Aphrodite’s Curse: A Look at the Goddess’s Victims

Aphrodite the Greek Goddess places curses on many occasions in Greek mythology, usually after feeling that she had been done harm. In this article, we are going to answer the question: who did Aphrodite curse?

Aphrodite cursed Myrrha after perceiving her to be a threat to her status as the most beautiful goddess. She also cursed Diomedes, the king of Argos, Eos the goddess of dawn, Heracles and Pan, each time out of romantic revenge or when her beauty was threatened.

In addition to being the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite has a dark side, including aspects of war, death, mourning. Perhaps it was Aphrodite’s dark side that came out when she cursed Myrrha the princess of Cyprus.

When Myrrha’s mother, the queen of Cyprus, boasted that her daughter was more beautiful, Aphrodite placed a curse which caused Myrrha to feel incurable lust for her father, King Cinyras. She seduced him, and conceived a son named Adonis. The king was furious and tried to kill her, so Aphrodite took pity on her and turned her into a myrrh tree to protect her.

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, sex, and romance.

Aphrodite is the Ancient Greek Goddess of Love, Sex, & Romance

Aphrodite is the ancient Greek goddess of love, sex, and romance. Later known as Venus to the Romans, she is symbolized by the myrtle, roses, as well as birds, including doves, sparrows, and swans. Due to her remarkable birth in the ocean, she was often worshipped as the goddess of the sea.

Who is Myrrha?

Myrrha was a mortal woman, the daughter of King Cinyras of Cyprus, and Queen Cenchreis. She was very beautiful and had many suitors. In Greek mythology she is often most well-known as the mother of Adonis. After the curse was placed on her by Aphrodite, she tricked her father into sleeping with her. Initially she attempted to suppress her desire for her father, even attempting suicide to avoid her dilemma. After realizing that nothing could be done to stop her desire, she came up with a plan to seduce her father.

Myrrha sent her nurse to her father with a message. The nurse told the king that a noble woman wished to be lovers with him, but in order to maintain her reputation, she would only do so in total darkness. The timing was excellent, because his wife, queen Cenchreis, was away from the palace attending a festival. For several nights king Cinyras would meet Myrrha in his bedroom and they would sleep together. Eventually the king could not contain his curiosity as to the identity of the noblewoman, and brought a lamp.

When he realized the mysterious lover was in fact his own daughter, and that he had been involved in an incestuous relationship, he grabbed his sword and attempted to kill her. She fled to Arabia and for nine months pleaded with the gods to help her. Finally, Aphrodite took pity and in order to protect her from her father, Aphrodite turned her in a myrrh tree. Her tears became the sap of the tree, and while in tree form Myrrha gave birth to her son Adonis.

Why did Aphrodite curse Myrrha?

As the goddess of love and romance, Aphrodite could also express the darker, more painful aspects of these parts of life. The competition to be the most attractive is fierce, and falling in love with the wrong person can be very painful. Aphrodite placed the curse out of vanity, and the need to maintain her status as the most beautiful. It is fitting that the curse weaponized lust against the victim, in order to ruin her life.

Aphrodite and Adonis

When Aphrodite saw Adonis, the son who was born when Aphrodite caused Myrrha and King Cinyas to have a baby, she decided to seduce him. The two eventually had two children together, Beroe, and Golgos. Persephone, goddess of the underworld had also fallen in love with Adonis, leading to a feud. Zeus determined that Adonis would spend half of his time with each.

Aphrodite Also Cursed Others on Numerous Occasions

While the story of Aphrodite cursing Myrrha is the most famous, there are actually many times when Aphrodite placed curses. The following are some more examples:


Diomedes was the king of Argos, and wounded Aphrodite during the Trojan war. For revenge, she cursed him so that when he returned to his homeland he was forced to leave by his wife and her lover.


After Eos slepted with Ares, who was Aphrodite’s lover, she cursed the goddess of dawn with an unquenchable desire for young men.


After Heracles seduced Adonis, Aphrodite got revenge by having his wife Deianeira give him a special robe. It had been soaked in poisoned blood and would kill him if he was ever unfaithful. The robe eventually killed him.


When Pan was responsible for judging a beauty contest and determined that Akhilleus was more beautiful than Aphrodite, she cursed him doomed love for Nymphe Ekho.

The Meaning of Aphrodite

Her name is believed to stem from a Greek word that means ‘Shining’, ‘wanderer’, and ‘bright’. An alternative theory is that the word Aphrodite is shortened from ‘aphrós’ or ‘sea-foam’, and is a reference to the mythology of her birth out the foamy ocean water. Because of her abilities were about love and desire, those who worship or are meditating upon her are often seeking guidance in those areas of life. She is responsible for creating love between mortals, and people believe she will help them find true love.

Cyprus, Greece. The birthplace of Aphrodite.

Interesting Facts About Aphrodite

  • Aphrodite was widely worshipped throughout the ancient Greek world, especially in Paphos and Amathus on Cyprus, and on the island of Cythera.
  • Aphrodite rides a flying chariot that is pulled by sparrows.
  • She possessed a belt that had the power to cause someone to fall in love with the wearer of the belt. Hera in particular would borrow it on occasion.
  • Aphrodite is also known as the both the Lady of Cyprus, and the Lady of Cythera, since both places have claims as being her place of origin.
  • In Plato’s Symposium, it is suggested that there are two different Aphrodites, there is Aphrodite Ourania, the spiritual version, and then there is Aphrodite Pandemos, the goddess of the senses.


Recommended Reading

If you’d like to continue researching the Aphrodite, Greek mythology, or any of the other topics discussed on this website, you can see which books I recommend by clicking here.


Everet Dee

Everet Dee is a writer and researcher with a passion for metaphysics, philosophy, hidden history, the occult, the esoteric, and religion.

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