Cupid is a beloved icon that is almost synonymous with Valentine's Day. But the history of Cupid reveals that this cute little nakey baby with the bow and arrow actually resembled the profile of a perverted little brat in this day and age.
The history of Cupid dates back to ancient Greek and Roman mythology. In Greek mythology, Cupid was known as Eros. Though the 2 versions of Cupid have some slight differences between them, the main story of Cupid remains the same. I would just like to point out that there are actually several different interpretations of this story so I apologize if this one happens to be a little unfamiliar for those of you who have already heard the story of Cupid. Generally, the message is the same but the details sometimes differ slightly.
Cupid was born with his destiny already sealed. His mother was the Goddess of love and beauty, also known as Venus; and Cupid's father was Mercury, the Messenger God (some sources cite Cupid's father as Mars or Ares). Simple genetic math would say that Cupid would be a "love messenger", and that's exactly what he was.
Cupid's duties as a young child were to bring love to people who are in desperate need of a partner. However, Cupid, mischievous as he was, often found himself toying with innocent people's emotions. He realized he had this great power of inflicting uncontrollable love on people and the power got to his head. Cupid would sometimes shoot his arrows into 2 complete opposites, and watch the results for his own pleasure. Cupid was gaining a reputation as being a mischievous little pervert. He would constantly flirt with the girls in town and toy with their emotions.
As Cupid grew older, his powers became stronger, and the people began to respect Cupid's abilities and worship him more. Cupid quickly gained a large cult following, and was eventually worshipped as much (if not, more) as his mother, Venus. Venus wasn't too thrilled about this, as she was very content with having most of the attention due to her extreme beauty. She began feeling jealous, but it wasn't until a mortal woman named Psyche came into the picture that things really turned ugly.
Psyche was a new girl in town, and she quickly gained everyone's attention with her blinding beauty. Psyche (meaning soul) was the most beautiful thing that anyone had ever seen, and these are people who worship the Goddess of Beauty and Love. The townspeople didn't want the already jealous Venus to know what they really thought of this new eye candy, but the longer Psyche was around, the closer Venus got to finding out. Eventually, Venus did find out what the townspeople were saying about Psyche, and she was furious.
Venus was so overcome with rage and jealousy between her son being worshipped so devoutly because he abused his powers and now this new little beauty queen named Psyche trying to steal her spotlight. Venus wanted this to end immediately, so she ordered Cupid to abuse his powers once again and find Psyche and make her fall in love with the most vile, disgusting creature around. Cupid naturally was pleased to do this chore for his mother, as it will feed his urge to toy with others' emotions. So he went out and began searching for Psyche.
Cupid eventually found Psyche, while she was sleeping in her dark room. Cupid crept up on her and was preparing to shoot her with one of his arrows and bring the most disgusting creature he could find to her, when he stopped. After catching a glimpse of Psyche in a shimmer of light, he was so overcome by her immense beauty that he instantly fell in love with her himself. He was taken back, and struck with awe. He stood there with his bow and arrow in hand, just staring at her in a trance-like state. He just couldn't leave the room, but eventually Psyche heard him making some noise and woke up.
Cupid told Psyche that he was in love with her and started visiting her every night, but he told her that she wasn't allowed to look at him because he didn't want her to know that he was a God and not a mortal. They sat in the dark room talking and flirting for a few weeks, until Psyche's curiosity got the best of her. Psyche's older sisters were constantly badgering her about how the guy she is falling in love with is probably just some ugly old monster who didn't want to be seen. She wound up trying to sneak a peak at Cupid's appearance despite his orders, and angered Cupid. He knew he couldn't trust her if she couldn't even obey one simple command. Cupid instantly left Psyche's room as soon as he noticed what she was trying to do, and never looked back.
Psyche was incredibly distraught that this God who was madly in love with her just ran off and ditched her. She spent the rest of her life chasing after Cupid, looking for him every day, but to no avail. Later in Psyche's life, she was granted immortality by Jupiter, The God of Gods, so that she would have an infinite amount of time to find her lost love. Psyche eventually found Cupid later in her life, and to make a long story short, she and Cupid wound up staying together and having a daughter they named Hedone (meaning pleasure). By this time in his life, Cupid's powers and responsibilities had surpassed that of his own mother's. Cupid now had control over the dead in Hades and the Gods in Olympus, and of course, a beautiful new wife.
Cupid's story, like I said, has many different variations. The history of Cupid can be traced back to both Roman and Greek mythology. Though most people view Cupid as this adorable and innocent little diapered baby, his story suggests otherwise. Cupid was just like any kid would be if they found out they had those kinds of powers, and he wound up abusing them so much to the point where the people worshipped him out of fear of being toyed with by him. That being said, Cupid has always been associated with love, and not so much which mischief or perverse actions. Nowadays, he is the icon of Valentine's Day. You would be hard pressed to find any Valentine's Day themed card or product that doesn't incorporate an aspect of Cupid somewhere in it.