In Greek mythology, Anteros (Greek: Ἀντέρως, Antérōs) was
the god of requited love, literally "love returned" or
"counter-love" and also the punisher of those who scorn love
and the advances of others, or the avenger of unrequited
Anteros was the son of Ares and Aphrodite in Greek
mythology, given to his brother Eros, who was lonely, as a
playmate, the rationale being that love must be answered if
it is to prosper. Physically, he is depicted as similar to
Eros in every way, but with long hair and plumed butterfly
wings. He has been described also as armed with either a
golden club or arrows of lead.
Anteros, with Eros, was one of a host of winged love gods
called Erotes, the ever-youthful winged gods of love,
usually depicted as winged boys in the company of Aphrodite
or her attendant goddesses.
An altar to this god was put up by the metics in Athens in
commemoration of the spurned love of the metic Timagoras who
was rejected by the Athenian Meles. Upon hearing Timagoras'
declaration of love for him, the young man mockingly ordered
him to throw himself down from the top of a tall rock.
Seeing Timagoras dead, Meles repented and threw himself down
from the same rock.
Describing the nature of the emotion, Plato asserts that it
is the result of the great love for another person. The
lover, inspired by beauty, is filled with divine love and
"filling the soul of the loved one with love in return." As
a result, the loved one falls in love with the lover, though
the love is only spoken of as friendship. They experience
pain when the two are apart, and relief when they are
together, the mirror image of the lover's feelings, is
anteros, or "counter-love."
Anteros is the subject of the Shaftesbury Memorial in
Piccadilly Circus, London, where he symbolises the selfless
philanthropic love of the Earl of Shaftesbury for the poor.
The memorial is sometimes given the name The Angel of
Christian Charity and is popularly mistaken for Eros. -