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Venus

Venus is a Roman goddess, whose functions encompass love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity, and victory. In Roman mythology, she was the ancestor of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, and was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles.
The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the later classical tradition of the West, Venus became one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality. She is usually depicted nude in paintings.

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Venus has been described as perhaps "the most original creation of the Roman pantheon",  and "an ill-defined and assimilative" native goddess, combined "with a strange and exotic Aphrodite". Her cults may represent the religiously legitimate charm and seduction of the divine by mortals, in contrast to the formal, contractual relations between most members of Rome's official pantheon and the state, and the unofficial, illicit manipulation of divine forces through magic. The ambivalence of her persuasive functions has been perceived in the relationship of the root *wenos- with its Latin derivative venenum ('poison'; from *wenes-no 'love drink' or 'addicting'), in the sense of "a charm, magic philtre".
Like other major Roman deities, Venus was given a number of epithets that referred to her different cult aspects, roles, and her functional similarities to other deities. Her "original powers seem to have been extended largely by the fondness of the Romans for folk-etymology, and by the prevalence of the religious idea nomen-omen which sanctioned any identifications made in this way."

Venus Acidalia, in Virgil's Aeneid (1.715–22, as mater acidalia). Servius speculates this "rare" and "strangely recondite epithet" as reference to a mooted "Fountain of Acidalia" (fons acidalia) where the Graces (Venus' daughters) were said to bathe; but he also connects it to the Greek word for "dart", "needle", "arrow", whence "love's arrows" and love's bitter "cares and pangs". Ovid uses acidalia only in the latter sense. Venus Acidalia is likely a literary conceit, formed by Virgil from earlier usages in which acidalia had no evident connection to Venus. It was almost certainly not a cultic epithet.
Venus Anadyomene (Venus "rising from the sea"), based on a once-famous painting by the Greek artist Apelles showing the birth of Aphrodite from sea-foam, fully adult and supported by a more-than-lifesized scallop shell. The Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli used the type in his The Birth of Venus. Other versions of Venus' birth show her standing on land or shoreline, wringing the sea-water from her hair.
Venus Barbata ("Bearded Venus"), mentioned in Servius' commentary on Virgil's Aeneid. Macrobius's Saturnalia describes a statue of Venus in Cyprus, bearded, with male genitalia but in female attire and figure (see also Aphroditus). Her worshippers cross-dressed - men wore women's clothes, and women wore men's. Macrobius says that Aristophanes called this figure Aphroditos. The Latin poet Laevius wrote of worshipping "nurturing Venus" whether female or male (sive femina sive mas). Several examples of Greek and Roman sculpture show her in the attitude anasyrmene, from the Greek verb anasyromai, "to pull up one's clothes" to reveal her male genitalia. The gesture traditionally held apotropaic or magical power.

