In Roman mythology, Cupid (Latin cupido, meaning "desire") is the god of desire, affection and erotic love. He is often portrayed as the son of the goddess Venus, with a father rarely mentioned. His Greek counterpart is Eros. Cupid is also known in Latin as Amor ("Love"). The Amores (plural) or amorini in the later terminology of art history are the equivalent of the Greek Erotes.

Although Eros appears in Classical Greek art as a slender winged youth, during the Hellenistic period he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy. During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that remain a distinguishing attribute; a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire. The Roman Cupid retains these characteristics, which continue in the depiction of multiple cupids in both Roman art and the later classical tradition of Western art.

Cupid's ability to compel love and desire plays an instigating role in several myths or literary scenarios. In Vergil's Aeneid, Cupid prompts Dido to fall in love with Aeneas, with tragic results. Ovid makes Cupid the patron of love poets. Cupid is a central character, however, in only the traditional tale of Cupid and Psyche, as told by Apuleius.

Cupid was a continuously popular figure in the Middle Ages, when under Christian influence he often had a dual nature as Heavenly and Earthly love, and in the Renaissance, when a renewed interest in classical philosophy endowed him with complex allegorical meanings. In contemporary popular culture, Cupid is shown shooting his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day.

Read more about CupidLegend, Portrayal

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Famous quotes containing the word cupid:

    Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
    Love can transpose to form and dignity.
    Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
    And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

    But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
    The pretty follies that themselves commit,
    For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
    To see me thus transformed to a boy.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

    The muse is blind as Cupid and skittish as Diana.
    Mason Cooley (b. 1927)