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Ancient Goddesses of Love

Ancient civilizations have a variety of gods and goddesses that represent aspects of their everyday lives. In this article, you will encounter a handful of goddesses that not only represent love, but also stand for beauty, attraction, magic, and seductiveness. You will find that many of the goddesses listed share similarities with one another.

Aphrodite , Greek

One of the most popular and well known of love goddesses is Aphrodite , the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She’s mentioned a lot of Greek myths and tales, and also appears in the story about the Trojan War. Because the Trojan Paris gave the deity the apple of discord as a reward for being the most beautiful of the goddesses, she decided to side with the Trojans when they engaged in war. Aphrodite is also known for having many affairs with both humans and gods. From these affairs, she had children, such as Eros, Aeneas, and Anteros.

Venus , Roman

As the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus is often compared to or equated with Aphrodite. She was originally the Italian goddess of vegetation and the patron of gardens, and was then best known as the goddess of chastity and beauty. In Roman myths, her love encounters are shaped to resemble the exploits of Aphrodite. This includes a marriage to Vulcan and having an affair with Mars. Venus signified the start of spring and considered to bring joy to humans and gods. A myth involving Venus tells the tale of Cupid and Psyche in Apuleius’ ‘The Golden Ass’ where Venus sends her daughter-in-law to the Underworld in order to retrieve a beauty ointment. Venus is also known as the daughter of Jupiter and the mother of Cupid.

Ishtar , Babylonian

Ishtar is the Babylonian goddess of love, procreation, and war. In myths, she gained a reputation for destroying her lovers, which included a stallion, lion, and shepherd. However, Ishtar feel deep in love with the farm god named Tammuz. When he died, she even followed him to the Underworld, but she was unable to retrieve him. Ishtar is also known as the daughter and consort of the Anu , god of air.

Inanna , Sumerian

In the Mesopotamian region, Inanna represented the oldest of the love goddesses. She was a Sumerian goddess who was associated with love and war. Even though she is regarded as a virgin, Inanna oversees procreation, sexual love, and fertility. From the 3rd millennium BC, the goddess was worshipped until the 6th century. In artistic depictions, she was seen driving a chariot pulled by seven lions.

Hathor , Egyptian

Oftentimes, you will see the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor wearing a sun disk with horns on her head. In some depictions, she appeared as a cow. While she had the power to destroy mankind, she also was a patron of lovers and a goddess of childbirth. In Egyptian myths, one tale tells of how Hathor nursed Horus when he was an infant, as he was being hidden from Seth.