Good afternoon and welcome to LLT121. My name is Dr. Pauline Nugent. I’m a member of the Classics Department and I will be offering the lecture today on the goddess, Venus or Aphrodite, who is the goddess of love and marriage. First of all, I will give you some notes on the history. We will talk about the origin of this particular goddess, who has an influence in all aspects of human life, quite obviously. She is mostly associated with the east. She’s got a sort of oriental aspect to her. She seems to be identified, also, with such gods as Inanna. Inanna is the old Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, so forth. Or you might call her a copy of Ishtar. Ishtar, from the same part of the world, would be one of the goddesses of Babylonian period. She’s also associated with Astarte or Ashtarte, if you wish, who is variously associated with Phoenicia or Anatolia, which is now, of course Turkey, or Phoenicia, the area we today call Syria. She is likewise associated with the goddess, Cybele. Cybele is often referred to as the Magna Mater, the great mother of all the gods, also associated with the area of Turkey we used to call, in antiquity, Phrygia.
Of course, she is identified, for all practical purposes, with Venus, the goddess of love in Roman mythology. So we have the goddess, Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, being a sort of carbon copy or an import from the eastern, over towards Turkey, the eastern part of the world, identified with various and sundry major fertility goddesses in that part of the world. I point this out for your information, because most of the stories that we have relating to Aphrodite take place away from Greece, so this may well explain why she is goddess of love and beauty, a universal goddess, but, at the same time, somehow, foreign or extraneous to the land of Greece. We refer to her as Cupris, or Kyprus and a “C” and a “K” in Greece are, obviously, the same letter. It is a variation of the name Cyprus, the Island of Cyprus, over in that part of the world. This is for the simple reason that, when she was born, she floated over towards the direction of Cyprus. So we refer to her by the epithet Cupris or Cyprus, if you will. She is also called Paphos. If you know a little bit about your geography, Paphos happens to be the capital of Cyprus. In the old times, one of the major cities, it isn’t the capital today but it is one of the major cities in Cyprus. Once again, we have situated her over in the east. The one exception is the story that connects Aphrodite with Ares. We will talk about that as we go along. With that apart—Aphrodite and Ares and their love affair—all the rest of the history that we associate with Aphrodite tends to be outside the province of Greece.
Now, I want to talk about some general information on this particular goddess. We’ll call it just general info and place a number of items under that topic. Love and beauty, generally speaking, is what we associate with Aphrodite. She is the personification, if you will, of the concept of human love, of sexual love, of beauty. First of all, with regards to her birth, we have a number of stories about the birth of Aphrodite. One of them comes from the poet, Hesiod. Hesiod, whose work, the Theogony, gives us most of what we know about the earliest thinking of the Greeks in terms of the birth of their gods, the creation of their world, and the creation of humankind. We have Hesiod’s Theogony telling us a little bit about the birth of Aphrodite. This comes from lines 188 of the Theogony, where we find an account of the castration of Uranus. You may well remember the name of that particular god, one of the early sky gods, Uranus, of course, being the Greek word for sky. In that story, Gaia has married Uranus. Gaia, Mother Earth, got sick and tired of having the children to whom she gave birth stuffed back into Mother Earth by Uranus, their dad. So she just decides, “Well, we’ll get rid of this once for all.” So she castrates her husband, Uranus. Or rather, she has her son, Cronus, castrate his dad, Uranus, and throw the severed members into the water.
Now, from those severed members, we eventually find, a young maiden arise. Around those severed genitals we have froth forming. Out of the foam, or the froth that surrounded these severed members of Uranus, we have the birth of Aphrodite, a beautiful young maiden arise. Now we have a Greek word “afros.” Afros, which could be written in English as “afros,” is the Greek word for “foam.” Therefore, it’s a very easy step to see the name of the goddess is Aphrodite, she who arose from the foam—on the genitals of Uranus. So that is one story about the birth of Aphrodite. There is another one.
The other one comes to us from Homer. So first we have Hesiod’s story. Second, we have Homer. Homer tells us that she, Aphrodite, is the daughter of Zeus and a nymph lady called Dione. We don’t have a lot of support in our major sources for this particular story. But still, it comes from Homer, and Homer is one of our major authors in terms of early Greek thinking. What is interesting in this particular aspect is that Dione—the very name of Dione—is really a part of Zeus, a feminine equivalent, if you will, of the name of Zeus. In Greek, this becomes “dios” for the genitive form. Then it’s a little step to Dione, to make it a feminine form. So what do we have here? It’s very difficult to say, but the author seems to tell us she’s certainly the daughter of Zeus and some variation of Zeus’s name. So we have, in other words, a very real ambiguity about the birth of this particular goddess. We’ve got two stories on that particular form. I want to read you just a tiny little part, which comes, first of all, from the Theogony, about Aphrodite when she is born.
