Eros, in Greek mythology, the god of love. There are two distinct conceptions of Eros. In the earlier, which appears in Hesiod, and in Plato, Aristotle, and the Orphic hymn, he is one of the oldest of the gods, or even the first of the gods. Hesiod associates him with Chaos, Ge (Earth), and Tartarus. He is elsewhere described as a son of Cronos (Saturn) and Ge, or as a god who had no parentage and came into existence by himself. He was one of the fundamental causes in the formation of the world, inasmuch as he was the uniting power of love, which brought order and harmony among the conflicting elements of Chaos. The Romans gave this divinity no place in their religion, but when they speak of what they had heard from the Greeks translate Eros into Amor. The Eros of the later Greek poets is identical with the Latin Cupid, and is one of the youngest of the gods. He is generally called the son of Aphrodite (Venus), though sometimes of Polymnia, Penia, Artemis (Diana), or Iris; and his father is Variously said to be Zeus (Jupiter), Porus, Hermes (Mercury), Ares (Mars), or Zephyrus. He was generally described as a handsome youth, but in the latest poets as a wanton boy full of tricks and cruel sports.

In this stage he is the god of sensual love, bearing sway over the gods as well as overmen, taming lions and tigers, and depriving Hercules of his arms and Zeus of his thunderbolts. His arms are arrows and torches, which no one can touch with impunity. He has wings. His eyes are sometimes covered, so that he acts blindly. He is the usual companion of his mother Venus. His statue and that of Mercury stood in the Greek gymnasia. The number of the loves is extended by later poets, who make them sons of Venus or of nymphs. Tbespia3 in Boeotia was the most famous place for the worship of Eros; there it was very ancient, and the old representation of the god was a rude stone, to which exquisite sculptures were added in later times. A quinquennial festival, the Erotidia or Erotia, was celebrated there in honor of the god. The goose was sacred to him, also the hare, the cock, and the ram. He was a favorite subject with the ancient statuaries, and Praxiteles represented him as a full-grown youth of perfect beauty.

Respecting the connection between Eros and Psyche, see Psyche.