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Greek goddess of love and beauty; by the ancients, her name was derived from Greek aphros "foam," from the story of her birth, but perhaps it is ultimately from Phoenician Ashtaroth (Assyrian Ishtar). In 17c. English, pronounced to rhyme with night, right, etc.
The Greek and Roman goddess of love and beauty; the mother of Eros and Aeneas. In what may have been the first beauty contest, Paris awarded her the prize (the apple of discord), choosing her over Hera and Athena as the most beautiful goddess (see Judgment of Paris). She was thought to have been born out of the foam of the sea and is thus often pictured rising from the water, notably in The Birth of Venus, by Botticelli.