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Eurōpa

Εὐρώπη). A daughter of Agenor (called by some Phoenix), king of Phœnicia. Zeus, becoming enamoured of her, according to the old legend, changed himself into a beautiful white bull, and approached her, “breathing saffron from his mouth,” as she was gathering flowers with her companions in a mead near the seashore. Europa, delighted with the tameness and beauty of the animal, caressed him, crowned him with flowers, and at length ventured to mount on his back. The disguised god immediately made off with his burden, plunged into the sea, and swam with Europa to the island of Crete, landing not far from Gortyna. Here he resumed his own form, and beneath a plane-tree soothed and caressed the trembling maiden. The offspring of their union were Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon. Asterius, king of Crete, subsequently married Europa, and reared her sons (Apollod. iii. 1; Hes. and ap. Schol. ad Il. xii. 292; Ovid, Met. ii. 833 foll.; Fast. v. 605).

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