Cupid or Eros?

Love the Little Guy

Cupido is the Roman version of the Greek god Eros. So who was this winged god named Eros? According to myths and legends he was the son of Aphrodite and Ares or maybe Hermes. There was no DNA testing back then and after all she was known as the famous goddess of love and lust.

As was common to the gods and goddesses at Mount Olympus, Aphrodite was very proud of her body and presented herself nude to potential lovers with an occasional thin silk scarf covering her sexual abyss. With her beauty and ability to bring out the lust in most humans and gods, she had many takers for the fruits of her loins.

Version 2One of her lustful affairs produced her son Eros, more commonly known to us as Cupid. He is depicted as a little winged god with a bow and arrows. The Greek Eros was called the god of desire and erotic lust, which is where the word erotic comes from so you get the picture.

The more I read about the escapades of all the Greek gods and goddesses, the more I realize how sexually filtered our current literature is. Each new myth told me about another Greek orgy where the humans involved would blame the illicit sex on the gods and goddesses.

Aphrodite was the primary instigator of all these sexual escapades with the help of her little winged son Eros and his pointed arrows. When she was interested in a sexual encounter with someone, she would instruct her son to shoot one of his arrows at him. This magic arrow caused the intended to feel love and lust for her resulting in sexual intercourse.

Madness from the gods, which was also associated with Eros, was known to create erotic behavior. There were thoughts that his arrows symbolized the oxymoron of pleasure and pain associated with love and lust. Maybe the Greeks got that one right.

So how did Eros become this docile little cherub (Cupid) instead of the god of carnal sexual lust? Plato purified the whole legend and myth of Eros thus the notion of platonic relationship was born, but know that the ancient Greek gods would have been appalled at such thinking.

How the little guy became the icon for a day in February has to do with the Romans. Evidently Valentine was a fairly common name among Christians in Rome where the Roman Emperor Claudius II executed men by that name on February 14th several years in a row. One was a Christian priest who was made a saint and martyred by his followers.

Every year on that date the Christians would celebrate his death by flogging nude women with rags soaked in goat’s blood to ensure fertility. The women would pull from a bowl a name of a possible mate and let nature take its course. Sounds a little like online dating doesn’t it?

This Christian ritual was later erased from Saint Valentine’s history by the Catholic church. We only know about it because the ancient Roman myths hung onto it.

img_0421Each couple would give each other gifts. One popular gift was chocolate. This popular ancient food was used as an aphrodisiac right up there with oysters and olives. When I researched these libido enhancing foods, the list was long. It almost made me afraid to eat in public.

So when you open that Valentine card and there is a winged little guy shooting hearts at you remember that there may be another side to that chubby little guy. You might want to temper your intake of chocolates from that elaborately decorated heart shaped box as well.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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