Aphrodite (Venus), Greco-Roman goddess of love and beauty, commonly known even thousands of years after her worshipers ceased to exist. In modern society her name evokes the epitome of beauty and desire. But her little known back story is not nearly so glamorous as one might think. It is true that Aphrodite was thought to the most beautiful of all the goddesses – although the other goddesses will argue that in the story of the Judgement of Paris, but that’s for another day.
Her father, Zeus, believed that the gods lust for her would result in war. To abate this, he arranged a marriage to Hephaestus (Vulcan). Hephaestus was the god of fire and crafts such as blacksmithing. He was reportly so beastly and disfigured that his own mother, Hera (Juno), threw him from Mount Olympus leaving him lame. As you can imagine, Aphrodite was not pleased to be forced into this marriage. Throughout the history of her mythology, she will play the role of a vindictive and adulterous woman, carrying on affairs – most notably with Ares (Mars). You can imagine what an unhappy life this must of been.
In modern society, there are still women forced into marriage in many countries, particularly in developing countries. Prepubescent girls are wed to elderly men, raped, and subjected to lives of isolation and abuse.