I once did a piece on Cupid (the Roman name) already, which you can still read over at Criminal Element, portraying Eros as Aphrodite’s hit man and enforcer. I stand by this characterization as Eros is an embodiment of lust among the Erotes. The Erotes are a group of Aphrodite’s sons with similar appearances (young, virile men with wings and equipped with bows and a quiver of arrows). Each of the Erotes has a specialization, and Eros is all about lust and desire.
This makes him an extension of Aphrodite herself, and perfectly suited to making people she’s displeased with fall in love in humorous fashion. However, there is a deeper dimension to Eros when looking at the myth where he falls in love with a woman called Psyche.
A detailed analysis will come another time (like with Aphrodite) but the important point is that jealousy is born out of Eros’s love for Psyche; the metaphorical green-eyed monster becomes real in mythology.
What I find most interesting is that jealousy was born by Eros, not any of his brothers who have specific influences regarding love such as both requited and unrequited versions, but out of the raw lust of Eros. This reinforces a powerful concept within Greek mythology that uncontrolled passions are dangerous, especially when it comes to these primal urges as represented by Aphrodite and the Erotes. And it is only when Eros truly falls in love, and has that love returned by Psyche, that jealousy can be dispelled.
The rest of the Erotes have very little in terms of mythological hijinks, and are mostly just identified by name and their sphere of influence, which is worth a look on various mythology websites or Wikipedia for kicks as I won’t be going into them here.
Up next: love and death with Persephone.