In Greek mythology, Ganymede, or Ganymedes (Greek: Γανυμήδης,
Ganymēdēs), is a divine hero whose homeland was Troy. He was a
prince, son of the eponymous Tros of Dardania and of
Callirrhoe, and brother of Ilus and Assaracus. Ganymede was
the most attractive of mortals, which led Zeus to abduct him,
in the form of an eagle, to serve as cup-bearer to the gods
and, in Classical and Hellenistic Greece, as Zeus's eromenos.
For the etymology of his name, Robert Graves' The Greek Myths
offers ganyesthai + medea, "rejoicing in virility".
One of the moons of Jupiter is named after him, and was
discovered by Galileo Galilei...
（Γανυμήδης). According to Homer and others, he was a son of
Tros by Calirrhoe, and a brother of Ilus and Assaracus;
being the most beautiful of all mortals, he was carried off
by the gods that he might fill the cup of Zeus, and live
among the eternal gods. (Hom. Il. 20.231, &c.; Pind. O. 1.
44, xi. in fin.; Apollod. 3.12.2.) The traditions about
Ganymedes, however, differ greatly in their detail, for some
call him a son of Laomedon (Cic. Tusc. 1.22; Eur. Tro. 822),
others a son of Ilus (Tzetz. ad Lycph. 34), and others,
again, of Erichthonius or Assaracus. (Hyg. Fab. 224, 271.)
The manner in which he was carried away from the earth is
likewise differently described; for while Homer mentions the
gods in general, later writers state that Zeus himself
carried him off, either in his natural shape, or in the form
of an eagle, or that he sent his eagle to fetch Ganymedes
into heaven. (Apollod. l.c. ; Verg. A. 5.253; Ov. Met.
10.255; Lucian, Dial. Deor. 4.) Other statements of later
date seem to be no more than arbitrary interpretations
foisted upon the genuine legend. Thus we are told that he
was not carried off by any god, but either by Tantalus or
Minos, that he was killed during the chase, and buried on
the Mysian Olympus. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Ἀρπαλία; Strab. xiii.
p.587 ; Eustath. ad Hom. pp. 986, 1205.) One tradition,
which has a somewhat more genuine appearance, stated that he
was carried off by Eos. (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 3.115.)
There is, further, no agreement as to the place where the
event occurred. (Strab., Steph. Byz. ll. cc., Hor. Carm.
3.20, in fin.) The early legend simply states that Ganymedes
was carried off that he might be the cupbearer of Zeus, in
which office he was conceived to have succeeded Hebe (comp.
Diod. 4.75; Verg. A. 1.28) : but later writers describe him
as the beloved and favourite of Zeus, without allusion to
his office. (Eur. Orest. 1392; Plat. Phaedr. p. 255; Xenoph.
Symp. 8.30; Cic. Tusc. 4.33.) Zeus compensated the father
for his loss with the present of a pair of divine horses
(Hom. Il. 5.266, Hymn. in Ven. 202, &c.; Apollod. 2.5.9 ;
Paus. 5.24.1 ), and Hermes, who took the horses to Tros, at
the same time comforted him by informing him that by the
will of Zeus, Ganymedes had become immortal and exempt from
old age. Other writers state that the compensation which
Zeus gave to Tros consisted of a golden vine. (Schol. ad
Eurip. Orest. 1399; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1697.) The idea of
Ganymedes being the cupbearer of Zeus (urniger) subsequently
gave rise to his identification with the divinity who was
believed to preside over the sources of the Nile (Philostr.
Vit. Apoll. 6.26; Pind. Fragm. 110. ed. Böckh.), and of his
being placed by astronomers among the stars under the name
of Aquarius. (Eratosth. Catast. 26; Verg. G. 3.304; Hyg.
Fab. 224; Poet. Astr. 2.29.) Ganymedes was frequently
represented in works of art as a beautiful youth with the
Phrygian cap. He appears either as the companion of Zeus
(Paus. 5.24.1), or in the act of being carried off by an
eagle, or of giving food to an eagle from a patera. The
Romans called Ganymnedes by a corrupt form of his name
Catamitus. (Plaut. Men. 1.2. 34.)
Ganymedes was an appellation sometimes given to handsome
slaves who officiated as cupbearers. (Petron. 91; Martial,
Epigr. 9.37; Juv. 5.59.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman
biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.