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VALENTINE'S DAY & ROMANCE - History, Mythology, Culture, Traditions, Love, Dating, Advice, Gifts


THE LEGEND OF CUPID

Once there was only Darkness and Chaos. Out of Darkness came Eros, the name for love in ancient times. When Eros and Chaos met they created a family. Their children were the ocean, earth, air, and all creatures including people.

Eros became known to people as the spirit of love. Later in ancient Rome, Eros was called Cupid.

Some people say when they fall in love, they actually feel their hearts flutter as though they had been struck with a love potion carried on a tiny invisible arrow. So the story of Cupid was expanded to say he had a small bow and a quiver of invisible gold-tipped arrows covered in magic love potions. When Cupid was drawn, he was made small to match the size of his bow and arrows. Wings were added so he could fly anywhere he wanted. Cupid was said to be childlike and innocent, knowing only true love. So the picture of Cupid was an almost naked, chubby child with wings, a bow, and a quiver full of love arrows flying overhead looking for hearts to shoot full of love.

In Roman mythology, Cupid (Latin Cupido) is the god of erotic love. He is equated with the Greek God Eros and another one of his Latin names Amor (cognate with Kama).

There are differing stories about Cupid's parentage. Cicero provides three different lineages: son of Mercury (Hermes) and Diana (Artemis), son of Mercury and Venus (Aphrodite), and son of Mars (Ares in Greek mythology) and Venus. Plato mentions two of these, and Hesiod's Theogony, the most ancient Greek theoography, says that Cupid was created coevally with Chaos and the earth.

Throughout ancient mythological writing, there appear to be either two Cupids or two sides to the figure of Cupid. One is the son of Jupiter (Zeus) and Venus. He is a lively youth who delights in pranks and spreading love. The other is a son of Nyx and Erebus, known for riotous debauchery.

Cupid's cult was closely associated with that of Venus, with Cupid being worshipped as devotedly as she. Additionally, Cupid's power was supposed to be even greater than his mother's, since he had dominion over the dead in Hades, the creatures of the sea and the gods in Olympus. Some of the cults of Cupid suggested that Cupid as son of Night and Hell mated with Chaos to produce both men and gods, making the gods the offspring of love.

In painting and sculpture, Cupid is often portrayed as a nude winged boy armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows.The Hindu Kama also has a very similar description.The traditional Christian depiction of a cherub is based on him. On gems and other surviving pieces, he is usually shown amusing himself with childhood play, sometimes driving a hoop, throwing darts, catching a butterfly, or flirting with a nymph. He is often depicted with his mother (in graphic arts, this is nearly always Venus), playing a horn. He is also shown wearing a helmet and carrying a buckler, perhaps in reference to Virgil's Omnia vincit amor or as political satire on wars for love or love as war.

Cupid figures prominently in ariel poetry, lyrics and, of course, elegiac love and metamorphic poetry. In epic poetry, he is less often invoked, but he does appear in Virgil's Aeneid changed into the shape of Ascanius inspiring Dido's love. In later literature, Cupid is frequently invoked as fickle, playful, and perverse. He is often depicted as carrying two sets of arrows: one set gold-headed, which inspire love; and the other lead-headed, which inspire hatred.

The best-known story involving Cupid is the tale of Cupid and Psyche.

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