Many of the Roman Gods and Goddesses have similar attributes for the Greek counterparts, for Venus, the Goddess of Love her Greek counterpart is Aphrodite, the Goddess of Beauty. Venus is always depicted in art as being a vision of purity and beauty.
In both cases, both women represent desire in the form of sexual curiosity. Despite Venus being a symbol for fertility, she was a beckon for Roman people birthing their hero of the Troy war, Aeneas.
The great poet and playwright, William Shakespeare wrote Venus and Adonis, which was the first to document the myth of Venus and Adonis in English. The poem tells of Venus, the Goddess of Love and her attempt to seduce Adonis, a human male who wasn’t attracted to any woman. By force, she can get Adonis to listen to her and kiss her out of guilt afraid that after seeing her faint he had caused her death.
The poems explore the comparison of love verses lust and what defines one act of love from the other. Adonis is adamant about going hunting, yet it is what kills him in the end. Venus, having fallen for Adonis is distraught. She decrees that love will henceforth be mixed with suspicion, fear, and sadness. Venus wants others to sympathize with what she had endured when pursuing love.
Again, Venus shares the same symbolism as Aphrodite, ranging from roses, wine, the scallop shell, doves, dolphins, pomegranates, pearls, mirrors, and girdles. Many associates her name to represent Roman citizens that worshiped her, as “Venus” translates to desire love in Roman dialect. Roman generals wore a myrtle crown, to purify themselves and their armies or hoped to receive victory in combat.
During the month of April Venus is celebrated all month long with numerous festivals and celebrations. Romans believed that in April, nature was at its peak having the trees and flowers in full bloom. The festival of Venus Genetrix, is held on September 26th, honors the vow of Julius Caesar. In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar created a temple in his image after taking Venus as his wife despite learning of their ancestral heritage.
Another festival celebrating Venus is Vinalia Rustica, held on August 19th, a joyous occasion celebrating the rich harvest and fertility with music, food, dancing, and consumption of wine. Some believe that the festival was for Jupiter, influencing the harvest of the grapes for the wine by controlling the weather.
It’s true that both the Greek deity Aphrodite and the Roman Goddess Venus have many similarities, but they both served different roles to those that worried them. They both represented love, fertility, and sex, yet Venus represents victory and purity. Aphrodite represents passion, beauty, and victory in combat.