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In Love with a Princess: The Tale of Europa

31 Mar 2021 | Greek

She was a princess so beautiful that even the king of Olympus couldn’t resist. This is the tale of Europa.


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Before naming a whole continent, she was known as the daughter of the Phoenician King Agenor. The legend began when, on a beautiful day, Europa was gathering flowers with her noble friends near the shores of Phoenicia.

Zeus saw all the beautiful ladies but, one in particular, felt very special to him. Instantly the god was so struck by her that some references say that the god of love and desire, Eros, induced him with one of his arrows.

Completely astonished, Zeus caught himself observing her from the coast and, possessed by lust, he took the form of a white bull with shining horns in order to approach her. All the ladies spotted the pristine animal and came closer to have a look and pet him. There was never a bull so incredible as that one.

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Europa was impressed and instantly felt the need to touch him. Zeus’ plan was on its course. The princess, feeling confident, climbed on his back. The bull rushed to the sea at such an impossible speed that it was clear to her that this was no ordinary animal, but some sort of a god or another powerful entity.

With that in mind, Europa felt scared and plead to the animal not to hurt her. It was when he revealed himself.

I am Zeus, king of Olympus

They ended the trip in the island of Crete, when Zeus took back his human form and explained to her that he was absolutely in love. Europa felt her heart accelerating and understood that this was her destiny: to fall in love with the king of Olympus. They mated on the white sand beach on that day. Later on she gave birth to his sons Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. They were then adopted by king Asterius when he married her making her the first queen of Crete.

Zeus loved her so much that he gave her 3 incredible gifts. The dog that could hunt anything, Laelaps; a javelin that could hit any target; and a bronze man named Talos to protect her – the same one that the Argonauts met on their way to retrieve the Golden Fleece.

It’s not certain though how it was decided that the continent would be named after Europa, only that it should refer to “all the land on the western shore of the Aegean Sea” by the Mediterranean and Mesopotamian peoples around the 7th century BC.

The first appearance of Europa as an early idea of a continent was found on documents known as Homeric Hymns – a collection of 33 anonymous ancient Greek hymns celebrating individual gods, employing the same epic meter as the Iliad and Odyssey. By then, it was referred to as the geographical area of central Greece but only much later was extended to all the western lands.

We might not know why people decided to use her name and perpetuate this particular story, so we can only assume that it must have been the will – and love – of the gods.


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Fabio
Fabio
3 April 2021 6:37 am

Fantastic story. Thank you, guys. Let’s tell to everybody.

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