According to Roman mythology, Cupid is the son of Venus, the goddess of fertility, beauty, and love. Cupid’s father varies depending on the version: Mars, Jupiter and Vulcan are mentioned as his progenitors in different stories.
Cupid is considered the god of romantic desire. The myth narrates that he has arrows of two kinds: one grants love and the other causes oblivion. That is why it is said that Cupid can make and break couples.
Cupid is depicted as a naked or swaddled child with wings, carrying a bow, arrows, and a quiver (a portable container for carrying arrows). If the term is written with a lowercase initial ( cupid ), it alludes to this representation that became a symbol of love and Valentine’s Day.
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Many times Cupid appears blindfolded, reflecting that true love arises from the soul and not from the physical. When his arrows land on a person, the recipient of the arrow falls in love.
Returning to the myth of Cupid, we can study different versions already from the point of his birth. According to the Old Roman philosopher and writer Lucius Annaeus Seneca, known by the epithet Seneca the Younger, Cupid is the son of the goddess of love, Venus, and the god of fire, Vulcan. On the other hand, according to his countryman Marco Tulio Cicero, with whom they also shared professions, there is both one who was born from Erebus and Night, and another whose father is Jupiter and Venus.
The first of the two is identified with the Greek Himerus (the personification of sexual desire and lust), he is capricious and violent; the second, on the other hand, is the representation of love, and is therefore delightful and soft. In addition to these two versions, there is another, the most widespread, in which Cupid’s parents are Venus and Mars; Apparently, it belongs to the Greek poet Simonides of Ceos, who also created mnemonics.
Continuing with Simonides’ version, Cupid’s birthplace is the island of Cyprus, the same as his mother’s, who hid him in her forests and trusted to be suckled by wild beasts for fear that Jupiter would kill him to avoid all the evil. evil that –according to him– it would do to the world. Of course, history leaned in Cupid’s favor, and that is why he was able to grow up strong and healthy, although alien to reason in pursuit of an impulsive and spontaneous attitude.
Cupid made his first bow and arrows in the forest, using ash and cypress wood. Later, his mother gave him a golden bow and some arrows that, as mentioned in a previous paragraph, were of two different kinds: those that granted love had their golden tips; those that provoked ingratitude and oblivion in their victims, had a lead tip.
It is important to note that no one was immune to the powers of Cupid’s arrows: not their own parents, not the gods, not even himself.
The figure of Cupid has been used as inspiration countless times in the art world. Sleeping Cupid, for example, is an oil painting by Caravaggio. The Italian artist painted the painting in 1608. “Sleeping Cupid”, on the other hand, is a sculpture by Michelangelo created in 1496 whose trace was lost in the 17th century.
Cupid, finally, is the name of a natural satellite of the planet Uranus. Discovered in 2003, it is part of a group of satellites that have similar properties and orbits, such as Perdita, Cressida, Desdemona and Portia, among others.