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three pairs of lovers with space



Loukianos of Samosata was an Assyrian satirist and rhetorician who during a stay of ten years in Athens ca. AD 165-175 wrote in Greek a large number of popular books mostly deploying tongue-in-cheek sarcasm to ridicule religious practices and the increasingly-prevalent superstition of the day. His Θεῶν Διάλογοι (Dialogues of the Gods) consists of twenty-five miniature dialogues mocking the Homeric conception of the Greek gods.

Presented here are all that pertain to Ganymede, the beautiful Trojan boy with whom Zeus, the king of the gods became so enamoured that he came down in the form of an eagle to sweep him away to Mount Olympos, where he became cupbearer to the gods as well as Zeus’s beloved, and so well known in mythology that his name became as synonym for the boy in any Greek love affair.

Two dialogues are given in full, the first a conversation between Zeus and Ganymede just after their arrival on Mount Olympos, and the second a bickering about Ganymede between Zeus and his wife Hera. These are followed by briefer references to the boy in two other dialogues.

The translation is by M. D. MacLeod in the Loeb Classical Library volume CCCCXXXI (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1961), with amendment of his romanisations of Greek names in favour of more literal transliterations of the Greek. Both of the conventional referencing systems for passages are given here rather than the one adopted by MacLeod.

Ganymede: 2nd century AD Roman copy of 4th century BC Greek original (Louvre)
Ganymede and Zeus, ca. AD 165 (Museo del Prado, Madrid)



Lucian, Dialogues of the Gods

IV (208-212)


ZEUS:  Come now, Ganymede. We’ve got there, so you can give me a kiss right away, and you’ll know I’ve no crooked beak now, or sharp claws or wings, as you thought when you took me for a bird.

GANYMEDE:  Mister man, weren’t you an eagle just now? Didn’t you swoop down, and carry me away from the middle of my flock? How, then, have your feathers moulted? You look quite different now.

ZEUS:  It’s no man you see here, my lad, nor eagle either. No, I’m the king of all the gods, but I’ve changed my shape for the moment.

GANYMEDE:  What’s that? Are you Pan himself? How is it, then, you’ve no pipe or horns or shaggy legs?

ZEUS:  Is he your only god?

GANYMEDE:  Yes, and we sacrifice one of our best billies to him, taking it to the cave where he has his statue. But you’re just a kidnapper, if you ask me.

ZEUS:  Tell me, have you never heard the name of Zeus? Never seen his altar on Gargaron[1]—the one who sends rain, thunder and lightning?

GANYMEDE:  Oh, sir, do you mean you’re the one that poured down that tremendous hailstorm on us the other day, the one they say lives up top and makes all the noise, the one my father sacrificed the ram to? What harm have I done you, mister king of the gods, that you’ve carried me off up here? Perhaps the wolves will fall on my sheep now that they’re unprotected, and tear them to pieces.

ZEUS:  What? Still worrying about your sheep? You’re an immortal now and will be living up here with us.

GANYMEDE:  What’s that? Won’t you be taking me back to Ida today?

ZEUS:  Of course not. That would mean I’d changed from god to eagle all for nothing.

GANYMEDE:  Then my daddy will be looking everywhere for me and getting cross if he doesn’t find me, and I’ll get a thrashing by and by for leaving my flock.

ZEUS:  How so? Where will he see you?

GANYMEDE:  Please don’t go on with it, for I miss him already. If only you take me back, I promise you you’ll get another ram from him, sacrificed as my ransom. We have the three-year-old one, the big one that leads the way to the pasture.

ZEUS:  How simple the child is, how innocent he is! Still just a child, that’s what he is. Look here, Ganymede, you can say good-bye to all those things and forget all about them—about your flock and about Ida. You’re one of heaven’s company now, and can do a lot of good to your father and country from here. Instead of your cheese and milk, you’ll have ambrosia to eat and nectar to drink, only you’ll have to serve the nectar to the rest of us too with your own fair hand. And most important of all, you won’t be human any more, but immortal, and I’ll make your own star—the prettiest one shining in the sky—and you’ll enjoy perfect happiness.

GANYMEDE:  But what if I want to play? Who will play with me? There were a lot of us who were of my age on Ida.

ZEUS:  You have someone to play with here too—there’s Eros over there—and lots and lots of knucklebones1 as well. Only you must cheer up and be a bit more pleased with life, and stop longing for things below.

