Originally a Roman goddess of spring and patron of flower-gardens, who was subsequently identified with the Greek Aphrodite, and so became also the Roman goddess of Love. In this capacity she is first heard of about 217 BC. But over and above he cult as love-goddess she was worshipped by the Romans as Dea Genetrix, mother of the race, on account of her being the mother of Aeneas. She was also regarded as the tutelary goddess of the city of Rome, and as the ancestress of the Gens Julia. Hadrian built her a great temple in the Forum. Her sacred day was 1st April. The ideal beauty of Venus was that created for the Greek Aphrodite; the famous statues of Venus are in fact Aphrodites. Most famous was that by Praxiteles at Cnidus, of which there are ancient copies at Munich and elsewhere. Of the originals still extant by far the greatest is the Venus of Melos ("di Milone"), now in the Louvre, which was found on the island of Melos in 1820; the author and date are unknown.
Related entry• Venus, the planet (Encyclopedia of Science)
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