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Eros

Tales beyond belief

Eros for kids
Discover the myths surrounding Eros who is most commonly described as the  Greek god of love and beauty. The first, or elder, Eros was the god of procreation, responsible for the union between Gaia and Uranus. Eros later re-appeared as the god of love during the dynasty of the Olympian gods as the son of Aphrodite and Ares. Although he was very old, the ancient Greeks believed that Eros always remained young, never growing up as the other gods did.

Eros is therefore always depicted in their pictures as a beautiful lad, with a golden bow and a quiver full of arrows. His name is the root of words such as erotic.

Who was Eros? The Primordial, ancient god
Eros was the Greek god of Eros was one of the extraordinary number of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. The legend and myth has been passed down through the ages and plays an important role in the history of the Ancient World and the study of the Greek classics. The first appearance of a god called Eros was long before this small Olympian god, in the first dynasty of the primordial gods. This first, or elder, Eros was the god of procreation, He was descended from Chaos and
Nyx and responsible for the union between Gaia and Uranus.

Who was Eros? The Olympian god
Over time Eros was reincarnated as the Olympian love god, the son of the beautiful goddess Aphrodite and the god of war, Ares. The following details provide information about this ever-youthful Olympian god who was the mischievous, gorgeous god of love, the subordinate and companion of the goddess Aphrodite.

Facts about Eros
Eros features in the religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks which are based on the idea that these supernatural beings resembled mortals but possessed great magical and mystic powers. The following information, facts and profile provides a fast overview of Eros:

  • Greek Name: Eros

  • Role & Function: His function is described as being the god of love, passion and beauty

  • Status: Son of Ares and Aphrodite, and occasionally included amongst the names of the Olympians

  • Symbols: Bow and arrow and lyre. He is also associated with roses, torches and doves

  • Gender: Male

  • Roman Counterpart: The Roman name for this god was Cupid

  • Name of Wife: Unmarried

  • Name of Father: Ares

  • Name of Mother: Aphrodite

The Symbols of Eros
Each ancient Greek god and goddess were associated with special symbols, animals and attributes. The Symbols of Eros helped the ancient Greeks instantly recognize the gods that were depicted in the pictures, mosaics, statues and images. Eros carried a bow and arrows, and if one of his arrows pierced the heart of a mortal, the person fell in love. Several of his symbols were also the symbols of Aphrodite and Ares. The symbols of Eros and their meanings were as follows:

  • The Bow and Arrows of Eros

    • The golden bow and silver arrows were aimed at the heart of a mortal, usually to make them fall in love

    • The tips of his arrows were either made of gold or lead

    • Golden arrows instilled love, infatuation, desire and lust

    • Lead arrows instilled the opposite of love, a hatred of passion and desire

  • The Rose (also a symbol of Aphrodite)

    • The symbol of the rose represents beauty. In the legend of the handsome mortal Adonis, every drop of blood that fell from his wounds became a red rose

  • The Dove (also a symbol of Aphrodite)

    • The dove is called the 'bridesmaid bird of love' and the herald of lifelong wedding and happy hearts

  • The Torch (also a symbol of Ares)

    • The association of a torch with love relates to the tradition of a wedding torch which was used to light the brideís hearth on her wedding night

    • The famous idiom "to carry a torch for someone" means to love someone when such feelings are not reciprocated

Eros (Roman Counterpart was Cupid)
When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC, the Romans assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. Many of the Greek gods and goddesses, such as Eros, were therefore adopted by the Romans but were given Latin names. The Roman counterpart of Eros was Cupid.

Eros - The Erotes
The Erotes were a group of ever-youthful, winged gods from Classical mythology who were associated with love and formed part of the retinue of Aphrodite. According to ancient Greek mythology and legend Eros pined with loneliness until Aphrodite and Ares gave him his brothers Anteros, Himeros, and Pothos as play mates, other myths tell that Anteros was the twin brother of Eros. The ancient Greeks used spells to attract or repel Erotes in order to induce love or repel love. Eros was depicted as embodying all the attributes of these mischievous gods, however individual Erotes were assigned particular associations with different aspects of love:

  • Eros:  God of love and beauty

  • Anteros:  Anteros symbolized both returned or unrequited love. On one hand he is depicted as the god of requited love. However Anteros also symbolized the avenger of unrequited love who punishes those who scorn or do not return the love of others. Anteros reminds mortals that love and infatuation can fade

  • Himeros:  Himeros symbolized lust and uncontrollable desire

  • Pothos:  Pothos symbolized longing and yearning

Facts about Eros in Greek Mythology
Eros, the Greek god of love, featured in the stories, myths and legends in Greek Mythology. Discover interesting information and facts about the Greek god of love. The facts about him provides a list detailing fascinating additional info to increase your knowledge about Eros in Greek Mythology, stories and legends.

  • Fact 1: Features in the Myth about Apollo and Daphne. Apollo teased Eros about his small size and his ability as an archer. In revenge Eros shot two arrows, one with a gold tip other with a lead tip into Apollo and his love Daphne

  • Fact 2: He assists Aphrodite in ensuring that Helen of Troy falls in love with Paris, precipitating the Trojan War

  • Fact 3: In the legend about Psyche, Eros assisted his motherís craving for revenge

  • Fact 4: He could shoot his arrows into the hearts of both gods or mortals

  • Fact 5: His golden arrows had dove feathers as flights which aroused love, or leaden arrows which had owl feathers that caused indifference

  • Fact 6: His lead arrows had the feathers from owls as flights that caused indifference

  • Fact 7: Statues of him adorned gymnasiums as most athletes were thought to be beautiful

  • Fact 8: He was associated with both heterosexual love and homosexual love

  • Fact 9: His name derives from the Greek word 'eros' (pl. erates) meaning "love"

  • Fact 10: In ancient Greek literature and poetry passionate love often had disastrous results

  • Fact 11: Eros was occasionally depicted with the Nine Muses. The Mouseia (meaning of the Muses) was an ancient festival and competition that was held every five years in honor of the Muses. The Mouseia festival also include athletic games in honour of Eros that including a torch race (the symbol of Eros) and offered prizes for music and for athletic events.

  • Fact 12: Liaisons between gods and mortals were blamed on the darts of love fired by the mischievous little god, rather than the god himself

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