The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Eriunius – Erophilus – Eropon – Eros

50 EROS.

ERIUNIUS ('Epiorfwos) or ERINNES, the giver of good fortune, occurs as a surname of Her­ mes, but is also Used as a proper name instead of Hermes. (Horn. E. xxiv. 440, 457, Od. viii. 322; Aristoph. Ran. 1143.) [L. S.]

EROPHILUS, a distinguished engraver of gems, was the son of Dioscorides. He lived, there­ fore, under the early Roman emperors. He is only known by a beautiful gem, bearing the head of Augustus, on which his name appears, though partially defaced. (Meyer zu Winckelmann, b. xi. c. 2. $ 18, Abbildungen, No. 92; Miiller, Arch. d. Kunst, §200,n. 1.) [P. S.]

EROPON, an officer in the confidence of Perseus, king of Macedonia, who sent him in b. c. 168 to negotiate an alliance with Eumenes II., king of Pergamus, against the Romans. Livy says that Eropon had been engaged before on secret services of the same nature. (Liv. xliv. 24, 27, 28.) This name should perhaps be substituted Cor KpvQwvra in Polyb. xxix. 3. [E. E.]

EROS ("Epws), in Latin, AMOR or CUPI'DO,, the god of love. In the sense in which he is usu­ally conceived, Eros is the creature of the later Greek poets; and in order to understand the an­cients properly we must distinguish three Erotes : viz. the Eros of the ancient cosmogonies, the Eros of the philosophers and mysteries, who bears great resemblance to the first, and the Eros whom we meet with in the epigrammatic and erotic poets, whose witty and playful descriptions of the god, however, can scarcely be considered as a part of the ancient religious belief of the Greeks. Homer does not mention Eros, and Hesiod, the earliest author that mentions him, describes him as the cosmpgonic Eros. First, says Hesiod (Theog. 120, &c.), there was Chaos, then came Ge, Tartarus, and Eros, the fairest among the gods, who rules over the minds and the council of gods and inen. In this account we already perceive, a combination of the most ancient with later notions. According to the former, Eros was one of the fundamental causes in the formation of the world, inasmuch.as he was the uniting power of love, which brought order and harmony among the conflicting elements of which Chaos consisted. In the same metaphy­sical sense he is conceived by Aristotle (Metaph. i. 4); and similarly in the Orphic poetry (Qrph. Hymn. 5; comp. Aristoph. Av. 69.5) he is de­scribed as the first of the gods, who sprang from the world's egg. In Plato's Symposium (p. 178, b) he is likewise called the oldest of the gods. It is quite in accordance with the notion of the cosmo-gonic Eros, that he is described as a son of Cronos and Ge, of Eileithyia, or as a god who had no parentage, and came into existence by himself. (Paus. ix. c. 27.) The Eros of later poets, on the other hand, who gave rise to that notion of the god which is most familiar to us, is one of the youngest of all the gods. (Paus. /. c.; Cic. de Nat. Deor. iii. 23.) The parentage of the second Eros is very differently described, for he is called a son of Aphrodite (either Aphrodite Urania or Aphro­dite Pandemos), or Polymnia, or a son of Porus and Penia, who was begptten on Aphrodite's birth­day. (Plat. I. c.,* Sext. Emp. adv. Math. i. 540.) According to other genealogies, again, Eros was a son of Hermes by Artemis or Aphrodite, or of Ares by Aphrodite (Cic. de Nat. Dear. iii. 23), or of Zephyrus ,and Iris (Plut. Amat. 20 ; Eustath. ad Horn. p. 55£), or, lastly, a son of Zeus by his

EROS;

own daughter Aphrodite, so that Zeus was at once his father and grandfather* (Virg. Cir. 134.) Eros in this stage is always conceived and was always represented as a handsome youth, and it is not till about after the time of Alexander the Great that Eros is represented by the epigrammatists and the erotic poets as a wanton boy, of whom a thou­sand tricks and cruel sports are related, and from whom neither gods nor men were safe. He is generally described as a son of Aphrodite ; but as love finds its way into the hearts of men in a man­ner which no one knows, the poets sometimes de­scribe him as of unknown origin (Theocrit. xiii. 2), or they say that he had indeed a mother, but not a father. (Meleagr. Epigr.50.) In this stage Eros has nothing to do with uniting the discordant ele­ments of the universe, or the higher sympathy or love which binds human kind together; but he is purely the god of sensual love, who bears sway over the inhabitants of Olympus as well as over men and all living creatures: he tames lions and tigers, breaks the thunderbolts of Zeus, deprives Heracles of his arms, and carries on his sport with the monsters of the sea. (Orph. Hymn. 57 ; Virg. Eclog. x. 29; Mosch. Idyll, vi. 10; Theocrit. iii. 15.) His arms, consisting of arrows, which he carries in a golden quiver, and of torches, no one can touch with impunity. (Mosch. Idyll, vi.; Theocrit. xxiii. 4; Ov. Trist. v. 1, 22.) His ar­rows are of different power: some are golden, and kindle love in the heart they wound; others are blunt and heavy with lead, and produce aversion to a lover. (Ov. Met. i, 468 ; Eurip. Ipliig. AuL 548.) Eros is further represented with golden wings, and as fluttering about like a bird. (Comp^ Eustath. ad Horn. p. 987.) His eyes are some­times covered, so that he acts blindly. (Theocrit. x. 20.) He is the usual companion of his mother Aphrodite* and poets and artists represent him, moreover, as accompanied by such allegorical beings as Pothos, Himeros, Dionysus, Tyche, Peitho, the Charites or Muses* (Pind. Ol. i. 41; Anacr. xxxiii. 8; Hesiod, Theog. 201; Paus. vi. 24. § 5, vii. 26. § 3, i. 43. § 6.) His statue and that of Hermes usually stood in the Greek gymnasia. (Athen. xiii. p. 551; Eustath. ad Horn. p. 1596.) We must especially notice the connexion of Eros with Anteros, with which persons usually con­nect the notion of "Love returned." But originally Anteros was a being opposed to Eros, and fighting against him. (Paus. i. 30, § 1, vi. 23. § 4.) x This conflict, however, was also conceived as the rivalry existing between two lovers, and Anteros accord­ingly punished those, who did not return the love of others; so that he is the avenging Eros, or a deus ultor. (Paus. i. 30. § 1; Ov. Met. xiii. 750, &c.; Plat. Phaedr. p. 255, d.) The number of Erotes (Amores and Cupidines) is playfully ex­tended ad libitum by later poets, and these Erotes are described either as sons of Aphrodite or of nymphs. Among the places distinguished for their worship of Eros, Thespiae in Boeqtia stands, fore­most : there his worship was very ancient, and the old, representation of the god was a rude stone (Paus. ix. 27. § 1), to which in later times, how­ever, the most exquisite works of art were added. (Eustath. ad Horn. p. 266.) At Thespiae a quin­quennial festival, the Erotidia or Erotia, were cele­brated in honour of the god. (Paus. /. c.; Athen. xiii. p. 561.) Besides Sparta, Samps, and Parion on the Hellespont, he was also worshipped at

Pages
About | First

49

50

51
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.