Europa was the beautiful daughter of the Phoenician king of Tyre, Agenor and queen Telephassa .

Zeus, The Greek god was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father’s herds.

While Europa and her helpers were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete.

He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete and the mother of King Minos. Zeus later re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, which is now known as the constellation Taurus.

The continent Europe was name after Europa.

Cadmus, Europe’s brother and son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre  was  sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores of Phoenician Tyre by Zeus.

Cadmus founded the Greek city of Thebes, the Acropolis  of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honour.

Cadmus, the legendary hero who came to Greece from Phoenicia and founded Thebes in Boeotia, is credited with the introduction of the Phoenician alphabet to the Greek language; in its Hellenized early form the alphabet is called Cadmeian. As Herodotus tells the story,

“The Phoenicians who came with Cadmus . . . introduced into Greece, after their settlement in the country, a number of accomplishments, of which the most important was writing, an art till then, I think, unknown to the Greeks. At first they used the same characters as all the other Phoenicians, but as time went on, and they changed their language, they also changed the shape of their letters. At that period most of the Greeks in the neighborhood were Ionians; they were taught these letters by the Phoenicians and adopted them, with a few alterations, for their own use, continuing to refer to them as the Phoenician characters—as was only right, as the Phoenicians had introduced them.”

NB: The Mosaic of the kidnapping of Europe is displayed at Beirut National Museum.