1. Cupid (Eros) and Psyche
A long time ago a king had three attractive daughters. Psyche happened to be the youngest and the most beautiful of the three daughters. In the loveliness stakes she easily surpassed that of her two older sisters.
Many admirers even considered Psyche to be superior to Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. For this reason Psyche soon caught the attention of Aphrodite, especially after the Goddess had started to feel neglected by the people.
As you probably know, Goddesses can be cruel.
Aphrodite called on her son Cupid and asked him to make Psyche fall in love with the vilest person he could find. No one could defend themselves against her son’s arrows and the Goddess knew it. Aphrodite thought it would teach everyone a big lesson.
Cupid flew away with the intention of complying with his mother’s wishes and secretly came upon Psyche. What Aphrodite didn’t count on though was that even Cupid would become enamoured by the beauty himself. It was as if he had hit his own heart with one of his own arrows. The God of Love was totally smitten.
Cupid didn’t tell his mother what had happened when he caught sight of Psyche and kept his feelings to himself.
Aphrodite thought Cupid (Eros) had done what she had requested and all would quickly return to normal, once everyone had seen the ugly brute Psyche had fallen in love with.
The thing is Cupid didn’t make anyone fall in love with Psyche.
Many potential suitors desired Psyche but no one dared to be with the Goddess like beauty. Her sisters married quite well, but it seemed as if no one wanted Psyche.
Psyche’s parents began to worry so her father travelled to the Oracle of Apollo to ask for the God’s advice. Apollo answered the king with ease since he already knew of Cupid’s feelings towards Psyche. Cupid had let it slip when he asked for some advice from Apollo himself.
Apollo told the king that Psyche should be taken and left alone on top of a rocky hill and that she had to be dressed as if mourning for death. Only then would the suitor take her.
The king felt terrible about doing this to his youngest daughter. Even so, he felt bound to take Apollo’s advice and the story goes on from there…
2. Paris and Helen of Troy
The Goddess, Discord, was unhappy about not being invited to a wedding celebration. She felt unwanted as a Goddess, and quickly came up with an idea to get revenge.
Her malicious idea was to place a golden apple marked “to the fairest” at the wedding festivities knowing it would quickly draw attention. That’s all she had to do.
Three Goddesses at the wedding became enamoured by the golden apple and they each wanted it for themselves.
Aphrodite, Athena and Hera wanted it really badly. They asked the other Greek Gods who should have it, but the other Gods were way too smart to get involved. What was the point? If they picked one, then the other two Goddesses would possibly hold a grudge against them. It was a lose-lose-win proposition.
A decision was made that Paris, the fairest mortal on earth, should be the judge. Everyone happily agreed and the Gods were especially pleased.
Paris had a difficult task ahead of him. Each Goddess offered him a gift/bribe as a sweetener, provided he gave them the golden apple.
Athena offered him victory in battle, Hera offered him power over large territories, and Aphrodite offered him the love of the most beautiful woman on earth.
Well as most of you know, Paris gave the golden apple to Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.
From there all hell broke loose. The Trojan war would begin and Helen of Troy would become forever famous.
The happy wedded couple, who didn’t invite Discord, would feel guilty about having started a horrific war and so on. Don’t feel too bad though, lots of good came out of it. I wonder if Athena and Hera ever got over it.
Many of you have probably seen the movie Troy (2004) starring Brad Pitt. Here are a couple of other great romantic movies about Helen of Troy that everyone should see. In one of them you will even see the beauty contest between the three Goddesses.
3. Aphrodite and Adonis
Aphrodite saw the birth of Adonis and knew he would one day be so handsome that she had to be with him. The Goddess of Love decided to carry him off to Persephone in the underworld for safekeeping until the time was right. The thing is Persephone loved him as well.
Once he had grown up, Aphrodite wanted him back however Persephone wouldn’t allow it, so Zeus had to step in to sort it out.
Zeus declared that Adonis should spend half the year with the Queen of the Underworld, and the other half of the year with the Goddess of Love to enjoy the spring and summer. You could say Adonis was one hell of a lucky guy to have the love of two Goddesses.
The above video shows you where Aphrodite and Adonis used to meet in the island of Cyprus.
4. Hero and Leander
Hero was a female priestess of Aphrodite. Leander was a male youth who lived in a town on the Hellespont, located on the opposite shore to where Hero was located.
Every night Leander, swam the Hellespont to be with his sweetheart, Hero. A light guided him when swimming across the channel, but on one very windy night it blew out.
This unfortunate incident ended up causing his death. In the morning Hero discovered her lover’s dead body washed up on shore. She couldn’t console herself and ended up taking her own life as a result of her heartbreak.
The thing that gets me most about this Greek myth is that the woman is named Hero, not the guy.
5. Zeus and Europa
Zeus wooed Europa by changing into the shape of a beautiful bull. Europa couldn’t resist taking a ride on the gentle majestic bull, which was really Zeus in disguise.
Once Europa was on the bull’s back, Zeus took her across the ocean to the island of Crete, his favourite island.
There she bore the God three sons, including Minos, who eventually became the king of Crete with his palace most likely being at Knossos.
Europa would lead to the creation of Europe.
6. Perseus and Andromeda
Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus, king of the Ethiopians. Her mother, the queen was Cassiope.
When Cassiope dared to boast that Andromeda was more beautiful than the sea-nymphs, they complained to Poseidon (Neptune), God of the sea.
