Venus, in Roman religion and mythology, goddess of vegetation. Later, she became identified (3d cent. BC) with the Greek Aphrodite. In imperial times she was worshiped as Venus Genetrix, mother of Aeneas; Venus Felix, the bringer of good fortune; Venus Victrix, bringer of victory; and Venus Verticordia, protector of feminine chastity. The most famous representations of Aphrodite or Venus in sculpture are the Venus of Milo or Melos (Louvre); the Venus of Medici or Medicean Aphrodite (Uffizi); the Venus of Capua (national museum, Naples); and the Capitoline Venus (Capitoline Mus., Rome). The Venus of Milo is a Greek statue in marble, generally dated to the 2d or 1st cent. BC Found (1820) on the island of Melos, it was taken by the French ambassador to Turkey and was eventually presented by Louis XVIII to the Louvre. The Venus of Medici belongs to the 3d cent. BC It is probably derived from Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Cnidus, which was destroyed.
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