The myth of Europe is a fascinating myth of the Greek Mythology that inspired writers, historians, painters and politicians who gave her name to coins, a continent and created several several pieces of art depicting the love making of Zeus and Europe.
Europe was a beautiful princess, who was abducted by Zeus. His plan was to turn himself into a white bull and swim to the shore of Asia where she lived. The bull was so pretty and gentle that all women at the shore fell for him. But he bent in front of Europe offering her his back to ride. She mounted on his back and the bull took her from Phoenicia, across the sea, to Crete, to Dikteon Andron, the cave where he was born. That is where he showed his real identity to Europe.
From the union of Zeus and Europe three sons were born: Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon, who all became judges on the Underworld. Zeus was the father of all the children of Europe but he asked her to marry Asterion, the king of stars. And she did.
The mythical love story of Europe and Zeus has been a theme of many artistic presentation and achievements. Nowadays, the Greek coin of 2 Euros, has an image of Europe’s abduction from Zeus as a bull.
The name of Europe as a geographical term came in use by Ancient Greek geographers such as Strabo to refer to part of Thrace below the Balkan mountains. Later, under the Roman Empire the name was given to a Thracian province. It is derived from the Greek word Europe in all Romance languages, Germanic languages, Slavic languages, Baltic Languages, Celtic languages, Uralic languages, as well as in Latin.