GANYMEDE:  But how could I possibly be any use to you? Will I have to look after a flock here too?

ZEUS:  No, you’ll pour wine, and be in charge of the nectar, looking after us at table.

GANYMEDE:  That’s quite simple. I know how to pour milk, and hand round the milk bowl.

ZEUS:  There he goes again. Keeps harping on his milk! Think’s he’ll be waiting on men! This is heaven, let me tell you, and, as I said just now, our drink is nectar.

GANYMEDE:  Is that nicer than milk, Zeus?

ZEUS:  You’ll know very soon, and once you’ve tasted it, you won’t miss your milk any more.

GANYMEDE:  Where shall I sleep at night? With Eros, my playmate?

ZEUS:  No, that’s why I carried you off up here; I wanted us to sleep together.

GANYMEDE:  Can’t you sleep alone? Will you prefer sleeping with me?

ZEUS:  Yes, when it’s with a beautiful boy like you.

GANYMEDE:  But how will you sleep better because of my beauty?

ZEUS:  It’s sweet and soothing, and brings softer sleep.

GANYMEDE:  But Daddy would get annoyed with me when I slept with him, and kept telling us first thing in the morning how he couldn’t sleep for me tossing and turning, kicking out and talking in my sleep; so he usually sent me to sleep with mummy. So, if that’s why you brought me up here, as you say it is, the sooner you put me back down on earth again, the better, or you’ll have a terrible time with sleepless nights. For I’ll be an awful nuisance to you, tossing and turning all night long.

ZEUS:  That’s just what I’ll like best—staying awake with you, kissing and hugging you again and again.

GANYMEDE:  You can find out by yourself. I’ll go to sleep and leave the kissing to you.

ZEUS:  We’ll find out how to manage, when the time comes. Take him off now, Hermes, and let him have a draught of immortality, and when you’ve shown him how to offer the cup, bring him back to serve our wine.


ΖΕΥΣ:  Ἄγε, ὦ Γανύμηδες;—ἥκομεν γὰρ ἔνθα ἐχρῆν—φίλησόν με ἤδη, ὅπως εἰδῇς3 οὐκέτι ῥάμφος ἀγκύλον ἔχοντα οὐδ᾿ ὄνυχας ὀξεῖς οὐδὲ πτερά, οἷος ἐφαινόμην σοι πτηνὸς εἶναι δοκῶν.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Ἄνθρωπε, οὐκ ἀετὸς ἄρτι ἦσθα καὶ καταπτάμενος ἥρπασάς με ἀπὸ μέσου τοῦ ποιμνίου; πῶς οὖν τὰ μὲν πτερά σοι ἐκεῖνα ἐξερρύηκε, σὺ δὲ ἄλλος ἤδη ἀναπέφηνας;

ΖΕΥΣ:  Ἀλλ᾿ οὔτε ἄνθρωπον ὁρᾷς, ὦ μειράκιον, οὔτε ἀετὸν, ὁ δὲ πάντων βασιλεὺς τῶν θεῶν οὗτός εἰμι πρὸς τὸν καιρὸν ἀλλάξας ἐμαυτόν.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Τί φῄς; σὺ γὰρ εἶ ὁ Πὰν ἐκεῖνος; εἶτα πῶς σύριγγα οὐκ ἔχεις οὐδὲ κέρατα οὐδὲ λάσιος εἶ τὰ σκέλη;

ΖΕΥΣ:  Μόνον γὰρ ἐκεῖνον ἡγῇ θεόν;

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Ναί· καὶ θύομέν γε αὐτῷ ἔνορχιν τράγον ἐπὶ τὸ σπήλαιον ἄγοντες, ἔνθα ἕστηκε· σὺ δὲ ἀνδραποδιστής τις εἶναί μοι δοκεῖς.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Εἰπέ μοι, Διὸς δὲ οὐκ ἤκουσας ὄνομα οὐδὲ βωμὸν εἶδες ἐν τῷ Γαργάρῳ τοῦ ὕοντος καὶ βροντῶντος καὶ ἀστραπὰς ποιοῦντος;

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Σύ, ὦ βέλτιστε, φῄς εἶναι, ὃς πρῴην κατέχεας ἡμῖν τὴν πολλὴν χάλαζαν, ὁ οἰκεῖν ὑπεράνω λεγόμενος, ὁ ποιῶν τὸν ψόφον, ᾧ τὸν κριὸν ὁ πατὴρ ἔθυσεν; εἶτα τί ἀδικήσαντά με ἀνήρπασας, ὦ βασιλεῦ τῶν θεῶν; τὰ δὲ πρόβατα ἴσως οἱ λύκοι διαρπάσονται1 ἤδη ἐρήμοις ἐπιπεσόντες.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Ἔτι γὰρ μέλει σοι τῶν προβάτων ἀθανάτῳ γεγενημένῳ καὶ ἐνταῦθα συνεσομένῳ μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν;

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Τί λέγεις; οὐ γὰρ κατάξεις με ἤδη ἐς τὴν Ἴδην τήμερον;

ΖΕΥΣ:  Οὐδαμῶς· ἐπεὶ μάτην ἀετὸς ἂν εἴην ἀντὶ θεοῦ γεγενημένος.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Οὐκοῦν ἐπιζητήσει με ὁ πατὴρ καὶ ἀγανακτήσει μὴ εὑρίσκων, καὶ πληγὰς ὕστερον λήψομαι καταλιπὼν τὸ ποίμνιον.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Ποῦ γὰρ ἐκεῖνος ὄψεταί σε;

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Μηδαμῶς· ποθῶ γὰρ ἤδη αὐτόν. εἰ δὲ ἀπάξεις με, ὑπισχνοῦμαί σοι καὶ ἄλλον παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ κριὸν τυθήσεσθαι λύτρα ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ. ἔχομεν δὲ τὸν τριετῆ, τὸν μέγαν, ὃς ἡγεῖται πρὸς τὴν νομήν.

Ὡς ἀφελὴς ὁ παῖς ἐστι καὶ ἁπλοϊκὸς καὶ αὐτὸ δὴ τοῦτο παῖς ἔτι.—ἀλλ᾿, ὦ Γανύμηδες, ἐκεῖνα μὲν πάντα χαίρειν ἔα καὶ ἐπιλάθου αὐτῶν, τοῦ ποιμνίου καὶ τῆς Ἴδης. σὺ δὲ—ἤδη γὰρ ἐπουράνοις εἶ—πολλὰ εὖ ποιήσεις ἐντεῦθεν καὶ τὸν πατέρα καὶ πατρίδα, καὶ ἀντὶ μὲν τυροῦ καὶ γάλακτος ἀμβροσίαν ἔδῃ καὶ νέκταρ πίῃ· τοῦτο μέντοι καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἡμῖν αὐτὸς παρέξεις ἐγχέων· τὸ δὲ μέγιστον, οὐκέτι ἄνθρωπος, ἀλλ᾿ ἀθάνατος γενήσῃ, καὶ ἀστέρα σου φαίνεσθαι ποιήσω κάλλιστον, καὶ ὅλως εὐδαίμων ἔσῃ.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Ἤν δὲ παίζειν ἐπιθυμήσω, τίς συμπαίξεταί μοι; ἐν γὰρ τῇ Ἴδῃ πολλοὶ ἡλικιῶται ἦμεν.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Ἔχεις κἀνταῦθα τὸν συμπαιξόμενόν σοι τουτονὶ τὸν Ἔρωτα καὶ ἀστραγάλους μάλα πολλούς. θάρρει μόνον καὶ φαιδρὸς ἴσθι καὶ μηδὲν ἐπιπόθει τῶν κάτω.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Τί δαὶ ὑμῖν χρήσιμος ἂν γενοίμην; ἢ ποιμαίνειν δεήσει κἀνταῦθα;

ΖΕΥΣ:  Οὔκ, ἀλλ᾿ οἰνοχοήσεις καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ νέκταρος τετάξῃ καὶ ἐπιμελήσῃ τοῦ συμποσίου.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Τοῦτο μὲν οὐ χαλεπόν· οἶδα γὰρ ὡς χρὴ ἐγχέαι τὸ γάλα καὶ ἀναδοῦναι τὸ κισσύβιον.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Ἰδού, πάλιν οὗτος γάλακτος μνημονεύει καὶ ἀνθρώποις διακονήσεσθαι οἴεται· ταυτὶ δ᾿ ὁ οὐρανός ἐστι, καὶ πίνομεν, ὥσπερ ἔφην, τὸ νέκταρ.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Ἥδιον, ὦ Ζεῦ, τοῦ γάλακτος;

ΖΕΥΣ:  Εἴσῃ μετ᾿ ὀλίγον καὶ γευσάμενος οὐκέτι ποθήσεις τὸ γάλα.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Κοιμήσομαι δὲ ποῦ τῆς νυκτός; ἢ μετὰ τοῦ ἡλικιώτου Ἔρωτος;

ΖΕΥΣ:  Οὔκ, ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτό σε ἀνήρπασα, ὡς ἅμα καθεύδοιμεν.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Μόνος γὰρ οὐκ ἂν δύναιο, ἀλλὰ ἥδιόν σοι καθεύδειν μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ;

ΖΕΥΣ:  Ναί, μετά γε τοιούτου οἷος εἶ σύ, Γανύμηδες, οὕτω καλός.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Τί γάρ σε πρὸς τὸν ὕπνον ὀνήσει τὸ κάλλος;

ΖΕΥΣ:  Ἔχει τι θέλγητρον ἡδὺ καὶ μαλακώτερον ἐπάγει αὐτόν.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Καὶ μὴν ὅ γε πατὴρ ἤχθετό μοι συγκαθεύδοντι καὶ διηγεῖτο ἕωθεν, ὡς ἀφεῖλον αὐτοῦ τὸν ὕπνον στρεφόμενος καὶ λακτίζων καί τι φθεγγόμενος μεταξὺ ὁπότε καθεύδοιμι· ὥστε παρὰ τὴν μητέρα ἔπεμπέ με κοιμησόμενον ὡς τὰ πολλά. ὥρα δή σοι, εἰ διὰ τοῦτο, ὡς φῄς, ἀνήρπασάς με, καταθεῖναι αὖθις εἰς τὴν γῆν, ἢ πράγματα ἕξεις ἀγρυπνῶν· ἐνοχλήσω γάρ σε συνεχῶς στρεφόμενος.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Τοῦτ᾿ αὐτό μοι τὸ ἥδιστον ποιήσεις, εἰ ἀγρυπνήσαιμι μετὰ σοῦ φιλῶν πολλάκις καὶ περιπτύσσων.

ΓΑΝΥΜΗΔΗΣ:  Αὐτὸς ἂν εἰδείης· ἐγὼ δὲ κοιμήσομαι σοῦ καταφιλοῦντος.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Εἰσόμεθα τότε ὃ πρακτέον. νῦν δὲ ἄπαγε αὐτόν, ὦ Ἑρμῆ, καὶ πιόντα τῆς ἀθανασίας ἄγε οἰνοχοήσοντα ἡμῖν διδάξας πρότερον ὡς χρὴ ὀρέγειν τὸν σκύφον.


Roman mosaic of the abduction of Ganymede, 3rd or 4th century AD


V (213-6)


HERA:  Since you’ve brought this lad up here, Zeus, this Phrygian you carried off from Ida, you’ve been neglecting me.

ZEUS:  What, Hera? Jealous already? Of him too, though he’s so simple and harmless? I thought you were only down on my various lady friends.

HERA:  It’s bad enough and quite out of place for you, the master of all gods, to desert me, your lawful wife, and go down to earth, turning into gold or satyr or bull, to commit adultery. But your women do stay on the earth, but as for this boy from Ida, you grabbed hold of him and flew him up here, my fine king of the birds, and you’ve brought him into our family over my head, “as wine-waiter”, you say. Were you so badly in need of wine-waiters? Have Hebe and Hephaestus, then, gone on strike? And you can’t take the cup from him, without kissing him first before all our eyes, and you find his kiss sweeter than the nectar, and so you keep on and on asking for a drink, even when you’re not thirsty. Sometimes, too, you just take a sip, and give him the cup, and when he has drunk, you take it back and drain it, from the side he’s drunk from and touched with his lips, so that you can be drinking and kissing at the same time. And the other day, you, the king and father of all, laid aside your aegis and thunderbolt, and sat down playing dice with him, you with that great beard on your face! I see it all. Don’t think you’re hoodwinking me.

ZEUS:  And what’s so terrible, my dear, in kissing a pretty boy like that while I’m drinking, and enjoying both the kiss and the nectar? Why, if I let him kiss you just once, you’ll never again blame me for preferring his kiss to the nectar.

HERA:  Admirers of boys may talk like that, but I hope I’ll never be so mad as to give my lips to that Phrygian softie. Oh, the effeminate creature!

