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The North Star

The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School

The North Star

The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School

The North Star

Unveiling the legacy of cupid


February has been celebrated as the month of love since the 14th century. More specifically, the 14th day of the month is celebrated as Valentine’s Day. This day is often correlated with the symbols of hearts, cupid, chocolates and love according to Britannica. Cupid is a popular symbol among cultures, but the history of Cupid’s origins is not widely known.  

The history of Cupid begins with how he is depicted. He is shown as a small child, sometimes in a diaper, with a bow and arrow in hand. Cupid in Greek civilization was referred to as Eros, and in Roman civilization, the God of love. Before Cupid was adopted by the Romans and long before he became associated with Valentine’s Day, Eros was the Greek God of love.  

He first shows up in Greek Mythology around 700 B.C. as a young man or boy with wings and a bow and arrow. This lasted for quite some time until 31 B.C. when the Roman Empire made his childlike version more common according to Brandeis University.  

Ovid, a Roman poet, wrote that Cupid had “two different types of arrows”. One arrow is shot, and the target will fall in love, and the other arrow that could be shot would make the target repulsed. It all depends on which arrow Cupid chooses to use that would decide that fate of his victim. Furthermore, Cupid’s wings are symbolic in that they represent the “flighty aspect of love” based on an article published by Brandeis University.  

In contrast, the Greek Mythology define Cupid’s origins by saying he is a child of Aphrodite (Venus) and Ares (Mars). These two, a Greek God and Goddess, represent love (Aphrodite) and war (Ares). Being the son of two powerful figures in Greek Mythology, Cupid was destined for a path of both love and conflict.  

In the most popular version of Cupid’s story, his mother Aphrodite was jealous of a mortal’s beauty. This mortal just so happened to be a woman referred to as Psyche. Due to this, Aphrodite sent her, Cupid, to shoot Psyche with an arrow from his bow and make her fall in love with a monster according to Laura Schumm.  

Cupid went to act out the plan his mother had bestowed upon him, but then arose a problem. Instead of shooting Psyche with an arrow to make her fall in love with a monster, Cupid fell in love with her against his mother’s wishes according to Schumm. Aphrodite made sure to tell Cupid that the mortal was not allowed to see his face. This rule was followed until one night when Psyche disobeyed that rule. Causing Cupid’s face to burn, he was forced to flee into the night, leaving Psyche alone. Greek Mythology says that Psyche spent many years searching for Cupid and in the process completed a near impossible task for Venus so that she could continue to search for her love. Eventually, Cupid heals and escapes the clutches of his mother and finds Psyche once again. They fall in love and live happily ever after.  

Both the Romans and Greeks had a similar meaning for Cupid with different origins behind how he came to be. It is clear how Cupid became the symbol for Valentine’s Day, a day of love, conflict, trials, tribulations, and feelings galore.  

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Zareena Abdessalam
Zareena Abdessalam, News Writer

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