Lucius Apuleius
(c. 123 - c. 170 CE)

Poet, philosopher, and rhetorician born of prosperous parents at Madaurus (present M'Daourouch) in Africa Proconsularis. Apuleius claimed to have travelled extensively as a young man, and was educated in Carthage, Greece, and Rome.

 Keats - "Ode to Psyche"

     "O latest born and loveliest vision far

         Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy!

       Fairer than Phoebe's sapphire-regioned star

         Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;

       Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,

         Nor altar heaped with flowers;

       Nor virgin choir to make delicious moan

         Upon the midnight hours;

       No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet,

         From chain-swung censer teeming;

       No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat

         Of pale-mouthed prophet dreaming."

 

Cupid and Psyche

A certain king and queen had three daughters. The charms of the two elder were more than common, but the beauty of the youngest was so wonderful that the poverty of language is unable to express its due praise. The fame of her beauty was so great that strangers from neighboring countries came in crowds to enjoy the sight, and looked on her with amazement, paying her that homage which is due only to Venus herself. In fact Venus found her altars deserted, while men turned their devotion to this young virgin. As she passed along, the people sang her praises, and strewed her way with chaplets and flowers.

This homage to the exaltation of a mortal gave great offense to the real Venus. Shaking her ambrosial locks with indignation, she exclaimed, "Am I then to be eclipsed in my honors by a mortal girl? In vain then did that royal shepherd, whose judgment was approved by Jove himself, give me the palm of beauty over my illustrious rivals, Pallas and Juno. But she shall not so quietly usurp my honors. I will give her cause to repent of so unlawful a beauty."

Thereupon she calls her winged son Cupid, mischievous enough in his own nature, and rouses and provokes him yet more by her complaints. She points out Psyche to him and says, "My dear son, punish that contumacious beauty; give your mother a revenge as sweet as her injuries are great; infuse into the bosom of that haughty girl a passion for some low, mean, unworthy being, so that she may reap a mortification as great as her present exultation and triumph."

Cupid prepared to obey the commands of his mother. There are two fountains in Venus's garden, one of sweet waters, the other of bitter. Cupid filled two amber vases, one from each fountain, and suspending them from the top of his quiver, hastened to the chamber of Psyche, whom he found asleep. He shed a few drops from the bitter fountain over her lips, though the sight of her almost moved him to pity; then touched her side with the point of his arrow. At the touch she awoke, and opened eyes upon Cupid (himself invisible), which so startled him that in his confusion he wounded himself with his own arrow. Heedless of his wound, his whole thought now was to repair the mischief he had done, and he poured the balmy drops of joy over all her silken ringlets.

(this and all your favorite mythology)

"Woven into the graceful folds of Greek mythology, are the classic concepts, motifs, and markings which Western civilization has adopted as its own. The Greeks possessed an inherent joy and adoration for the arts. Despite the passage of centuries, Greek literature has retained its freshness and relevance, its ability to pierce to the heart of human situations in matters of love or war. On most subjects, the Greeks said it first and said it well. The story of Cupid and Psyche is no exception. This is clearly a romance that has transcended time. Images of this couple are still depicted on modern day posters and on most Valentine's card.

In order to truly appreciate the various paintings depicting this love-story, one must first understand the key elements of the myth. As with most tales, there are a few different renditions of the story..."

An analysis of the beautiful work of art Cupid and Psyche

 

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