This is what the poet says. This is directly from Hesiod’s Theogony, about line 188. He says, “As soon as he had cut off the genitals of his father, he threw them from land into the turbulent sea. They were carried across the sea for a long time. White foam arose from the immortal flesh. Within it, a girl grew. First she came to holy Kythera.” Kythera is a little island very close over there towards Cyprus. Therefore Kythera gives us the other name, Cytheria, another name or epithet, or descriptive adjective of Aphrodite. So she goes to Cytheria. Next she washed up on the shores of Cyprus. Therefore we call her Cupris or Cyprus. Now, if you will listen very carefully, this is how she is described. “an awesome and beautiful goddess, and grass grew beneath her supple feet.” Then we are told that she is not alone. She is accompanied by a rather lovely group of pleasant individuals. This is what Hesiod says. “Eros accompanies her.” Eros, the god of love, accompanies her. “And fair Himeros.” Eros, a Greek word for “love,” Himeros, a Greek word for “desire.” So we could say, in English, that, wherever you’ve got Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, you have a cute little Cupid personification of love, and you awaken desire in the person. When first she was born to meet the gods and went to meet the gods, Aphrodite was accompanied by both Eros and Himerus. This next little part is what I consider probably the most insightful information that Hesiod gives us. Listen to what he says. “She has such honor from the first, and this is her province among mortals and immortals.” And this is the description: “Girls’ whispers and smiles and deceptions, sweet pleasure, and sexual love and tenderness.” There you have it in two lines. You have smiles and deceptions. In other words, right from the very start, from our earliest sources of Greek mythology, there is a sense of ambivalence about this notion of love, of human love, of love as a gift which is irrepressible and desirable, but also, at the same time, a sort of negative sense to it, as well. That is why we’ve got the idea of love as giving rise to girls’ whispers and smiles, but, at the same time, also their deceptions.
I want to go back, for just a moment, if I may, to an earlier version of Eros. Eros was the god of love, has appeared on the scene earlier than Aphrodite. In other words, in this same work, the Theogony, a little earlier on, say about line 120, we are told that the world is created. There is Chaos. It just comes and Hesiod doesn’t bother to tell us how it gets there. He just says, “There it is.” We have Chaos and we have Gaia. We have Mother Earth, Chaos. We have Gaia or Mother Earth. We have Tartarus. We have Eros. Then we have Uranus and we have things like Urea. We have Oceanus. In other words, all these particular items, if you noticed very closely, are earth, sky, a black hole in the earth, mountains, and this is water.
But what else? In other words, at the beginning of creation, when there was Chaos, then there was something else, that something else was a series of what I want to refer to as nature deities. Nature. You have mountains. You have rivers or water, mountains, sky and earth. And a black hole in the Earth. Then we’ve got an oddity added, as if it were almost out of place. You’ve got Eros. Eros is not really a nature deity, at least not in the sense that the others are, so, if you were to ask me what do we have in the beginning? After Chaos, we have a series of nature deities. Then we have love. We have love. The concept of love was right there at the start. This is the way Hesiod tells us about love. He describes love as Eros, most beautiful among the immortal gods, limb weakener, who conquers the mind and sensible thought in the breasts of gods and humans. Now, that’s an interesting concept. Very different from the nature gods is love. It’s a very different sense. It is identified as an immortal god, but an immortal god who weakens the limbs of people. In other words, your knees are knocking when you are anxious about what you’re going to say to your beloved. Love, Eros, is seen as conquering the mind and sensible thought for gods and humans. In other words, if you’re in love or you’re falling in love, you’ve been in love, you’re on your honeymoon, you’ve just got married or you’re looking forward to it, love can interfere with the sensibleness of your expressions. You will find yourself, for instance, when you’re in love saying things you wouldn’t be caught dead saying in another situation.
