1. Cupid (Eros) and Psyche
In Greek mythology, Psyche was an exceptionally beautiful woman. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was so jealous of Psyche’s beauty and fame that she asked Eros, her son, to ruin Psyche’s fame and make her undesirable to men. However, upon setting eyes on Psyche, Eros fell in love with her.
Meanwhile Psyche’s parents had asked an oracle to find a match for their daughter. The oracle, upon insistence from Eros, prophesizes that Psyche was destined to marry an ugly-looking beast and that she could not see his face. And so, Eros, guised as the beast, marries Psyche. The beast and Psyche make an arrangement to meet only at night when his ugly appearance could not be seen. Although they meet only at night, Psyche falls in love with the beast due to his caring and thoughtful nature.
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Witnessing her happiness, her jealous sisters provoke her to kill the beast by leading her to believe that the beast, due to his monstrous nature, will surely kill her someday. Psyche goes to kill the beast taking a knife and oil lamp, but she sees the beast’s face with the lamp, and is thrilled to see the handsome Eros.
However, she accidently spills a drop on oil on Eros; this wakes him up and he flees. Psyche then goes looking for Eros; she seeks help from Aphrodite who cunningly asks her to complete three challenging tasks to get Eros back. She accomplishes the first two tasks and while performing the third task, she opens a box containing the god of sleep, Morpheus, who puts her to sleep.
Learning of what happened to psyche, Eros begs Zeus to help him. Zeus is impressed with Eros’s pleadings and his true love for Psyche and grants immortality to Psyche so that both lovers can live together forever.
2. Paris and Helen of Troy
It was this love story turned tragedy between Paris and Helen of Troy that is the most popular among Greek mythology. The story begins with Eris, the goddess of discord not being invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. Eris comes to the wedding anyway, and throws an apple at the attending guests saying it was for the fairest.
Goddesses Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite lay claim to the apple and invite Paris, the Trojan prince, to settle the feud. While Hera and Athena offer Paris royal powers and battle victories to Parsi respectively, Aphrodite promises him Helen of Sparta as his wife. Helen was deemed to be the most beautiful of her time, and so Paris rules in favor of Aphrodite.
Helen was the wife of Menelaus, the Spartan king. But Paris, believing he had a valid claim on Helen, abducted her and brought her to Troy. This sparked the Trojan war between the Greeks and the Trojans. The Greeks led by Agamemnon, laid siege on Troy for ten years and the Trojans fought bravely.
Only when the Greeks smuggled their ace soldiers inside Troy using a large wooden horse as gift to the Trojans, they could enter Troy and defeat the startled Trojans. Paris was killed in the war and Helen had to return to her husband Menelaus, thus tragically ending the love story.
3. Aphrodite and Adonis
Aphrodite was the wife of Hephaestus. Although married, she had affairs with numerous gods, including the god of warfare, Ares. Adonis was the son of Myrrha, born out of incest between Myrrha and her father, King Cinyras. This was caused by the trickery of Aphrodite, who envied Myrrha’s beauty.
When Adonis grew up, he turned out to be extremely handsome and both goddesses Aphrodite and Persephone wanted to have him. It was decided that he would spend a third of his time with Persephone and remaining with Aphrodite. Once when Adonis went hunting, Aphrodite had a vision about Adonis being in danger.
Adonis had indeed come across a boar who chased and killed Adonis with his tusks. This boar was actually Ares in disguise who was one of Aphrodite’s lovers and was jealous of Adonis. Adonis landed in the underworld upon his death and started staying in the company of Persephone, which broke Aphrodite’s heart. This led to a rift between the two goddesses, and after intervention from Zeus, it was decided that Adonis would spend every half year with each of them.
4. Hero and Leander
Hero was one of Aphrodite’s priestesses who lived by herself in a tower in a town named Sestos. This town lied on the shore of Hellespont strait, while Leander lived in Abydos, which was on the other side of Hellespont. Due to a chance encounter Leander met with Hero, and they professed their love for each other.
They started meeting every night with Leander swimming across the strait to do so. He was steered by a lamp lit outside Hero\'s window. Hero would always put it there so as to show way to Hero. The couple kept meeting like this for some time, but one day when the weather was rough, the lamp lighted by Hero was blown off by the winds, and Leander lost track of the way.
He struggled to reach the shore to meet his beloved but could not stand the mighty waves which devoured him. When Hero discovered his dead body, she was heartbroken and ended her life by jumping off the tower so that they could both meet in their afterlife.
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