is Cupid represented?
Ans. As a beautiful boy with wings, carrying a bow and arrows; he has sometimes a band over his eyes to show that love is blind.
Ques. What do you say of the festivals of Venus?
Ans. They were various, and accompanied by much that was disgraceful and immoral. The swan, the dove, and the sparrow were sacred to this goddess; and among plants, the rose, the myrtle and the apple. Incense, fruits and flowers were the ordinary sacrifices laid on her altars but birds were sometimes offered.
Ques. What remarkable temple was raised to Venus in Rome?
Ans. There was a temple dedicated to Venus Calva, or the Bald; because when the Gauls besieged Rome, the inhabitants made ropes for their military engines with the long hair of the Roman women.
Ques. On what occasion was the prize of beauty adjudged to Venus?
Ans. All the gods and goddesses had been invited to the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, Discordia, or Discord being the only one excluded. This goddess was determined to revenge the slight; she entered secretly, when all were assembled, and threw among them a golden apple on which was written: “For the fairest.” A violent quarrel immediately arose between the goddesses, for each believed herself to be the most beautiful. Juno, Minerva, and Venus disputed so eagerly, that Jupiter himself was not able to bring them to an agreement. He resolved, therefore, to refer the matter to the decision of Paris, who was then feeding his sheep on Mount Ida. This prince was the son of Priam, king of Troy. An oracle had foretold before his birth that he was destined to cause the destruction of his native city. He was, therefore, exposed on Mount Ida, where he was found and cared for by some shepherds. After he had grown up, he acquired a great reputation for the prudence with which he settled the most difficult disputes; hence the difference between the goddesses was referred to his decision. When they appeared before him, they began to court his favor with promises. Juno offered him great power; Minerva, wisdom; but Venus promised to give him for a wife the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris then pronounced Venus the fairest. He was soon after acknowledged by his father, King Priam; and Venus fulfilled her engagement by aiding him to carry off Helen, the beautiful wife of Menela´us, king of Sparta. This gave rise to the total destruction of Troy; and the prediction of the oracle with regard to Paris was accomplished.
Ques. What was the story of Hippo´menes and Atalanta?
Ans. Atalanta was the daughter of King Cœneus, and was equally renowned for her beauty and her swiftness in running. As an oracle had declared that marriage would be fatal to her, she freed herself from the importunity of her suitors by a singular expedient. She caused it to be proclaimed that any one who sought her hand should contend with her in running, with the understanding that she would marry him who should excel her in the race, but that those who were beaten should suffer death. Hard as were these conditions, many suitors presented themselves, but they were all unsuccessful, and were put to death without mercy. Hippo´menes determined to undertake the race, but first, he had recourse to Venus. This goddess gave him three golden apples gathered in the garden of the Hesper´ides, and directed him as to their use. When Hippo´menes saw that Atalanta was going to outstrip him in the race, he threw down a golden apple; the princess paused to admire and take up the glittering fruit, while Hippo´menes passed on. A second and a third time did he try the same expedient, and with such success that he reached the goal and won his bride. Hippo´menes was ungrateful to Venus, who revenged herself by changing him into a lion, and the beautiful Atalanta into a lioness.
Ques. Who was Adonis?
Ans. He was a beautiful youth, the son of Cin´yras, king of Cyprus, and was beloved by Venus. He was killed by a wild boar, while hunting with that goddess. Venus grieved much for her favorite. To commemorate his cruel fate she caused the flower anemone to spring from his blood.
According to the poets, the rose was formerly white. When Venus was hastening to the assistance of Adonis, her foot was wounded by a thorn, and some drops of blood fell upon that flower, which then assumed its present crimson hue.
Ques. Who were the Graces?
Ans. They were inferior goddesses, who presided over the banquet, the dance and all social enjoyments and elegant arts.
Ques. How many were there?
Ans. They were three in number. Their names were Euphro´syne, Agla´ia and Thalia. They are represented as beautiful young women, standing in graceful attitudes with their hands joined.
Compiled From Sources In The Public Domain.
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Smiles & Good Fortune, Teresa ************************************ It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915