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Trapped by Apollo's unwanted advances, Daphne prays to her father, the river god Peneus, who turns her into a laurel, the tree sacred to Apollo.It is the first of several unsuccessful or tragic love affairs for Apollo.
When Apollo taunts Cupid as the lesser archer, Cupid shoots him with the golden arrow, but strikes the object of his desire, the nymph Daphne, with the lead.A mosaic from late Roman Britain shows a procession emerging from the mouth of the sea god Neptune, first dolphins and then sea birds, ascending to Cupid.One interpretation of this allegory is that Neptune represents the soul's origin in the matter from which life was fashioned, with Cupid triumphing as the soul's desired destiny.At the same time, the Eros who was pictured as a boy or slim youth was regarded as the child of a divine couple, the identity of whom varied by source.The influential Renaissance mythographer Natale Conti began his chapter on Cupid/Eros by declaring that the Greeks themselves were unsure about his parentage: Heaven and Earth, The Greek travel writer Pausanias, he notes, contradicts himself by saying at one point that Eros welcomed Aphrodite into the world, and at another that Eros was the son of Aphrodite and the youngest of the gods.A variation is found in The Kingis Quair, a 15th-century poem attributed to James I of Scotland, in which Cupid has three arrows: gold, for a gentle "smiting" that is easily cured; the more compelling silver; and steel, for a love-wound that never heals.
complaining that so small a creature shouldn't cause such painful wounds.
Although Eros is generally portrayed as a slender winged youth in Classical Greek art, during the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy.
During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire.
In contemporary popular culture, Cupid is shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day.
The Romans reinterpreted myths and concepts pertaining to the Greek Eros for Cupid in their own literature and art, and medieval and Renaissance mythographers conflate the two freely.
Cupid continued to be a popular figure in the Middle Ages, when under Christian influence he often had a dual nature as Heavenly and Earthly love.