Eros, the Greek God Eros, has a long history that starts from Ancient Greece. Eros was one of the most important Gods of the antiquity, one of the three deities that created the World, according to Hesiod who describes the origins and genealogy of Gods in his Theogony.
“At the beginning there was only Chaos” according to Hesiod. There are, though, three elements coexisting: Chaos, Gaia and Eros. Eros doesn’t give birth but encourages creation and Birth. Chaos gave birth to Erebus and Night, whose children were Day and Ether.
The Greek Tragic Poets make much of the God Eros; Euripides divides Eros into a positive and negative power, as he can lead either to Virtue or Disgrace. Plato also considers that Eros is both good and bad – he states that bad Eros is the son of Aphrodite Pandimos.
God Eros in Greek Mythology
Greek Mythology is full of versions about God Eros. According to the most popular myth, Eros was son of Aphrodite and Mars (maybe that is why we tend to say ’Make Love not War’). Plato presents a different opinion, though, indicating that Eros is a son of Chaos, representing harmony. There are many more myths that suggest that Eros was son of Hermes or Hephaestus, or even son of Poros and Poverty. Sappho mentions that he is son of Aphrodite and Uranus, while Alkaios, the poet, that he was son of Iris and Zephyr.
Eros, Son of Aphrodite
The most predominant version is though that Eros was born from Aphrodite’s relationship with Mars and their intercourse one nice summer evening. As son of the Goddess of Beauty, Eros became the God of Desire, of love and sexual activity.
According to all myths, Eros was astonishingly beautiful, but also a constant source of troubles for both Gods and Men ( not much has changed since the antiquity it seems!). His brother was named Anteros and his collaborators Were Pothos (desire) and Imeros (calm).
The Flying Eros with the Arrows and Bow
Eros appears in many representations of antique life, in paintings and artifacts; he is mostly presented the way the Romans used to depict him: as a flying baby with bow and arrows. According to the myth, again, Eros features two different kinds of arrows: golden ones with dove feathers and others with owl feathers. The ones with the dove feathers were used to aim at hearts of men and immortals, in order to stimulate erotic feelings.
Other forms of Eros
Eros appears quite often in representations of Greek Art on a dolphin or lion. Ancient Greeks also depicted him as an adult, a very athletic man personifying beauty of youth and manhood.
Some artifacts discovered in Pompei featuring God Eros are of significant importance for the art critics and Archaeologists as well. For the Romans Eros was ’Cupid’.