Ready for some ancient love drama? Greek mythology has got you covered! With Luna McNamara's Psyche & Eros: A Novel featured in our Spring To Bee Read subscription, we figured we'd round up our favorite Greek Mythology Love Stories.
From tragic tales of forbidden love to stories of devotion and sacrifice, the myths of the Greek gods offer a glimpse into the complex world of love and desire. So if you're in the mood for a little scandal and a lot of drama, grab your ambrosia and get ready for some tales of passion, betrayal, and everything in between.
The Myth of Psyche and Eros
Forbidden love and the power of devotion
Psyche was a mortal princess known for her exquisite beauty. People would often compare Psyche to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. But Aphrodite didn't love that so much, and we know what happens when the gods are not happy with mortals...
Aphrodite orders her son Eros, the god of love, to shoot Psyche with one of his love arrows that would make her fall for the most hideous creature. Except, Eros can't help but fall in love with her and does not listen to his mother. Instead, he takes Psyche to a secret place where he visits her nightly, but forbids her to look at him.
Of course, Psyche's curiosity gets the better of her and she soon discovers that her lover is the beautiful Eros. In anger at her betrayal, Eros leaves, but Psyche is determined to find him again.
After a long tormenting journey, Psyche meets Aphrodite who demands she complete several impossible tasks. Psyche's devotion to Eros allows her to complete the tasks. Eventually, Zeus makes her immortal so that she and Eros can bask in their love through eternity.
The Love Story of Orpheus and Eurydice
A tragic story of love, loss, and grief
Orpheus, a musician with superhuman skills, and Eurydice, an oak nymph, fall madly in love, but shortly after their wedding, Eurydice was bitten by a venomous snake and died. The devastated Orpheus embarked on a never-before successful journey to the underworld to try and bring her back.
He played his lyre and sang a tune so heart-wrenching that even Hades was moved. So with Persephone's urging, Hades agreed to let Eurydice return to the land of the living, but on one condition (uh-oh!): Orpheus must walk ahead of her and not look back until they had both reached the upper world.
All was smooth sailing until Orpheus couldn't resist the urge to look back to see if Eurydice was still there. Of course, she was, but at that moment, she was whisked back to the underworld...forever. Devastated by the loss of his beloved wife, Orpheus spent the rest of his life in mourning, playing sorrowful songs that moved both mortals and gods.
Pyramus and Thisbe
The original star-crossed lovers
Greek mythology love stories get transformed throughout history in many different types of media. Believe it or not, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was not Shakespeare's brain child. He took inspiration from Pyramus and Thisbe's ill-fated love story. The two young lovers were head over heels for each other, but you guessed it, feuding families made this love affair quite forbidden. Of course that didn't stop them from secretly communicating through a crack in the wall that separated their houses and plan to elope.
They were to meet under a mulberry tree outside of town, but Thisbe arrived first and was scared off by a lioness with a bloody mouth. Fleeing, she dropped her shawl, which the lioness ripped apart. When Pyramus arrived, he saw the shredded shawl, and assumed Thisbe was dead.
Consumed with despair, he took his own life with his sword. Thisbe returned to find Pyramus dead and was so grief-stricken that she also took her own life. The two lovers were buried together, and their parents reconciled in grief over their children's tragic end. Sound familiar?
Echo and Narcissus
A tale of unrequited love
Echo was a chatty mountain nymph who could talk the ears off of anyone. She was so good at talking that she would distract Zeus' wife, Hera, while Zeus snuck off for a little rendezvous. But Hera caught on to Echo's trickery and cursed her by taking away her ability to speak except for repeating the last words of others.
One day Echo spotted a handsome young man deer hunting in the woods and fell enamored by him. But because of her curse, she couldn't express her feelings to him. This boy was Narcissus who was so handsome that everyone who saw him fell in love, but he had none of it because he was too much in love with himself. So he denied Echo's affections and she went into the woods to hide from embarrassment.
One day, while out for a stroll, Narcissus stumbled upon a pool of water and caught a glimpse of his own reflection. He was so smitten with the image in the water that he spent all his time staring at it, refusing to leave even for food or water. That's right, he died of thirst and starvation, all for the love of himself! Where he perished, a flower with white petals and a yellow center grew, forever known as the Narcissus.
