11 Things You Never Knew About Ganymedes the Cupbearer of Zeus
Jun 28, 22
11 Things You Never Knew About Ganymedes the Cupbearer of Zeus
Ganymedes the cupbearer of Zeus is one of the most enigmatic figures in Greek myth. The details about him are sparse and contradictory, making it hard to figure out his true purpose and role.
Let’s take a look at some interesting things you might not have known about this cupbearer.
He was a giant
Ganymedes was a giant and, therefore, an unusual choice to be a cupbearer. He was a favourite of Zeus and was even granted titles like “Immortal Youth.”
If you’re a cupbearer who is serving golden cups and ewers of nectar to the gods, wouldn’t you also be a giant?
He was also a scholar
We know from other myths that Ganymede was skilled in literature and sciences. He was a scholar and a scribe who collected and catalogued information on the gods and their powers.
He also assisted the gods in their planning for battles and was good at planning out strategies and winning lotteries.
Ganymedes helped Zeus win the lottery
Zeus was in a love-hate relationship with mortal women. When he was single, he would meet them at the places where they had gathered. He would strike up a conversation and if they were receptive, they would give him a gift.
The gift could be something as simple as a flower or something as valuable as a horse that was owned by a man. He would then give them gifts in return and win the women’s hearts.
There was one woman who would always resist Zeus’s attempts at winning her. She was named Psyche and she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Zeus was in a constant struggle to win her, but he couldn’t.
Her beauty was too great and even if he won her, she would still leave him because of the scars she would get on seeing his face. That’s when Zeus decided to use a lottery.
In this lottery, he gave Psyche a single golden apple, which was a prize for the winner. He would then ask everyone who won the lottery to throw it away.
That’s when a goddess named Eros would get involved and would ensure that the man who throws the apple is in love with the woman who receives it. And so, Zeus won Psyche and they were married.
Ganymedes carried a bowl to Zeus’s meeting place
When Zeus and his gods wanted to meet with mortals, they would make their way to the top of Mount Olympus. There were two fountains that were there, the Potinos and the Amphitheatre.
The Potinos fountains were for Zeus and the gods and the Amphitheatre were for mortal men. In the Amphitheatre were two bowls, one for Zeus and the other for mortals.
Zeus used to carry the bowl for mortals to the Amphitheatre. Ganymedes was probably one of the mortals to whom Zeus had given a bowl. We’ve seen fountains with bowls in many ancient sculptures. The bowls were used to drink water or pour wine.
Ganymedes survived an attack by Titans and fought in the Trojan War
Ganymedes was one of the oldest Titans. As per Greek mythology, he was the son of Uranus and Gaia (Gaea). Uranus and his followers, the Titans, were locked in a war with Zeus and his followers, the Olympians.
The gods won and imprisoned every Titan in Tartarus, a place under the Earth where they were punished for all their misdeeds. In the Trojan War, Ganymedes had two jobs. He was a messenger who carried messages for the Trojans and also a spy for the Greeks.
These two occupations made him a perfect cupbearer for Zeus and a spy for the Trojans.
Ganymedes had other jobs besides just being a cupbearer
Ganymedes was just a cupbearer for a few years, but he had many other jobs in between. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, he is seen as a gardener. Ovid says, “Ganymede minds the gods’ lovely gardens, / With careful hands, and smooth, tamed lawns.”
He was also a baker. As a bard, he was famous for baking delicious bread for the gods. He was also a skilled wrestler and fighter.
He was one of the oldest Titans
As per Greek mythology, Ganymedes was one of the oldest Titans. He was born before Cronus, the king of the Titans. That means he lived before the time of the great flood. Ganymedes also lived before the time of the gods and was a very old Titan.
Even Zeus was afraid of him. In the Titanomachy, Ganymedes was one of the Titans who sided with the Olympians when they wanted to fight against the other Titans. He was also one of the oldest Titans who refused to bow down to Cronus, the king of the Titans.
He baked delicious bread for the gods
We know from other myths that Ganymedes was skilled in literature and sciences. He was a scholar and a scribe who collected and catalogued information on the gods and their powers.
He assisted the gods in their planning for battles and was good at planning out strategies and winning lotteries. He was also a skilled wrestler and fighter.
From all these, it’s clear that Ganymedes was a very talented and skilled person. He was a cupbearer, a scholar, a wrestler, a spy, and a baker. All these professions require a lot of hard work and dedication, which makes us wonder why he didn’t continue them after he was demoted to being a cupbearer.
It could be because he was too old now and couldn’t serve or do the same jobs and was punished for that.
He is the namesake of an aphrodisiac food
Ganymede is also the namesake of an aphrodisiac food. When you are in a hurry to get laid, you can try this delicacy. It has honey, myrtle, and saffron on top and lemon in the middle. These ingredients are said to be very helpful in increasing your libido and making you ready for sex.
He served his last cup to Zeus
When Ganymede served his last cup to Zeus, that was the end of his services with the gods. He was a cupbearer for only a few years, but for thousands of years, he was the cupbearer of a Titan.
After serving Zeus his last cup, he went back to his father Cronus and reported the news, “Zeus has come and now he will decide who is the ruler of the universe.” Cronus was not happy with this news.
He knew that Zeus was the strongest one among the Titans and the gods and he wanted to be on top of the hierarchy once again. And so, he decided to send Ganymedes back to the gods with a message, “You are no longer a Titan.”
He survived an attack by Titans and fought in the Trojan War
He was also a survivor of a Titan attack and a fighter in the Trojan War. According to Greek mythology, during the Titan attack, he was saved by Zeus. He was also a spy in the Trojan War.
He was sent by the Trojans to the Greeks and he would report back to his father Cronus, the king of the Titans. Though he was punished for these deeds, he was also rewarded for surviving an attack by Titans and fighting in the Trojan War. He was given the title of
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