Venus Caelestis (Celestial or Heavenly Venus), used from the 2nd century AD for Venus as an aspect of a syncretised supreme goddess. Venus Caelestis is the earliest known Roman recipient of a taurobolium (a form of bull sacrifice), performed at her shrine in Pozzuoli on 5 October 134. This form of the goddess, and the taurobolium, are associated with the "Syrian Goddess", understood as a late equivalent to Astarte, or the Roman Magna Mater, the latter being another supposedly Trojan "Mother of the Romans", as well as "Mother of the Gods".
Venus Calva ("Venus the bald one"), a legendary form of Venus, attested only by post-Classical Roman writings which offer several traditions to explain this appearance and epithet. In one, it commemorates the virtuous offer by Roman matrons of their own hair to make bowstrings during a siege of Rome. In another, king Ancus Marcius' wife and other Roman women lost their hair during an epidemic; in hope of its restoration, unafflicted women sacrificed their own hair to Venus.
Venus Cloacina ("Venus the Purifier"); a fusion of Venus with the Etruscan water goddess Cloacina, who had an ancient shrine above the outfall of the Cloaca Maxima, originally a stream, later covered over to function as Rome's main sewer. The rites conducted at the shrine were probably meant to purify the culvert's polluted waters and noxious airs. Pliny the Elder, remarking Venus as a goddess of union and reconciliation, identifies the shrine with a legendary episode in Rome's earliest history, in which the Romans, led by Romulus, and the Sabines, led by Titus Tatius, met there to make peace following the rape of the Sabine women, carrying branches of myrtle. In some traditions, Titus Tatius was responsible for the introduction of lawful marriage to Rome, and Venus-Cloacina promoted, protected and purified sexual intercourse between married couples.
Venus Erycina ("Erycine Venus"), a Punic statue of Astarte captured from Eryx, in Sicily, and worshiped in Romanised form by the elite and respectable matrons at a temple on the Capitoline Hill. A later temple, outside the Porta Collina and Rome's sacred boundary, may have preserved some Erycine features of her cult. It was considered suitable for "common girls" and prostitutes.
Venus Euploia (Venus of the "fair voyage"), also known as Venus Pontia (Venus of the Sea"), because she smooths the waves for mariners. She is probably based on the influential image of Aphrodite by Praxiteles, once housed in a temple by the sea but now lost. Most copies of its Venus image would have been supported by dolphins, and worn diadems and carved veils, inferring her birth from sea-foam, and a consequent identity as Queen of the Sea, and patron of sailors and navigation. Roman copies would have embellished baths and gymnasiums.
Venus Frutis honoured by all the Latins with a federal cult at the temple named Frutinal in Lavinium. Inscriptions found at Lavinium attest the presence of federal cults, without giving precise details.
Venus Felix ("Lucky Venus"), probably a traditional epithet, combining aspects of Venus and Fortuna, goddess of both good and bad fortune and personification of luck, whose iconography includes the rudder of a ship, found in some Pompeian examples of the regal Venus Physica. A form of Venus usually identified as Venus Felix was adopted by the dictator Sulla to legitimise his victories over his domestic and foreign opponents during Rome's late Republican civil and foreign wars; Rives finds it very unlikely that Sulla would have imposed this humiliating connection on unwilling or conquered domestic territories once allied to Samnium, such as Pompei. The emperor Hadrian built a temple to Venus Felix et Roma Aeterna on the Via Sacra. The same epithet is used for a specific sculpture at the Vatican Museums.
Venus Genetrix ("Venus the Mother"), as a goddess of motherhood and domesticity, with a festival on September 26, a personal ancestress of the Julian lineage and, more broadly, the divine ancestress of the Roman people. Julius Caesar dedicated a Temple of Venus Genetrix in 46 BC. This name has attached to an iconological type of statue of Aphrodite/Venus.
Venus Heliopolitana ("Venus of Heliopolis Syriaca"), a Romano-Syrian form of Venus at Baalbek, variously identified with Ashtart, Dea Syria and Atargatis, though inconsistently and often on very slender grounds. She has been historically identified as one third of a so-called Heliopolitan Triad, and thus a wife to presumed sun-god "Syrian Jupiter" (Baal) and mother of "Syrian Mercury" (Adon). The "Syrian Mercury" is sometimes thought another sun-god, or a syncretised form of Bacchus as a "dying and rising" god, and thus a god of Springtime. No such Triad seems to have existed prior to Baalbek's 15 BC colonisation by Augustus' veterans. It may be a modern scholarly artifice.
Venus Kallipygos ("Venus with the beautiful buttocks"), a statue, and possibly a statue type, after a lost Greek original. From Syracuse, Sicily.
Venus Libertina ("Venus the Freedwoman"), probably arising through the semantic similarity and cultural links between libertina (as "a free woman") and lubentina (possibly meaning "pleasurable" or "passionate"). Further titles or variants acquired by Venus through the same process, or through orthographic variance, include Libentia, Lubentina, and Lubentini. Venus Libitina links Venus to a patron-goddess of funerals and undertakers, Libitina, who also became synonymous with death; a temple was dedicated to Venus Libitina in Libitina's grove on the Esquiline Hill, "hardly later than 300 BC."


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