Europa was a Phoenician princess, daughter of Agenor and Telephassa. Zeus approached her in the shape of a white bull as she was playing on the beach with her friends. The girls decorated the beautiful and apparently tame animal with flowers, and finally Europa climbed on his back. Now the bull suddenly took to the sea and swam with her to Crete, where he assumed human shape. She bore him three sons, Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon. Later, she married Asterios, the king of Crete, and he adopted her sons.

Europa is the patron goddess of this blog. You will see her a lot.

The Rape of Europa is one of the classical topics of European art, dating back to at least the 7th century BC. This image is a detail from a painting by Nöel-Nicolas Coypel, who lived from 1690 to 1734 and was quite popular in his time. Among his surviving paintings are a Bath of Diana and a Birth of Venus, so maybe he liked painting people in or near water.

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