the gods sure are queer

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zeus/ganymede

 

the best documented story is that of Zeus, greek god of the gods, love of Ganymede, a mortal boy.  the story is mentioned three times in Homer's The Iliad.  the first reference is to Jove/Zeus' payment to Ganymede's father Tros "in amends" for the god's theft of his son.  William Cowper, The Iliad And Odyssey of Homer translated into English Blank Verse, Vol. I. (1814), (Iliad V. 293-295) at p.135 ("For Tros receiv'd their grandsires in amends For his son Ganymede, from Jove himself, As fleetest of all coursers under heaven.").  The second reference tells the story of Ganymede's abduction:  "earth's fairest sons among, Young Ganymede! whom erst the gods above bore, for his charms, to crown the cup of Jove."  William Sotheby, The Iliad And Odyssey of Homer, Vol. II. (1834) (Book XX.), at p.264.  an alternate translation of the same passage is: "Ganymede who was comeliest of mortal men; wheretofore the gods carried him off to be Zeus' cupbearer, for his beauty's sake, that he might dwell among the immortals." Hom. Il. 20.2; Homer, The Iliad (Samuel Butler, Ed.); http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0217:book=20:card=2.  the third reference is again to Zeus' payment to Tros: "be sure you spring Aeneas' horses and drive them from the Trojan to the Achaean ranks. They are of the stock that great Zeus gave to Tros in payment for his son Ganymede, and are the finest that live and move under the sun." Hom. Il. 5.2; Homer, The Iliad Samuel Butler, Ed.; http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0217:book=5:card=2

Ovid expanded upon the tale:

"The King of Gods once felt the burning joy,
And sigh'd for lovely Ganimede of Troy:
Long was he puzzled to assume a shape
Most fit, and expeditious for the rape;
A bird's was proper, yet he scorns to wear
Any but that which might his thunder bear.
Down with his masquerading wings he flies,
And bears the little Trojan to the skies;
Where now, in robes of heav'nly purple drest,
He serves the nectar at th' Almighty's feast,
To slighted Juno an unwelcome guest."

Ovid: Metamorphoses, Bk 10: (excerpts) translation by John Dryden (found at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/ovid-met10.html). 


an alternate translation of the same passage:

"The king of all the Gods once burned with love
for Ganymede
of Phrygia. He found
a shape more pleasing even than his own
.
Jove would not take the form of any bird,
except the eagle's, able to sustain
the weight of his own thunderbolts. Without
delay, Jove on fictitious eagle wings,
stole and flew off with that loved Trojan boy:
who even to this day, against the will
of Juno, mingles nectar in the cups
of his protector, mighty
Jupiter."

Ovid, Metamorphoses (ed. Brookes More, Boston. Cornhill Publishing Co. 1922) (English, ed. Arthur Golding) (found @ http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0028:book=10:card=143)

Plato mentioned "the fountain of that stream which Zeus, when he was in love with Ganymede, called 'desire' flows copiously upon the lover." Plat. Phaedrus 255c; Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 9 translated by Harold N. Fowler. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1925.


Sophocles referred to Ganymede “setting Zeus’s majesty aflame with his thighs.”  Andrew Calimach, Lovers' Legends The Gay Greek Myths (Haiduk Press 2002), at p.134 (quoting translation of Sophocles' The Colchian Women). 


Euripides put it more bluntly.  The chorus in Iphigenia in Aulis:  “There was Ganymede, the darling of Zeus’ bed, drawing libations of wine from deep in the bowls of gold.”  Calimach at p.134 (quoting translation of Euripides' Iphigenia in Aulis, p.47).  another translation:  "There was the Dardanian boy, [1050] dainty morsel of Zeus' bed, drawing off the wine he mixed in the depths of golden bowls, Ganymede the Phrygian."  Euripides. The Plays of Euripides, Eur. IA 1036, translated by E. P. Coleridge. Volume II. London. George Bell and Sons. 1891. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0108:card=103.  the MIT classics version chose a different emphasis:  "There was the Dardanian boy, Phrygian Ganymede, whom Zeus delights to honour, drawing off the wine he mixed in the depths of golden bowls" (http://classics.mit.edu/Euripides/iphi_aul.html). Euripides' Orestes briefly references  "[1390] woe to Dardania, its wailing, wailing, for the horsemanship of Ganymede, bedfellow of Zeus."  Eur. Orest. 1366; Euripides. The Complete Greek Drama, edited by Whitney J. Oates and Eugene O'Neill, Jr. in two volumes. 2. Orestes, translated by E. P. Coleridge. New York. Random House. 1938; http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0116:card=1366