Venus (, Classical Latin: ) is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and desire. In Roman mythology, she was the mother 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 becomes one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality.
==Name and attributes==
Venus embodies sex, love, beauty, enticement, seduction, and persuasive female charm among the community of immortal gods; in Latin orthography, her name is indistinguishable from the Latin noun ''venus'' ("sexual love" and "sexual desire"), from which it derives.〔Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, 1879, ("Venus", (B, Transf. ), at perseus.org. It has connections to ''venerari'' (to honour, to try to please) and ''venia'' (grace, favour) through a possible common root in an Indo-European ''
*wenes-'', comparable to Sanskrit ''vanas-'' "lust, desire". See (Etymonline link (Harper) ). See also William W.Skeat ''Etymological Dictionary of the English Language'' New York, 2011 (first ed. 1882) s. v. venerable, venereal, venial. The Vedic goddess Ushas is linked to Latin "Venus" by the Vedic Sanskrit epithet ''vanas-'' "(female) loveliness; longing, desire". Their common Proto-Indo-European root is assumed as ''
*wen-'' "to desire"). (【引用サイトリンク】title=The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000. )〕 Venus has been described as perhaps "the most original creation of the Roman pantheon",〔Schilling, R., p. 146.〕 and "an ill-defined and assimilative" native goddess, combined "with a strange and exotic Aphrodite".〔Eden, p. 458ff. Eden is discussing possible associations between the Venus of Eryx and the brassica species ''Eruca sativa'' (known in Europe as Rocket), which the Romans considered an aphrodisiac.〕
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.〔R. Schilling ''La religion romaine de Venus depuis les origines jusqu'au temps d' Auguste'' Paris, 1954, pp. 13–64〕〔R. Schilling "La relation Venus venia", ''Latomus'', 21, 1962, pp. 3–7〕 The ambivalence of her function is suggested in the etymological relationship of the root ''
*venes-'' with Latin ''venenum'' (poison), in the sense of "a charm, magic philtre".〔Linked through an adjectival form ''
*venes-no-'': William W. Skeat ''ibid''. s.v. "venom"〕
In myth, Venus-Aphrodite was born of sea-foam. Roman theology presents Venus as the yielding, watery female principle, essential to the generation and balance of life. Her male counterparts in the Roman pantheon, Vulcan and Mars, are active and fiery. Venus absorbs and tempers the male essence, uniting the opposites of male and female in mutual affection. She is essentially assimilative and benign, and embraces several otherwise quite disparate functions. She can give military victory, sexual success, good fortune and prosperity. In one context, she is a goddess of prostitutes; in another, she turns the hearts of men and women from sexual vice to virtue.〔Staples, Ariadne, ''From Good Goddess to vestal virgins: sex and category in Roman religion'', Routledge, 1998, pp. 12, 15-16, 24 - 26, 149 - 150: Varro's theology identifies Venus with water as an aspect of the female principle. To generate life, the watery matrix of the womb requires the virile warmth of fire. To sustain life, water and fire must be balanced; excess of either one, or their mutual antagonism, are unproductive or destructive.〕
Images of Venus have been found in domestic murals, mosaics and household shrines (''lararia''). Petronius, in his Satyricon, places an image of Venus among the Lares (household gods) of the freedman Trimalchio's ''lararium''.〔Kaufmann-Heinimann, in Rüpke (ed), 197–8.〕 Prospective brides offered Venus a gift "before the wedding"; the nature of the gift, and its timing, are unknown. Some Roman sources say that girls who come of age offer their toys to Venus; it is unclear where the offering is made, and others say this gift is to the Lares.〔Hersch, Karen K., The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity, Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 66 - 67.〕 In dice-games, a popular pastime among Romans of all classes, the luckiest, best possible roll was known as "Venus".
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