A 1,700-year-old gold ring engraved with the image of Cupid (in Greek mythology “Eros”) – the god of erotic love, desire, affection and attraction – was found near Tangley, a village in the county of Hampshire, United Kingdom.
Cupid is engraved on a stone made of nicolo, and is shown nude and holding a torch. The ring dates back to a time when England was controlled by the Roman Empire. Researchers say that the ring could have been worn by a woman or a man. An amateur metal detectorist was the one who discovered the ring.
John Pearce, a senior lecturer in archaeology at King’s College London, and Sally Worrell, a national finds adviser at the Portable Antiquities Scheme wrote in the journal Britannia that the image on the stone depicts a naked adolescent with wings, leaning on a spiral column; the short wings identify him as Cupid.
Romans and Greeks had many artistic depictions of Cupid, or Eros. According to researchers, there are several other rings that portray the god of erotic love.
The discovery was made in December 2013 and it was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), a programme which is meant to record small archaeological finds discovered by members of the public. The Portable Antiquities Scheme was established in 1997 in the United Kingdom.
In England and Wales, people can use metal detectors to search for antiquities but only if they have the landowner’s permission and if they avoid archaeological sites that are under the government’s protection.
The ring has been acquired by the Hampshire Museums Service, and it will be put on display at the Andover Museum in Andover in the United Kingdom, Worrell stated.
Joel Relihan, a classics professor at Wheaton College in Norton Massachusetts said that the earliest depictions of Cupid and Psyche (his love interest) are at least 2,500 years old.
In the second century A.D., Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis – a Latin-language prose writer – wrote about the love story between Cupid and Psyche in the book the Metamorphoses, also reffered to as The Golden Ass.
Apuleius described Cupid as a young, alluring god equipped with a bow and arrow, a quiver, and torches. He was known for corrupting marriages through his seductions, Apuleius wrote. The torch and arrow represent the love that wounds and inflames the heart. Cupid is the son of love goddess Venus and the war god Mars.
Whenever Cupid would prick a woman with his arrow, she would fall madly in love with him. In Apuleius’ story, Cupid impregnates Psyche, a mortal human, which angers his mother Venus. The reason why Venus despises Psyche is because humans believed that Psyche was more beautiful than Venus herself.
Venus orders Psyche to perform a series of tasks that a mortal human could never accomplish, but with the help of several creatures and gods Psyche completes the tasks.
In the end Cupid marries Psyche, and she becomes immortal.
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