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date: 03 February 2023

Ganymedeslocked

Ganymedeslocked

  • Alan H. Griffiths

Extract

Ganymedes (Γανυμήδης; suggesting γάνος, ‘sheen’ (esp. of wine)+μήδεα, ambiguously ‘cunning’, and ‘genitals’); handsome young Trojan prince (son of Tros at Il. 20. 231–5; *Laomedon, Little Iliad fr. 6 Davies, and in *Euripides) carried off to *Olympus (1) by *Zeus, as his compatriot Tithonus was by *Eos the dawn-goddess. His kidnapping is usually said to have been effected by Zeus himself, either in person (as on the fine 5th-cent. bce terracotta from Olympia), or in the shape of his eagle-avatar. As reparation, his father received a marvellous breed of horses (Il. 5. 265–7; Hym. Hom. Ven. 202–17) or a golden vine (Little Iliad). Though early versions emphasize the boy's beauty, Zeus' motivation is given as the need for a noble and presentable wine-steward; a homoerotic interest on the god's part does not become explicit until later (Theogn. 1345–8), but Attic vase-painting and Hellenistic art stress this aspect (hence ‘catamite’, from catmite in (unvoiced) *Etruscan via Latin catamitus).

Subjects

  • Greek Myth and Religion

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