Mighty Zeus (Roman Jupiter) was the greatest of all, the father of gods and men, a status he achieved by having a lot of sex with a lot of different women, both divine and mortal.

Zeus also fell madly in love with Ganymede, prince of Troy and a young man commonly described as the most beautiful of mortals. Zeus abducted Ganymede, took him to Mount Olympus, and granted him eternal youth. The Greeks saw love of Zeus for Ganymede was seen as the enduring archetype for older-younger male relationships.

All the gods loved Ganymede except Zeus’s consort Hera who was jealous of this beautiful young man’s rivalry for Zeus’s affections, so she put Ganymede in the sky where we now see him as the constellation Aquarius. Ganymede was later seen as the source of the fountains of the Nile, the divinity pouring out the life-giving water supply.

The Abduction of Ganymede. The great god Zeus and young Ganymede holding a cock in his hand, a love gift from Zeus. 450 BC, from the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Ferrara, Italy.

For more ancient myths that include gay people and gender variation, click here.