There is much romance in the canons of Greek mythology, though to say that the course of true love ran smoothly for those implicated wouldn't be exactly accurate. In fact if anything it was the absolute opposite...
Adonis and Aphrodite
She was the Goddess of love and she fell hard for Adonis, he was a regular red-hot hotty. In the most comprehensive account of this tale Aphrodite gave Adonis as a baby to Persephone the queen of the underworld to mind over him, not a great choice you'd think? Naturally as Adonis blossomed Persephone decided that he was indeed quite the looker and refused to give him back to Aphrodite. This obviously caused a bit of a rift. Settled by Zeus it was decreed that Adonis would spend one third of the year with each goddess and choose with whom to spend the free third. Clever fellow this Zeus. Adonis chose Aphrodite.
Things did not end well however as Adonis was gored by a boar. Aphrodite attended him as he died, and after his passing mixed nectar with his blood which led to the growth of short lived anemones, though their yearly flowering is linked closely to Adonis' forever youthful appearance.
Hades and Persephone
Persephone features as one of the main players in this relationship. It, like many mythological unions based on love, didn't go that well. Hades essentially kidnapped Persephone, who was the daughter of Demeter, the mighty earth god who was married to Zeus. The episode started with Zeus believing Demeter wouldn't approve of Hades' gentlemanly request to marry so suggested he should just take her. Hades did this by rising through a huge crack in the earth and whisking her off to the underworld.
This actually turned out not so bad for everyone involved. Hades was forced to return Persephone to her mother. Once this was done, what with Demeter being goddess of the earth and Persephone being in love with everything natural the world blossomed. However, for a few months every year she descended to the underworld to be with Hades and the world would once again become barren. This is believed to be the origin of what we know as the seasons.
Orpheus and Eurydice
This is a heart-breaking tale. These two were married and very much in love. One day when Eurydice was with her own people she was pursued by a satyr, in trying to get away Eurydice fell into a nest of vipers and was bitten and subsequently died. Her body was discovered by Orpheus. He was famed for his ability to charm anyone and everything with his music. So distraught was he on seeing his beloved dead that he played the most beautiful yet despairing love songs ever heard. So mournful were his songs that the nymphs and gods wept. They were touched and suggested Orpheus should go to Hades and retrieve Eurydice.
Orpheus descended to the underworld and asked Hades to return Eurydice, after softening his heart with his music the god of the underworld agreed. There was nevertheless a condition. Orpheus must walk in front of Eurydice and not look behind him until they were out of the underworld. As his journey went on Orpheus got more and more uneasy as to whether his wife was behind him and at the last moment before leaving the underworld, fearing Hades was trying to trick him, he turned to look at Eurydice. She was instantly swept back to the underworld, this time forever...
It is fair to say that no-one does tragedy quite like the Greeks.
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Ruby Parker can often be found reading about ye olde tales of romance, which all helps when it comes to researching Valentines Day presents for Find Me A Gift.
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