Europa and the Bull

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .
Europa bull hg
«Europa carried away by a bull (bronze sculpture). Present given by American citizens to captain Johnssen after completing the maiden voyage of the express-steamer EUROPA in 1930. Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum, Bremerhaven, Germany» Photo by Hannes Grobe. © [] europa statue

The story of Europa is that she's abducted by Zeus, who changed himself into white bull to seduce her, of which made Europa the Queen of Crete. The concept of rape and seduction in Greek myths is fascinating, in that it reflect reality without prescriptive morality. The greek myth's portrayal of gods and mortals, their desires and wantings, are exceedingly human.

In Europa's story is a character Talos, which is perhaps the first ever concept of a robot. Talos is a automaton, who throw rocks at ships encroaching Europa's island Crete! Of interest is how the robot was eventually defeated. Talos is one of the gift Zeus gave to Europa after mating her. The other 2 gifts are Laelaps and a javelin that never missed. Laelaps is a dog that will never fail to catch the prey. This dog, was later pitted with the Teumessian_fox , a fox that could never be caught. Here we have a paradox. Read how it is resolved.

A poignancy of love we should note here is that, after Zeus took Europa, she is made a Queen of a large island, with 3 most wondrous gifts. This is in contrast to modern society of myriad of sexual and marital laws, yet full of animosity between the sexes.

Zeus changed himself into a beautiful white bull to seduce Europa. Europa hop onto, and Zeus ran off. They had several children: Minos, Rhadamanthys, Sarpedon, Crete, Dodon, Alagonia, Carnus

Zeus gave Europa a island, Crete, and 3 other gifts:

Here's a description of abduction of Europa in Metamorphoses (poem) by Ovid (43 BC to 17 AD).

And gradually she lost her fear, and he
Offered his breast for her virgin caresses,
His horns for her to wind with chains of flowers
Until the princess dared to mount his back
Her pet bull's back, unwitting whom she rode.
Then -- slowly, slowly down the broad, dry beach --
First in the shallow waves the great god set
His spurious hooves, then sauntered further out
'til in the open sea he bore his prize
Fear filled her heart as, gazing back, she saw
The fast receding sands. Her right hand grasped
A horn, the other lent upon his back
Her fluttering tunic floated in the breeze.
Europa on the Bull by Asteas 3wqws
“Europa on the bull” by Assteas (370-360 BC)
Talos Didrachm Phaistos obverse CdM
Winged Talos (ΤΑΛΩΝ) armed with a stone. Silver didrachma from Phaistos, Crete (ca. 300/280-270 BC), obverse. (Cabinet des Médailles, Paris)

Talos a giant automaton made of bronze to protect Europa in Crete from pirates and invaders. He circled the island's shores three times daily. [see Jargon Automata in Finite State Automata]

Terracotta Europa bull Staatliche Antikensammlungen
Terracotta figurine from Athens, ~460 BC to 480 BC. [image source 2011-09-26 ]
europa c200bce antikensammlung munich XQq3
Europa and the bull
Date ~200 BC
photo by Marco Prins
Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
Europa and the Bull  Pompeii SMvw-s1600
Europa and the Bull, 1st century AD, fresco in Pompeii (Italy). 2437×3150
Europa and the bull  Pompeii tXk2-s1600
3648×5472 Europa and the Bull, 1st century AD, fresco in Pompeii (Italy). photo by ArchaiOptix 2018.
[2022-05-02 image source []]
Europa Francois Chauveau B3FD3
Europa and the Bull, Engraving
Artist: François Chauveau (1613 to 1676)
Dimensions 114 mm x 209 mm
[2022-05-02 image source []]


Euro Coin Greece-2004 bkzn-s1500
Greek commemorative coin. 2772×2779
commemorative coin Italy 2005
Italian commemorative coin, 2005
Europa  Carl Milles WJr6
Europa and the Bull, replica of sculpture by Carl Milles, ~1924.
Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA.
( photo by Maia C, 2018-05, at [license] )
europa-and-the-bull p466 europa McClung Plaza UT
Europa on the Bull.
replica of sculpture by Carl Milles.
At McClung Plaza, University of Tennessee.
Photo by Zereshk, 2005.
[photo copyright []]
Europa and the Bull, Strasbourg
A sculpture at Seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. (Photo by Elwood j blues, 2007-08) image source

here's a grotesque one. it has a bdsm feel.

Europa and the Bull 2021-01-25 3TVDQ-s1600
Europa and the Bull, at Tour and Taxis, Brussels, Belgium. Sculpture by Koenraad Tinel. Photo by Frenzie on 2021-01-25. 4608×3456

Greek Mythology