ZEUS:  Please don’t abuse my little darling, noble Hera. This effeminate foreigner, this softie, is more delightful and desirable to me than—I won’t say it, for fear that I make you still angrier.

HERA:  Well, you can go ahead and marry him, for all I care. But I hope you remember how you’re showering tipsy abuse on me because of this wine-boy.

ZEUS:  What nonsense! I suppose we ought to have our wine from your son, Hephaestus, hobbling about, straight from the forge, still filthy from the sparks, having just put down his tongs. I suppose I should take the cup from those dirty fingers of his, and between each mouthful of wine give him a kiss? Why, even you, his own mother, wouldn’t want to kiss his face, all black with soot. That would be nicer, wouldn’t it? Hephaestus was a much more suitable wine-waiter for the table of the gods, I suppose, and Ganymede should be packed off home to Ida? He’s too clean, and has rosy fingers, he’s not clumsy when he offers the drink, and what annoys you most of all, his kiss is sweeter than the nectar.

HERA:  Oh, so now you complain that Hephaestus is lame, and his fingers aren’t good enough for your cup, and he is all sooty, and that the sight of him turns your stomach? You’ve been like that ever since Ida produced this long-haired darling. In the old days, you didn’t notice these things. The sparks and the forge didn’t stop you from taking your wine from him.

ZEUS:  You’re only making yourself miserable, my dear, and me fonder of him, by being jealous. If you don’t like taking your drink from a lovely boy, you can have your own son serve you, and I’ll have you, Ganymede, all to myself, waiting on me, and giving me two kisses with each cup, one when you hold it out to me full, and a second when I give you it back. Hullo, not crying, are you? Don’t be afraid. Anyone that chooses to hurt you will regret it.

Roman relief depicting Ganymede and the eagle, 1st century AD


ΗΡΑ:  Ἐξ οὗ τὸ μειράκιον τοῦτο. ὦ Ζεῦ, τὸ Φρύγιον ἀπὸ τῆς Ἴδης ἁρπάσας δεῦρο ἀνήγαγες, ἔλαττόν μοι τὸν νοῦν προσέχεις.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Καὶ τοῦτο γάρ, ὦ Ἥρα, ζηλοτυπεῖς ἤδη ἀφελὲς οὕτω καὶ ἀλυπότατον; ἐγὼ δὲ ᾤμην ταῖς γυναιξὶ μόναις χαλεπήν σε εἶναι, ὁπόσαι ἂν ὁμιλήσωσί μοι.

ΗΡΑ:  Οὐδ᾿ ἐκεῖνα μὲν εὖ ποιεῖς οὐδὲ πρέποντα σεαυτῷ ὃς ἁπάντων θεῶν δεσπότης ὢν ἀπολιπὼν ἐμὲ τὴν νόμῳ γαμετὴν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν κάτει μοιχεύσων, χρυσίον ἢ σάτυρος ἢ ταῦρος γενόμενος. πλὴν ἀλλ᾿ ἐκεῖναι μέν σοι κἂν ἐν γῇ μένουσι, τὸ δὲ τουτὶ Ἰδαῖον παιδίον ἁρπάσας ἀνέπτης, ὦ γενναιότατε ἀετῶν, καὶ συνοικεῖ ἡμῖν ἐπὶ κεφαλήν μοι ἐπαχθέν, οἰνοχοοῦν δὴ τῷ λόγῳ. οὕτως ἠπόρεις οἰνοχόων, καὶ ἀπηγορεύκασιν ἄρα ἥ τε Ἥβη καὶ ὁ Ἥφαιστος διακονούμενοι; σὺ δὲ καὶ τὴν κύλικα οὐκ ἂν ἄλλως λάβοις παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ ἢ φιλήσας πρότερον αὐτὸν ἁπάντων ὁρώντων, καὶ τὸ φίλημά σοι ἥδιον τοῦ νέκταρος, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὐδὲ διψῶν πολλάκις αἰτεῖς πιεῖν· ὁτὲ δὲ καὶ ἀπογευσάμενος μόνον ἔδωκας ἐκείνῳ, καὶ πιόντος ἀπολαβὼν τὴν κύλικα ὅσον ὑπόλοιπον ἐν αὐτῇ πίνεις, ὅθεν καὶ ὁ παῖς ἔπιε καὶ ἔνθα προσήρμοσε τὰ χείλη, ἵνα καὶ πίνῃς ἅμα καὶ φιλῇς· πρῴην δὲ ὁ βασιλεὺς καὶ ἁπάντων πατὴρ ἀποθέμενος τὴν αἰγίδα καὶ τὸν κεραυνὸν ἐκάθησο ἀστραγαλίζων μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ ὁ πώγωνα τηλικοῦτον καθειμένος. ἅπαντα οὖν ὁρῶ ταῦτα, ὥστε μὴ οἴου λανθάνειν.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Καὶ τί δεινόν, ὦ Ἥρα, μειράκιον οὕτω καλὸν μεταξὺ πίνοντα καταφιλεῖν καὶ ἥδεσθαι ἀμφοῖν καὶ τῷ φιλήματι καὶ τῷ νέκταρι; ἢν γοῦν ἐπιτρέψω αὐτῷ κἂν ἅπαξ φιλῆσαί σε, οὐκέτι μέμψῃ μοι προτιμότερον1 τοῦ νέκταρος οἰομένῳ τὸ φίλημα εἶναι.

