Manual Zeus: The Origins and History of the Greek God

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Top 10 Ancient Greek Gods

Through her father, Europa is a granddaughter of Poseidon, and also a descendant of the nymph Io. The parentage of Europa also means that, in most cases, she is the sister to three brothers, Cadmus , Cilix and Phoenix. The beauty of any mortal would quickly become known to one or more deities in the Greek pantheon, and from his throne of Mount Olympus, it was Zeus who first spied the beautiful Europa. Despite being married at that time to the goddess Hera, Zeus was overwhelmed with desire for the princess of Tyre. Acting on his desire, Zeus transformed himself into a magnificent white bull and transported himself to Tyre.

Europa and her attendants were down by the shore gathering flowers when the white bull wandered up to them. Zeus made sure that the bull appeared totally tame, and he laid down at the feet of Europa. Initially, a little bit scared, Europa would eventually start to place flowers upon the white bull, before eventually deciding that the bull was tame enough for her to sit upon. That was of course just what Zeus wanted, and with Europa on his back he entered the water and swam off into the sea.

Europa was too frightened to jump off, and eventually, Zeus and Europa arrive on the shores of Crete. Zeus then reveals himself to Europa and transforms into human form.

Ancient Greece

Europa then readily agrees to be his lover beneath a cypress tree, and from the coupling, three sons were born, Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon. Zeus then left Europa on Crete, rather than returning her to tyre. While Zeus left Europa on Crete, he did not simply abandon her, as he provided her with several gifts. The first of these gifts was a beautifully decorative necklace that had been crafted by Hephaestus. Talos — Generally considered to be another creation of the metal-working god Hephaestus, Talos was a gigantic man made of bronze.

Each day he would circle Crete three times to offer the island and Europa protection. In alternate versions of the myth, Talos is a creation of Daedalus or is a remnant of the bronze age of man. Laelaps — The second gift left with Europa was a dog named Laelaps. Laelaps was a dog that was always destined to catch what it was chasing. In a subsequent generation, Laelaps was sent to chase the Teumessian Fox; the fox which could not be caught.

Faced with the quandary of the uncatchable and the inescapable, Zeus turned both into stone, before placing both of their likenesses in the heavens. Javelin — The final gift was a magical javelin, which when thrown at a target would always hit. Zeus was said to have placed a depiction of the bull in the stars, as the constellation Taurus, in remembrance of his love affair.

In Greek mythology, the bull would also become closely linked with Crete, as Pasiphae would fall in love with the Cretan Bull, and subsequently give birth to the Minotaur. The abduction of Europa also ultimately caused the founding of other city-states in the ancient world. King Agenor dispatched his three sons to recover his daughter, but there was no clue as to who had abducted her or where she had been taken. Each brother set out on their hopeless task and went their separate ways, never to return to Tyre.

The son of Cilix, Thasus, accompanied his father and founded Thasos. The stories of the sons of Europa also begin with Minos becoming king of Crete, Sarpedon became king of Lycia, and Rhadamanthys went to Ocaleia in Boeotia and became ruler there. In the afterlife, Minos and Rhadamanthys would become two of the three judges of the underworld. There is no real end to the story of Europa, as she simply stops being mentioned, and the stories of her sons, and in particular Minos, take over. Of course, presumably, Europa, as a mortal dies, but her name certainly lives on, with the continent of Europe named after the lover of Zeus.

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HubPages Inc, a part of Maven Inc. As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so. Colin Quartermain more. The Lineage of Europa Europa, in most of the historic sources, is considered to be the beautiful daughter of Agenor, King of Tyre; with her mother normally named as Telephassa or Argiope. The Abduction of Europa.

A number of Zeus's affairs resulted in new gods and godesses. His liaison with Metis, of course, produced the warrior goddess of wisdom and courage, Athena.

The Greek Pantheon

One night as Hera slumbered, Zeus made love to one of the Pleiades, Maia, who gave birth to the tricky messenger of the gods, Hermes. By some accounts Zeus begat the goddess of love, Aphrodite, on the Titaness Dione. And when he took Leto as his consort he must have been married to Hera, for Hera persecuted Leto by condemning her to bear her children in a land of complete darkness.

After traveling throughout Greece, Leto finally gave birth painlessly to Artemis, the virgin huntress, on the isle of Ortygia. Nine days later she gave birth to Apollo, the god of light and inspiration, on the island of Delos. Each of these new gods and goddesses were full-fledged Olympians, having had two divine parents. One important god, however, had Zeus as a father and a mortal woman as a mother.

This was Dionysus, the vine god of ecstasy, who was never granted Olympian status. His mother was the Theban princess, Semele. Zeus visited her one night in the darkness, and she knew a divine being was present and she slept with him. When it turned out that Semele was pregnant she boasted that Zeus was the father. Hera learned of this and came to Semele disguised as her nurse.

Hera asked how she knew the father was Zeus, and Semele had no proof. So Hera suggested that Semele ask to see this god in his full glory. The next time Zeus visited the girl he was so delighted with her that he promised her anything she wanted. She wanted to see Zeus fully revealed. Since Zeus never broke his word, he sadly showed himself forth in his true essence, a burst of glory that utterly destroyed Semele, burning her up. Yet Zeus spared her unborn infant, sewing it up inside his thigh until it was able to emerge as the god Dionysus.

His birth from Zeus's thigh alone conferred immortality on him. Some were founders of cities or countries, like Epaphus, who founded Memphis; Arcas, who became king of Arcadia; Lacedaemon, the king of Lacedaemon and founder of Sparta. One was the wisest law-giver of his age, the first Minos. Another was a fabulous beauty, the famous Helen of Troy. And one was a monster of depravity: Tantalus, who served up his son Pelops as food to the gods. As a general rule Zeus's mortal children were distinguished for one reason or another. On occasion their mothers were notable for something besides merely attracting Zeus with their beauty. Leda, for example, after being visited by Zeus in the form of a swan, gave birth to an egg from which came Helen and Clytemnestra, and Castor and Polydeuces. But since Leda's husband Tyndarus also made love to her shortly after Zeus, the exact paternity of these quadruplets was subject to question.

Poor Io was famous for her long persecution at the hands of Hera. Zeus fell in love with Io and seduced her under a thick blanket of cloud to keep Hera from learning of it. But Hera was no fool; she flew down from Olympus, dispersed the cloud, and found Zeus standing by a white heifer, who of course was Io. Hera calmly asked Zeus if she could have this animal, and Zeus gave it to her, reluctant to go into an explanation. But Hera knew it was Io, so she put her under guard.

The watchman Argus with a hundred eyes was put in charge. Eventually Zeus sent his son Hermes to deliver lo from Argus, which was very difficult because Argus never slept.

  • Greek Mythology.
  • The Lineage of Europa.
  • Greek mythology and human origins;
  • The Abduction of Europa.

In disguise Hermes managed to put Argus to sleep with stories and flute-playing, and then Hermes killed him. As a memorial to Argus, Hera set his eyes in the tail of her pet bird, the peacock. But Hera was furious and sent a gadfly to chase Io over the earth. Still in the form of a heifer, Io ran madly from country to country, tormented by the stinging insect.

At one point she came across Prometheus chained to his rock in the Caucasus, and the two victims of divine injustice discussed her plight. Prometheus pointed out that her sufferings were far from over, but that after long journeying she would reach the Nile, be changed back into human shape, give birth to Epaphus, the son of Zeus, and receive many honors. And from her descendants would come Heracles, the man who would set Prometheus free. If Hera was diligent about punishing lo, Europa escaped her wrath scotfree.

Zeus Essay

One morning this lovely daughter of the king of Sidon had a dream in which two continents in female form laid claim to her. Europa belonged to Asia by birth, but the other continent, which was nameless, said that Zeus would give Europa to her.


Later, while Europa and her girl companions were frolicking by the sea, Zeus was smitten with the princess and changed himself into a marvelous bull of great handsomeness. He approached the girls so gently that they ran to play with him. Zeus knelt down and Europa climbed on his back. Then the bull charged into the sea, and on the sea journey Europa and Zeus were accompanied by strange sea creatures: Nereids, Tritons, and Poseidon himself.

Europa then realized that the bull was a god in disguise and she begged Zeus not to desert her. Zeus replied that he was taking her to Crete, his original home, and that her sons from this union would be grand kings who would rule all men. In time Europa gave birth to Minos and Rhadamanthus, wise rulers who became judges in the netherworld after death.

And Europa gave her name to a continent. Despite his conquests Zeus was not always successful in his amorous pursuits.