Aphrodite (a-fro-DIE-tee) was the Greek goddess of love. Naturally she was always falling in love with somebody. Or somebody was falling in love with her. Aphrodite is one of the oldest goddesses, the daughter of Ouranos. In some stories, Aphrodite was born out of the sea foam and blood from when Zeus attacked Ouranos. She rose out of the ocean on a sea-shell. The most famous story about Aphrodite is that she started the Trojan War.
Nobody is sure yet what the relationship is between Aphrodite and West Asian love goddesses like Astarte.
Learn by doing: compare Aphrodite and Astarte and Lakshmi
More about the Roman goddess Venus
Aphrodite’s Blessing, by Clemence McLaren (2002). A feminist retelling of Greek myths about Aphrodite, for teenagers.
We Goddesses: Athena, Aphrodite, Hera by Doris Orgel and Marilee Heyer. With a feminist view.
D’aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, by Edgar and Ingri D’Aulaire.
Greek Religion, by Walter Burkert (reprinted 1987). By a leading expert. He has sections on each of the Greek gods, and discusses their deeper meanings, and their function in Greek society.
Worshipping Aphrodite: Art and Cult in Classical Athens, by Rachel Rosenzweig (2004). By a specialist, for specialists.