Thursday, July 11, 2013


Eros was the Greek god of sexual attraction. His Roman counterpart was Cupid. In one account Eros was one of the Primordial Four entities. He embodied the creative urge of nature. In another version he was the child of the illicit liaison between Aphrodite and Ares.  In an allegorical folktale Aphrodite, jealous of the sensationally beautiful Sicilian princess Psyche, told her son Eros to prick Psyche with his arrows and cause her to love a monster.

In a mix-up Eros scratched himself, causing in him a hopeless passion for the girl. Eros spirited Psyche away to his home but remained invisible. They made love. Tricked by her envious sisters, Psyche lit a lamp and saw Eros; but burned by oil in the lamp, he flew away.
Attempting to imitate Psyche's success, the sisters leapt from a mountain, expecting the West Wind (Zephyr) to carry them to Eros' abode. Instead, they were dashed on the rocks. Psyche searched everywhere for Eros and was tested by impossible tasks imposed on her by Aphrodite. However, Psyche was finally reunited with her beloved Eros, who married her and made her a goddess. Together, they  had a daughter, Hedone ("pleasure"). Apuleius' Golden Ass contains the classic Roman version of the story.

In painting and sculpture Eros is portrayed as a nude winged boy or baby armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows.  In ancient painting he is present with adults when there is a sexual attraction among the humans.  Psych was the deification of the human soul, portrayed in ancient mosaics as a goddess with butterfly wings (psyche is also Greek for “butterfly”).
by Barry Powell
30-Second Greek Myths

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