According to a myth, many years ago there was a beautiful princess called Europa who lived in Sidon and one day went to play on the beach with her sisters.
She was so beautiful that Zeus, the king of the Gods, whilst on his godly runs, saw her and immediately fell in love . Not wanting to give her a fright by appearing in his otherworldly beauty, he decided to approach her as a tame white bull and sat quietly at her feet.
Europa was petrified–as a true princess ignored her fear and began stroking the bull gently.
After a while, wishing to show her friends that she was perfectly at ease, she decided to jump on the bull’s back and ride it like a horse. Little did she know that Zeus had been waiting to be alone with her. As soon as Europa sat on his back he bolted towards the water, jumped in the sea and swam as fast as he could towards an island, that we now know as Crete, with a terrified Europa on his back.
Once on the island Zeus, still in the body of the bull, admitted his true nature. Since he was very kind and caring Europa fell in love with him.
To show her his love Zeus made two godly gestures. He bestowed her name upon the island and he created a new constellation in the stars. This was shaped like a bull and named Taurus (latin for bull) in tribute to the body he had taken when they first met (the constellation was placed amongst the other zodiac signs)
He also gave her three useful gifts. Talos, a giant robot made of bronze that protected Crete from their enemies. With Talos patrolling the coast it was impossible to attack the island. Talos was able to become incandescent and burn them alive in a single embrace. Secondly – Laelaps the dog, personally trained by Zeus (who could wish for anything better?).
Lastly he presented a magical javelin that never missed; extremely useful for hunting. And given that at the time there were no supermarkets the magical javelin was the only gadget that would insure dinner was on the table every evening. Not too bad for a gift.
Europa and Zeus lived together happily for a many years however as time moved on Europa married Asterion and Zeus left in search of new adventures.
Little by little the name Europa spread and was commonly used to name the lands north of Crete. Over the years this reference expanded until the entire continent was engulfed by the name Europe.