any stories about Eros?

Omalos

New Member
Hello all,

I haven't been here for about fifteen years which makes me sort of new now. I've come back because I'd like to ask for people's help about Eros. I can't think any any real stories that she's in. Does anyone know one or two? If you do and you also know where the story comes from then please mention that too.

I'll write a bit more as background, in case of interest. I'm picturing Eros as a goddess of integration - of people I suppose - both individually and in greater numbers. So individually - something like returning to the simple state of being a new born baby, say. And in groups - the desire (or maybe succeeding - I don't know) for lots of people to somehow become one. So mystical aspirations would be closely tied up with Eros I suppose. To be honest my own feeling is that I don't want too much of that kind of thing! I quite like the sense that everything might not be one! And I'm wondering how the Greeks resolved these things. That's why I'm looking for stories where Eros features - to see who she met and what happened. I guess you get the idea.

Thanks for reading and any answers appreciated.
 

Omalos

New Member
bit of progress - I'll write what I've found to clear my thoughts. If anyone wants to chime in please do.

Eros features a little bit in Hesiod, but not much. There are a lot more references to Aphrodite. From a glance it looks like Eros wasn't a big part of greek mythology. But he (I was surprised - I imagined Eros as a she but no, apparently) got picked up later by Plato and likely others, much later also by Freud and Jung. It seems to have been Plato who turned him into something relating to mystical matters. So it looks like in real mythological times when the gods were seen as real people who would make you say 'ouch' if they stood on your toe, Eros had few if any stories about him.
 

Omalos

New Member
getting further...
Hesiod says about Eros that he can overpower all of the other gods. I'll copy out what he wrote -

"In truth, first of all Chasm came to be, and then broad-breasted Earth, the ever immovable seat of all the immortals who possess snowy Olympus' peak and murky Tartarus in the depths of the broad-pathed Earth, and Eros, who is the most beautiful among the immortal gods, the limb-melter--he overpowers the mind and the thoughtful counsel of all the gods and of all human beings in their breasts."

Aphrodite is much more in the stories. But Eros is older and accompanied her when she was born and when she was presented to the other gods.

I wonder whether there was a cult of Eros?
 

Omalos

New Member
maybe someone will turn up in the Greek myth room sometime. And maybe they'll strongly disagree with what I'm writing.
But meanwhile, some further thoughts-
Eros is so powerful in his way that he can overpower all gods and humans. Ok, but in that case I think there should be some stories about him. And I haven't found one where he does anything more than accompany Aphrodite. And Aphrodite doesn't have that kind of power herself. Like when she was caught in bed with Ares by her husband Hephaiestus, who trapped them there in a net. Undignified, and I don't think she was able to do anything about it.
I guess there are two ways of reading this:
One is that the for the Greeks Eros wasn't a big part of their lives. They knew of him, but he just didn't show up much and probably they didn't much think about him. The things that couldn't be ignored - people falling in love and sexual desire - were taken care of by Aphrodite. In terms of mystical life then, they weren't big into it. That would be one conclusion. Worth considering anyway.
The other is that the Eros/Aphrodite arrangement is how the Greeks papered over an earlier cult, where perhaps there was just one divinity that combined them both, and as a female. Pre-hellenic goddess worship is a popular idea, and it does seem to explain this case. Patriarchal Hellenes changing things to fit better with their own culture.
Personally I find the limited mysticism of the greek myths refreshing. Which is just to say that I think there might be some value in the greek view even if it is a cover-up, so to speak.
 

Omalos

New Member
bit fuzzy but an add-on - Thanatos is similar. In psychology there's a theory of Eros and Thanatos, I can't remember anything about it, but like Eros, Thanatos didn't figure much or at all in the old stories. Maybe they're abstractions from words. I think both Eros and Thanatos were straightforward Greek words. Or they could be called personifications, though I don't like it too much cos it suggests they become real people.

There's flavour of Greek philosophy to come in this creation by abstraction. Plato really. Difference is that these early abstractions are made into people. What would be the impulse that led to creation of these abstracted personalised powers?
 

Omalos

New Member
to the question from the last post - it's the other way round i guess. Like really, a human is gonna see personality in everything unless they have an idea that will hinder it. An idea like the one creator god being outside of the world might be one of those, just a hunch. Otherwise more simply just the idea of INANIMATE OBJECT could do it. The reason I'm saying it's - the other way round - is:- when we're born we got no ideas at all (I suppose) - and - guessing again - as a general rule we take everything to be just as we are ourselves UNLESS WE GET AN IDEA THAT SAYS OTHERWISE.

So going back to the greek Eros, Thanatos and similar - Greeks might have personified them just cos they had nothing in their minds to stop it.

Only there is also one more posssibility - that it was more like the modernish "Britannia" personification. I don't think anyone ever thought of her as a real person- it was artificial - "nice to look a bit Romanish" type thing.
So were the Eros and Thanatos personifications involuntary or artificial?

(Or was there anything of real deity about them that I missed/am ignoring?)
 
Top