Primordial God

Eros

Eros, loveliest of the Greek gods, was the personification of passion and procreation who emerged at the beginning of the cosmos. He was often imagined as Aphrodite’s companion. Later authors sometimes multiplied him into a collection of mischievous gods known as “Erotes.”

Top Questions

  • Who were Eros’ parents?

    Ancient sources gave very different accounts of Eros’ parentage. According to Hesiod, Eros was one of the first beings to come into existence, emerging without parents after Chaos, Gaia, and Tartarus. But later authors sometimes thought of him as the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

  • What were Eros’ symbols?

    Eros’ most famous symbols were the bow and arrow. With these weapons, he could produce overpowering passion in anybody—even the most powerful of the Olympian gods.

  • Did Eros have a lover?

    Some sources consider Eros the husband of Psyche, but this myth only appears in one work by the Roman author Apuleius; it is not found in any ancient Greek sources.

Overview

Lovely Eros personified love, passion, and procreation. He was originally imagined as a primordial god who emerged at the dawn of creation, alongside Chaos, Gaia, and Tartarus. However, he was soon reinvented as the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and was usually represented as her constant companion. Some later authors even introduced multiple “Erotes,” all of them somehow connected to Aphrodite and love.

Eros was a mischievous and unruly god who could sometimes be cruel. His arrows, which he launched from a golden bow, roused overpowering love and passion. Once pierced by these arrows, nobody—not even the all-powerful Zeus—could resist Eros. In one late story, Eros eventually fell victim to his own power when he developed a hopeless passion for the beautiful Psyche.

Etymology

The name “Eros” (Greek Ἔρως, translit. Érōs) is the Greek word meaning “passion” or “romantic love.” However, the etymology of this word is unknown; it may be pre-Greek.[1]

Pronunciation

  • English
    Greek
    ErosἜρως (Érōs)
  • Phonetic
    IPA
    [EER-os, ER-os]/ˈɪər ɒs, ˈɛr ɒs/

Alternate Names

Eros’ Roman counterpart was called Cupido (Cupid) or Amor.

Titles and Epithets

Eros’ epithets include καλός (kalós,“lovely, beautiful”), κάλλιστος (kállistos, “loveliest, most beautiful”), χρυσοκόμης (chrysokómēs, “golden-haired”), and λυσιμελής (lysimelḗs, “limb-loosening”). The poet Sappho famously described him as γλυκιπικρός (glykypikrós, “bittersweet”).[2]

Attributes

Functions and Characteristics

Eros was the god who personified love, passion, and procreation. He was also frequently connected with fertility. Though originally envisioned as an impersonal and supremely powerful cosmic force that personified sexual desire and procreation, Eros soon acquired a colorful mythology and personality of his own.[3]

Like the romantic love he embodied, Eros was full of contradictions. Early Greek poets wrote that he was sweet and warmed the heart,[4] yet he could also be cunning, unruly, and even cruel.[5] For the poet Sappho, Eros was perhaps the most powerful and irresistible of the gods;[6] Anacreon imagined him pursuing lovers with an axe or whip;[7] and many ancient sources even represented Eros as a kind of warrior.[8]

Eros flaunted the features of a beautiful young man or even a child. Hesiod referred to him as “fairest among the deathless gods;”[9] others went so far as to call him the youngest of the gods.[10] Eros was often described as winged, even golden-winged,[11] and was said to walk on flowers and wear a crown of roses—one of his symbols.[12] Sappho imagined a beautiful and youthful Eros flying through the air wearing a luxurious purple chlamys (a kind of cloak).[13]

Ever the childlike tempter, Eros loved playing games. Poets would represent him tossing around a ball[14] or competing with knucklebones, an early version of dice.[15] Of course, the crafty god of love was not above cheating.[16]

Together with figures such as Himeros (“Desire”), Pothos (“Longing”), and Anteros (“Reciprocated Love”), Eros was most often found in the entourage of Aphrodite, the goddess of love (who was sometimes called his mother). Some authors imagined more than one Eros, multiplying the mischievous god into a plurality of “Erotes.”[17]

Symbols

In addition to the flowers and roses whose scent constantly accompanied him, Eros’ symbols and attributes included his famous bow and arrows, with which he could produce not only love but also (according to some authors) the opposite of love—revulsion.[18] He also was said to carry the key to the apartments of Aphrodite,[19] flaming torches,[20] and nets in which to ensnare the victims of love.[21]

In later literature, as Eros’ power continued to expand, the god also began to take on the attributes of other gods: the thyrsus and tambourine of Dionysus, the lightning bolt of Zeus, the shield and helmet of Ares, the quiver of Apollo, the trident of Poseidon, the club of Heracles, and so on.[22]

Iconography

In the earliest Greek art, Eros was usually depicted as a winged young man—almost a boy—though he was sometimes portrayed as wingless as well. He appears both alone and with Aphrodite, carrying a lyre, a hare, or his famous bow and arrows. In early art, before Eros’ bow and arrows became ubiquitous, he was sometimes shown wielding a whip or a goad.

