Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love and Beauty, is equivalent to the Greek goddess Aphrodite. The meaning of Venus is "charm" in archaic Latin. Venus is also known as Venus Verticordia (Goddess of Chastity) and Venus Victrix (Goddess of Victory).
Following the Roman myth, after Aeneas, the son of Venus fled to Rome from Troy after the Trojan War with his father on his back, he founded the Roman race in Italy. From there, Venus was considered as the divine ancestress of Romans and was given an esteemed place among all Roman gods. She is also called Venus Genetrix and is worshiped as Goddess of Spring.
Roman Mythology and Venus
According to Roman mythology, Venus is known as the "Daughter of Heaven and Sea". Her parents were the Greek gods Uranus and Gaia. Venus, the "Goddess of Love" is not their love child. According to the myth, Gaia cuts the genitals of Uranus and throws into the ocean. His genitals mate with the Goddess of Ocean to give birth to Venus.
Though Venus married and had children, she had no maternal instincts. She had many extramarital affairs with gods such as Ares, the God of War, and Adonis and so on. Venus gave importance to charm, beauty, sensuality, sexuality, and pleasure.
The Romans worshiped Venus as the Goddess of Fertility. In spite of having numerous love affairs with various gods and mortals, Roman women worshiped Venus as the Goddess of Chastity and the Symbol of Feminism. Many Romans also worship her as the Goddess of Good Fortune and call her by the name Venus Felix.
The historians opine that Venus has no mythology of her own. Since she identified with the Greek goddess Aphrodite, the myths of Aphrodite are borrowed and applied to her.
The Cult of Venus
Romans believe they are the descendants of Venus. Ancient Romans held Venus is very high esteem and believed that she had the power to protect the morals and chastity of maidens. Emperors such as Sulla, Caesar and Pompey considered Venus as their protector.
It was during the rule of Julius Caesar that Venus was worshiped and temples were constructed in her name. The race of Caesar or the Julian clan believed they were direct descendants of Venus. Caesar started a religious cult in her name. She was known as Venus Genetrix and was honored as the divine goddess of the Julian clan.
Augustus Caesar carried forward the cult and associated Venus Genetrix with Mars Ultor. Mars Ultor is one of the divine ancestors of Romans. Romans of the Julian clan believe Venus and Mars helped in avenging the murder of Julius Caesar. The Romans honor these two gods.
The cult of Venus began in Ardea, Lavinium and, Latium. The oldest temple of Venus dates back to 293 BC. A festival called Vinalia Rustica is held in her honor every year on August 18. A temple was built in the name of Venus Erycina in 215 BC in Capitol to commemorate the Roman defeat.
On April 23, every year, Romans celebrate a festival known as Vinalia Priora. Every year on April 1, a festival known as Veneralia was observed as a dedication to Venus Verticordia. A temple was built in her name in 114 BC.
The popularity of Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love, never faded away and even today, many Romans have faith in her.