3 Instances of Love at First Sight in Greek Mythology

05/04/2018

Greek Mythology is filled with passionate tales of heroic deeds, quests, and victory over adversity. Many can be thought of as a journey through life, and so it should come as no surprise that the theme of love at first sight also plays an important role. Here’s 3 of our favourite Greek myths which involve love at first sight.

Love at first sight in Greek mythology

Love at first sight

The concept of love at first sight was well known within the Greek world. Sometimes, it was thought of as a kind of madness or theia mania – which literally means madness from the gods. The Greeks had many ways of describing this, and one of the most well known, is by the imagery of love arrows or love darts being fired from the god Eros. The Romans also adopted this way of describing falling in love, but their God was called Cupid.

It’s no surprise then, that the concept of love at first sight also appears in Greek mythology. We’ve chosen 3 of our favourite Greek myths that include love at first sight here.

Theseus and Ariadne

When Theseus set sail to Crete in order to defeat the Minotaur, he certainly didn’t lack bravery. What he did lack though, was a plan! Fortunately for him, a lady came to his rescue – Only after she had fallen in love with him at first sight though!

When Theseus landed on Crete, Ariadne, who was the daughter of King Minos saw him at the dock, and immediately fell in love with him. When she discovered that he meant to defeat the Minotaur, she said that whilst the Minotaur was a fearsome creature, it was the Labyrinth itself that was the real killer. This was because it was designed in a way that those who entered could never leave. By giving him a ball of string, Ariadne helped Theseus find his way out of the maze, successfully completing his quest.

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Locations connected with the myth – Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, and Knossos in Crete.

Perseus and Andromeda

Legendary hero Perseus (the character the Percy Jackson books take inspiration from), might have been strong and brave, but nothing could prevent him from falling in love at first sight! Flying home over Africa after defeating Medusa, he passed over the kingdom of Ethiopia, where he saw the beautiful  Andromeda chained helplessly to the rocks. She had been chained there ready to be sacrificed to a sea monster!  Using the Medusa’s head, he turned the monster to stone, and rescued the maiden. After many adventures, they eventually settled down in the city of Mycenae where they lived happily ever after – a rarity in Greek Mythology!

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Locations connected with the myth – Mycenae

Odysseus and Penelope

And finally, we have the legend of Odysseus and Penelope, because it’s not just the falling in love at first sight that is important – it is the commitment to one another. Shortly after they were married and Penelope had a son, Odysseus was called away to fight in the Trojan War. He was away for 20 long years, and during that time, Penelope had many suitors who desired her hand in marriage, Penelope refused though, remaining ever faithful to Odysseus, knowing he would return one day. And return he did! Ridding the palace of the suitors, he settled down once more with his wife, where they both lived long and happy lives.

Locations connected with the myth – Ithaca

 

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