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Ganymede was a shepherd, the son of Tros, a legendary king of Troy. His outstanding beauty caused Jupiter to fall in love with him. According to Ovid (Met. 10: 152-161) the god, having
transformed himself into an eagle, carried the youth off to Olympus where he made him his cup-bearer. The myth, which is given in a slightly different version by Homer, found favour in
ancient Greece because it appeared to provide religious sanction for homosexual love.
The representation in Renaissance and later art shows Ganymede caught in the embrace of, or on the back of, the eagle which bears him upwards, its wings either spread in flight or enfolding the youth, its claws holding his limbs. Ganymede may carry a small wine jug in anticipation of his heavenly role. Another version shows his arrival at Olympus where Hebe, the former cup-bearer of the gods, relinquishes her cup to him. A banquet is taking place in the background.