In Greek mythology Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) was the goddess of love and fertility. In art she is often accompanied by her assistant Eros (or Cupid), whose arrows of love are irresistible. Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Another story recounts that she did not have parents, but arose from the foam of the sea.
Aphrodite married Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the Olympians, but also regularly had love affairs with other gods and mortals. She had a son, Aeneas, the hero of Virgil’s famous epic poem the Aeneid, with Anchises.
Aphrodite was involved with the origins of the Trojan War. Paris, a Trojan, had to decide which goddess was the most beautiful: Hera, Athena or Aphrodite. Paris chose Aphrodite, who promised to reward him by giving him the most beautiful woman in the world. By abducting the Spartan Helen, Paris unleashed the Trojan War.