So right from the start, even before the birth of Aphrodite, we have the Greeks talking about love in a sort of ambiguous sense. It’s attraction. It’s irresistible attraction, if you will, but also the sense in which limbs are weakened, minds are obscured, thoughts are not so clear. So it’s irresistible, but there is a kind of, perhaps we could even say enslavement, there. So that certain sense of ambiguity is set up in Greek thought right from the start. That’s an interesting thing I’d like you to keep in mind. You can merely remember it, if you want, by talking about the smiles and deceits of young girls. It’s wonderful, but beware that sense of cave carnum—watch out—that is talked about when we talk about love in Greek. Now when we come back to just general ideas on this particular goddess, we could mention that some of her symbols are rather interesting. One of the symbols that is usually associated with Aphrodite are doves. Love doves. We talk about that today, even. The sparrow is sometimes associated and the swans, that beautiful, graceful swan is shown, frequently, in artworks as drawing her chariot. So these would be, basically, her symbols. She is seen as the wife of a gentleman called Hephaestus. Hephaestus—this will be number two. Wife of—you may remember, that Hephaestus is one of the gods, but not particularly the cutest. He’s the god who is a bit deformed, a bit defective, and his mom or his dad threw him out of heaven. Zeus, in some stories and, of course, in other stories he’s the son only of Hera. So Hera got tired of looking at him and wasn’t too happy with him, so she threw him out of heaven—out of Olympus—for a while.
But here we are, Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, married to Hephaestus. Another case, wouldn’t you say, of maybe beauty and the beast? Opposites attract, something we can say is still very much a part of human life today. She’s not particularly faithful to Hephaestus. She has a number of liaisons in her life. But, officially, she is the wife of the ugliest of the gods. There’s one story about the unfaithfulness of Aphrodite. It’s associated with the god, Ares. Ares and Aphrodite are in love with one another. You might say well, that’s a rather odd couple isn’t it? Well, no more odd than this one for sure. There’s a certain ambiguity about the beautiful wife and the ugliest of the gods. There’s a certain ambiguity here, or perhaps they’re more compatible, but Ares, you remember, is the god of war. So you have war matching with love. An side here for a moment, I might want to mention, that love and war, particularly in Roman elegiac poets are very often compared, contrasted, paralleled to one another. This event is given to us in Odyssey Book 8. Homer tells us the story. It’s a rather laughable story. It’s done for the entertainment of the gods and the diffusion of tension. Hephaestus is away, visiting some of his far-off friends. Ares creeps into Aphrodite’s bed, associates with Aphrodite in the absence of her husband. The sun, Helios, tells on them. Helios, the sun god, who sees everything, tells Hephaestus, “Hey, watch out. Guess what’s happening at home?” So Hephaestus, instead of continuing on his journey, comes back home and he weaves these wonderful little invisible webs over his bed so that next time Ares and Aphrodite get together in Hephaestus’s chamber, they are going to be caught.
That is exactly what happens. They become the butt of the jokes of all the gods. I might want to add here that the goddesses were much more discreet. They didn’t bother to come and admire the couple caught in the act. So we have that particular little story coming to us from Homer himself. Later literature talked to us about Aphrodite as being the mother of Cupid or Eros. I would suggest that you try to keep this earlier Eros—the earlier one we talked about over here—try to keep him apart. He’s a much earlier variation. Love, yes, but I tend not to equate him with the same character which appears in later literature. Cupid in Latin, but Eros, the Greek translation. So she is shown as the mother of Cupid and she is also shown as the mother of a number of other characters as well. But this is the Eros, which we associate with say, for instance, Valentine’s Day. This is the boy, the little cherub with his little bow and arrow that shoots people and has them fall helplessly in love rather than the first force, which is a more primeval or primitive source of nature. Moving along just a little bit farther, I want to look a second time at the sense of ambiguity we’ve spoken about the double story on the birth of Aphrodite.
Now there’s also another story on the name of Aphrodite. She’s got two titles. She’s got the title of Urania or, if you prefer, in English, Urania. Aphrodite, Urania, the heavenly Aphrodite given to her because of the Hesiodic story of her birth, her birth from the foam as given in Hesiod. This title shows Aphrodite as a goddess of pure love, perhaps we would want to say a higher, more philosophical type of love, a more elevated love. Let’s call it that. Elevated love. The second title she’s got is Pandamos. “Pan” is a Greek word meaning “all” and “damos” is the word that gives us “democracy.” So it simply means “all people.” Under this guise she is shown as the patron of normal, everyday family life, marriage, sexual love and so forth. This is the more earthy Aphrodite, whereas this, by its very name, is the more heavenly Aphrodite. Uranus, over here, remember, meant the god of the sky. So there are two different aspects which reflect through her title. One, giving her a sense of patroness of elevated love, love of philosophy, or the love of the truth, and the beautiful, and the love that surpasses simple, earthly love to get to something which would be the essence of love. That would be Aphrodite, Urania or Urania. Then you have the more earthy form. Both are very real, more sensuous type for the Aphrodite Pandamos.
Now I want to talk just a little bit about the stories or the myths created or associated with Aphrodite. You might want to leave a little space in your notes under number three. If we have a little time at the end we’ll come back and do a few more items there. When we talk about the myths of Aphrodite what we’ve got there are a number of stories, one of which I’ve already given you, which is the story given in Homer Odyssey Book 8. These are stories associated—myths or stories—associated with stories of Aphrodite. There are a number. Your book will probably give you a lot of major detail and I suggest you may want to refer to those. This is part three in our outline, now. We’ve talked about Ares and Aphrodite, so we won’t talk about that again. Your reference, once more, is Odyssey 8. We have the wonderful story of Anchises. We have another story about Paris, for instance, and another story about Pygmalion. We’ll see if we can get through all those today. We’ll just go that far. When we talk about Anchises this is a very lovely story. Anchises is a shepherd, a wonderfully handsome shepherd over in the Phrygian territory, over by Troy, in what we call today Turkey, Northwestern Turkey. So, once again, remember I said, apart from Ares and Aphrodite, we’re going to be abroad in most of our stories. We’re going to be over in sort of an oriental setting for Aphrodite. Aphrodite falls in love with this shepherd. She talks him into believing that she really isn’t a goddess. She’s just a very pretty girl, human being, but her father is so and so and her mother is so and so. She is falling in love with him and they have an affair. The child born of that union is the famous Aeneas, who is the hero of Vergil’s Aeneid. Vergil’s Aeneid is the story of Rome’s founding and its greatness. The main character is Aeneas, offspring of Anchises the shepherd, the Trojan or Phrygian shepherd, and the goddess Aphrodite. In this story, we tend to say and the goddess Venus. In other words, we call Aphrodite by her Roman name because now we’re getting into Rome and Roman territory. So, normally we refer to her here. She features quite frequently in the Aeneid hovers over her beloved son, Aeneas. Frustrated him in so far as she won’t allow him to embrace her; to be with her and so forth, but she also protects him. So Venus and Anchises, parents to Aeneas, the hero of Rome, the founding hero of what will become the city of Rome. The story of Paris, Paris is, again, another shepherd, and a very, very handsome shepherd at that. Paris is actually the son of the queen and the king of Troy. There was a prophesy about Paris, that he would really destroy Troy when he grew up. So, when he was a baby he was put out in the mountains to die, to be destroyed. Nevertheless, as with all promising and famous people, they have rough beginnings, but he survived. He’s a very handsome young man. Now it happens that Paris is out in the fields taking care of the sheep and there’s a big wedding going on. The wedding is the marriage of Peleus and Thetis. Talk about the marriage of the century, this was it. Peleus and Thetis are getting married and Zeus is throwing a party for everybody—oh, well, not quite. Almost everybody is invited. There is one lady, Eris, and she doesn’t get an invitation, but, guess what? She crashes the party anyway. Eris, you see translates as strife, not exactly the type you want to attend your wedding party. So she comes anyway. She brings a gift. The gift she brings is a golden apple with the inscription, “for the fairest.” She throws it in on the wedding floor and Zeus has a problem in his hand. He thinks, “Oops, how am I going to decide between my wife, Hera and my beloved daughter, Aphrodite, and my most beloved daughter, Athena, my firstborn. So he has a major problem. He thinks, “Oh, I know how to go out of this one. He calls the messenger of the gods, whose name is, of course, Hermes. He says, “Hermes, take these three ladies over to the mountains of Troy, where Paris is. If he is the prettiest, most, handsome man around, I bet he’d make a good judgment on whom is the fairest of these three.” End of story. After all kinds of promises Aphrodite becomes the winner. Hera had promised great control and power. Athena had promised Paris success in war and weaponry, but Aphrodite had promised him the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife. So what we have here in the story of Aphrodite is really the beginning of the Trojan War. Paris chooses Aphrodite and gets his wife, Helen of Troy, who, unfortunately, just happens to be married to somebody by this time. That somebody, of course, is the hero Menelaus, King Menelaus. So with a little bit of conniving from Aphrodite, she does fulfill her promise and Paris and Helen elope.
Then there’s the story of Pygmalion. Pygmalion is an interesting character. Pygmalion was actually king in Cyprus. Remember, we’ve talked about that island way over there towards the near east, the orient. Pygmalion may well be, perhaps, one of the more familiar stories to you, because there’s a work by George Bernard Shaw which is called Pygmalion. You may or may not be aware of it, but that’s the play, Pygmalion, by Bernard Shaw which gives us My Fair Lady. You got it. All the way back to Pygmalion. Pygmalion, King of Cyprus, is quite disgusted with the ladies at the time. He just has no interest in these ladies. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with women, whatsoever, because they’re rather offensive. So he’s a bit of a sculptor, himself. So he sculpts a statue of a female. It is so perfect that he falls in love with this statue and treats it as if it were a human person. Then, of course, there is the major feast of Aphrodite over at Paphos. Pygmalion goes there to the feast and he prays to Aphrodite, “Oh, please, make my statue come to life.” She obligingly gives life to the statue. So we have the story of Pygmalion and his statue, which is not named in our earlier sources. This, by the way, comes from Ovid, his Metamorphosis. We later call her Galatea. So there you have the story of Pygmalion and Galatea. They have a child and the child’s name is Paphos. Does that sound familiar? Well, of course. We’ve talked about it as being the place where Aphrodite has her major shrine on the island of Cyprus. Paphos then later marries and has a son, Cinyras, I won’t bother writing the name for you. Cinyras has a daughter, Myrrha. Myrrha falls in love with her father, because there was a little problem. Myrrha’s mother had boasted that her daughter, Myrrha, was even more beautiful than Aphrodite herself. Of course, you don’t get by in Greek mythology by boasting you are as good as the gods or the goddesses. In other words, it’s the beginning of your downfall. As punishment, Aphrodite did indeed cause Myrrha to fall in love with her father, Cinyras. In disguise, through the conniving of the girl’s nurse, she had sexual relations with her father, became pregnant by her father and later gave birth to a young boy, Adonis, but not in a normal way, because when her father discovered who this lovely young girl was with whom he had been associating every evening and discovered it was his daughter, he banished her immediately. She, in her flight from Rome, was changed into a tree, a myrrh tree. Notice the aetiological foundation of her name. When she the tree and so forth was to give birth, it split open and we have the boy, Adonis. Adonis is a lovely story. We hardly have a lot of time to get into that today. Adonis is another story we could add over there to the stories of Aphrodite. He became a hunter, a lovely young boy, very handsome. He was beloved of Aphrodite. She associated with him. She warned him to be very careful whenever he went hunting. But, like a lot of young men, he just listened to some of her story and went hunting anyway. Unfortunately, he was gored by a boar, killed by a boar. Aphrodite, as you can imagine, was quite disconsolate when her poor little young love was killed. So she asked the gods to allow her to have a memorial of him. She poured nectar over the dying Adonis and up springs the flower called the anemone. You might say, “What does an anemone got to do with Adonis?” Well, it doesn’t exactly have a lot to do with him but, from his blood as he dies, the anemone springs up. This word “anemone” is the Greek word for “wind.” The anemone is a short-lived flower because the wind blows upon it and it doesn’t last very long. A sense of the transient nature of life and indeed of human love. So we have another story there, a sort of an aetiological story, telling us where the flower comes from.
Now I said I would mention—maybe we can do that here—that Aphrodite is the mother of Cupid. She is also the mother of a gentleman called Hermaphroditus, a rather difficult name no doubt. Let me write it up here. Hermaphroditus. If you look closely at the name, you’ll certainly recognize Aphrodite’s own name in there and a second look will tell you that, possibly, the father of this child is Hermes. You would be right to so guess. Hermaphroditus is the offspring of the union between Aphrodite and Hermes. We’ve already spoken of Cupid as the offspring of Aphrodite and Ares. So this is Hermes and Aphrodite. Aphrodite’s son, Hermaphroditus, was a very, very handsome young man. A young nymph saw him. Her name was Salmacis. One day, he was out swimming and this young nymph saw him, fell in love with him, wanted to embrace him. He would have nothing to do with her. She jumped into the river, grabbed hold of him, and the two become one person, so that today we use the term, hermaphrodite, to symbolize somebody who has dual gender characteristics, part female and part male. That’s the little story that comes from Hermaphroditus, the son of Aphrodite and Hermes.
