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 was a son of Tros, who was the ruler of the city of Troy. One
day, Jupiter saw Ganymede as he tended sheep on the slopes of Mount Ida, and suddenly had a strong desire to make
the young man the servant of the gods at Olympus. Jupiter changed his shape into that of
an eagle, swooped down onto the slopes of Ida, and carried the boy off to Mount Olympus,
home of the gods, to serve as the cup bearer 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 Hebe and Ganymede competed with each other for
the honor of serving the gods. Eventually Ganymede won the post, and he also became
Jupiter's favorite companion. To honor the events surrounding Ganymede becoming the new cup bearer and servant of the
gods, Jupiter placed the eagle, a shape he assumed when carrying Ganymede to Olympus,
into the heavens as the constellation Aquila (eagle), and then immortalized Ganymede by
placing him in the heavens as the constellation Aquarius (water bearer).
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