Love, Lust & Passion in Greek mythology

Love, Lust and Passion in Greek mythology is a new book available on Amazon, it covers the loves, romances, abductions, devious enticements and shape shifting of the three Olympian gods Zeus, Aphrodite and Dionysus, containing 73 illustrations by the Author taken from ancient/old statues, paintings and vases.

The Myths begin with the powerful and almighty Zeus, king of the gods who was known for his devious pursing of beautiful women and occasionally young men of both goddesses and mortals. Several of his abductions took place
in the form of an eagle when he would snatch them away in his large talons to a remote place or an island.
The second is Aphrodite the goddess of love who had many love affairs of both gods and mortals, for she admired their beauty and was unhappy with her marriage that was arranged by her father almighty Zeus. Her husband Hephaestus created a girdle for her that made her irresistible to all men, using it to her advantage.

The third is Dionysus, the god of the grapevine, a love child of Semele and Zeus who was pursued endlessly and driven crazy by Hera in his youth. The deity took part in festivities, merriment and drunkenness with his devoted followers and like his father he also pursued after the breathtaking beauties of both men and women.

The stories in this book are taken from the original Greek myths, some are poetical like that of Nicaea, a hunter nymph and follower of Artemis, the young shepherd Hymnos fell in love with her conquered by the intensifying emotions of infatuated love, as his cattle was left roaming and he only sees the overall beauty and roundness of the girls face. He trembled in fear to confirm his warm affections of love, but she only mocked him with spiteful and pitiless words. He goes on to confess his love to the huntress “Aye do your worst & hurl your beloved spear at me! So I may depart from this world, escaping the torments of loves intensifying emotions & the fire that burns in my heart! I will die as loves willing carrion by sweet fate!” She kills him with her arrow and showed no feelings of remorse, yet the nymphs were overwhelmed by deep sorrow and the gods get their revenge as Dionysus becomes inflamed with passion by Eros’s arrow of love.

Dionysus then felt a strong yearning for the beautiful nymph “I am here Nicaea, admiring your form, for you have lent your beauty to the flowers that surround me and as I gaze upon the enchanting rose beds I recognise your cheeks, as your delicate rose, is always in bloom and you are also rooted in the soil as a blushing anemone that does not fade, when I turn my eye to the lily & I see your snowy arm, then when I glance upon the iris, I see the rich dark shade of your hair”.

When she shows no interest and mocks him, Dionysus deceives her into drinking from his fountain of wine.

Europa- from a painting by Guido Reni

In one myth, Europa was the Sister of King Phoenix (or his daughter stated in the poem the Iliad). Zeus watched her infascination, as she was seated beside her attendants and companions, happily chattering amongst them. She was a princess of exquisite beauty, sweet nature and charm who touched the very heart of the mighty Zeus, recognizing her beauty more than all the others within her circle. He thought up a cunning plan to fool and seduce her by turning himself into a white bull of great splendour and gentleness while blending in with the other cattle on her
Father’s estate. The next day Europa was collecting flowers by the coast with her companions when the magnificent white bull came up to her, he was so tame & gentle that she could stroke his head, his back and the sides of his flanks without fear so that he might secure her friendship and trust.
The princess and her companions placed flowers all around the bulls head and horns while stroking and caressing him, he knelt down and Europa got up upon his back. She clung onto his horns while he starts to trot towards the shore, as Europa unable to dismount hangs on with all her might as he
swam his way, swiftly through the seas until he reaches the Island of Crete. Here he takes her to his birthplace the Cave Diktean Andron where he transforms himself into his original form and offers her a stunning necklace created by the god Hephaestus, followed by a bronze automaton Talos
who circles the island three times a day to guard her against intruders, A hound called Laelaps who always catches his prey while hunting and a magical Javelin which always hit its target. He also offers her the gift of immortality & she becomes the first Cretan Queen and the symbol of all of
Europe.

Psyche- the goddess of the soul- from a sculpture by Bertel Thorvaldson

Psyche is also a lovely story- Psyche is a princess of royal birth and the youngest of two Sisters, later becoming the goddess of the soul. Her Miraculous stunning beauty not only caused jealously among her sisters but also attracted masses of people, communities, nations and priests who all began to worship her instead of the goddess of love Aphrodite. They would come from far and wide just to admire her beauty and when she walked down the street, people who saw her would throw flowers upon her & cover her with wreaths, neglecting the statues and
altars of Aphrodite. This outraged the goddess who wanted to punish her for her fame &
admired worshippers, assigning Eros her son to put a love spell upon her so that she would fall deeply in love with the most hideous creature on earth, yet falls in love with her himself.

But Psyche was extremely unhappy with her life and never wished to be admired and worshipped for her beauty, feeling utterly depressed and alone. Her Father noticed this and so goes to the oracles for guidance who told him his daughter must wed the most violent & brutal serpent monster high up on the cliffs. During the wedding ceremony she was instead guided by Eros & the West wind to his abode of magnificent splendour in the woods. He hides his true identity and only comes to her during the night. Her Sisters grew jealous and tricked her into believing he was a monster and to reveal his true form.

“As darkness falls and her husband again comes to her bed, she made sure he was asleep before removing the outer cover of the lamp, she turned to look at him with the sharp blade in her hand but instead of seeing an evil monster she saw a beautiful radiant youth Eros the god of love, she sat beside him and began to stroke his golden locks releasing a scent of ambrosia and his white feathery wings began to glow”.

with this betrayal he left and she was pursued endlessly by Aphrodite.

Aphrodite and Anchises- from a painting by William Blake Richmond

In another Greek myth – Zeus, during his years of torment & strong desires caused by Aphrodite’s continuous wearing of the magic girdle, longed for revenge, so he calls for Eros the god of love to bewitch her with his love induced arrows, so she would fall deeply in love with the mortal Anchises, a Trojan prince. After the bewitchment, the goddess goes to Paphos in Cyprus to purify herself with sweet-smelling perfumes and is bathed by the graces who anoint her with
heavenly floral oils until she is glowing with exceptional beauty. Aphrodite then makes her way to the countryside keeping herself hidden while watching the stunningly handsome godlike youth from afar as he herds cattle on the lower pastures of mount Ida (now in Turkey) and when he finishes his task, he goes into his herder’s hut and plays a joyful tune on his lyre. Aphrodite with an intensifying passion in her heart goes to visit him there while portraying herself as a mortal & virginal maiden. Anchises is immediately taken in by her mesmerising beauty and glowing garments of elaborate gold details but can clearly see that she is a goddess or an immortal being of some kind and is suspicious. But she assures him that she is a Princess from the kingdom of Phrygia, central Anatolia and was given to him as a gift by the god Hermes as a potential
bride. Anchises who is utterly convinced that she speaks the truth is immediately overcome with desire and passion for the lovely maiden princess and so took her to his bed, removing her elaborate golden brooches, earrings and necklaces, then unbinding her girdle and removing her robes, carefully placing them upon a chair trimmed with silver. Aphrodite has a child by him called Aenens who was brought up by the nymphs of the surrounding mountains.

Love, lust and passion in Greek mythology book 1- Zeus, Aphrodite and Dionysus is available to buy at Amazon.

Paperback and hardcover https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09GJKK7CD