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Europa

EUROPA (or rather, Europe), in Greek mythology, according to Homer (Iliad, xiv. 321), the daughter of Phoenix or, in a later story, of Agenor, king of Phoenicia. The beauty of Europa fired the love of Zeus, who approached her in the form of a white bull and carried her away from her native Phoenicia to Crete, where she became the mother of Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. She was worshipped under the name of Hellotis in Crete, where the festival Hellotia, at which her bones, wreathed in myrtle, were carried round, was held in her honour (Athenaeus xv. p. 678). Some consider Europa to be a moon-goddess; others explain the story by saying that she was carried off by a king of Crete in a ship decorated with the figure-head of a bull. O. Gruppe (De Cadmi Fabula, 1891) endeavours to show that the myth of Europa is only another version of the myth of Persephone.

See Apollodorus iii. 1; Ovid, Metam. ii. 833; articles by Helbig in Roscher's Lexikon der Mythologie, and by Hild in Daremberg and Saglio's Dictionnaire des antiquités. Fig. 26 in the article Greek Art (archaic metope from Palermo) represents the journey of Europa over the sea on the back of the bull.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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