Love Stories From Ancient Mythology.8 min read

Love is as old as humans, so are the love stories. As time passes the evidence of the ancient love stories faded and even some of them are forgotten by the world. But here are the “Love Stories” from Ancient Mythology across the world, you may like. Every story provides a new way to look “love”, create morals, add value in life. Moreover, the stories help us to understand the most known and the most unknown thing in this world “LOVE”.

Grainne and Diarmuid

Diarmuid and Gráinne hugging each other picture.
Diarmuid and Gráinne

The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Gráinne is an Irish prose narrative surviving in many variations. The elements of this prose as far back as the 10th Century. It concerns about the love triangle between the Great Warrior Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the beautiful princess Gráinne, and warrior Diarmuid.

Gráinne was promised in marriage to Fionn, who was a cranky old warlord, old enough to be her father (or grandfather). Therefore, she wasn’t in love with him. On the night of their betrothal, whom did she meet but a handsome young warrior, Diarmuid. They fell madly in love at first sight, but what could she do? She slips a sleeping potion in everyone’s drinks, and the pair of them run off together across the Shannon. Fionn wakes and there’s Gráinne gone and he goes mental. Takes his army and heads off in hot pursuit. But it was the people in the villages of Ireland, they took pity on Diarmuid and Gráinne. They hid them in forests and in their barns and castles, where they’d sleep one night and then they’d move on. Sleep was all they did because of Diarmuid’s respect for Fionn. After many adventures, the lovers settle in Keshcorran.

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Psyche And Cupid

Cupid And Psyche
Cupid And Psyche

Cupid and Psyche is a story originally from Metamorphoses (also called The Golden Ass), written in 2nd Century AD by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis (or Platonicus). The tale concerns the overcoming of obstacles to the love between Psyche and Cupid (or Eros), and their ultimate union in sacred marriage. The tale is placed at the midpoint of Apuleius’s novel and occupies about a fifth of its total length.

There were once a king and queen, rulers of an unnamed city, who had three daughters of conspicuous beauty. The youngest and most beautiful was Psyche, whose admirers, neglecting the proper worship of the love goddess Venus, instead prayed and made offerings to her. Venus is offended and commissions Cupid to work her revenge. Cupid is sent to shoot Psyche with an arrow so that she may fall in love with something hideous. He instead scratches himself with his own dart, which makes any living thing fall in love with the first thing it sees. Consequently, he falls deeply in love with Psyche and disobeys his mother’s order.

Orpheus and Eurydice

Orpheus and Eurydice Cave Statue
Orpheus and Eurydice Cave Statue

Orpheus and Eurydice’s love story from Ancient Egyptian Mythology around 5th-6th Century CE. It concerns the fateful love of Orpheus of Thrace, son of Apollo and the muse Calliope, for the beautiful Eurydice.

Apollo gives his son Orpheus a lyre and teaches him how to play. Orpheus played with such perfection that even Apollo was surprised. It is said that nothing could resist his beautiful melodies, neither enemies nor beasts. Even trees and rocks were entranced with his music.

Orpheus fell in love with Eurydice, a woman of unique beauty and grace, whom he married and lived happily with for a short time. However, when Hymen was called to bless the marriage, he predicted that their perfection was not meant to last. Eurydice while wandering in the forest is bitten by a snake and died instantly. Orpheus sang his grief with his lyre and managed to move everything living or not in the world; both humans and gods were deeply touched by his sorrow and grief.

Orpheus played his lyre, melting even Hades’ heart. Hades told Orpheus that he could take Eurydice with him but under one condition; Eurydice would follow him while walking out to the light from the caves of the underworld, but he should not look at her before coming out to the light or else he would lose her forever. If Orpheus was patient, he would have Eurydice as a normal woman again by his side.

Thinking it a simple task for a patient man like himself, Orpheus was delighted; he thanked the gods and left to ascend back into the world. Unable to hear Eurydice’s footsteps, however, he began fearing the gods had fooled him. Eurydice was in fact behind him, but as a shade, having to come back into the light to become a full woman again. Only a few feet away from the exit, Orpheus lost his faith and turned to see Eurydice behind him, but her shadow was whisked back among the dead, now trapped in Hades forever.

