Classical Greek Mythology
The Greek Pantheon and the Olympians
What was Aphrodite’s role, and who was Ares?
An ancient goddess, not born of Kronos and Rhea, but of the castrated genitals of the original sky god Uranos, was the goddess of love, Aphrodite. Sometimes she was referred to as Zeus’s daughter, but if this was the case she can best be called an adopted daughter.
Aphrodite was responsible for the strange power of love, represented sometimes by Eros (Desire), her frequent companion and possibly her son. Aphrodite could cloud minds, leading people to unwise decisions. Married to the lame and least attractive god, the smithy Hephaistos, she had many lovers, including the handsome young mortal Adonis. She also caused turmoil among the Olympian family. By Hermes she produced Hermaphroditus, and by another god—it could have been Dionysos—she mothered the ugly, constantly sexually aroused fertility figure, Priapus.
Aphrodite’s most famous sexual exploit was with the god Ares, the god of war. Ares was, understandably, warlike and driven. When War and Love came together, their love-making was disturbing to the goddess’s husband, Hephaistos, so he trapped them in the course of intercourse in a net and held them up to the ridicule of the other Olympians.