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In the Greek tradition, Eros had a dual, contradictory genealogy.

He was among the primordial gods who came into existence asexually; after his generation, deities were begotten through male-female unions.

A variation is found in The Kingis Quair, a 15th-century poem attributed to James I of Scotland, in which Cupid has three arrows: gold, for a gentle "smiting" that is easily cured; the more compelling silver; and steel, for a love-wound that never heals.

complaining that so small a creature shouldn't cause such painful wounds.

In myths, Cupid is a minor character who serves mostly to set the plot in motion.

He is a main character only in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons, he experiences the ordeal of love.

Cupid continued to be a popular figure in the Middle Ages, when under Christian influence he often had a dual nature as Heavenly and Earthly love.

During the English Renaissance, Christopher Marlowe wrote of "ten thousand Cupids"; in Ben Jonson's wedding masque Hymenaei, "a thousand several-coloured loves ... Cupid is winged, allegedly, because lovers are flighty and likely to change their minds, and boyish because love is irrational.

Although Eros is generally portrayed as a slender winged youth in Classical Greek art, during the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy.

During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire.

In Hesiod's Theogony, only Chaos and Gaia (Earth) are older.

Before the existence of gender dichotomy, Eros functioned by causing entities to separate from themselves that which they already contained.