Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods >> Olympian Gods >> Erotes >> Anteros


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Love Returned

Eros and Anteros on the scales of love | Apulian red-figure vase C4th B.C. | British Museum
Eros and Anteros on the scales of love, Apulian red-figure vase C4th B.C., British Museum

ANTEROS was the god of requited love and the avenger of the unrequited. He was numbered amongst the Erotes, winged godlings in the train of Aphrodite.

Anteros was often depicted opposite Eros on Aphrodite's scales of love.



[1.1] ARES & APHRODITE (Cicero De Natura Deorum 3.21)
[1.2] APHRODITE (Ovid Fasti 4.1, Seneca Phaedra 274)


Plato, Phaedrus 255d (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"When he is with the lover, both cease from their pain, but when he is away then he longs as he is longed for, and has love's image, Anteros (love against love) lodging in his breast, which he calls and believes to be not love but friendship only, and his desire is as the desire of the other, but weaker; he wants to see him, touch him, kiss him, embrace him, and probably not long afterwards his desire is accomplished."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 30. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Before the entrance to the Akademia (Academy) [outside Athens] is an altar to Eros (Love), with an inscription that Kharmos (Charmus) was the first Athenian to dedicate an altar to that god. The altar within the city called the altar of Anteros (Love Avenged) they say was dedicated by resident aliens, because the Athenian Meles, spurning the love of Timagoras, a resident alien, bade him ascend to the highest point of the rock and cast himself down. When Meles saw that Timagoras was dead, he suffered such pangs of remorse that he threw himself from the same rock and so died. From this time the resident aliens worshipped as Anteros the avenging spirit of Timagoras."

Aphrodite, Hermes, Eros and Anteros | Athenian red-figure calyx krater C4th B.C. | National Archaeological Museum, Athens
Aphrodite and Hermes weighing Eros and Anteros on the scales of love, Athenian red-figure calyx krater C4th B.C., National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Pausanias, Description of Greece 6. 23. 5 :
"In one of the wrestling-schools [in the town of Elis] is a relief showing Eros (Love) and Anteros (Love Returned), as he is called. Eros holds a palm-branch, and Anteros is trying to take the palm from him."

Aelian, On Animals 14. 28 (trans. Scholfield) (Greek natural history C2nd A.D.) :
"Poseidon was the lover of Nerites [son of Nereus], and that Nerites returned his love, and that this was the origin of the celebrated Anteros (Mutual Love)."

Ovid, Fasti 6. 90 (trans. Frazer) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"‘O [Venus-Aphrodite] gracious Mother of the Twin Cupides (Loves) [i.e. Eros and Anteros],’ said I, ‘grant me thy favour.’ The goddess looked back at the poet."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 21 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"The third [Cupid-Eros], who is the same as Anteros, [son] of Mars [Ares] and the third Venus [Aphrodite]."

Seneca, Phaedra 274 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Thou goddess [Aphrodite], born of the cruel sea, who art called mother of both Cupides (Loves) [i.e. Eros and Anteros], that wanton, smiling boy of thine."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 47. 332 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Ariadne laments after being abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos :] ‘Are the very images of Eros (Love) and Anteros (Love Reutrned) jealous of me? For I saw a deslightful vision of marriage accomplished in a deceitful dream, and lovely Theseus was gone.’"

Thumbnail Aphrodite, Erotes on Scale

K31.4 Aphrodite, Erotes on Scale

Athenian Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.

Thumbnail Aphrodite, Erotes on Scale

K31.7 Aphrodite, Erotes on Scale

Apulian Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.

Thumbnail Narcissus, Echo, Anteros

Z51.1 Narcissus, Echo, Anteros

Greco-Roman Daphne Mosaic C3rd A.D.





Other references not currently quoted here: Achilles Tatius 1.9, Themistes Orationes 24.305a.


A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.