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Ganymede

Ganymede (Jupiter III) One of the Galilean satellites, and the largest jovian satellite; it is bigger than Mercury and Pluto. It is believed to have a rock and metal core surrounded by a large mantle of water or water ice, 800–900 km thick, and the surface is of ice, with two types of terrain, one very cratered and dark, the other rather lighter, with many grooves and ridges. These terrains result from tectonic activity, but the details are not known. Both terrains are extensively cratered, the craters being flat, with no ring mountains and central depressions, and suggest the surface is about 3–3.5 Ma old. Ganymede has a magnetic field, embedded within that of Jupiter. Ganymede was discovered in 1610 by Simon Marius and Galileo. Its diameter is 5268 Km; mass 1.48 × 1023kg; mean density 1940kg/m3; visual albedo 0.42; mean distance from Jupiter 1.07 × 106km.

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Ganymede

Ganymede

Greek myths describe Ganymede as a handsome boy who was kidnapped by the gods to serve as a cupbearer on Mount Olympus*. Born in Troy*, where his father was king, Ganymede came to the attention of Zeus*, who was captivated by his appearance. In some stories, it is Zeus disguised as an eagleor an eagle sent by Zeuswho seizes the boy and carries him up to the home of the gods.

In return for his son, Ganymede's father received a group of immortal horses from Zeus. Some versions of the tale say that the gift was a vine made of gold. Later Zeus placed Ganymede in the sky in the constellation Aquarius. Images of Ganymede sometimes show him carrying a cup or accompanied by an eagle.

See also Zeus.

immortal able to live forever

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Ganymede (in astronomy)

Ganymede (găn´ēmēd´), in astronomy, one of the moons, or natural satellites, of Jupiter; the largest natural satellite in the solar system, it is larger than the planet Mercury.

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Ganymede

Ganymede Largest of Jupiter's Galilean satellites, with a diameter of 5262km (3270mi). Its cratered terrain is covered with grooves suggesting recent geological activity.

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Ganymede (in Greek mythology)

Ganymede, in Greek mythology, a youth of great beauty. He was carried off by Zeus to be cupbearer to the gods.

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Ganymede

Ganymede in Greek mythology, a Trojan youth who was so beautiful that he was carried off to be Zeus' cup-bearer.

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Ganymede

Ganymedeaccede, bead, Bede, bleed, breed, cede, concede, creed, deed, Eid, exceed, feed, Gide, God speed, greed, he'd, heed, impede, interbreed, intercede, Jamshid, knead, lead, mead, Mede, meed, misdeed, mislead, misread, need, plead, proceed, read, rede, reed, Reid, retrocede, screed, secede, seed, she'd, speed, stampede, steed, succeed, supersede, Swede, tweed, weak-kneed, we'd, weed •breastfeed • greenfeed • dripfeed •chickenfeed • spoonfeed • nosebleed •Nibelungenlied • invalid • Ganymede •Runnymede • airspeed • millipede •velocipede • centipede • Siegfried •filigreed • copyread • crossbreed •proofread • flaxseed • hayseed •rapeseed • linseed • pumpkinseed •aniseed • oilseed • birdseed • ragweed •knapweed • seaweed • chickweed •stinkweed • blanket weed • bindweed •pondweed • duckweed • tumbleweed •fireweed • waterweed • silverweed

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Ganymede

Ganymede

Ancient authors from Homer to Virgil and Ovid recount the myth of Ganymede, an adolescent Trojan prince so handsome that Jupiter descended as an eagle, swept him up to Olympus, and made him his cupbearer and (implicitly or explicitly) bedfellow. As the sole male among the god's amours and the only one honored with immortality, Ganymede offered a justification of pederasty, which was widely evoked in literature and art well into modern times. But early writers developed two opposing interpretations: For Theognis the abduction was motivated by physical desire, whereas Xenophon refined sexual union into spiritual allegory, signifying the uplifting rapture of divine love. Plato acknowledged both associations, and they persisted, in dynamic tension, through dramatic variations in the myth's popularity, interpretation, and representation, which correlated with shifting attitudes toward homoeroticism.

Among the Greeks, who encouraged adults' educational love for youths, myth valorized custom: Ganymede's abduction was depicted in the temple of Olympian Zeus and painted on pottery as courting gifts for boys. The less public-spirited Romans depicted him in bawdy epigrams and brothel frescoes, but also on sarcophagi, symbolizing the soul borne heavenward after death. When Christianity, which proscribed homosexuality, inherited both traditions, it translated Ganymede's heavenly aspect into Christian language, while condemning his erotic dimension in those same terms. Didactic texts such as the fourteenth-century Moralized Ovid denounce Jupiter's passion as unnatural lust, and a twelfth-century Romanesque carving at Vézelay, France, depicts it as a warning against clerical abuse of boys. But at least for those who could read Latin, the positive erotic aspect was never lost: Twelfth-century clergy celebrated their Ganymedes in poems from humorous to exalted, and in misogynistic debates over which sex makes better lovers.

The Renaissance, heir to both medieval and ancient traditions, continued to treat the myth across the same range of conflicting modes. Neoplatonist philosophers, aiming to reconcile paganism and Christianity, read Ganymede as an allegory of divine love: Humanists such as Angelo Ambrogini (known as Politian; 1454–1494), himself homosexual, cited the youth in similarly elevated terms, in a catalog of ideal classical male couples, and his pupil Michelangelo drew the mythic pair to confess his own chaste love for a younger man. But to more earthy or satirical observers, from the sculptor Benvenuto Cellini to moral propagandists, the name alluded unfavorably to widespread contemporary sodomy.

Though the subject succumbed to Counter-Reformation strictures, it briefly regained popularity in eighteenth-century Neoclassicism. Johann Winckelmann (1717–1768) spearheaded this movement partly in pursuit of historical precedents for his own male desire; as a practical joke, friends forged a pseudo-antique fresco of Jupiter kissing Ganymede for him to "unearth." Mythic subjects again declined throughout the nineteenth century, but Ganymede's sexual meaning was generally understood as late as 1907, in a German press cartoon lampooning a government scandal. Although gay subcultures of the later twentieth century gained freedom to address male desire, antiquity had lost its venerable exemplarity and pederasty no longer mirrored contemporary sexual patterns, limiting the myth to sporadic media illustrations and popular novels.

see also Ancient Greece; Ancient Rome.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Boswell, John. 1980. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Dover, K. J. 1978. Greek Homosexuality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Saslow, James M. 1986. Ganymede in the Renaissance: Homosexuality in Art and Society. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

                                          James M. Saslow

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