The cult of Aphrodite was largely derived from that of the Phoenician goddess Astarte, a cognate of the East Semitic goddess Ishtar, whose cult was based on the Sumerian cult of Inanna. Aphrodite's main cult centers were Cythera, Cyprus, Corinth, and Athens. Her main festival was the Aphrodisia, which was celebrated annually in midsummer. In Laconia, Aphrodite was worshipped as a warrior goddess. She was also the patron goddess of prostitutes, an association which led early scholars to propose the concept of "sacred prostitution" in Greco-Roman culture, an idea which is now generally seen as erroneous.
In Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite is born off the coast of Cythera from the foam (aphrós) produced by Uranus's genitals, which his son Cronus has severed and thrown into the sea. In Homer's Iliad, however, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Plato, in his Symposium 180e, asserts that these two origins actually belong to separate entities: Aphrodite Ourania (a transcendent, "Heavenly" Aphrodite) and Aphrodite Pandemos (Aphrodite common to "all the people"). Aphrodite had many other epithets, each emphasizing a different aspect of the same goddess, or used by a different local cult. Thus she was also known as Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) and Cypris (Lady of Cyprus), because both locations claimed to be the place of her birth.
In Greek mythology, Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus, the god of blacksmiths and metalworking. Despite this, Aphrodite was frequently unfaithful to him and had many lovers; in the Odyssey, she is caught in the act of adultery with Ares, the god of war. In the First Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, she seduces the mortal shepherd Anchises. Aphrodite was also the surrogate mother and lover of the mortal shepherd Adonis, who was killed by a wild boar. Along with Athena and Hera, Aphrodite was one of the three goddesses whose feud resulted in the beginning of the Trojan War and she plays a major role throughout the Iliad. Aphrodite has been featured in Western art as a symbol of female beauty and has appeared in numerous works of Western literature. She is a major deity in modern Neopagan religions, including the Church of Aphrodite, Wicca, and Hellenismos.
The siren known as Venus claimed to be the Greek Goddess of Love, initially to hide her siren origins out of shame. The real Aphrodite was instead feeding her own hedonistic pleasures and Venus had effectively taken over her role - even fooling many of the Olympians themselves (including both Ares and Hercules). It was revealed the character we had been led to believe was the Goddess of Love since the 50s was in fact a siren in Agents of Atlas. The real Aphrodite was introduced later and upon discovering her role had been somewhat usurped, she sought vengeance.
Assault on new Olympus
Aphrodite appears in the new series Assault on Olympus. Aphrodite is visited by Athena (goddess of Wisdom) and Amadeus Cho. Athena appears to be preoccupied with the evil plans of Hera (plans that involve the destruction of life on the planet and the alliance of Hera and Norman Osborn). Athena confronts Aphrodite, but she begins speak to Athena: “ Imagine how much wiser you`d be if that chasity belt was not cutting to your better parts”. Athena advises that her champion - Amadeus Cho - has uncovered evidence that Hera`s human slave (Pythagoras Dupree) has built her a weapon that threatens the all world. But Aphrodite has no interest in this global threat. Aphrodite is bored and she's also sad because most mortals do not celebrate her festival (Aphrodisia) (such an event occurs in the times of ancient Greece). But Aphrodite has a proposal to Athena, if Athena gives the location of the impostor (Venus is in the Agents of Atlas), Aphrodite will try to stop Ares to help Hera, in case there is a fight between Hera and the heroes of Earth ( Athena, Amadeus, Hercules, Spider-man, Spider-Woman, Wolverine, among others). But, Athena says to Aphrodite: “I am not going to help you prosecute your jealous rivalries”.
Later, Athena succumbs to the desires of Aphrodite and she gives the location of Venus (the siren). When start the battle between the gunmen of Hera and the Avengers, Ares tries to go to the aid of Hera, Aphrodite appears and she said, "All that matters is that Aphrodite is back." Aphrodite distracts Ares, and latter he does not participate in battle.
Later Aphodite confronts Venus. Both goddesses begin to sing. Both songs come together like two living things (each pushed her voice to new heights in response). A battle of hearts was waged there below the earth. During the battle, Aphrodite is with the notion that she is not the goddess of love for a long time (since the time of the Trojan War) and that she lost the felling of love. Aphrodite recognizes that Venus already master the hearts of Mortals, but with the the cestus, the olympiad will acknowledge her status.
Aphrodite apparently returned, presumably again chasing her hedonistic desires on Earth, as Venus finally became her true successor.
During DC's golden and silver ages she is considered the patron goddess of the Amazons and the source of their power. She was also responsible for reviving or resurrecting Steve Trevor on numerous occasions. Following the reboot in volume 2, she still has a strong role with the Amazons, though this is now as a partnership between the other major female goddesses of the pantheon (except for Hera.) As opposed the the golden and silver age depiction of the goddess, from this point she is also seen in a more traditional sense, with a focus more on beauty and love.
Aphrodite has only appeared a handful of times since the line-wide reboot, always as a completely naked woman with tanned skin and long brown hair, but she is always shown in silhouette, from behind and her face has never been shown. As in the myths, Aphrodite is married to Hephaestus whom she has a son with in the shape of Eros and has at one point or another cheated with Ares.
A curious ability of Aphrodite appears to be how happy every man is to see her, which may not be particularly odd, and how she makes others feel ugly in her presence, though she appears quick to compliment.
Aphrodite possesses the superhuman physical attributes of an Olympian Goddess (she can lift around 25 tons). Aphrodite wears an enchanted girdle known as the Cestus that enables her to arouse love and sexual passion in others at will. The Cestus also prevents mortals from lying to her.