In Focus

Abduction of Europa (Rape of Europa)

In Greek mythology, Europa was the daughter of Agenor, king of Tyre. Zeus fell in love with her and, disguising himself as a white bull, came to where she played by the seashore with her attendants. Beguiled by the bull's good nature, she placed garland and flowers on its horns and climbed upon its back. Zeus took her to Crete where, resuming his normal shape, he ravished her. In some depictions of this scene Europa may be shown climbing on to the bull, helped by her attendants, or the animal is seen making its way towards the water with the girl on its back. The most frequently depicted scene shows Zeus as a bull plunging through the waves, a frightened Europa clutching a horn, while her maidens stand forlornly on the distant shore.

Adapted from

DMA unpublished material

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