Venus was originally an Italian goddess of fertility, especially the fertility of gardens, fruit, and flowers. In the early Republic she became identified completely with the Greek Aphrodite, goddess of beauty, love and sexual passion. Like Aphrodite, Venus is one of the few goddesses shown naked, in keeping with her erotic role. As mother of the Trojan hero Aeneas, Venus played an important role in the legendary origins of Rome, and Julius Caesar, who claimed descent from Aeneas, emphasized his purported connection with the goddess by building a Temple of Venus Genetrix (“Venus the Mother”) in the Forum of Julius Caesar in Rome. Later the emperor Hadrian built a large temple dedicated to Venus and Rome on the Sacra Via; you can visit both of these temples in Region VIII of VRoma.