Ganymede (Ganymedes)


Ganymede was a Trojan prince and the son of king Tros, one of the founders of Troy. The boy, renowned for his extraordinary beauty, was snatched from the midst of his companions by an eagle, either Zeus in disguise or otherwise sent by Zeus, and bore up to Mount Olympus. There he was given immortality and eternal youth and became the cupbearer (and, according to some sources, the lover) of Zeus, replacing Hebe. His father was re-compensated with magnificent horses.

The abduction of Ganymede was a favorite subject of later Greek artists for statues and vase paintings. He was portrayed as a naked youth, sometimes with a cloak draped across his shoulders, who was lifted from the ground by an eagle. He is usually accompanied by a dog. His name means 'inventor of joy'. Ganymede was later identified with the constellation Aquarius, "the Water Bearer".


The Ganymede-motif is occasionally interpreted as a kind of divine justification for pedophilia.