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Venus, courtesy of Vroma

Venus is a goddess of Spring, flowers and vines. Her Latin name defined her character (venerari, "to entreat, charm"). She has taken on many attributes of Aphrodite, her Greek equivalent.

After the military defeat at Trasimene, the Sibylline Books were consulted, and a temple to Venus of Eryx, Phoenician Astarte, was dedicated on the Capitoline hill in 217 B.C.E. It was exceptional for a foreign deity to have a temple in the heart of the Capitoline. Capitoline Venus' cult did not have the ritual prostitutes famous on Mt. Eryx, Sicily; rather the cult was Roman, and linked to the Romans' Trojan origins.

Another temple was vowed to Venus Erycina extra Portam Collinam, the 23 of April 184 B.C.E. The cult statue, Venus seated with a dove and Amor, was said to have been a copy of that on Mt. Eryx. Outside the Pomerium, Venus' cult maintained more of its Sicilian character.

The Romans honored her as Venus Genetrix, the mother of the Roman people. According to legend, She fell in love with Anchises, a Trojan prince, but he was blinded when he saw her in her full glory. Their son Aeneas escaped the Fall of Troy and, after many adventures, settled in Italy. He became the forefather of the Roman people, and an ancestor of the Julii. Julius Caesar dedicated a temple to Venus Genetrix and Hadrian dedicated a temple to Venus Felix, the bringer of good fortune. Hadrian's still stands near the Flavian amphitheatre.

Venus has darker aspects too, such as Venus Libitina, an aspect of Venus associated with the extinction of life force.

Here is a full list of her epithets: Calva, Capitolina, Cloacina, Erycina, Felix, Fisica, Frutis, Genetrix, Iovia, Libitina, Martialis, Myrtea, Obsequens, Plagiaria, Syntrophus, Verticordia, Victrix.


from Lucretius' De Rerum Natura:

Mother of Rome, delight of Gods and men,
Dear Venus that beneath the gliding stars
Makest to teem the many-voyaged main
And fruitful lands- for all of living things
Through thee alone are evermore conceived,
Through thee are risen to visit the great sun-
Before thee, Goddess, and thy coming on,
Flee stormy wind and massy cloud away,
For thee the daedal Earth bears scented flowers,
For thee waters of the unvexed deep
Smile, and the hollows of the serene sky
Glow with diffused radiance for thee!
For soon as comes the springtime face of day,
And procreant gales blow from the West unbarred,
First fowls of air, smit to the heart by thee,
Foretoken thy approach, O thou Divine,
And leap the wild herds round the happy fields
Or swim the bounding torrents. Thus amain,
Seized with the spell, all creatures follow thee
Whithersoever thou walkest forth to lead,
And thence through seas and mountains and swift streams,
Through leafy homes of birds and greening plains,
Kindling the lure of love in every breast,
Thou bringest the eternal generations forth,
Kind after kind. And since 'tis thou alone
Guidest the Cosmos, and without thee naught
Is risen to reach the shining shores of light,
Nor aught of joyful or of lovely born,
Thee do I crave co-partner in that verse
Which I presume on Nature to compose


"Seu tu caelestis Venus, quae primis rerum exordiis sexuum diversitatem generato Amore sociasti et aeterna subole humano genere propagato nunc circumfluo Paphii sacrario coleris." — Apuleius, Metamorphosis 11.2

[You celestial Venus, who at the beginnings of the world united the difference of the sexes making to rise the Love and propagating the eternal progeny of the human kind, now you are honored in the temple of Paphos that the sea surrounds."]


"La Réligion Romaine de Venus" Robert Schilling "Dieux et Déesses de L'Univers Phénecien et Punique" E. Lipinski "Storia Romana LXIX 4" Cassio Dione Cocceiano

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