During the Hellenistic period (323–31 BCE), however, Eros’ iconography began to shift: he was increasingly represented as a chubby infant, virtually inseparable from Aphrodite. This infantile Eros went on to influence depictions of the Roman Cupid and eventually turned into the cherubic figure that was so popular in European art.[23]

Eros plate

Terracotta plate showing a youthful, winged Eros placing a wreath on an altar. Attributed to the Ascoli Satriano Painter (ca. 340–320 BCE). From Apulia in Italy.

Walters Art Museum, Baltimore MDPublic Domain

Family

According to Hesiod’s Theogony, Eros did not have any parents. Instead, he came into existence spontaneously at the beginning of the cosmos, together with Gaia and Tartarus.[24] 

But this was not the only version of Eros’ birth. According to many sources, he was the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who gave birth to him either alone or with her lover Ares.[25] Others made Eros the son of Uranus (with either Gaia or Aphrodite),[26] Eileithyia,[27] Zephyrus and Iris,[28] Nyx and Aether (or Erebus),[29] Chaos,[30] the Winds,[31] the Sea,[32] Poros (“Plenty”) and Penia (“Poverty”),[33] or Zeus and Aphrodite.[34] For others, Eros was the very first being of creation, coming even before Chaos.[35]

As for the many “Erotes” that eventually emerged, sources that spoke of their parentage almost always made them the children of Aphrodite.[36] But according to one source they were the children of the nymphs.[37]

In the cosmogonies of the Orphics, Eros may have been born from an egg laid by the primordial goddess Nyx (“Night”),[38] or else may have been equated with the obscure Phanes, a son of Chronos (“Time”).[39] 

The Roman author Apuleius made Eros the husband of Psyche and the father of Hedone (“Pleasure”).[40] The Orphics, perhaps identifying Eros with their primordial god Phanes, also made him the father of Nyx.[41] He was sometimes called the twin brother of Anteros (“Reciprocated Love”).[42]

Family Tree

  • Parents
    Mother
  • Consorts
    Wife
    • Psyche
  • Children
    Daughter
    • Hedone

Mythology

Origins

Eros’ origins are obscure and vary depending on the source. In Hesiod’s Theogony, he is a primordial god and one of the first beings to come into existence, but many later authors made him a son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, or of some other god. Eros was thus either one of the oldest gods or one of the youngest.

Eros and the Loves of Gods and Mortals

Eros had almost no myths of his own, yet he was ubiquitous in the myths of other gods and mortals. As early as the Homeric poems, the irresistible power of eros played a key role in Greek mythology as the force pulling Paris to Helen, Zeus to Hera, and the suitors to Penelope (though Homer never actually personified the concept of eros as the god Eros).[43] For Hesiod, the poet of the Theogony, it was Eros who accompanied Aphrodite when she went up to Olympus to join the gods.[44]

Later poets saw Eros everywhere:

Love [Eros], the unconquered in battle, Love, you who descend upon riches, and watch the night through on a girl's soft cheek, you roam over the sea and among the homes of men in the wilds. Neither can any immortal escape you, nor any man whose life lasts for a day. He who has known you is driven to madness.[45]

Farnese Eros

The so-called "Farnese Eros," Roman copy of fourth-century BCE Greek original by Praxiteles. National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy.

HaiducPublic Domain

Any Greek myth that involved love or lust became, in a sense, a myth about Eros. It was Eros who, at the behest of his mother Aphrodite, caused Hades to fall in love with Persephone;[46] when Apollo mocked Eros’ weapons, Eros taught him a lesson by causing him to fall in love with the nymph Daphne while at the same time causing Daphne to be repulsed by him;[47] Aphrodite fell in love with the mortal Adonis when she grazed her finger on one of Eros’ golden arrows;[48] and all of Zeus’ loves—from Io to Olympias—were, of course, Eros’ doing.[49] 

But Eros wreaked havoc upon mortals as well as gods.[50] In his Argonautica, Apollonius of Rhodes describes in detail how Hera wanted to help Jason get the Golden Fleece from the Colchian king Aeetes; thus, she had Aphrodite send Eros to make Aeetes’ daughter Medea fall in love with Jason.[51] Eros’ arrival and effects are colorfully described as follows:

Eros passed unseen through the grey mist, causing confusion... And quickly beneath the lintel in the porch he strung his bow and took from the quiver an arrow unshot before, messenger of pain. And with swift feet unmarked he passed the threshold and keenly glanced around; and gliding close by Aeson’s son [Jason] he laid the arrow-notch on the cord in the centre, and drawing wide apart with both hands he shot at Medea; and speechless amazement seized her soul. But the god himself flashed back again from the high-roofed hall, laughing loud; and the bolt burnt deep down in the maiden’s heart like a flame; and ever she kept darting bright glances straight up at Aeson’s son, and within her breast her heart panted fast through anguish, all remembrance left her, and her soul melted with the sweet pain. And as a poor woman heaps dry twigs round a blazing brand—a daughter of toil, whose task is the spinning of wool, that she may kindle a blaze at night beneath her roof, when she has waked very early—and the flame waxing wondrous great from the small brand consumes all the twigs together; so, coiling round her heart, burnt secretly Love the destroyer; and the hue of her soft cheeks went and came, now pale, now red, in her soul’s distraction.[52]

Eros and Psyche

Perhaps the most famous myth about Eros is narrated in only one source, and a late one at that—a late second-century CE novel by the Roman author Apuleius, commonly known today as the Golden Ass (its correct title is actually the Metamorphoses).[53]

The story tells of the princess Psyche (meaning “soul” in Greek), whose beauty had earned her the jealousy of Aphrodite.[54] In her envy, Aphrodite sent her son Eros[55] to cause Psyche to fall in love with a hideous monster.

But when Eros glimpsed Psyche, he fell in love with her himself. Disobeying his mother, he carried Psyche off to a hidden palace, where he became her lover. But though Eros visited Psyche every night, he did not tell her who he was and forbade her from seeing his face.

For a time, Eros and Psyche were happy together. But Psyche’s envious sisters started looking for ways to sow discord in the new relationship. At their urging, Psyche finally gazed at Eros’ face and discovered who he was. Eros subsequently abandoned Psyche, hurt by what he viewed as a violation of trust.

Psyche wandered the world for some time, seeking her divine lover. Aphrodite, who had discovered Psyche’s relationship with her son, tormented her viciously. But in the end, Psyche was reunited with Eros, won his (and Aphrodite’s) forgiveness, married him, and became a goddess.

Psyché et Cupide

Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Love by Antonio Canova (1793). Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

Wikimedia CommonsPublic Domain

Worship

Temples

Eros was worshipped throughout the Greek world, though his cult never achieved the religious importance of many other gods.[56] His statue was commonly erected in gymnasia (public exercise complexes), alongside the herms of the god Hermes.

Eros’ most prominent cult center may have been Thespiae, in the central Greek region of Boeotia. His cult statue there, which was aniconic (that is, a symbolic representation rather than a literal one), was said to have been very ancient.[57] The cult of Eros was also important in other parts of Boeotia, such as Thebes, where the god was worshipped in connection with the Sacred Band (an elite military unit made up of 150 pairs of male lovers).[58]

Eros also had an important cult center in Athens. The remains of a temple he shared with Aphrodite have been discovered on the slopes of the Acropolis. He was also said to have had an altar in Athens that was first erected by the lover of the sixth-century BCE tyrant Hippias.[59] Altars of Eros (such as the one in the Academy of Athens and the gymnasium of Elis) were sometimes grouped together with altars of Anteros.[60]

Eros was also worshipped at other sites, including Leuctra in Laconia, where he had a shrine with a sacred grove;[61] Parium in northwestern Anatolia;[62] and Elea in southern Italy, where excavations have uncovered a temple to Eros.

Festivals

Eros was honored with festivals at several sites, including Thespiae and Athens. At Thespiae, his festival was called the Erotidia and included artistic as well as athletic contests.[63] At Athens, his festival was celebrated in the spring.

There were also various rituals and festivals of Eros connected with gymnasia throughout the Greek world, where the god was especially revered.[64] The Spartans and Cretans were known to offer sacrifices to Eros before battle.

