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Aphrodite in the orchard

Aphrodite, also known as Venus, was an Isu who would later be revered as the Greek and Roman goddess of love, beauty, fertility, and femininity. She appeared to Kyros of Zarax during the 6th century BCE and was displayed in a painting given to Elizabeth Jane Weston by her uncle, John Dee.


Despite knowing the consequences of failure, Kyros of Zarax wished to challenge the princess of Arcadia, Atalanta, to a race, in an attempt to win her hand in marriage. However, on knowing that he was no longer the champion he was in his youth, Kyros traveled to his mentor Pythagoras for help. Pythagoras directed him to an abandoned temple that was dedicated to Aphrodite, and told him that he would find what he needed there.[1]

On his advice, Kyros traveled to the temple but was struck by a fierce blizzard, causing him to pass out at its entrance. During his unconscious state, Kyros was shown a surreal vision of an orchard, where he witnessed a young woman pluck three apples and take them to the temple of Aphrodite. Despite his attempts, the young woman could not hear or see him, leaving Kyros confused.[1]

When Kyros came to, he was covered in snow and without any feeling in his limbs, though he managed to make his way into the temple. Following this, he looked at the spot where Aphrodite had left the three apples, but could only see a single golden apple.[1]

Kyros then took the Apple and used it to defeat Atalanta in a race, through using its power to occasionally interrupt her as she ran. Because of this, it led to Kyros' victory, much to Atalanta's relief, as she did not wish Kyros to have been killed on her father's orders should he have lost.[1]


  • Aphrodite's name is derived from the Greek word αφρος (aphros) meaning "foam", and referring the story of her origins.
  • Several paintings of Venus were displayed at the Villa Auditore's painting gallery.
  • Aphrodite was represented by one of the statuettes that could be collected in Monteriggioni, and could be paired with a statue of Mars. The pair's description read "The god of rage and strength basks in his lover's radiant beauty. She tames his anger with her gentle touch."



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