Thursday, June 18, 2015

Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion, Europa was a virgin Phoenician princess

Europa was a virgin Phoenician princess. She was the daughter of the King Agenor of Sidon and Europe was named after her.

61 x 78 cm

One night, Europa dreamed of two continents, which had taken the forms of women, arguing over her. Asia maintained that since Europa had been born in Asia, she belonged to her. The other continent, which was nameless, said that her birth was not important and that Zeus would give Europa to her.

Paolo Veronese (1528-1588)
Europa and the bull, 
oil on canvas, framed.
37 x 30 cm

Disturbed by the dream, she summoned her companions and they went off gathering flowers by the sea. Zeus noticed this charming group, particularly Europa, who was the prettiest of the maidens. According to some sources, Eros induced him into action with one of his arrows, although Zeus never really needed much persuasion. 

Nöel-Nicolas Coypel 
Enlèvement d'Europe

Zeus appeared to the group in the form of a white bull, one that was more beautiful than any other; a bull that smelled of flowers and lowed beautifully; a bull so obviously gentle that all the maidens rushed to stroke and pet it. The bull laid down in front of Europa and she slid onto its back.

Reni, Guido

Europa and the Bull
17th century
Oil on canvas

Instantly, the bull charged off, plunging into the sea, and began to swim rapidly from the shore. Europa saw that a procession had joined them, Nereids riding dolphins, Triton blowing his horn, even Poseidon. From this, she realized that the bull must be a god and she pleaded to pity her. Zeus spoke to her and explained his love. He took her to Crete, where he had been raised, and promised her that she would bear him many famous sons. Her sons included Minos and Rhadamanthus.

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Naples, Italy 
Fresco, Imperial Roman III Style

Date: C1st BC
Period: Imperial Roman

Acknowledgment: Greek MythologyWikipedia

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