ΗΡΑ:  Παιδεραστῶν οὗτοι λόγοι. ἐγὼ δὲ μὴ οὕτω μανείην ὡς τὰ χείλη προσενεγκεῖν τῷ μαλθακῷ τούτῳ Φρυγὶ οὕτως ἐκτεθηλυμένῳ.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Μή μοι λοιδοροῦ, ὦ γενναιοτάτη, τοῖς παιδικοῖς· οὑτοσὶ γὰρ ὁ θηλυδρίας, ὁ βάρβαρος, ὁ μαλθακός, ἡδίων ἐμοὶ καὶ ποθεινότερος—οὐ βούλομαι δὲ εἰπεῖν, μή σε παροξύνω ἐπὶ πλέον.

ΗΡΑ:  Εἴθε καὶ γαμήσειας αὐτὸν ἐμοῦ γε οὕνεκα· μέμνησο γοῦν οἷά μοι διὰ τὸν οἰνοχόον τοῦτον ἐμπαροινεῖς.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Οὔκ, ἀλλὰ τὸν Ἥφαιστον ἕδει τὸν σὸν υἱὸν οἰνοχοεῖν ἡμῖν χωλεύοντα, ἐκ τῆς καμίνου ἥκοντα, ἔτι τῶν σπινθήρων ἀνάπλεων, ἄρτι τὴν πυράγραν ἀποτεθειμένον, καὶ ἀπ᾿ ἐκείνων αὐτοῦ τῶν δακτύλων λαμβάνειν ἡμᾶς τὴν κύλικα καὶ ἐπισπασαμένους γε φιλῆσαι μεταξύ, ὃν οὐδ᾿ ἂν ἡ μήτηρ σὺ ἡδέως φιλήσειας ὑπὸ τῆς ἀσβόλου κατῃθαλωμένον τὸ πρόσωπον. ἡδίω ταῦτα· οὐ γάρ; καὶ παρὰ πολὺ ὁ οἰνοχόος ἐκεῖνος ἔπρεπε τῷ συμποσίῳ τῶν θεῶν, ὁ Γανυήδης δὲ καταπεμπτέος αὖθις ἐς τὴν Ἴδην· καθάριος γὰρ καὶ ῥοδοδάκτυλος καὶ ἐπισταμένως ὀρέγει τὸ ἔκπωμα, καὶ ὅ σε λυπεῖ μάλιστα, καὶ φιλεῖ ἥδιον τοῦ νέκταρος.

ΗΡΑ:  Νῦν καὶ χωλός, ὦ Ζεῦ, ὁ Ἥφαιστος καὶ οἱ δάκτυλοι αὐτοῦ ἀνάξιοι τῆς σῆς κύλικος καὶ ἀσβόλου μεστός ἐστι, καὶ ναυτιᾷς ὁρῶν αὐτόν, ἐξ ὅτου τὸν καλὸν κομήτην τοῦτον ἡ Ἴδη ἀνέθρεψε· πάλαι δὲ οὐχ ἑώρας ταῦτα, οὐδ᾿ οἱ σπινθῆρες οὐδὲ ἡ κάμινος ἀπέτρεπόν σε μὴ οὐχὶ πίνειν παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ.

