Europa - Ancient Greek Mythology - Ancient Greece for Kids!

Europa and the Bull

Europa map

Europa, according to Greek mythology, was a girl who lived a long time ago, the daughter of the king of the Phoenicians. Zeus fell in love with her, and in order to get close to her, he disguised himself as a white bull. He carried her away from Phoenicia, to Crete (where Zeus himself stayed as a baby, so you might say it was his home), and she became the mother of King Minos of Crete. From her name, she does seem to have something to do with Europe, but nobody knows exactly what.

Europa and the bull
Europa holding the horn of Zeus (disguised as a bull) -
Athenian vase found in northern Italy, 480 BC

You could also see the story of Europa and the bull as a poetical way of remembering that people originally came to Crete from West Asia, long ago in the Stone Age.

To find out more about Europa, check out this book from Amazon.com or from your local library:

D'aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, by Edgar and Ingri D'Aulaire.

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