Cupid

Cupid

[kyoo-pid]
Cupid: see Eros.

Cupid, classical statue; in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples

Ancient Roman god of love in all its varieties, identified with the Greek Eros. Cupid was the son of Mercury and Venus. He was usually represented as a winged infant who carried a bow and quiver of arrows, which he shot at humans to inflict wounds that inspired love or passion. He was also sometimes depicted as a beautiful youth. Though generally considered beneficent, he could be mischievous in matchmaking, often at his mother's behest.

Learn more about Cupid with a free trial on Britannica.com.

In Roman mythology, Cupid (Latin cupido) is the god of erotic love and beauty. He is also known by another one of his Latin names, Amor (cognate with Kama).

In popular culture Cupid is frequently shown shooting his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day.

Lineage

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.

Cult

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.

Portrayal in art and literature

In painting and sculpture, Cupid is often portrayed as a nude (or sometimes diapered) winged boy or baby armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows.

The Hindu Kāma also has a very similar description. 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.

In the Artemis Fowl book series, the character Holly Short's great-great grandfather is Cupid.

Holiday character

Cupid is a holiday character and symbol usually representing Valentines Day and the emotion of love. Cupid is based on the god of Roman mythology of the same name, but has undergone many changes. Cupid is the Roman version of the Greek deity Eros.

The most common representations of Cupid include a putto with a bow and arrow. Sometimes the arrow has a heart for its tip. Cupid is most often seen either nude or diapered. Cupid is sometimes blindfolded, symbolizing the figure of speech "love is blind."

Reinterpretation of the Cupid character may leave off any or all of the traditional details of the character, so long as the character's main purpose is to make or help people fall in love (or possibly become physically intimate).

Humorous interpretations may feature an obviously grown man but keeping the other traditional elements including the diaper.

It is said that if Cupid's arrow hits you, you will fall hopelessly and madly in love with the next person you meet of the opposite sex.

See also

References

http://www.crystalinks.com/cupid.html

Search another word or see Cupidon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature