Classical Greek Mythology

The Greek Gods and Human Life

The story of Zeus, known for his love of mortal women, abducting Ganymede seems odd. What is the significance of the abduction?

In Greek culture, homosexuality was, at the least, tolerated, and even extolled by some as a higher form of love than that between a man and a woman, especially if the relationship in question was between a young man and a much younger boy and was driven not only by sexual desire but by the older partner’s responsibility to teach the boy proper behavior in areas other than sexuality. Mythology simply reflects this point of view. Zeus desired Ganymede just as he had desired Europa or Io or Leda, so he seduced him and then gave him a responsible position on Mount Olympus.


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