Cupid, Eros and Psyche: The Most Beautiful Legend of Antiquity

24/03/2021

     Cupid and Eros, both in Greek and Roman Mythologies, besides being the "God of Love" (because they were the same deity), were in love with Psyche. One of the most beautiful stories of antiquity.


Eros in Greek Mythology:

     Eros, in Greek Mythology, was the god of love and eroticism. First, he was considered as a god of Olympus, son of Aphrodite with Ares, or just Aphrodite, depending on the versions. He is usually portrayed in paintings with his mother.

     Hesiod, in his Theogony, considers him son of Chaos, therefore a primordial god. In addition to describing him as being very beautiful and irresistible, leading him to ignore common sense, he also attributes a unifying and coordinating role to the elements, contributing to the passage from chaos to the cosmos.

     Plato, at the Banquet, describes the general concept of Love by "Eros" (see scala amoris), and in a section of the narrative he explains the genealogy of his birth:

     "When Aphrodite was born, the gods feasted, and among them was Poros (the Exponent), son of Métis. After they had eaten, Pínia (Poverty) came to beg, because it had been a great banquet, and she was close to the door. It happened that Poros, intoxicated with nectar, since there was still no wine, entered the gardens of Saturn and, heavy as he was, fell asleep. son of Poros, had sex with him and conceived Eros, so Eros became a follower and minister of Aphrodite, because he was raised during his Christmas parties, and he was also a nature lover of beauty, because Aphrodite was also beautiful."

Eros Myth:

     In one part of the Myth, Aphrodite vented to Themis, complaining that her son was still a child. Métis explains to him that Eros was very lonely and, therefore, spoiled. He would grow up if he had a brother. Anteros was born shortly afterwards and Eros started to grow and become even more beautiful and robust.

     Eros married Psyche, on the condition that she could never see his face, as that would mean losing him. But Psyche, induced by her envious sisters, watches Eros's face at night in the light of a candle. Enchanted by the god's beauty, she becomes distracted and drops a drop of wax on her husband's chest, who wakes up. Irritated by Psyche's betrayal, Eros abandons her. The latter, becoming disturbed, started to wander the world until she gave herself up to death. Eros, who also suffered from separation, begs Zeus to have compassion for them. Zeus takes care of him and Eros rescues his wife and they start to live in Olympus, after she takes a little ambrosia making her immortal. With Psyche, he had Hedonê, the pleasure.


Representation:

     Eros is often portrayed as a winged little boy with blond hair, looking innocent and mischievous who has never grown up (symbolizing the eternal youth of deep love). With a bow and arrow and even a torch lit. Always ready to hit his arrows "poisoned" with love and passion. The targets are always the heart and liver region.

Eros and Psyche Myth:

     Eros and Psyche, he immortal and she mortal, shared something in common: grandiose beauty. Psyche, the most beautiful of her sisters, ended up arousing Aphrodite's fury and became the target of the goddess. In this, the entity devised a plan for her to be sacrificed and not have any other more beautiful than her.

For this, in disguise, Eros managed to save her, away from danger and marrying her, but with one condition: she could not see her face (as the story above). Thus, Psyche remained happy beside her new husband, even though she did not know her face. However, influenced by the family, she lights a candle, seeing the god's beautiful face, but burning his chest with a drop of wax.

While he leaves her, his mother Aphrodite decides to punish the young woman, putting one challenge after another in her life. However, repentant and desolate, she ends up giving herself up to death and sleeping soundly. Seeing her regret with longing, Eros to Olympus asking for her and conquering her immortality as well.     


What about Cupid?

     Cupid, also known as Love, was the god equivalent in Roman mythology to the Greek god Eros. Son of Venus and Mars, (the god of war) always walked with his bow, ready to shoot at the hearts of men and gods. He had a very famous romance with Princess Psyche, the goddess of the soul.

     Cupid embodied passion and love in all its manifestations. As soon as he was born, Jupiter (king of the gods), aware of the disturbances he was going to cause, tried to force Venus to get rid of him. To protect him, his mother hid him in the woods, where he fed himself with milk from wild animals.

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