Ganymede and the eagle - Pillar 4, north side


Ganymede, an adolescent from a prominent family in Troy, was so beautiful that Homer described him as the handsomest of mortals. He lived a carefree life caring for his father’s flocks in the mountain of Troy, Mt. Ida. Zeus fell in love with him, and transforming himself into an eagle seized him and took him to Olympus. There Ganymede became the cupbearer to the gods.

This group depicts the abduction of the youth, who is just touching the earth without putting up any resistance. The enormous eagle-Zeus holds him tightly with his talons. Ganymede, who is shown as an athletic youth wearing a chlamys on his shoulders and the characteristic cap of his homeland of Phrygia, responds to the eagle’s embrace with a movement of his hand and head. Eroticism and tenderness are expressed in their gazes. 

PhotoDrawing by N. Stuart