Mother Venus Picture

Something that was quite obvious in Greek and Roman mythology but seems to have vanished from common knowledge these days is that aside from being a sex figure and all that, the goddess Venus (AKA Aphrodite) was a very very caring mother to her numerous bastard children. It's very obvious in the Aeneid (the lesser-known cousin of the Odyssey and the Illiad) where she spends basically the whole story protecting her son, the main character Aeneas from the queen of the gods, and all his other mortal and immortal enemies. She saves his life several times and often intervenes when he's hopelessly stuck or lost; it's only thanks to her that he survives and goes on to found the city that becomes Rome (he's an ancestor of Romulus, Remus and apparantly most of the Roman Emperors). Here, for instance, he's finally made it to Italy only to have to fight a war for the rights to the land and the princess (I know how that sounds but it was very noble to the Romans). In fighting Turnus, the greatest hero in all Italy, he is mortally wounded and dying. Is it the end for Aeneas and the dream of Rome? Nope. His mother Venus steps in, rescues him and takes him to a cave on a safe, distant mountaintop where she makes a medicine from holy herbs and knowledge exclusive to the gods to save his life, and then cares for him until he wakes up ready to fight again.

There's a lot more if you go looking. She's vicious to lovers who hurt her children. During the battle of Troy she was seriously injured whilst getting her unconscious son off the battlefield, making her one of the few gods ever to be hurt by a mortal (Diomedes, a Greek hero who also deserves a lot more recognition since he was on par with Achilles and Odysseus).

In short, the goddess of love had a lot more care and devotion for her children than her various boyfriends. I'd wonder how that disappeared into history, but the idea of a sex goddess probably outshined it in terms of interest.

Another note: almost all the greek/roman gods, goddesses and great heroes were depicted/described as blonde and pale. Since most Greeks and Romans were dark-skinned and dark-haired, it made them seem a lot more beautiful and exotic.
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