The Greek God of Love – Eros
Find out all about the infamous Greek God of Love in this teaching wiki; you will learn all about whom the Greek God of Love was, his symbols, how the Greek God of Love is still current today, and more!
Are you teaching children about Greek Gods and Goddesses? This teaching wiki about Eros, the Greek God of Love, can help you introduce the topic to your class!
The ancient Greeks had strict beliefs that guided them through life and helped them navigate the world. They believed in a multitude of Gods and Goddesses, and each one stood for a different purpose, and the ancient Greeks would also worship these other Gods and Goddesses for specific reasons.
The ancient Greek religion was based on the belief that 12 Gods and Goddesses ruled the human realm from Mount Olympus in Greece.
Who is the Greek God of Love in Greek Mythology?
Eros is the Greek God of Love in Greek Mythology; he is also known as Cupid in Roman Mythology and is depicted as a primordial deity who emerges self-born at the beginning of time and is said to be the fourth God to come into existence. He is the constant companion of Aphrodite, and some have speculated that Aphrodite is the mother of Eros.
To elaborate on this further in the Primordial myths, according to Hesiod, Eros, the God of Love, was born from Chaos and was witness to the beginning of the creation of the cosmos; Eros also blessed the union of Gaia and Uranus after this the universe was born.
In later sources, Eros is depicted as the son of Aphrodite and Ares. He is shown as a beautiful young man with mischievous wiles, running around with his bow and arrow and often leaving a trail of love and drama in his wake. The Greek God of Love embodied beauty, youth, and love!
Eventually, Eros was inevitably duplicated by writers and poets. You may know this duplication as Cupid, and he was used a lot in Roman literature. However, Eros reminded prominent in mythology.
In early literature and art, Eros was depicted as the mischievous but fiercely loyal child of Aphrodite. One of his most recognizable symbols is a bow and arrow, which he can be seen wielding in many early paintings. One of the most famous works of art of the God of Love is an ancient vase with a winged Eros playing the flute, either as a child or a young man.
The Symbols of Eros
Although his most famous symbol is the bow and arrow, Eros had many different symbols; here’s a handy list of them all!
- Bow and Arrow
- Flute or Lyre
Even today, Euros or the Roman depiction of Cupid is shown shooting arrows at lovers and throwing roses!
Eros in Mythology
Eros was widely known for playing matchmaker and playing with his subjects, as no one person was immune to his arrows. He would randomly fire his arrows, making men, heroes, and even Gods into a maddened love-drunk frenzy! Even though he was the God of Love, he used his powers to cause chaos amongst people and their passion!
One of the most famous stories in Greek mythology, including Eros, is the story of The Hero Jason. Euros willed princess Medea to fall in love with the hero named Jason to help him complete the quest of The Golden Fleece. The God of Love was asked to do this by the Goddess Hera, and this isn’t the only time Eros used his powers on a hero or mortal under the instruction of a God or Goddess.
Modern Day Eros
The God of Love re-emerged in the renaissance; he appears in many works of art, either depicted with Aphrodite or by himself. Then in the 18th Century, as Valentine’s Day grew in popularity, Eros, the Greek God of Love, became a holiday symbol. Images of Eros were on boxes of chocolates, cards, roses, and other Valentine’s Day gifts.
In today’s culture, Euros is portrayed very differently from the handsome, devious man that caused chaos amongst man and gods, like with his bow and arrow. Likewise, passion has very little to do with the revamped version of the God of Love; he is now depicted as a little cherub or winged baby related to romantic love rather than passion and desire.
Who are the seven Gods of Love?
It might surprise you that in Greek mythology, there are numerous Gods and Goddesses of love! Here’s a comprehensive list of them and which parts of love they have power over!
- Eros – God of Love and Desire.
- Erotes – God of Love and Fertility.
- Pothos – God of Passion.
- Imeros – God of Intense Desire.
- Anteros – God of Reciprocal Love.
- Hymenaios – God of Marriage.
- Aphrodite – Goddess of Beauty and Lust.
Most of these Gods are lesser known, with Eros and Aphrodite being the most popular in Greek mythology. Still, Erotes, the God of Love and Fertility, and Anteros, the God of Reciprocal Love, are the twin brothers of Eros!
Other stories of Eros
Eros and Psyche – Psyche was a beautiful mortal princess; her beauty was so mesmerizing that it caught the attention of everyone, including Aphrodite. The Goddess grew jealous of Psyche and her many suitors and, in a jealous rage, commanded Eros to make her fall in love with the ugliest man in the world. While following his orders, the arrow grazed his skin; Eros was not immune to the power of his arrows, this made him fall madly in love with the princess, and every day he would visit her in secret, never revealing his true identity. Eros told Psyche she could never look him in the eye, but egged on by her jealous sister, Psyche eventually did. In doing so, Eros felt betrayed by her and left, never to return, leaving the princess heartbroken.
Eros and Apollo – Apollo was a Greek god and an excellent archer; he bullied and mocked Eros for being small in stature and for his arrows. He boasted and regaled tall tales of how his arrows shot down his enemies precisely, while Eros shot his haphazardly and aimed at anyone. Unfortunately for Apollo, the God of Love wasn’t going to take these insults, so he shot one of his arrows at Apollo, which meant he would fall in love with the first person he laid eyes on. So Apollo falls in love with the Nymph Daphne, and as if to add insult to injury, Eros then shoots Daphne with a lead arrow to make her immune to Apollo’s advances; she, therefore, rejects Apollo, breaking his heart.
Euros and The Constellation Pisces – Aside from Eros’ love stories, the Greek God of Love also appears in mythology under the zodiac sign of Pisces. It was said that a revolt against Zeus occurred when Typhon, The Giant, and Echidna decided to storm Mount Olympus. The monstrous form of Typhon The Giant caused the Gods to flee in terror. Most of whom escaped to the safety of Egypt. Over in Syria, it was here that Eros and Aphrodite encountered the advancing Typhon. There was no time to flee like the other Gods, so Eros and Aphrodite transformed into two fish to ensure their safety. They dove deep into the Euphrates River and swam to safety. Later, these two fish were immortalized in the heavens as the zodiac sign Pisces. After this, the Syrians stopped eating and catching fish, fearing potentially catching and killing the Gods. Even today, beautiful Greek works of art depict either Eros or Aphrodite riding on a fish.
Here is a lovely Roman poem about the tale of Pisces!
Ovid, Fasti 2. 458 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) – “Pisces, heaven’s horses. They say that you and your brother, for your stars gleam together, ferried two gods on your backs. Once Dione, in flight from terrible Typhon, reached the Euphrates with tiny Cupidos in tow and sat by the hem of Palestine’s stream. Poplars and reeds dominated the tops of the banks; willows, too, offered hope of concealment. While she hid, the wood roared with the wind. She pales with fear and believes a hostile band is approaching. As she clutched her son to her breast, she cried: ‘To the rescue, Nymphae, and bring help to two divinities.’ No delay; she leaped. Twin fish went underneath them, for which, you see, the present stars are named. Hence timid Syrians think it wrong to serve up this species; they defile no mouths with fish.’”