ΖΕΥΣ:  Λυπεῖς, ὦ Ἥρα, σεαυτήν, οὐδὲν ἄλλο, κἀμοὶ ἐπιτείνεις τὸν ἔρωτα ζηλοτυποῦσα· εἰ δὲ ἄχθῃ παρὰ παιδὸς ὡραίου δεχομένη τὸ ἔκπωμα, σοὶ μὲν ὁ υἱὸς οἰνοχοείτω, σὺ δέ, ὦ Γανύμηδες, ἐμοὶ μόνῳ ἀναδίδου τὴν κύλικα καὶ ἐφ᾿ ἑκάστῃ δὶς φίλει με καὶ ὅτε πλήρη ὀρέγοις κᾆτα αὖθις ὁπότε παρ᾿ ἐμοῦ ἀπολαμβάνοις. τί τοῦτο; δακρύεις; μὴ δέδιθι· οἰμώξεται γάρ, ἤν τίς σε λυπεῖν θέλῃ.

Roman mosaic of the 3rd century AD at Paphos, Cyprus

VI (217)

Zeus has just asked Hera to tell him about the shameful attempt she implied their mortal visitor Ixion had made on someone:


HERA:  It’s me he’s been after. Me of all people! And for a long time too! At first I didn’t know what it all meant, when he kept gazing hard at me. He would sigh and whimper, and whenever I gave the cup to Ganymede after drinking, he would ask for a drink from the same cup, and when he got it, would stop in the middle of his drink and kiss the cup, bringing it up to his eyes, and staring at me again. […]

Bronze coin minted at Troas AD 180/2, depicting Ganymded offering a cup to Zeus


ΗΡΑΑὐτὴν ἐμέ, οὐκ ἄλλην τινά, ὦ Ζεῦ, πολὺν ἤδη χρόνον. καὶ τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ἠγνόουν τὸ πρᾶγμα, διότι ἀτενὲς ἀφεώρα εἰς ἐμέ· ὁ δὲ καὶ ἔστενε καὶ ὑπεδάκρυε, καὶ εἴ ποτε πιοῦσα παραδοίην τῷ Γανυμήδει τὸ ἔκπωμα, ὁ δὲ ᾔτει ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκείνῳ πιεῖν καὶ λαβὼν ἐφίλει μεταξὺ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς προσῆγε καὶ αὖθις ἀφεώρα ἐς ἐμέ· […]

Roman mosaic, 2nd century AD (Metropolitan Museum, New York)


IX (227)


POSEIDON:  May I have a word with Zeus, Hermes?

HERMES:  Impossible, Poseidon.

POSEIDON:  Just tell him I’m here.

HERMES:  Don’t bother us, I tell you. It’s not convenient. You can’t see him just now.

POSEIDON:  He’s not with Hera, is he?

HERMES:  No, it’s something quite different.

POSEIDON:  I know what you mean. He’s got Ganymede in there.

HERMES: No, it’s not that either. He’s poorly.


Mosaic from Hadrumentum, Africa, 3rd century AD (Sousse Archaeological Museum)


ΠΟΣΕΙΔΩΝ:  Ἔστιν, ὦ Ἑρμῆ, νῦν ἐντυχεῖν τῷ Διί;

ΕΡΜΗΣ:  Οὐδαμῶς, ὦ Πόσειδον.

ΠΟΣΕΙΔΩΝ:  Ὅμως προσάγγειλον αὐτῷ.

ΕΡΜΗΣ:  Μὴ ἐνόχλει, φημί· ἄκαιρον γάρ ἐστιν, ὥστε οὐκ ἂν ἴδοις αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ παρόντι.

ΠΟΣΕΙΔΩΝ:  Μῶν τῇ Ἥρᾳ σύνεστιν;

ΕΡΜΗΣ:  Οὔκ, ἀλλ᾿ ἑτεροῖόν τί ἐστιν.

ΠΟΣΕΙΔΩΝ:  Συνίημι· ὁ Γανυμήδης ἔνδον.

ΕΡΜΗΣ:  Οὐδὲ τοῦτο· ἀλλὰ μαλακῶς ἔχει αὐτός.


Mosaic at a Roman villa, Bignor, Britain, early 4th century AD



[1] A peak on Mount Ida. Cf. Iliad, VIII, 48 and Judgement of the Goddesses, 1 and 5. [Translator’s footnote]




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