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Ganymede pouring a drink for Zeus
Ganymede was a term sometimes used to refer to passive gay men or youths. It derives from the mythological figure Ganymede (Ancient Greek Γανυμήδης, Ganymēdēs) a Trojan prince whom the god Zeus (Jupiter), in the form of an eagle, carried off to be his cup-bearer on Mount Olympus.
"He [ Francis Bacon (philosopher) ] was a Pederast. His Ganimeds and Favourites tooke Bribes."[1]

The twelfth-century poet Hilarius compares William of Anfonia, the "splendour of England", to Ganymede, writing

"Certainly if Jupiter now reigned, ... he would become a bird for you, so that you might be joined with him forever,"[2]

The Elizabethan poet Richard Barnefield tells in his poem The Tears of an affectionate Shepherd sick for Love of a shepherd and his beloved Ganimede.[2]

In the 18th century a satirical print of Samuel Drybutter was printed with the caption "Ganymede".

In Latin (via Etruscan) the name was rendered as "Catamitus", hence the more common term Catamite.


  1. Oliver Lawson Dick, ed. Aubrey's Brief Lives. Edited from the Original Manuscripts, 1949, article headed "Francis Bacon, Viscount of St. Albans" p. 11.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Ganymede" in Randy P Lunčunas Conner and others, Cassell's Encyclopedia of queer myth, symbol and spirit, 1998, ISBN 0-304-70423-7.