One night Europa had a dream. In this dream two continents, which were in the forms of women were arguing over Europa. Asia maintained that since Europa had been born in Asia she belonged to it. The other continent, which was nameless, said that her birth was not important, that Zeus would give her to it.
It was early morning, disturbed by the dream Europa did not go back to sleep. She summoned her companions, who were all daughters of nobility and of her age. It was a beautiful day and they went off gathering flowers by the sea. Zeus noticed this charming group, particularly Europa, who was the prettest of the maidens. Some say that Eros, induced him into action with one of his darts. Although, Zeus often made due with self motivation. In any case, Zeus appeared to the group as a white bull. A white bull more beautiful then any other. A bull that smelled of flowers, and lowed musically. A bull so obviously gentle that all the maidens rushed to stroke and pet it.
The bull laid down in front of Europa. She slid on to its back. Instantly, the bull charged off, plunging into the sea, and began to swim rapidly from the shore. Europa saw that a procesion had joined them, Nereids riding dolphins, Triton blowing his horn, even Poseidon. From this she realized that the bull must be a god. She pleaded with him to pity her. Zeus spoke to her and explained his love. He took her to Create, where he had been raised. He promised that she would bear him many famous sons.
Her sons included Minos I and Rhadamanthus.
Zeus fell in love with Io and seduced her.
To try to keep Hera from
noticing he covered the world with a thick blanket of clouds. This
backfired, arousing Hera's suspicions. She came down from
and begain dispersing the clouds. Zeus did some quick thinking and
changed Io's form from being a lovely maiden. So as the clouds dispersed
Hera found Zeus standing next to a white heifer. He then swore that
he had never seen the cow before, it had just sprang right out of the
earth. Seeing right through this Hera complimented the cow and asked
to have it as a present. As turning such a reasonable request down
would have given the whole thing away, Zeus presented her with the cow.
She sent the cow away and arranged Arges to watch over it. Since Arges had a hundred eyes and could have some of them sleep while others were awake he made a fine watchman. Desperate, Zeus sent Hermes to fetch Io. Disgused as a shepard, Hermes had to employ all his skill as a musician and story teller to gain Arges confidence and lull him to sleep. Once asleep Hermes killed Arges. As a memorial, Hera took his eyes and set them into the tail of her favorite bird, the peacock.
While Io was now free Hera sent the mother of all gad-flys to sting the still bovine Io. This pushed her near madness, trying to escape she wandered the world. During her wanders she came across Prometheus while chained. He gave her hope. He predicted that she would have to wander for many years. But, she would eventually be changed back into human form and would bear a child. He predicted that a decendent of this child would be a great hero and set him free.
His predictions came true. During her wanderings many geographical features where named after her including the Ionian Sea, and the Bosphorus (which means ford of the cow). She eventually reached the Nile where Zeus did restore her to human form. She bore Epaphus and eleven generations later her descendant Hercules would set Prometheus free.
Semele was a Thebian princess. She is the only mortal to be the
parent of a god. She was one of
Zeus many lovers and like most
came to an unfortunate end due to
Hera's jealous hatred. She is
best known as the mother of Dionysus.
While she was killed shortly before giving birth the child was resuced by Zeus.
Eventually Dionysus, who had never seen her, managed to rescue her
from the underworld. and arrange for
her to live on Mount Olympus.