Eros: All the things You Must Know concerning the Greek God of Love and Intercourse


The traditional Greeks had a god for every part – and typically they’d multiple god for issues! That is the case for love and intercourse, that are mostly attributed to Aphrodite. Nonetheless, there was one other god of affection, Eros. Though in trendy media he has been overshadowed by his mom, Aphrodite, Eros has his personal deep mythology to discover. He was even the unique inspiration for Cupid. Right here is every part you should find out about Eros: (the unique?) god of affection and intercourse.

Eros’s Origins? It’s Difficult.

Eros has a convoluted mess of an origin story. Historical sources can’t agree on which technology of gods he got here from. Some historic historians painted him as one of many unique gods (the  protogenoi) whereas others attribute him to a a lot later technology (the Olympians).

Aphrodite and Eros, 400-350 BC, discovered in Benghazi, Iraq (Public Domain)

Aphrodite and Eros, 400-350 BC, found in Benghazi, Iraq ( Public Area )

Eros as a Primordial

Eros is mostly remembered because the son of  Aphrodite, the goddess of affection and every part attractive, and Ares, the god of warfare and every part violent and bloody. Nonetheless, based on some historic sources, Eros really predates his supposed mother and father. Even then, the sources battle.

In line with Hesiod’s  Theogony from 700 BC, Eros was one of many protogenoi. The protogenoi had been the unique technology of gods, predating each the  Olympians (like Aphrodite and Ares) and even the  Titans. On this model of occasions, Eros was the fourth of the protogenoi following Chaos (the primary),  Gaia (Earth), and  Tartarus (the abyss and later, hell).

Then again, Parmenides from 400 BC, painted Eros because the initially the gods, predating even Chaos.  The Orphic  (a group of incomplete poems that usually contradict the ‘conventional’ Greek narrative) and the  Eleusinian Mysteries  (based mostly on one of many oldest Greek cults) paint Eros because the son of one of many protogenoi,  Nyx. On this model, he is without doubt one of the oldest gods, however not fairly a protogenoi.

Eros as Son of Aphrodite and Ares

As talked about, in later mythology Eros was depicted because the son of Aphrodite and Ares. On this model of the mythology, Eros was one of many  erotes. The erotes had been a bunch of winged gods who made up Aphrodite’s retinue. They predominantly involved themselves with every part to do with love and intercourse. In comparison with most of the extra severe gods, the erotes had been depicted as younger and carefree, usually taking part in pranks on people and gods alike.

Eros was often depicted as both carrying a bow and arrow or a lyre. His bodily look was both that of a good-looking, nude, younger male or a mischievous nude boy. The second look is most frequently attributed to Eros’ Roman counterpart,  Cupid.

Eros and Anteros with Psyche Looking at Them, Johannes Riepenhausen, 19th century (Public Domain)

Eros and Anteros with Psyche Them, Johannes Riepenhausen, 19 th century ( Public Area )

Eros in Mythology

In comparison with the opposite  erotes, Eros has his personal, fleshed-out mythology. He’s additionally one of many extra highly effective Greek gods. A number of myths revolve round Eros utilizing his love arrows to make numerous mortals and immortals fall in love.  It was believed Eros was virtually all-powerful; nobody was proof against the results of his arrows. Eros appeared in lots of myths however there are two that greatest present his capabilities.

The Tragic Story of Apollo and Daphne

Eros was mentioned to have two varieties of arrows. One had a pointy, gold tip that Eros might use to make mortals and immortals alike fall in love. The second kind was blunt and lead-tipped. Anybody hit with one among these turned proof against all love advances. Eros wielded each the poison and the remedy.

The parable goes that in the future  Apollo, often called one of many best archers within the Greek pantheon, was ridiculing the archery abilities of Eros. Enraged, Eros sought revenge by firing a love-tipped arrow at Apollo, forcing him to fall in love with a wooden nymph named Daphne. He then fired a lead-tipped arrow at Daphne, making her proof against Apollo’s advances. Thus, Apollo was condemned to lengthy for a love that might by no means be reciprocated.

Apollo chasing Daphne, painting by Francesco Albani, circa 1615 (Public Domain)

Apollo chasing Daphne, portray by Francesco Albani, circa 1615 ( Public Area )

The Love Story of Eros and Psyche

In one other fantasy, there was a gorgeous mortal princess referred to as  Psyche. Psyche was mentioned to be so stunning that her magnificence rivaled that of Aphrodite herself. Her magnificence was mentioned to be so awe-inspiring that mortal males had begun to desert Aphrodite’s altars, selecting to worship Psyche as a substitute. Unsurprisingly, Aphrodite had a tough time accepting this.

The goddess despatched her favourite son, Eros, to precise her revenge. She ordered the younger god to strike Psyche with one among his arrows, forcing her to fall in love with the ugliest creature in all existence. Sadly for Eros, he himself was not proof against the results of his arrows. Upon seeing the gorgeous Psyche, Eros was so distracted he by accident pricked himself with an arrow, instantly falling in love with the maiden.

Psyche and Cupid, by William Bouguereau, 1895 (Public Domain)

Psyche and Cupid, by William Bouguereau, 1895 ( Public Area )

Fearing his mom, Eros organized to fulfill Psyche underneath cowl of whole darkness. The 2 had been joyful for a time, and whereas making love evening after evening, Psyche by no means knew the true id of her lover. Tragically, Psyche’s happiness drew the ire of her jealous sisters.  They drove her to try to uncover the id of her mysterious suitor.

So one evening, Psyche lit a candle and in doing so, found that her lover was none apart from Eros. Eros in flip fled, feeling betrayed. Psyche was left heartbroken and commenced pleading with the gods for assist in reuniting along with her love. Ultimately, Aphrodite answered Psyche’s prayers.

Aphrodite gave Psyche a collection of seemingly unimaginable duties, stating that if Psyche was profitable in all of them she would assist her. To Aphrodite’s amazement, Psyche succeeded. She was rewarded with the belief of each Aphrodite and Eros. Aphrodite made Psyche right into a goddess, in order that the 2 lovers might reside fortunately ever after.

The marriage of Eros and Psyche, painting by Andrea Schiavone, circa 1540 (Public Domain)

The wedding of Eros and Psyche, portray by Andrea Schiavone, circa 1540 ( Public Area )


Regardless of being an essential god in his personal proper, the worship of Eros by no means gained reputation in historic Greece. Though he had worshippers, it was virtually at all times underneath the umbrella of the cult of Aphrodite.

Though Eros is essentially forgotten by western tradition right this moment, his Roman counterpart, Cupid lives on. Stroll into any present card retailer on the planet round Valentine’s Day, and also you usually tend to discover a number of depictions of Eros. The story of Eros and Psyche turned a well-liked folks story inside the Greco-Roman world. If Eros teaches us something, it’s that folks have at all times been suckers for a very good love story with a cheerful ending.

Prime picture: Gold Eros, Greek god of affection illustration shut up on center physique, bow and arrow. Supply:  zwiebackesser / Adobe Inventory

By Robbie Mitchell