Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 03 February 2023



  • Alan H. Griffiths


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).


  • Greek Myth and Religion

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription