Saturday, June 9, 2012

V is for I'm Your Venus.

Yes, I am absolutely singing the Bananarama song in my head right now.  Sans the grotty lyrics that Sparky likes to use.

I came across Venus this morning as I was researching for my cupid story.  Even writing 'Cupid'  feels a little uncomfortable.  Fat, chubby babies with wings, flinging arrows at unsuspecting hearts.  Cupid (from the latin 'cupido' meaning desire) is the son of Venus, the goddess of Love and Mars, the god of war.  This is your Roman version of events.  As far as inspiration goes, the baby with the weapon just wasn't working for me.  I've seen enough bad things happen when the offspring aren't even armed to know that can't end well.  

I knew there was a Greek version of cupid - Eros, where erotic comes from.  Of course, I knew that bit.    
The Eros Farnese, a Pompeiian marble thought to be a copy of the colossal Eros of Thespiaeby Praxiteles[1]


Nor surprisingly, Eros was the god of love in Greek Mythology.  He is often depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power.

Now, we be talking. 

In some versions, he is an original primordial god-dude, with no parents, but others say his parents were Aphrodite, goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation and Ares, god of war.  He is nearly always associated with his mother's mischievous fiddling with relationships, hence the boyish way he is sometime portrayed (...and we're back to Cupid.  Quick, run away.).  

Are you seeing a thread here?  A whole lot of love going around.  With adults.  Suddenly, I feel better. 

But did you know that Eros has a whole pile of siblings? 

Anteros was given as a playmate to his brother Eros, who felt a little lonely as a child.  Now this is the interesting part, and I quote: "...the rationale being that love must be answered if it is to prosper."
Anteros by Alfred Gilbert, 1893; from the Shaftesbury Memorial in Piccadilly Circus.  This statue is often confused for Cupid.

This, also from the Anteros listing at

Describing the nature of the emotion (eros - EL), Plato asserts that it is the result of the great love for another person. The lover, inspired by beauty, is filled with divine love and "filling the soul of the loved one with love in return." As a result, the loved one falls in love with the lover, though the love is only spoken of as friendship. They experience pain when the two are apart, and relief when they are together, the mirror image of the lover's feelings, is anteros, or "counter-love."


It's generally accepted that Eros and Anteros look similar, although the former usually carries the ubiquitous gold bow and arrow, where Anteros has a bow with lead arrows, or a golden club and girlier hair.  Eros' wings are like a birds, where Anteros' are more butterfly-like in shape.  

So, in the red corner, we have Eros, god of love, mischievous and playful, and heavy on the lust.  Sudden, arrow-in-the-chest, burning desire.  

In the blue corner, we have Anteros, who is the god of love requited love, literally 'love-returned' or 'counter-love'.  He avenges unrequited love and punishes those who scorn love.  Love that might start out smoking, but might start out softly as well, growing and building.  The stuff of romance.  

Suddenly, my story is shaping up.  

I read that the Erotes are the brother's posse.  Gods and demi-gods, they all hang with Aphrodite and create lusty havoc under her command.  The Erotes include other siblings of Anteros and Eros, like Himeros and Pothos.  These last two are less known and it serves my purpose to completely forget about them.  For now.  

So, I got to thinking:  what if Eros and Anteros weren't siblings, but types of Erotes?  What if the eros' and the anteros' were in competition, lust versus love?  Let's face it, sometimes lovers fall into lust and never into love.  That just means they got hit by Eros' golden arrow, and not clubbed in the head by Anteros' golden club.  Next time, they might get lucky.

What if there was a whole pile of erotes, vying for jobs?  

Would they be taught how do hit hearts? Would there be a cupid training program?  What if it was a competition?  Would it be amiable, or do-or-die?

What if some of them were girls?   

Suddenly, I have a background to one of my three characters.  

Oh, the joys of being a writer.  I gets me UP!

Are you checking my 50k30days word-o-meter ---> ?  It's been cranking around.  ;)

Until next time.  I'm off to find my old Bananarama tapes and tie a bandanna around my head.    

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