Ganymede – Cupbearer to the Gods of Greek Mythology

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Source: Wikipedia - was a hero in Greek mythology who came from the fabled city of Troy. He was the son of Tros, who was from Dardania, and Callirrhoe, the daughter of Scamander, who was a river god in Greek mythology. He is also described as having two brothers, Ilus and Assaracus. Like many tales in Greek mythology, there are several versions and Ganymede is no exception. Here is an overview of some of the takes that are told about him:


Ganymede Was Abducted by Zeus

In one version of Ganymede’s tale, he was abducted by Zeus in order to become the cupbearer of the gods. When abducted, Zeus took the form of a large eagle and snatched the youth while he was on Mount Ida, which was located near Troy. In order to make amends for this abduction, Zeus offered Ganymede’s father horses that were of the finest quality. Even though his father was initially upset by the abduction, he eventually understood that the abduction could eventually benefit his son. Zeus explained that in becoming the cupbearer, he would become immortal. As cupbearer, Ganymede had the duty of serving the gods drinks while they dined at the royal table.

Ganymede Replaces Hebes as Cupbearer

Before Ganymede became cupbearer, Hebes, the eventual wife of Hercules, was the cupbearer. He duties included serving the gods nectar and ambrosia, drawing baths for Ares, who was also her brother, and helping Hera enter her chariot. Once she became married to Hercules, this left Mount Olympus without a cupbearer. To fix this problem, Zeus turned into an eagle and kidnapped Ganymede so that he could assume the position.

Ganymede’s Reception in Mount Olympus

Things weren’t exactly the same for Ganymede as they were for his predecessor, Hebes. First of all, Ganymede is said to have introduce the sweet and intoxicating drink of mead to Mount Olympus. The gods were pleased with this addition, but not all of the gods were happy. Hera, who was often jealous, directed her attentions to Ganymede who she saw as a rival for Zeus’s affections. Eventually, Ganymede stopped being the cupbearer and was eventually sent into the sky as a constellation.

Differences in Ganymede’s Story

The details of the abduction do differ, however, depending on who tells the story. In some versions of the tale of his kidnapping, Zeus actually rapes him while he is in the form of the eagle. Some stories describe Ganymede as so attractive that he often inspired homosexual attraction from other males. In many ways, he was perceived in much the same way that Adonis was.

In Greek mythology, there were individuals who served different roles. Not everyone in the stories were gods and goddesses. However, heroes like Ganymede were also an important part of the stories. Although the tales do differ depending on who tells them, the fact that Ganymede was an attractive prince from Troy who eventually became immortal serving as cupbearer to the gods.


Wikipedia – Ganymede

Wikipedia – Hebes

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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