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Renaissance panel ceiling by Baldassare Peruzzi entitled "The Rape of Ganymede." ( c. 1509-14). Villa Farnesina, Rome, Italy.
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Image courtesy of PhotoDisc, Inc. All rights reserved. Images provided by (c) 1995 Fototeca Storica Nazionale.

Ganymede

Ganymede was a son of Tros, first king of the classical land known as Troy. He tended sheep there on the slopes of Mount Ida. One day Jupiter caught a glimpse of the young boy and was overwhelmed with a desire to bring Ganymede to Olympus to serve as the cup bearer of the gods. Jupiter thereby changed his shape into that of an eagle, swooped down and carried the boy off to the home of the gods.

Now it so happens that this position was already filled by Hebe,the daughter of Jupiter and his wife Juno. Once Ganymede arrived at the royal court a competition began between Hebe and Ganymede for the honor of serving the gods. Eventually Ganymede won the post, and stayed on also as the favored companion to Jupiter.

To honor the events surrounding the elevation of Ganymede to "cup bearer and servant of the gods," Jupiter placed the eagle, a shape he assumed when abducting Ganymede to Olympus, into the heavens as the constellation Aquila (eagle), and immortalized Ganymede as the constellation Aquarius (water bearer). One of Jupiter's moons is also named after Ganymede.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA