The Myth of the Abduction of Europe

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The Abduction of Europe:

The Abduction of Europe 10 th Primary School Peristeri Athens Greece


1 Europe, daughter of the king of Tyre Agenor and Telefassa, was a beautiful young girl who lived in her father’s palace. Her family loved her very much because she was the only girl among four brothers, Phoenix, Cadmus, Cilix and Thassos.


2 One bright, sunny day, the princess went out with her friends to pick flowers. In the field there were also the flocks of Agenor, the king-father. She was playing carefree, she was singing and dancing, having a wreath of flowers on her head, when Jupiter, the father of gods and men, saw her from above. He was struck by her beauty.


3 He fell in love with her at first sight and he decided to conquer her.


4 With his magic powers he turned into a golden-white bull. Quietly he went up to the beautiful girl bellowing melodiously. He knelt at her feet. He was splendid and charming. He was like no other bull in size and figure. He had something special, divine majesty. Even his horns were small and elegant as if they had been made by an artist. Between them there was something shining like a star.


5 Europe was fooled by the bull’s beauty and gentleness. She caressed him, adorned him with flowers and sat on his back. Now the bull-shaped Jupiter had what he desired. So he sprang up on his legs and stepped away gently. But Europe’s friends could not catch them up. When Jupiter saw the open sea before him, he sped up and jumped into the water carrying the precious load on his back.


6 He started crossing the open sea with Europe hanging on to him. With the help of his brother Poseidon and of Amphitrite, his brother’s wife, they arrived in Crete, escorted by Tritons and Nereids who calmed the surface of the water.


7 Europe, scared by this unexpected travel, began to understand that she would never again see the beautiful beaches of Tyre, which had already vanished from the horizon.


8 Agenor and Telefassa learned about their daughter’s abduction. In despair, they sent their sons either to find their sister or never to return to their fatherland.


9 The ships set sail at once on long but fruitless journeys. So the four sons were forced to found cities and kingdoms in different places.


10 After his father’s death, Phoenix went back to Tyre and renamed it Phoenicia. Cilix founded Cilicia in Asia Minor while Thassos set up a colony on the island of Thassos. Cadmus left Tyre with his mother to search for Europe. He wandered for years from city to city bringing the alphabet to the Greek mainland. When they reached Thrace, Telefassa died of despair for her lost daughter. Then Cadmus, receiving an oracle from Delphi, founded Thebes.


11 When Jupiter and Europe arrived in Crete, the bull went up into the sky as a cloud and became the star sign of Taurus. Jupiter took back his divine form and declared his love to Europe


12 «I am Jupiter» he told her, «If you accept my divine love, you will give birth to sons of glory who will rule over many people.


13 So the father of gods and men led Europe to a spring of fresh water. They sat down under a plane tree. There the holy matrimony took place. From their union were born three mythical kings: brave Sarpedon, fair Radamanthys and the legendary Minos, who ruled Crete with wisdom and justice.


14 Later Jupiter married Europe to the king of Crete, Asterion.


15 Jupiter gave Europe great gifts: the famous copper giant Talus, who watched the law all over the island and protected Crete by throwing huge rocks at enemy ships, a golden dog that never lost its prey and a quiver whose arrows always met the target.


16 However, the most precious gift of all was a whole continent, present-day Europe, whose name means «The one with a wide vision».