Shakuntala And Dushyant

dushyant shakuntala
Dushyant Shakuntala

Shakuntala and Dushyant are from Indian Mythology, mentioned around 300 CE in Kalidasa’s play The Recognition of Shakuntala”.

According to the text, while on a hunting trip, King Dushyant of the Puru dynasty meets the hermit-girl Shakuntala. They fall in love with each other at first sight and, in the absence of her father, Shakuntala weds the king in a ceremony of ‘Gandharva’-a form of marriage by mutual consent with Mother Nature as the witness. When the time comes for Dushyant to return to his palace, he promises to send an envoy to escort her to his castle. As a fond remembrance, he gives her a signet ring.

One day when hermit Durvasa stops at her hut for hospitality, Shakuntala, lost in her love thoughts, fails to hear his calls. The temperamental sage turns back and curses her: “He whose thoughts have engrossed you would not remember you anymore.” On the plea of her companions, the enraged sage relents and adds a condition to his curse-statement: “He can only recall you upon producing some significant souvenir.”

Days roll by and nobody from the palace comes to fetch her. Her father sends her to the royal court for their reunion, as she was pregnant with Dushyant’s child. While traveling, Shakuntala’s signet-ring accidentally drops into the river and gets lost.

When Shakuntala presents herself before the king, Dushyant, under the spell of the curse, fails to acknowledge her as his wife. Heart-broken, she pleads to the gods for help. The spell is broken when a fisherman finds the signet ring in the stomach of a fish – the same ring that Shakuntala had lost on her way to the court. The king suffers from an intense feeling of guilt and injustice. Shakuntala forgives Dushyant and they are reunited happily. She gives birth to a male child. He is called Bharat, after whom India gets her name.

Menaka And Viswamitra

Vishwamitra and Menaka
Vishwamitra and Menaka

Menaka and Vishwamitra are also from Ancient Indian Mythology, the more interesting fact is that they are the parents of Shakuntala. Menaka is considered one of the most beautiful of the heavenly Apsaras.

Menaka was born during the churning of the ocean by the devas and asuras and was one of the most beautiful apsaras (celestial nymph) in the world with quick intelligence and innate talent but desired a family. Vishwamitra, one of the most respected and revered sages in ancient India, frightened the gods and even tried to create another heaven- Indra, frightened by his powers, sent Menaka from heaven to earth to lure him and break his meditation. Menaka successfully incited Vishwamitra’s lust and passion when he saw her beauty. She succeeded in breaking the meditation of Vishwamitra. However, she fell in genuine love with him and a baby was born to them who later grew in Sage Kanva’s ashram and came to be called Shakuntala. Later Shakuntala falls in love with King Dushyanta and gives birth to a child called Bharata after whom India was first named. When Vishwamitra realized that he had been tricked by Indra, he was enraged. But he merely cursed Menaka to be separated from him forever, for he loved her as well and knew that she had lost all devious intentions towards him long ago.

Adonis And Aphrodite

Adonis and Aphrodite Statue
Adonis and Aphrodite

Adonis was the mortal lover of the goddess Aphrodite in Greek mythology. In Ovid‘s first-century AD telling of the myth, he was conceived after Aphrodite cursed his mother Myrrha to lust after her own father, King Cinyras of Cyprus. Myrrha had sex with her father in complete darkness for nine nights, but he discovered her identity and chased her with a sword. The gods transformed her into a myrrh tree and, in the form of a tree, she gave birth to Adonis. Aphrodite found the infant and gave him to be raised by Persephone, the queen of the Underworld. Adonis grew into an astonishingly handsome young man, causing Aphrodite and Persephone to feud over him, with Zeus eventually decreeing that Adonis would spend one-third of the year in the Underworld with Persephone, one-third of the year with Aphrodite, and the final third of the year with whomever he chose. Adonis chose to spend his final third of the year with Aphrodite.

One day, Adonis was gored by a wild boar during a hunting trip and died in Aphrodite’s arms as she wept. His blood mingled with her tears and became the anemone flower. Aphrodite declared the Adonia festival commemorating his tragic death, which was celebrated by women every year in midsummer

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Awsome blog! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am bookmarking your feeds also