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date: 15 January 2021


  • George M. A. Hanfmann,
  • John Richard Thornhill Pollard
  •  and Karim Arafat


God of love. Eros personified does not occur in Homer, but the Homeric passages in which the word erōs is used give a clear idea of the original significance. It is the violent physical desire that drives Paris to Helen, Zeus to Hera, and shakes the limbs of the suitors of Penelope (Il. 3. 442, 14. 294; Od. 18. 212). A more refined conception of this Eros who affects mind and body appears in the Archaic lyric poets. Because his power brings peril he is cunning, unmanageable, cruel (Alcman 36; Ibycus 6; Sappho 136; Thgn. 1231); in Anacreon he smites the lovestruck one with an axe or a whip. He comes suddenly like a wind and shakes his victims (Sappho, Ibycus). Eros is playful, but plays with frenzies and confusion. He symbolizes all attractions which provoke love. He is young and beautiful, he walks over flowers, and the roses are ‘a plant of Eros’ of which he makes his crown (Anacreonta 53.

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