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Viggen

Amor And Cupid

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This little bugger confused my german brain for a while, in many english movies or books was a reference or mentioning of cupid(o). It took me forever to figure out you guys meant Amor, (thats how we (germans) call the nude winged boy armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows...

 

...well to get back to roman mythology, are those two the same, and why do some languages call him Cupid and some Amor?

 

 

 

cheers

 

viggen

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In Latin they use both names, Cupido and Amor.

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In Latin they use both names, Cupido and Amor.

 

When I was busy writing /The story of Venus/ (originally Aphrodite), and the publisher insisted I change the major names from Greek into more familiar Latin forms, I possessed -- for several hours -- a draft in which I had changed Eros to Amor. Then I remembered that the form everyone knows in English is Cupid, so I changed again.

 

In telling the story that we know as "Cupid and Psyche", Apuleius usually uses the name "Cupido", but sometimes he shifts to "Amor". I don't know which name is commoner in Latin literature generally.

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....so after more then two years since i posted, any one else an idea why the germans say Amor and the english Cupid?

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....so after more then two years since i posted, any one else an idea why the germans say Amor and the english Cupid?

BTW, Amor seems to be preferred name for this god in Swedish and other Nordic languages too (Klingan's expertise is required here).

 

Thomas Hyde in The Poetic Theology of Love states that by the late Medieval ages a dichotomy had developed between Amor, the good virtuous divine love, and Cupid, the evil voluptuous lustful love.

 

My educated guess would be that these words came into the non-romance Old German via the medieval minnesang predominantly from ecclesiastical Latin, which would have been naturally biased for Amor versus Cupido.

 

The regular evolution for these words within the Romance languages was the divergence in their meaning; Amor was primarily reserved as the common name for the feeling, affection or passion (ie, love) while Cupido remained as the proper name for the God (ie, Eros).

 

Western Germanic languages (English, Dutch and even Danish) would probably have taken the latter name (presumably via French) for the God; most if not all Germanic languages seem to have used original proto-Germanic cognates for expressing the feeling.

Edited by sylla

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....so after more then two years since i posted, any one else an idea why the germans say Amor and the english Cupid?

 

This is something of an aside, but the Cathar heretics of southern France used the name Amor for the pure spirit of love, the material and earthly part of their beliefs being represented by Rex Mundi - plainly King of the World.

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I am surprised to learn that you say 'Amor' in German to indicate the little 'putti' you see here.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Peter_Paul_Rubens_117.jpg

 

In Dutch we say 'Cupido' or 'Cupidootjes' in plural diminutive, to indicate them. Though you are supposed to call them 'putti' if there's more than one of them, but very few people do, I think. It's not like most people talk about the subject every day.

 

When we say 'Amor' we're more thinking of this juvenile. It's the same fellow if I'm not mistaken, but at a later age. But that, of course is even less of an everyday subject.

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/comm...an_Dyck_001.jpg

 

Anyway, I don't know if that information is any use to you. At least you have a chance to see some of the work of Antwerpen's two most famous sons.

 

Formosus

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My guess is that at a certain time some German literature work(s) used the name "Amor" and not "Cupido" and from that time it's just stick as the common name for the little winged guy. in a similar way to that "Antonius" became "Antony" in the English language become of the early translation to Plutarchus.

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My guess is that at a certain time some German literature work(s) used the name "Amor" and not "Cupido" and from that time it's just stick as the common name for the little winged guy. in a similar way to that "Antonius" became "Antony" in the English language become of the early translation to Plutarchus.

That's an easier question:

Indo-European languages regularly add a familiar ending to imported loanwords for their naturalization, often deleting at the same time alien endings.

 

Latin itself usually adds "-us" to alien masculine proper names, i.e. the regular inflection for the nominative case of the second declension. Eg "Plutarch-us" for the Greek "Plutarch" (and most dog-Latin wizard names in Harry Potter's saga, BTW).

 

The nomen Antoni-us (itself of Etruscan origin) was naturalized in English in a most usual way, by the deletion of "-us" and the addition of a regular English ending, like "-y", actually fused with the "i" in this word. This is a rather common case in English, like "Pliny" for "Plinius" or "Livy" for "Livius.

 

The "-th-" of Anthony is an English prosodic transcription, sometimes omitted. This name didn't necessarily come from the works of Plutarch; an ecclesiastical source is quite likely.

 

Other IE languages add their respective endings; eg, "-o" for Italian, Spanish and Portuguese (Antonio).

Edited by sylla

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In Dutch we say 'Cupido' or 'Cupidootjes' in plural diminutive, to indicate them. Though you are supposed to call them 'putti' if there's more than one of them, but very few people do, I think. It's not like most people talk about the subject every day.

 

Formosus

I have to correct my own Dutch here somewhat : when spelled with a capital C, Cupido is the name of the god. Otherwise it is just a noun. So it is correct to write or say 'cupido's' and 'cupidootjes'. That last one is as said the most commonly used expression. Of course, if you want to pretend you're an intellectual and like to confuse people by using words they don't understand you never call them such, but always 'putti'. As I do.

 

Formosus

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Latin itself usually adds "-us" to alien masculine proper names, i.e. the regular inflection for the nominative case of the second declension. Eg "Plutarch-us" for the Greek "Plutarch" (and most dog-Latin wizard names in Harry Potter's saga, BTW).

 

For the name of Cupid its interesting to note that in Hebrew we call him "Cupidon" which is the Latin name with a Greek suffix.

 

I have to correct my own Dutch here somewhat : when spelled with a capital C, Cupido is the name of the god. Otherwise it is just a noun.

 

This is like how classical Latin use the word "Cupido" both in the meaning of desire and as a name of a god.

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For the name of Cupid its interesting to note that in Hebrew we call him "Cupidon" which is the Latin name with a Greek suffix.

Actually, Cupidon is Cupid in French.

 

The Latin Cupido is a participe form of the verb cupere (to desire); French adds a "-n" to many Latin nouns ending in "-o", mostly masculine (the feminine noun Cupidone is the name of a flower).

 

The name of our Latin friends Fronto and Varro had a similar evolution in French (Fronton and Varron).

 

As far as I know, the name for our winged friendly god in Greek is always Eros or a derivative.

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