All About the Greek God Eros (Cupid)
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Most of us know who Cupid is. After all, he’s depicted in modern media as not only being the god of love and desire, but also someone who can cause two people to fall in love with each other when they get hit by one of his arrows. However, many people don’t realize that Cupid came long before that in Ancient Greek mythology. Known as Eros to the Greeks, he is the god of desire and also one of Aphrodite’s minions. There is some debate as to whether or not Eros is a primordial god (one of the first gods) or if he is the son of Aphrodite and Ares. In both of these tales, however, Eros does become one of Aphrodite’s followers.
Eros as a Primordial God
One of the things that makes it difficult to form a complete picture of a god or goddess in Greek mythology is the fact that the stories often come from multiple sources. Some of the gods and goddesses, such as Eros, began appearing in texts early on in ancient history. As far as we known, Eros appeared in the writing of Hesiod and was described as being the fourth god to ever come into existence behind Chaos, Gaia, and Tartarus. The Philosopher Parmenides describes Eros as the first primordial god that came into being. Homer doesn’t even mention Eros in any of his writings. The Orphic and Eleusinian Mysteries describe Eros as an old god, but not one of the first. In these tales, he is shown to be the son of Nyx, or Night. In these stories, Eros is most often shown to be a child.
Eros’s as the Son of Aphrodite
Despite those early references, there is another side of Eros that has been written about. In these stores, he is described as the son of Aphrodite. Eros is usually depicted as a winged creature who is usually naked. Although the Roman version of this god shows him as a young boy, in Greek mythology he is always shown as slightly older than that. His symbols are bows, arrows, candles, kisses, hearts, and wings. In these myths, he is known to have several siblings including Harmonia (Concordia), Phobos, Deimons, Adrestia, and Anteros. He is the partner and companion of the goddess Psyche and the father of Hedone. In these stories, he is shown to be mischievous and obsessed with pairing people together, even if it has disastrous consequences.
Although there is a lot of debate concerning where Eros really originated, there is one thing that is consistent. No matter which way you understand him, he is always shown to be the god of love and desire. The details of his story might change, but the fact that he existed in some form through all stages of mythology shows that love is a characteristic that the early Ancient Greeks understood very well and as a result, Eros’s story could have changed as the myths developed into the stories that we now them today.
Categorized in: Greek Mythology
This post was written by Greek Boston