GANYMEDES A handsome Trojan prince. He was seized and carried off to heaven by an eagle sent down by Zeus, to become the cup-bearer of the gods. The eagle and boy were subsequently placed amongst the stars as the constellations Aquila and Aquarius. (Hyginus 2.16 and 2.29)
The eagle is also the patron animal of Zeus. In particular, Zeus was said to have taken the form of an eagle in order to abduct Ganymede, and there are numerous artistic depictions of the Eagle Zeus bearing Ganymede aloft, from Classical times up to the present (see illustrations in the Ganymede.
In Greek mythology, Ganymede is a divine hero whose homeland was Troy. Homer describes Ganymede as the most beautiful of mortals. He was the son of Tros of Dardania, from whose name “Troy” was supposed to derive, and of Callirrhoe. His brothers were Ilus and Assaracus. In one version of the myth, he is abducted by Zeus, in the form of an eagle, to serve as cup-bearer in Olympus. The myth was a model for the Greek social custom of paiderastía, the socially acceptable erotic relationship between a man and a youth. The Latin form of the name was Catamitus, from which the English word “catamite” derives.