Ganymede on the fly

(Sex in the Greek/Roman mythological world, but it’s man-man sex, sometimes described here in pretty plain terms, so it might not be for everyone.)

On AZBlogX, some images from the Ganymede series on Priapus of Milet’s blog, showing (a version of) the youth Ganymede’s encounter with the God Zeus, told as an elaborate story in photographic images. Very accomplished stuff, also wonderfully erotic.

The Ganymede story (in brief). From Wikipedia:

In Greek mythology, Ganymede … is a divine hero whose homeland was Troy. He was the son of Tros of Dardania, from whose name “Troy” was supposedly derived, and of Callirrhoe. …. In one version of the myth, he is abducted by Zeus, in the form of an eagle, to serve as cup-bearer in Olympus. Homer describes Ganymede as the most beautiful of mortals:

[Ganymedes] was the loveliest born of the race of mortals, and therefore
the gods caught him away to themselves, to be Zeus’ wine-pourer,
for the sake of his beauty, so he might be among the immortals.
— Homer, Iliad, Book XX, lines 233-235.

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 (and also “Ganymedes”), from which the English word “catamite” is derived.

Vocabulary notes: pederasty, pederast, catamite. In the Greek/Roman context, the meaning of pederasty seems pretty clear: the practice involved an adult man in a social and sexual relationship with a pubescent youth, in which (in the ideal case) the youth was protected by the man and tutored by him in the ways of the world and also served him sexually, in particular as the receptive partner in anal intercourse. In the modern world, such a relationship would treated as sexual molestation, by definition exploitative and non-consensual. As a result, pederasty is now a loaded term, with very strongly negative connotations. (In addition, there’s also the fact that pederastic relationships can be sexually more mutual than in the Greek/Roman custom; can center on other sexual practices (frottage, masturbation, fellatio) in addition to or instead of anal intercourse; and can involve many expressions of affection in addition to sexual connection.)

Pederast shares these negative associations, with the added complication that it’s not entirely clear which partner in a pederastic relationship it refers to, though when the roles in such a relationship are sharply defined, it seems to be used most often for the dominant partner (in the Zeus role); there’s no standard term for the submissive partner, though I’m fond of catamite (with its direct association with the Ganymede role); see my 7/2/15 posting “Briefly: a catamitic misreading”, for some discussion of the word.

The Ganymede artist. The Priapus of Milet site doesn’t give us any information about the artist, beyond the fact that he has an e-mail address in the Netherlands and the conclusion we can draw from his body of work, which says that he’s clearly what I’ll call “homoerotically inclined”.

His pseudonym combines a reference to the Greek and Roman phallic fertility god, Priapus in Latin (the Cock God, so to speak), with an allusion to Anatolian Greek antiquity. Wikipedia on Milet:

Miletus (… Ancient Greek: Μί̄λητος Mīlētos; … Latin: Miletus; Turkish: Milet) was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria. Its ruins are located near the modern village of Balat in Aydın Province, Turkey. Before the Persian invasion in the middle of the 6th century BC, Miletus was considered the greatest and wealthiest of Greek cities.

Priapus’s Ganymede story. Priapus has Ganymede, naked, athletically scaling a sheer cliff to reach the pinnacle, where the eagles fly, and offering himself to be vanquished. And winged Zeus, a black-haired muscle-hunk, takes up the slim, red-haired young man’s offer. Off into the air.

Where Ganymede comes on heavily to Zeus, who seems gratified but rather astonished. Here’s a mid-air kiss, Ganymede in charge:


More kissing and hugging, traded blow jobs, and Ganymede fucking Zeus, all up in the air, sky high, sky high. None of this is in the Greco-Roman script for pederastic relationships; instead it’s mutually pleasuring, symmetric sex, culminating in Zeus drilling Ganymede, to the young man’s evident delight. On AZBlogX, #1 and #2,

the mid-air fuck (note Ganymede’s outstretched arms)  and (back on land) another kind of mid-air fuck, the so-called Flying Cowboy (in which Ganymede rides Zeus’s dick while being suspended by him in mid-air)


Priapus of Milet goes one step further, building yet another fantasy into the encounter: the fantasy that by taking a man’s semen into your body, you absorb his power, indeed his masculinity, and become a stronger, better man: getting fucked transforms you. In the case of the Ganymede series, transforms quite literally. Ganymede awakes after his coupling with Zeus, fingers a feather from the god’s wings — and is himself transformed into a winged man, a flying angel [photo #3 on AZBlogX]

Ganymede in art. As a steamy bit of mythology, Ganymede / Zeus has been a durable theme in art for two millennia or so. In Roman times, the pairing was a common subject for dirty pictures (well, drawings), and in later years, along with other mythological and Biblical subjects, the abduction was painted or drawn by any number of artists. Virtually always, as far as I can tell, framed as the forcible rape of Ganymede by a Zeus overwhelmed by the youth’s astonishing beauty.

But then Zeus is famously a serial rapist, given to forcing himself on anyone who catches his eye. In Ganymede’s case (on one popular account), Zeus went on the elevate the young man to godhood, so that he could provide his excellent services (as cup-bearer and wine-pourer, of course) to all the pantheon for all time.

More recently, Ganymede / Zeus has become a popular subject for homoerotically inclined artists, who have taken any number of approaches to it. Pierre et Gilles, of course, in their Ganymède (2001) — Ganymede (on the ground) mesmerized by the eagle just before it descends on him from the sky — which you can view as #7 in an AZBlogX posting of 1/20/13.

Then Zeus and Ganymede, enamel on vinyl by Rick Herold (born 1941), with a porn-delicious Ganymede (in mid-air) in the embrace of a highly stylized eagle:


And finally a deliberately provocative Zeus and Ganymede by Australian photographic artist Aaron David Holloway (born 1981), from his “Lovers of Antiquity” series, found on a Saatchi Art site:


Daddy Zeus and Boy Ganymede (looking like a jailbait twink while offering his, um, cup to Daddy, no wings).

(There’s a lot more.)

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