The insult was swiftly avenged by flooding the land and sending a sea-monster to ravage the coast.
To avoid further catestrophic devastation, Andromeda was offered as a sacrifice to the sea-monster, to appease the deities. She was chained and left on a rock beside a cliff to suffer an awful fate.
Fortunately for her, Perseus flew past the spectacle right after the battle with Medusa. Talk about good timing.
Perseus fell in love with Andromeda at first sight and wanted to marry the beauty. All he had to do was save her.
The story was suitably immortalised in the stars. The constellation of Andromeda is situated close to Pegasus. Cepheus and Cassiope are also up there as well.
7. Apollo and Daphne
Apollo became infatuated with Daphne, some say because of the mischievous revenge of Eros, God of Love. He had been taunted by Apollo for something and thought he’d have some fun.
Daphne was the beautiful daughter of the river god Peneius in Thessaly. She was very similar to Artemis, the virgin huntress who happily roamed the wilderness.
It is thought that Eros shot a couple of arrows at both Apollo and Daphne. One gold-tipped arrow hit Apollo making him fall madly in love with Daphne.
Another lead-tipped arrow hit Daphne which made her even more indifferent to the advances of Apollo.
Apollo pursued Daphne relentlessly through the woods. Daphne ran away in desperation and started to pray for help from her river god father. Soon she started to transform into a Laurel tree (dafne in Greek). The beautiful maiden had escaped.
Apollo didn’t get the girl but from then on the tree became sacred to Apollo. At that moment the Laurel became a symbol of immortality and eternity. It has been worn on the crown of the head as an emblem of victory or honour.
8. Odysseus and Penelope
While Odysseus was trying to make his way home after the Trojan war, his wife Penelope had to fight off numerous suitors. Quite a few men wanted to take the place of Odysseus, so that they could rule the kingdom.
Years had passed since the end of the Trojan war and Odysseus had not returned home.
Odysseus had angered Poseidon, God of the sea, by killing the cyclops so it wasn’t going to be easy for him to make it home. His wife and family had no idea whether he was alive or dead after such a long time. Still his wife remained faithful to him, believing he could arrive home at any moment.
Ten years after the Trojan war had ended and after numerous adventures, Odysseus arrived home disguised as a beggar. What a way to make it home. You just have to read Homer’s epic “The Odyssey” to really appreciate the whole story.
9. Narcissus and Echo
Narcissus was a very handsome youth and all the girls longed to be with him. The thing is he didn’t want to be with any of them. Even Echo, the most beautiful nymph of all, couldn’t attract the attention of Narcissus.
Jealous Hera thought Zeus was interested in beautiful Echo. She made Echo pay a big price with an unwarranted cruel punishment. Echo would always have the last say, but she would never have the power to speak first.
The thing is Echo loved Narcissus, like all the other nymphs. Zeus wasn’t in her heart at all.
As a result of this spell, Echo could only speak to Narcissus with his own final words. She felt totally rejected and pined away in caves and other hideouts. She eventually faded away to nothing except her voice.
Narcissus continued with his ways and scorned love. A wounded prayer reached the Gods and Nemesis was called upon to deal back the righteous anger.
One day when Narcissus took a drink of water from a still pool of water, he caught sight of his own reflection. From that moment on he completely fell in love with his own image. He couldn’t bare to leave his own reflection and soon only death could free him from the curse.
As he was dying he called out “farewell” and Echo being nearby gave him her last good-bye. Sounds like a perfect match. Sad but true.
10. Orpheus and Eurydice
Orpheus was the most brilliant singer in ancient Greece. He was said to be the son of Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry.
One day his wife Eurydice died of a snake bite. Orpheus was so grief-stricken by the tragedy that he decided to risk his own life by journeying to the land of the dead to try and bring his wife back to the upper world.
Orpheus used his incredible music skills to charm the boatman Charon into giving him a ferry ride across the river Styx. He also musically soothed the three-headed dog Cerberus to safely pass into Hades.
Hades, the ruler of the underworld and his wife Persephone were surprised to see him. Orpheus begged them to allow his wife, Eurydice, to come back to the land of the living.
The God of the underworld was unwilling until Orpheus began to sing. Moved by the deeply emotional song, he granted Orpheus his wish under one strict condition. The condition being that he could never look back at Eurydice until they both returned to the upper world. Orpheus was delighted and agreed.
Eurydice didn’t seem to make any sound during their return to the upper world. Orpheus knew he couldn’t look back even though he was desperate to see his wife.
As he approached the surface of the ground, Orpheus couldn’t resist taking a glance back for a split second to make sure his wife would surface with him.
The tragedy was that he saw her but instead of taking the last few steps into the land of the living, she faded away and disappeared into the underworld forever. So close, yet so far.
It seems as if you have a romantic heart ❤️ if you’ve made it all the way down here. These eye-opener posts may also be of interest:
20 Romantic Movies for Greek Mythology Fans – how many have you seen?
Secret Meaning of the movie Grease – this movie is actually a modern Greek myth love story. Best read after you’ve seen the classic film.
14 Beautiful Actresses or Goddesses? – who could they be?
Some of the best movies filmed in Greece are also very romantic. Have you seen The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, For Your Eyes Only, The Big Blue and Summer Lovers? If not, you may want to check them out.
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