When Narcissus died, Echo was so heartbroken that she slowly withered away until all that was left of her was her voice in the mountains, echoing the last words of others.
Hades and Persephone
A dark love story of abduction, death, and rebirth
I think we all know that Greek Mythology love stories are rarely happy, but this one seems to turn out okay despite its rocky beginning. One day, Demeter, the goddess of harvest and agriculture, along with her daughter Persephone, were out picking flowers when Hades, the god of the underworld saw Persephone and was immediately taken with her beauty. He did what any self-respecting god of death would do and kidnapped her.
Persephone's mother, Demeter, was rightfully devastated by the loss of her daughter. She searched the Earth for her but could not find her, and in her grief, she neglected her duties, causing a famine on Earth.
Zeus, the king of the gods, intervened and ordered Hades to release Persephone (even though he probably helped in the abduction). Unfortunately, Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds while in the underworld, which meant that she had to spend part of each year with Hades.
When Persephone returns to the underworld, her mother Demeter mourns her loss and withdraws her blessings from the Earth. But when Persephone returns to the surface in the spring, she brings with her the renewal of life and growth, and the Earth is once again filled with the bounties of the harvest.
We think she probably enjoys being Queen of the Underworld, but one can never tell. I mean Feyre does eventually fall for Rhysand, the High Lord of the Nightcourt in Sarah J. Maas' epic ACOTAR series. We even did a mashup of the two stories in a beautiful decorative towel!
You can also get your very own key to the Underworld with our Hades Greek Mythology Key! And celebrate Persephone with the Persephone Lenticular Bookmark and our Persephone The High Priestess, Mythology Tarot Enamel Pin.
Rhysand and Feyre Towel
The ACOTAR Rhysand and Feyre Towel is part of the © Sarah J. Maas Collection! Prepare to fall in love with this beautiful Underworld and Night Court mashup towel! We love how the artwork shows all of the complex feelings between… read more
Persephone Lenticular Bookmark
Feel fearless like the Queen of the Underworld with this Persephone Lenticular Bookmark. The gorgeous artwork of shows Persephone when she started out as the Queen of Spring surrounded by beautiful vegetation. When you move the bookmark, you'll see her… read more
Persephone The High Priestess, Mythology Tarot Enamel Pin
The stately and beautiful Persephone The High Priestess, Mythology Tarot Enamel Pin shows the Goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld on a background of pale lilac. A skull adorns her crown of blooms as she stands between stems… read more
Zeus and Hera
A complicated story of love, betrayal, and jealousy
Zeus, the god of gods and Hera, the goddess of women, marriage and childbirth are Mount Olympus's ultimate power couple. But their story is pretty far from your idyllic romance. In fact, it's said that their marriage was more of a political arrangement than a love story.
Some versions of the myth suggest that Zeus was smitten with Hera from the moment he laid eyes on her and spent years trying to win her over. But let's be real, Hera was having none of it. She was a strong and independent goddess who didn't need a man to define her power.
In a desperate attempt to win her heart, Zeus transformed himself into a cuckoo bird and played the role of a helpless creature. Of course, Hera took pity on the little bird and took him under her wing.
Eventually, Zeus revealed his true identity, and Hera, who had loved the bird, eventually agreed to become his queen.
But we all know, Zeus had a wandering eye and was notorious for his numerous affairs with other goddesses, nymphs, and mortal women. Talk about mixed signals! But Hera was not one to be trifled with. She was quick to anger and known for her vengeful nature, often punishing the women who dared to tempt her husband.
Despite their rocky relationship, Zeus and Hera's story is one of power, passion, and drama that continues to captivate us to this day.
Zeus The Emperor, Mythology Tarot Enamel Pin
Zeus, the god of sky and thunder, King and father of the gods, joins forces with the tarot's Emperor to represent leadership, stability, and security. The fourth in the Major Arcana, Zeus The Emperor, Mythology Tarot Enamel Pin shows Zeus… read more
Hera The Empress, Mythology Tarot Enamel Pin
Sitting regally on her throne with her beloved peacock and adorned with the watchful eyes of Argus, the Hera The Empress, Mythology Tarot Enamel Pin is the 3rd in the tarot's Major Arcana. The Empress, or Universal Mother, is represented… read more
The ancient greeks sure knew how to keep "love" in the air.