Pop Culture

Eros is best known in modern pop culture through the figure of Cupid, his Roman equivalent. He continues to be represented as a young boy, usually an infant or toddler, with a bow and arrows (which, in more cartoonish representations, are complete with heart-shaped tips). He also appears in adaptations of Greek mythology, such as the TV shows Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess (where he is played by Karl Urban).

References

Notes

  1. Robert S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 1:449.

  2. Sappho, frag. 130 Lobel-Page

  3. Cf. Hesiod, Theogony 120–22; Acusilaus, FGrH (Fragmente der griechischen Historiker) 2 frag. 6; Pherecydes of Syros, frags. 7 A11 Diels-Kranz; Parmenides, frag. 28 B13 Diels-Kranz; Plato, Symposium 195b–c.

  4. Alcman, frag. 101 Lobel-Page; cf. Anacreon, frags. 495, 505d PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci); Ibycus, frag. 287 PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci).

  5. See, for example, Alcman, frag. 36 PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci); Ibycus, frag. 6 PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci); Sappho, frag. 136 Lobel-Page; Theognidea 1231; Theocritus, Idylls 3.15ff; etc.

  6. Sappho, frags. 47, 130 Lobel-Page.

  7. Anacreon, frag. 82 Gentili.

  8. Pindar, Nemean Ode 8.4–5; Sophocles, Antigone 781; Euripides, Hippolytus 525–27; Plato, Symposium 196d.

  9. Hesiod, Theogony 120, trans. H. G. Evelyn-White.

  10. Plato, Symposium 195a–96b.

  11. Anacreon, frag. 379 PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci); Euripides, Hippolytus 1270–75, Helen 668; Aristophanes, Birds 574, 704, 1738; Plato, Phaedrus 252b.

  12. Anacreontea 53.42.

  13. Sappho, frag. 54 Lobel-Page.

  14. Anacreon, frag. 358 PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci); cf. Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 3.83–166.

  15. Anacreon, frag. 398 PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci); Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 3.117–28.

  16. Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 3.129–30.

  17. E.g., Aeschylus, Suppliants 1043; Bacchylides, Epinician Ode 9.73; Pindar, Nemean Ode 8.5, frag. 122.4 Snell-Maehler; Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 3.452, 687, 765, 937.

  18. The bow and arrows of Eros are first explicitly mentioned by Euripides (Medea 530–31, Iphigenia in Aulis 548–49). On the ability of Eros’ arrows to produce both love and revulsion, see Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.468ff.

  19. Euripides, Hippolytus 538–40.

  20. Greek Anthology 12.83 (Meleager), 16.200 (Moschus); cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.312.

  21. Ibycus, frag. 287.1–4 PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci).

  22. Greek Anthology 16.214 (Secundus); cf. 16.215 (Philip).

  23. On Eros in ancient art, see Antoine Hermary, Hélène Cassimatis, and Rainer Vollkommer, “Eros,” in Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (Zurich: Artemis, 1986), 3.1:850–942.

  24. Hesiod, Theogony 120ff. Alternatively, Hesiod’s Eros could be interpreted as the child of Chaos, but this is not the standard interpretation.

  25. Simonides, frag. 575 PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci); Ibycus, frag. 284 PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci); Anacreontea 44; Pindar, frags. 122.4–5, 128 Snell-Maehler; Bacchylides, Epinician Ode 9.72–73; Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 3.82; Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.452, 5.363; Hyginus, Astronomica 2.30; Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.27.2; Nonnus, Dionysiaca 4.238, 5.88, 33.4; etc. In one poem, Aphrodite even claims that she does not know the identity of Eros’ father (Greek Anthology 5.177). Cf. Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods 3.23, who says that there were three different gods by the name of Eros (Cupid in Latin), the last of whom was the son of Aphrodite (specifically, Cicero’s third Aphrodite, who like Eros is plural) and Ares. The first was the son of Hermes and the first Artemis and the second of Hermes and the second Aphrodite.

  26. See Sappho, frag. 198 Lobel-Page, in the scholia on Apollonius of Rhodes’ Argonautica 3.26 and the scholia on Theocritus’ Idylls 13.1. It appears that Sappho was not consistent in her poems on Eros (cf. Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.27.3).

  27. Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.27.2 (citing the semi-legendary poet Olen).

