Through the ages, a handful of Greek myth love stories have captivated and inspired many with their legendary tales of romance. These stories often involved the Gods and Goddesses of ancient Greece, with supernatural events and fateful encounters creating a sense of enchantment that was simply irresistible.
Though often marked by tragedy, these love stories are remembered for being especially heart-wrenching. One thing was for certain – no one could predict how a Greek myth love story would turn out until they knew its entirety. Some of these tales ended in sadness, but there were also those with a happy ending, which gave a sense of hope that lasted long after the story had ended.
And so, let us start by diving deep into the most celebrated love story of them all – the fateful love between Cupid and Psyche. Theirs was a love that surpassed all boundaries and expectations. With Cupid, the God of Love, as Psyche’s ardent lover, their love was destined to be unforgettable. The trials and tribulations they faced along the way only made their love stronger in the end, and their tale continues to inspire and intrigue many to this day.
1. Cupid (Eros) and Psyche
Long ago in ancient Greece, there lived a king with three beautiful daughters. Psyche, the youngest of the sisters was renowned for her extraordinary beauty. Many admirers even considered Psyche’s beauty to surpass that of Aphrodite (Venus), the Goddess of Love.
As time passed the Goddess Aphrodite (Venus) started to feel neglected, so she summoned her son Cupid to do her bidding. As you are probably aware, Goddesses can be cruel. She ordered Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with the worst possible mate. No one could defend themselves against her son’s love arrows, and the Goddess knew it. Aphrodite thought it would teach everyone a huge lesson.
Cupid, eager to please his mother, flew off to find Psyche. But what Venus didn’t expect was that Cupid would fall under Psyche’s spell. As soon as Cupid laid eyes on Psyche, he was captivated by her beauty. Cupid couldn’t bring himself to follow his mother’s orders. Instead, he watched over Psyche from afar. 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 laid eyes on Psyche and didn’t reveal his strong feelings for her.
Aphrodite thought Cupid (Eros), the God of love, had done what she had demanded.
The Goddess of love couldn’t wait for everything to return to normal once everyone had seen the repulsive brute Psyche had fallen in love with. The thing is, Cupid didn’t make anyone fall in love with Psyche. He couldn’t because he wanted the beauty for himself.
Despite her stunning beauty, Psyche was unable to find true love. Many suitors desired her, but none had the courage to be with a goddess-like beauty such as herself. Her sisters had married quite well, but it seemed as if no one wanted to be with Psyche.
In a moment of grave concern for his youngest daughter, Psyche, her father sought counsel from the great Oracle of Apollo. Aware of Cupid’s secret love for the stunning Psyche, Apollo imparted his wisdom to the troubled king. He instructed that Psyche should be led to a rocky hill and left at the very top while dressed as if mourning for death. Only then would the suitor claim her.
The king felt terrible about doing this to his youngest daughter. Even so, he felt bound to take Apollo’s advice. The famous Greek myth love story continues on from there…
2. Paris and Helen of Troy
A Goddess named Discord was unhappy about not being invited to a wedding celebration.
This caused her to feel unwanted as a Goddess, so she cunningly came up with an idea for revenge.
Her malicious idea was to place a golden apple marked “to the fairest” at the wedding festivities, knowing full well that it would quickly draw attention. That’s all she had to do.
Three Goddesses at the wedding became enamored by the golden apple, and all three of them wanted it for themselves.
Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera wanted it really badly.
They asked the other Greek Gods who deserved it most, but the Greek 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.
The Beauty Contest
Paris had a difficult task ahead of him in judging the beauty contest because each Goddess offered him a gift/bribe as a sweetener, provided Paris gave them the golden apple.
Athena offered him the power to be victorious 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 probably already 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 for all the wrong reasons.
The happily wedded couple, who didn’t invite Discord, would feel guilty about having started a horrific war and so on.
You don’t have to feel too bad about it because 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.
For a more romantic take on the Greek myth, check out a couple of other great romantic movies about Helen of Troy.
In one of them, you’ll even get to see the beauty contest between the three Goddesses.
3. Aphrodite and Adonis
Aphrodite saw Adonis’s birth and knew that one day he would 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 Adonis had reached peak form, Aphrodite wanted him back. Persephone wouldn’t agree to it, which forced Zeus to try and sort it out.
