During the month of December, five planets are visible in the night sky: Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus, which is the second-brightest celestial body to light up the nighttime after the moon. Our closest neighboring planet appears low in the east-southeast sky, starting around two hours before sunrise.
In Roman mythology, Venus is the goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory. Perhaps the most famous representation of her in classical art is the Venus de Milo, she of the missing limbs.
This larger than life-size statue represents the epitome of Hellenistic sculpture, and is so very realistic that it used to be on the seal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The $64 question is: were her arms depicted as venous? That is, did Alexandros of Antioch, her sculptor, fashion her as having “veins that were especially prominent?”
The search for that answer will be in vain, however.