  28. Alcaeus, frag. 327 Lobel-Page.

  29. Acusilaus, Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 2 frag. 6; cf. Hyginus, Fabulae pref.1.

  30. Ibycus, frag. 324 PMG (Poetae Melici Graeci); Simias of Rhodes, frag. 173 Gow; Oppian, Halieutica 4.10.

  31. Antagoras of Rhodes, frag. 120 Powell.

  32. Greek Anthology 9.420.

  33. Plato, Symposium 203bff.

  34. Virgil, Ciris 134; cf. Euripides, Hippolytus 534.

  35. Parmenides, frag. 28 B13 Diels-Kranz; Euripides, Hypsipyle frag. 57.22–23 Bond; cf. Orphic Hymn 6.

  36. Cf. Aeschylus, Suppliants 1038–40.

  37. Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1.6.

  38. See Aristophanes, Birds 696ff (often thought to have been inspired by Orphic cosmogonies).

  39. Orphic Theogonies frag. 101, 102 West; Orphic Argonautica 12ff.

  40. Apuleius, Golden Ass 6.23–24.

  41. Orphic Theogonies frag. 101, 102 West; Orphic Argonautica 12ff.

  42. E.g., Ovid, Fasti 4.1.

  43. Homer, Iliad 3.442, 14.294, Odyssey 18.212.

  44. Hesiod, Theogony 120–22, 201–2.

  45. Sophocles, Antigone 781–90, trans. Richard Jebb.

  46. Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.363ff.

  47. Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.452ff.

  48. Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.525ff.

  49. Nonnus, Dionysiaca 7.110ff.

  50. Cf. Seneca, Phaedra 186ff.

  51. Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 3.25ff.

  52. Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 275–98, trans. R. C. Seaton.

  53. For the story, see Apuleius, Golden Ass 4.28–6.24. Artistic evidence suggests that the myth may have been known as early as the fourth century BCE.

  54. Apuleius calls her by her Roman name, Venus.

  55. Apuleius calls him by his Roman name, Cupid.

  56. Euripides, Hippolytus 538–44; Plato, Symposium 189c.

  57. Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.27.1ff.

  58. Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 13.561f, 13.602a.

  59. Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 13.609d.

  60. Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.30.1, 6.23.3.

  61. Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.26.5.

  62. Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.27.3.

  63. See, for example, Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.31.3.

  64. Erxias, FGrH (Fragmente der griechischen Historiker) 449 frag. 1; Pausanias, Description of Greece 6.23.3.

Primary Sources

Greek

Eros does not appear as a god in Homer (eighth century BCE), but he is important elsewhere in early literature, beginning with Hesiod (eighth/seventh century BCE). In Hesiod’s Theogony, Eros is named as one of the primordial gods, emerging at the beginning of the cosmos together with Chaos, Gaia, and Tartarus. Other early writers, such as the historian Acusilaus (sixth century BCE), also envisioned Eros as an early cosmic force, but their works are now lost.

The familiar image of Eros as the boyish son of Aphrodite and the bittersweet god of lovers became increasingly popularized by the lyric poets of the Archaic Period (ca. 700–490 BCE), including Sappho (late seventh–early sixth century BCE), Anacreon (sixth century BCE), and Simonides (sixth–fifth century BCE). Simonides, for instance, is the earliest known source who definitely referred to Eros as the son of Aphrodite. Unfortunately, most of these early works are now lost and known only from fragments.

Of our surviving sources, the poet Pindar (ca. 518–ca. 438 BCE) imagined Eros as a powerful and even warlike god of love, for instance in his eighth Nemean Ode. The tragedian Euripides (ca. 480–406 BCE) is an important source too: he often mentioned Eros as the dreaded and irresistable embodiment of love, and is the earliest source to refer to the god’s notorious bow and arrows (Medea 530–31, Iphigenia in Aulis 548–49).

Other classical sources for Eros include the comedian Aristophanes (ca. 450–ca. 385 BCE), whose parodic (or semi-parodic) cosmogony in the comedy Birds (692ff) makes Eros the son of Nyx and the father of the birds, and the philosopher Plato (ca. 429–ca. 347 BCE), who discusses the subject of love and the nature of the god Eros in a few of his philosophical dialogues (most famously in the Symposium)

Eros’ playful nature became even more prominent in the literature of the Hellenistic Period (323–31 BCE). Eros appears in Book 3 of the Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes (third century BCE) in a famous scene where he causes Medea to fall in love with Jason. Theocritus (early third century BCE) also makes references to Eros in several of his Idylls, especially Idyll 23.

More important information on Eros’ mythology and his cult throughout the Greek world can be found, for instance, in the writings of the geographer Pausanias (ca. 115–ca. 180 CE), author of the Description of Greece. Besides mainstream religion, Eros also had an important place in the cosmogony of the Orphics. Many Orphic writings are known today only from fragments, but there are valuable references to the Orphic Eros in the Orphic Hymns (composed between the third century BCE and second century CE), the 57th of which is dedicated to Eros, as well as in the much later Orphic Argonautica (fifth/sixth century CE).

