The pedigree of Valentine’s Day is, appropriately, obscure. We know Cupid’s relation to his Mother, Venus. Or, as Wikipedia appropriately garbles it:
In classical mythology, Cupid (Latin Cupido, meaning “desire”) is the god of desire, erotic love, and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus, and is known in Latin also as Amor (“Love”). His Greek counterpart is Eros.
Er … Amor is DIFFERENT from Eros. Amorous is ofttimes confused with erotic, but not so much anymore, ever since sexuality was rediscovered after the Victorian Era, lying in a ditch outside of Manchester, England by an itinerate Leftenant named Roscoe Boswell, who later figured prominently in nothing much else.
The Greek conception of love held philosophical sway in the Classical world: eros, amor, agape. Or, sexual desire (Cupid), romantic love (Mon amour, Mi amoré, etc. the pattern is repeated throughout the Romance languages–pun intended and not actually a pun), and “spiritual” love, often called “Platonic” love. The notion of “agape” is well preserved in fundamentalist and charismatic Christianity, while amor and eros haven’t exactly vanished from the scene. Continue reading