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, first king of the classical land known as Troy.
One day Jupiter caught a glimpse of the handsome young boy as he was tending
sheep on Mt. Ida, and was suddenly inflamed with a passion for him. Jupiter
changed his shape into that of an eagle, swooped down onto the craggy slopes of Ida, and carried the boy off to Mt. 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 there began a furious competition between Hebe
and Ganymede for the honor of serving the gods. Eventually Ganymede won the post, and
stayed on also as the beloved companion to Jupiter. To honor the events surrounding the elevation of Ganymede to "cup bearer and servant of
the gods," Jupiter placed his shape of an eagle, a shape he assumed when abducting
Ganymede to Olympus, into the heavens as the constellation Aquila
immortalized Ganymede as the constellation Aquarius (water bearer).
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