Zeus declared that Adonis could spend half of 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 been loved by two Goddesses.
The above video shows you where Aphrodite and Adonis used to meet on the island of Cyprus.
4. Hero and Leander
The Greek myth of Hero, a female priestess of Aphrodite, is one of tragedy.
Leander was a male youth who lived in a town on the Hellespont, located on the opposite shore to where Hero was situated.
Every night Leander, swam the Hellespont to be with his sweetheart, Hero.
A light would guide him when swimming across the channel, but the light went out on one very windy night.
This unfortunate incident ended up causing his death. In the morning, Hero discovered her lover’s dead body washed up ashore. She couldn’t console herself and ended up taking her own life as a result of her heartbreak.
What 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.
When Europa saw the majestic bull, she felt an urge to sit on its back. She never imagined that it was really Zeus in disguise.
Once Europa made herself comfortable on the bull’s back, Zeus took her across the ocean to the island of Crete, his favorite island.
Later on, she bore Zeus three sons, including Minos, who eventually became Crete’s king. The palace of Knossos is thought to be connected to this incredible story.
Europa is how the creation of Europe came about.
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 quickly avenged by flooding the land and sending a sea-monster to ravage the coast.
To avoid further catastrophic devastation, Andromeda was offered as a sacrifice to a sea-monster so that the deities would be appeased.
She was chained and left on a rock beside a cliff to suffer the awful fate.
Fortunately for her, Perseus flew past the spectacle straight after the battle with Medusa, the snake-haired woman. 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 immortalized 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
The God Apollo became infatuated with Daphne because of the mischievous revenge of Eros.
Apollo had taunted the God of love for something. For this reason, Eros decided to have a bit of fun with Apollo.
Daphne was the beautiful daughter of the river-god Peneus 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 crazily in love with Daphne.
Another lead-tipped arrow hit Daphne, which made her even more indifferent to the advances of Apollo.
One day Apollo pursued Daphne relentlessly through the woods. Daphne ran away in desperation and started to pray for help from her river-god father.
As quickly as she did, she started to transform into a laurel tree (dafne in Greek). The beautiful maiden had escaped.
Apollo didn’t get the girl, but after this, the laurel tree became sacred to Apollo.
From that point on, 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 honor.
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. Because they all wanted to take over from Odysseus so that they could rule the kingdom.
Years had passed since the end of the Trojan War, and Odysseus still hadn’t returned home to the island of Ithaka.
While on his journey home, Odysseus had angered Poseidon, God of the sea, by killing the one-eyed cyclops.
As a result, it was never going to be easy for him to make it home alive.
His wife and son had no idea whether he was alive or dead after such a long time away.
Still, his wife remained faithful to him, believing deep down that he could arrive home at any time.
Ten years after the Trojan war had ended and after numerous adventures, Odysseus arrived back home disguised as a beggar.
What a way to make it home. You have to read Homer’s epic “The Odyssey” to really appreciate the whole amazing 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.
Hera believed that Zeus was playing around with the beautiful Echo, and it made her very jealous.
The Goddess made Echo pay a high 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 that Echo loved Narcissus, like all the other nymphs. Zeus wasn’t in her heart at all.
After the spell had been cast, Echo could only speak to Narcissus with his own final words.
She felt totally rejected and pined away in caves and other hideouts. Eventually, she 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 and self-reflection. He couldn’t bear to leave it. Soon only death could free him from the curse.
As he was dying away, he called out “farewell.” Echo being nearby, gave him her last good-bye using the same word. Sounds like a perfect match. It’s 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 because 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 ability 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 pass safely into Hades, the underworld.
Hades, ruler of the underworld, and his wife Persephone were very surprised to see him.
Orpheus begged them both to allow his wife, Eurydice, to come back to the land of the living.
The God of the underworld was unwilling to allow it 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, not realizing how difficult it would be.
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 Eurydice.
As he approached the surface close to the light, 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.
Romantic Movies for Greek mythology admirers
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?
14 Beautiful Actresses or Goddesses? – who could they be?
The real meaning of the movie Greece – this movie is actually a modern-day Greek myth love story.
Some of the best movies from the Greek Islands 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.
Pin it … Share it