Psyche

Psyche was the goddess of the soul and the wife of Eros, god of love.

Residence: Mount Olympus
Symbols: Butterfly
Consort: Eros
Children: Hedone

Roman statue of Cupid and Psyche, c. 150 AD. Altes Museum, Berlin.

She was once a mortal princess, whose extraordinary beauty earned the ire of Aphrodite when men began turning their worship away from the goddess towards the girl. Aphrodite commanded Eros make Psyche fall in love with the most hideous of men but the god instead fell in love and carried her off to his hidden palace. Eros hid his true identity and told Psyche that she must never gaze upon his face. Her jealous sisters, however, tricked her into disobeying and the angry god forsook her. Psyche searched the world for her lost love and eventually came into the service of Aphrodite. The goddess commanded her perform a series of seemingly impossible tasks which culminated in a journey to the Underworld. Psyche was afterwards reunited with Eros and the couple were married in a ceremony attended by all the gods.

Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, painting by Antonio Canova, 1793. The Louvre. (c) Peter Forster
Roman sarcophagi with Cupid and a butterfly-winged Psyche, 4th c. AD. Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Roman mosaic of Cupid and Psyche, 3rd c. AD, from Daphne near Antioch. Hatay Archaeology Museum. (c) theoi.com
Roman statue of Cupid and Pysche, 2nd c. AD.

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