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What connections do the myth Europa and the bull have?  

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tab7 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 5, 2009 at 8:49 AM via web

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What connections do the myth Europa and the bull have?

 

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maadhav19 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted January 30, 2010 at 5:32 AM (Answer #1)

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Th story of Europa and the Bull is a story best known from Greek mythology in which Zeus, king of the gods, plans to seduce Europa. To do so he turns into a tame white bull. She comes close to him and pets him, then since he is tame, she climbs on him. He runs into the sea with her on his back and swims all the way to the island of Crete, where she becomes the first queen of Crete.

This is most obviously a myth of origin for the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete. It parallels stories in which royalty descends from gods or goddesses; for example, in Japan, it was once believed that the royal family descended from the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu.

Another connection we might make is to worship involving sacred cows or bulls in places like ancient Babylon, among the Phoenicians, and even down into India where the cow is still sacred today in Hinduism.

Within Greek mythology, it is worth remembering that Crete was the home of the infamous Minotaur which the hero Theseus slew. The half-man half-bull image is related to the original myth with Zeus as a bull and the abducted Europa as a human woman.

Fnally, the continent of Europe derives its name from Europa, for reasons that are not all that clear, except that people started to use it (beginning with the Greeks) and continued to use it.

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