Eros remained popular in later periods of Greek literature as well. He is a popular subject in many of the epigrams of the Greek Anthology, a Medieval collection of several thousand selected epigrams from as early as the seventh or sixth century BCE to as late as the seventh century CE. He also crops up on various occasions in the Dionysiaca, a long epic by Nonnus (fifth century CE) that chronicles the early life and adventures of Dionysus.

Roman

As Cupid or Amor, Eros plays an important role in Roman literature, especially love poetry. He appears, naturally, in the love poems of Catullus (ca. 84–ca. 54 BCE), Propertius (ca. 50/45 BCE–after 16 BCE), Ovid (43 BCE–17/18 CE), and various others. Ovid also treats Amor as a mythical character in works such as his Metamorphoses, which contains the famous story of how Eros caused Apollo’s hopeless and unrequited love for the nymph Daphne (1.452ff). 

Amor is also a mythical character for Virgil (70–19 BCE), who has Venus (the Roman Aphrodite) send him to make Dido fall in love with Aeneas in Book 1 of the Aeneid. Amor serves a similar purpose for Valerius Flaccus (first century CE), whose Cupid causes Medea to fall in love with Jason in Book 8 of his Argonautica.

Another Roman source, the mythographer known as Hyginus or “Pseudo-Hyginus” (first century CE or later), gives an unusual account of Amor’s origins in the preface of his Fabulae.

The most important Roman source for Amor, however, is Apuleius (ca. 125–after 170 CE): the late but now famous story of “Cupid and Psyche” takes up much of Books 4, 5, and 6 of the Golden Ass.

Other

More information on Eros—including on Eros’ role in sources that are now lost to us—can be found in texts and commentaries, such as the scholia, compiled in the Byzantine Period or the Middle Ages. For further references, see the notes.

Secondary Sources

  • Breitenberger, Barbara. Aphrodite and Eros: The Development of Erotic Mythology in Early Greek Poetry and Cult. New York: Routledge, 2007.

  • Carson, Anne. Eros the Bittersweet. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.

    Furtwängler, A. “Eros.” In W. H. Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, Vol. 1, 1339–72. Leipzig: Teubner, 1884–1890.

  • Gantz, Timothy. Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

  • Graf, Fritz, and A. R. Birley. “Eros.” In Brill’s New Pauly, edited by Hubert Cancik, Helmuth Schneider, Christine F. Salazar, Manfred Landfester, and Francis G. Gentry. Published online 2006. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e401810.

  • Hanfmann, George, John Pollard, and Karim Arafat. “Eros.” In The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 4th ed., edited by Simon Hornblower, Antony Spawforth, and Esther Eidinow, 536. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

  • Hard, Robin. “Eros and Other Associates of Aphrodite.” In The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology, 8th edtn., 181–83. New York: Routledge, 2020.

  • Hermary, Antoine, Hélène Cassimatis, and Rainer Vollkommer. “Eros.” In Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 3, 850–942. Zurich: Artemis, 1986.

  • Lasserre, François. La Figure d’Éros dans la poésie grecque. Lausanne: Imprimeries Réunies, 1946.

    Rosenmeyer, T. G. “Eros-Erotes.” Phoenix 5 (1951): 11–22.

  • Smith, William. “Eros.” In A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Spottiswoode and Company, 1873. Perseus Digital Library. Accessed October 21, 2021. https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0104%3Aentry%3Deros-bio-1.

  • Theoi Project. “Eros.” Published online 2000–2017. https://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Eros.html.

  • Theoi Project. “Eros (Protogenos).” Published online 2000–2017. https://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Eros.html.

  • Waser, Otto. “Eros (1).” In Georg Wissowa and August Friedrich Pauly, Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, Vol. 6.1, 484–542. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1907.

Citation

Kapach, Avi. “Eros.” Mythopedia, November 29, 2022. https://mythopedia.com/topics/eros.

Kapach, Avi. “Eros.” Mythopedia, 29 Nov. 2022. https://mythopedia.com/topics/eros. Accessed on 29 Nov. 2022.

Kapach, A. (2022, November 29). Eros. Mythopedia. https://mythopedia.com/topics/eros

Authors

  • Avi Kapach

    Avi Kapach is a writer, scholar, and educator who received his PhD in Classics from Brown University

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