Gods of Love and Desire: Eros

Love is in the air and so is broken heart.
Eros was the Greek God of Love, or more precisely, passionate and primal sexual desire. Without warning he selects his targets and forcefully strikes at their hearts, bringing confusion and irrepressible feelings or in the words of Hesiod “he loosens the limbs and weakens the mind”. In fact, the word erotic comes from his name. Eros himself is a carefree and beautiful youth. Personally I think he is one of the most powerful gods in existence. He makes most gods (favorite target is Zeus) fall in love/lust with other gods and/or mortals regardless of gender. 
It was thought that Eros’ arrows, often randomly aimed, made people fall in love. One of the most famous tells involving this was when Apollo ridiculed the skills of Eros as an archer. Apparently Apollo forget he was talking to the son of Aphrodite and ARES. As payback for the remark Eros fired one of his arrows at Apollo, making him fall in love with the nymph Daphne and cursing many his relationship result in death. Another such instance of Eros using his love-carrying arrows was when he made Medea fall madly in love with the great hero Jason.
Eros and his omnipotence was also a favorite subject of such philosophers as the Epicureans, Parmenides, and of Plato who discusses him at length in both his Symposium and Phaedrus. In Greek religion he was the subject of cult worship in Thespiae (with its sporting and artistic festival, the Erotidia) and at Athens, Leuctra, Velia, and Parium. In addition, he was closely associated with many of the cults of his mother, Aphrodite. Altars to Eros were placed at both the Academy of Athens and the gymnasium at Elis. Some ancients differentiated his domain from that of Aphrodite by saying that hers was to rule over the love of men for women while associating Eros with male-male warrior lovers. Eros is regarded as the protector of homosexual love and a bringer of desire. Male-male relationships were formed at the Palaistrai, the Wrestling Schools, where boys, youths, and men trained in wrestling, boxing, and pankration, and which were also military training grounds. This was very important. A man is more furious when fighting to protect the one he love.
When, in a place like Athens, the boys who wrestled and boxed at the Palestra reached what was called Fighting Age -- which was usually 18 -- they started their "ephebic training" -- training in the use of the shield, spear, and sword. At Sparta, the "boys of fighting age" were called Eirens. But it's basically the same deal. Male-male relationships were formed within the context of the AgogĂ©, much of which was training in various forms of nude hand-to-hand fighting, and then in fighting with weapons. So—male –male — Eros — existed in a Warrior context.

Many modern worshippers and secular classics enthusiasts still maintain his male-male associations; statues and other depictions of Eros as a young man or adolescent are very popular with some gay men.

He is typically shown blindfolded -- because, after all, love is blind -- and carrying a bow, with which he shot arrows at his intended targets. As Cupid, he is often invoked as  God of Pure Love during Valentine's Day, but in his original form, Eros was mostly about lust and passion. Remind the best way to conquer Love is to face head on. 


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