Statuette af Venus og Amor. Romersk CC0

Statuette of Venus and Amor.

Marble. 8,7 cm
Inventory number: H1409

Enlarge photo

The ancient myths Crosscuts


The people of antiquity, like those of today, were preoccupied with the subject of love. Many ancient myths are therefore about this very theme. This little Roman statuette from Thorvaldsen’s collection of antiquities shows the goddess of love, Venus (Gr. Aphrodite) and her son, the love god Cupid (Gr. Eros). In the mythology of the ancients Aphrodite represented desire and physical love, while Eros represented falling in love and the more spiritual side of love.

Although Aphrodite was the goddess of love and irresistibly beautiful, she was married to the ugliest of the Olympian gods, the smith-god Hephaistos (Lat. Vulcan). However, the marriage did not prevent her from having several lovers, including the war god Ares (Lat. Mars), with whom she had the son Eros.

That love could be both happy and playful, or faithless and dangerous, was the subject of the many myths where Aphrodite and Eros cause complications in the lives of both gods and mortals. But the many escapades of the love goddess also sometimes got the goddess herself into trouble, as recounted for example in the myth of the revenge of Hephaistos.