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 thegoddessVenus, 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 laterterminology 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 wasincreasingly 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 cupidsin both Roman art and the later classical tradition of Western art.
In Latin literature, Cupid's ability to compel love and desire plays an instigating role inseveral myths or literary scenarios. In Vergil's Aeneid, Cupid prompts Didoto 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 ofCupid 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 theRenaissance, when a renewed interest in classical philosophy endowedhim 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.