The Water Carrier

Aquarius Constellation

The Brighter Stars of Aquarius

The Story

The Waiter on Olympus

The Water Carrier is the cup bearer to the gods living atop Mount Olympus. His name is Ganymede. He is usually protrayed as pouring water from his jar into the mouth of the Southern Fish, Piscis Austrinis.

Abduction of a Child

Ganymede was the son of King Tros, after whom the city of Troy was named. The story of Ganymede is rather horrifying if you bother to think about it; what it concerns is the abduction of a child from his parents.

Ganymede was abducted one day while he was keeping watch over a herd of his father's sheep. In one story it was Eos, the Goddess of the Dawn, who abducted the boy. She had a passion for young men. Then Zeus noted the beauty of the boy and stole him away from Eos.

The Eagle Steals the Boy

In the more common version of the story it was Zeus himself that was taken with the beauty of the shepherd boy and sent his eagle down to steal away the boy in its claws. Some say that the eagle was Zeus himself, who had transformed into the shape of the royal bird. The boy was carried off to the top of Mount Olympus to become the serving boy to the gods, pouring out from his jar the mixture of water and nectar quaffed by the gods in their revels.

Out of Egypt?

Ridpath cites Robert Graves to suggest that the figure of Aquarius originated in Egypt, with the figure representing the God of the Nile. Probably then the stream of water pouring forth from the jar would represent the Nile River itself.  

Copyright © 1998 - 2010 by Arnold V. Lesikar,
Professor Emeritus
Dept. of Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering Science,
St. Cloud State University,St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

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