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Venus and Aphrodite

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Through ancient art, evocative myth, exciting archaeological revelations and philosophical explorations Bettany Hughes shows why this immortal goddess endures through to the 21st century and what her journey through time reveals about what matters to us as humans.

Charting Venus' origins in powerful ancient deities, Bettany demonstrates that Venus is far more complex than
Hardcover, 241 pages
Published November 14th 2019 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
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Rebecca Roose
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own
I devoured this little book while lazing on the almost mythic, dreamy beaches of Australia’s South West. Something about that region always draws me to read/write/paint Greek mythology, so coming across this in a tiny bookshop seemed like serendipity.

Bettany Hughes writes really beautifully. Her writing style is smooth, evocative and never dry—I enjoyed her creative way of presenting historical information. While I thoroughly enjoyed this analysis, it felt a little too brief. It read more to me
This is a sort of biography of the Greek goddess looking at the people who worshipped her, the stories that created her and how her image has been used and continues to be used to this day. Short and sweet and a good introduction to the mythology.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Check out this review and more on my blog!

We all know Aphrodite. She’s the spiteful, mostly naked love goddess who started the Trojan war and gads about on seashells.

Right? Well, classic historian Bettany Hughes has something to say about that.

In this short and sweet book, Hughes traces the origins of Aphrodite from the early goddesses who influenced her to her ancient Greek golden age, her time stripped and sexualised at the height of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity through to her
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's no secret to say there has been a longstanding connection - in patriarchal societies and religions at least - between sexual passion and violence. Bettany Hughes here gives us a strong, clear history of Aphrodite, who became Venus, and who subsequently became all sorts of sub-creatures - good Venus, bad Venus, the goddess and the whore, the duality of insecurity in mostly male minds: the allure of beauty, and the power of female sexual power to turn that allure into slavery, uncertainty, ...more
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This was a lovely little book that complicated our understanding of what Aphrodite represented in the past. I do wonder what this book would be like if we decentralized Aphrodite-Venus and instead made an Egyptian goddess or African goddess the center of the story. Or even if we introduced one of the others such as Athena or Hera alongside her. At this point it seems a bit convenient to reduce everything to her.
John Teller
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sound scholarship

This journey through the iterations of Aphrodite captures the ambivalence with which this important figure has been held. Excellent scholarship.
Gerard White
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Masterful! There is so much here that goes beyond what I thought I was getting myself into when I picked this up. I've always been a fan of Bettany Hughes's documentaries, but up until now, I had never read one of her books. Suffice to say, I am now a fan of her writing as well! Thoroughly researched, painstakingly laid out, and masterfully written, Venus and Aphrodite goes beyond simply chronicling the history or life-cycle of the goddess, but shows humanity's relationship with the goddess over ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent little book introducing the history of the goddess Aphrodite/Venus. This was an incredibly readable book that I devoured in three days. It presents a history of how the goddess of love developed from ancient Middle Eastern goddesses of Love and War such as Astarte, Ishtar and Inanna to the Graco-Roman deity we now know and how she has been worshiped, depicted and viewed throughout history.

I would have liked the book to have been a little bit more in depth, since some chapters glossed
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a quick, yet informative history of the goddess throughout history. Well researched and told with passion and energy by the author herself. The audio version of this was well worth the listen.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting and beautiful, but too many stories and ideas were introduced without enough explanation, leaving you wanting more. The book did teach me a lot about the symbolism and representation of Venus/Aphrodite through time. I guess I just wished it was more in-depth.
Deepak Rana
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting history
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
A superb history of the goddess figure, tracing the lineage from far beyond the Roman and Greek myths. Well written, witty and very informative; strongly recommended.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it. A historical biography of Aphrodite-Venus-Inanna with many classical quotations and references to great works of art through the ages. I enjoyed the feminist perspective.... But it was very much shorter than the other excellent works by this author, and I read it in 2 days. It felt insubstantial somehow; too short, despite the glitzy hardcover, as if it was rushed out for the Christmas season by the publishers.
There were a few interesting ideas referenced without a proper citation,
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Glain Jones-Berry
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed learning about Aphrodite and what she represented and what she still represents. Reading this made me realise that theres so much more to Aphrodite!
Tracey Sinclair
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting look at the history of the goddess.
Jade Duxbury
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thank you to Hachette for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

If you are a fan of Greek Mythology works then this is for you! It delves deep into the history of Venus/Aphrodite and how she is more than just the Goddess of Love and it explores her birth and the overall history of the Greek Goddess. Whilst this one wasn’t for me, If you love books about the history of our Gods/Goddess then I would highly recommend this to you!
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Bettany Hughes is an English historian, author and broadcaster. Her speciality is classical history.

Bettany grew up in West London with her brother, the cricketer Simon Hughes. Her parents were in the theatre: she learnt early the importance and delight of sharing thoughts and ideas with a wider public. Bettany won a scholarship to read Ancient and Modern History at Oxford University and then