Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
PSYCHE 100.00%
In Greek mythology, the personification of the human soul as the being beloved by tros (Amor). She is represented as a butterfly, or as a young maiden with butterfly's wings, sometimes as pursued by Eros in various ways, or revenging herself on him, or united with him in the tenderest love. Apuleius (q.v.), in his tale of the Golden Ass [Met. iv 28-vi 24], has availed himself of this representation. He makes them the hero and heroine of an old popular tradition, in which a loving couple, after a sorrowful separation, are restored to one another for ever. The love-god causes the charming Psyche, the youngest of the three daughters of a king, to be carried off by Zephyrus to a secluded spot, where he visits her at night alone, without being seen or recognised by her. Persuaded by her sisters, she transgresses his command, and wishes to see him, when the god immediately vanishes. Amid innumerable troubles and appalling trials she seeks her lover, till at length, purified by the sufferings she has endured, she finds him again, and is united to him for ever. In the myth, as told by Apuleius, her daughter is called Voluptas.
EROS 51.09%
The god of love among the Greeks. His name does not occur in Homer; but in Hesiod he is the fairest of the deities, who subdues the hearts of all gods and men. He is born from Chaos at the same time as the Earth and Tartarus, and is the comrade of Aphrodite from the moment of her birth. Hesiod conceives Eros not merely as the god of sensual love, but as a power which forms the world by inner union of the separated elements; an idea very prevalent in antiquity, especially among the philosophers. But according to the later and commoner notion, Eros was the youngest of the gods, generally the son of Aphrodite by Ares or Hermes, always a child, thoughtless and capricious. He is as irresistible as fair, and has no pity even for his own mother. Zeus, the father of gods and men, arms him with golden wings, and with bow and unerring arrows, or burning torches. Anteros, the god of mutual love, is his brother, and his companions are Pothos and Himeros, the per sonifications of longing and desire, with Peitho (Persuasion), the Muses, and the Graces. In later times he is surrounded by a crowd of similar beings, Erotes or loves. (For the later legend of Eros and Psyche, see PSYCHE.) One of the chief and oldest seats of his worship was Thespiae in Baeotia. Here was his most ancient image, a rough, unhewn stone. His festival, the Erotia or Erotidia, continued till the time of the Roman Empire to be celebrated every fifth year with much ceremony, accompanied by gymnastic and musical contests. Besides this he was paid special honour and worship in the gymnasia, where his statue generally stood near those of Hermes and Heracles. In the gymnasia Eros was the personification of devoted friendship and love between youths and men; the friendship which proved itself active and helpful in battle and bold adventure. This was the reason why the Spartans and Cretans sacrificed to Eros before a battle, and the sacred band of youths at Thebes was dedicated to him; why a festival of freedom (Eleutheria) was held at Samos in his honour, as the god who bound men and youths together in the struggle for bonour and freedom; and why at Athens he was worshipped as the liberator of the city, in memory of Harmodius and Aristogiton. In works of art Eros was usually represented as a beautiful boy, close upon the age of youth. In later times be also appears as a child with the attributes of a bow and arrows, or burning torches, and in a great variety of situations. The most celebrated statues of this god were by Lysippus, Scopas, and Praxiteles, whose Eros at Thespiae was regarded as a master-piece, and unsurpassable. The famous torso in the Vatican, in which the god wears a dreamy, lovelorn air, is popularly, but probably erroneously, traced to an original by Praxiteles (fig. 1). The Eros trying his bow, in the Capitoline Museum at Rome, is supposed to be the copy of a work by Lysippus (fig. 2). The Roman god Amor or Cupido was a mere adaptation of the Greek Eros, and was never held in great honour.
Born about 130 A.D. at Madaura in Numidia, of a wealthy and honourable family; the most original Latin writer of his time. Educated at Carthage, he went to Atbens to study philosophy, especially that of Plato; then he travelled far and wide, everywhere obtaining initiation into the mysteries. For sometime he lived in Rome as an advocate. After returning to Africa, he married a lady considerably older than himself, the mother of a friend, Aemilia Pudentilla, whereupon her kinsmen charged him with having won the rich widow's hand by magic, and of having contrived the death of her son: a charge to which he replied with much wit in his oration De Magia (earlier than A.D. 161). He afterwards settled down at Carthage, and thence made excursions through Africa, delivering orations or lectures. Of the rest of his life and the year of his death nothing is known. Beside the Apologia above-mentioned, and a few rhetorical and philosophic writings, another work, his chief one, also survives, which was composed at a ripe age, with hints borrowed from a book of Lucian's. This is a satirical and fantastic moral romance, Metamorphoseon libri XI (de Asino Aureo), the adventures of one Lucius, who is transformed into an ass, and under that disguise has the amplest opportunities of observing, undetected, the preposterous doings of mankind. Then, enlightened by this experience, and with the enchantment taken off him by admission into the mysteries of Osiris, be becomes quite a new man. Of the many episodes interwoven into the story, the most interesting is the beautiful allegorical fairy tale of Cupid and Psyche, so much used by later poets and artists. Throughout the book Apuleius paints the moral and religious conditions of his time with much humour and in lifelike colours though his language, while clever, is often, affected, bombastic, and disfigured by obsolete and provincial phrases.
Type: Standard
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