Then we have a rather nasty character called Priapus. I’m not going to give you very much on him, either. I call him the scarecrow, basically. He is supposedly a son of Aphrodite and, well, I suppose your guess is as good as mine. Some say, maybe Dionysus, maybe Hermes, maybe somebody. We really don’t know. This is a rather crude character. An ithyphallic character, a character that goes around and is a rather promiscuous at best. That’s a fancy term for saying he’s quite a lude character, often associated with a jackass, an animal which, unfortunately, we don’t think of in very elevated terms at times. So Priapus is not used much in major stories but he does function in the scarecrow type, basically, as a garden god, a symbol of fertility. He is a god who goes around with an erect phallus at all times. Basically is used in a lot of salacious stories. It’s interesting to see how such ugly characters can be tied into goddess of beauty.
Now we have a few minutes where I can just mention one or two other sources—literary sources—which might be of interest to you. We’ll sort of finish up with this general idea. Other literary sources I’ve mentioned, as you noted, in the earlier part, the Theogony by Hesiod. I’ve referred to the Odyssey Book 8 for the story of Ares and Aphrodite, of course, by Homer. Then we have Euripides’s Hippolytus. That’s the name of one of his plays. Hippolytus is a young man who is very much in love with beauty and Diana and chastity and will have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Venus or Aphrodite. So, as a punishment for his not taking Aphrodite and human love into account—in other words, trying to live free of love’s power—he’s, really, killed, actually, at the end. He is cursed. He is somebody whose stepmother falls in love with him. The stepmother sort of changes the subject. This is Phaedra, the story of Phaedra, his stepmother changes the subject and says, “He attacked me. He tried to rape me,” which of course was not the case. There you have Phaedra telling the father of the boy, Theseus, that his boy is guilty of rape or attempted rape. The father curses the boy and the boy is killed. Before he dies, Diana or Artemis, the goddess to whom he is basically dedicated, sees that the father has the proper story. Therefore he is sort of vindicated, but nonetheless he dies. What you actually have there in that story, which would actually take a semester to go through, really, is a struggle between elevated pure love, if you want, or abstract philosophical love and sexual, human, normal family love. You have a conflict really played out on the natural level, but it really is between Artemis and Aphrodite. Of course, this struggle just tends to show you that we can’t have excesses in either walk of life. I want to try to get a second one in, if we have a moment. A second source, these are extra sources in addition to Hesiod and Homer and Euripides. We have a work by a man called Lucritius. Lucritius has a work called De Rerum Natura, which translates into English as about On the Nature of Things, On the Nature of the Universe, or On the Nature of the Elements. So the man is Lucritius. Oh, we don’t quite know when he was born, let’s say, around 100 BCE. He died about the middle of the century. By 55 BCE he was certainly dead. This work, I am guessing, is probably dated around 59 BCE. From internal evidence, we can sort of derive that. Now that work is sort of ignored by most people when they talk about Aphrodite. I find it a very interesting part, in fact, a very good place to wind up our lecture today. I will read a little section from there. I will assign you as homework a chance to read Plato’s Symposium and find the wonderful section that he has about the pre-genders, the male, female, and the androgynous. The fact that, originally, the gods had three sexes when the human beings were created. But the androgynous became a little arrogant, a little too pushy, and the gods just split the androgynous in two. For the rest of our lives, we go around looking for the part that fits. In other words, it is the story of our love life, our search for a mate who really fits. To finish up there, let me just read you a little bit of the introduction the Nature of the Universe by Lucricious. He begins his first book by saying, “Mother of Aeneas...” Of course, you now know we’re saying Venus or Aphrodite. “Mother of Aeneas and his race, delight of mortals and men, life-giving Venus, it is your doing that under the wheelings, the constellations of the sky, all nature teems with life, both the sea that buoys up our ships and the earth that yields our food. Through you, all living creatures are conceived and come to look upon the sunlight. Before you the winds flee, and at your coming the clouds forsake the sky. For you the inventive of earth flings up sweet flowers and for you the ocean laughs and the sky is calm.” And so forth. And on he goes to show that all life—whether human or natural—is under the constant influence and control of Aphrodite alias Venus, the mother and goddess of love and beauty. Thank you.