According to one version of Aphrodite's story, because of her immense beauty Zeus fears that the other gods will become violent with each other in their rivalry to possess her.
To forestall this, he forces her to marry Hephaestus, the dour, humorless god of smithing.
Despite this, Aphrodite followed her own inclinations, and had many lovers — both gods, such as Ares, and men, such as Anchises.
She played a role in the Eros and Psyche legend, and was both lover and surrogate mother of Adonis.
In Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite was created from the sea foam (aphros) produced by Uranus's genitals, which had been severed by Cronus.
In Homer's Iliad, however, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione.
Pausanias records that, in Sparta, Aphrodite was worshipped as Areia, which means "warlike." The Greek euphemism for a sacred prostitute is hierodoule, meaning "sacred slave".
Ritual prostitution is attested in association with Aphrodite in Corinth and on the islands of Cyprus, Cythera, and Sicily, Aphrodite is usually said to have been born near her chief center of worship, Paphos, on the island of Cyprus, which is why she is sometimes called "Cyprian", especially in the poetic works of Sappho.
A representation of Aphrodite Ourania with her foot resting on a tortoise came to be seen as emblematic of discretion in conjugal love; it was the subject of a chryselephantine sculpture by Phidias for Elis, known only from a parenthetical comment by the geographer Pausanias).She was also called Kypris or Cytherea after her birth-places in Cyprus and Cythera, respectively, both centers of her cult.She was associated with Hesperia and frequently accompanied by the Oreads, nymphs of the mountains.Thus she was also known as Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) and Cypris (Lady of Cyprus), both of which claimed to be her place of birth.In Greek mythology, the other gods feared that Aphrodite's beauty might lead to conflict and war, through rivalry for her favours; so Zeus married her off to Hephaestus.