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Fiamma
June 4th, 2007, 10:05 AM
A day late and perhaps a dollar short, but there you are.


ZEUS (Zeus), the greatest of the Olympian gods, and the father of gods and men, was a son of Cronos and Rhea, a brother of Poseidon, Hades (Pluto), Hestia, Demeter, Hera, and at the same time married to his sister Hera. When Zeus and his brothers distributed among themselves the government of the world by lot, Poseidon obtained the sea, Hades the lower world, and Zeus the heavens and the upper regions, but the earth became common to all (Hom. Il. xv. 187, &c., i. 528, ii. 111; Virg. Aen. iv. 372).
Later mythologers enumerate three Zeus in their genealogies two Arcadian ones and one Cretan; and tne first is said to be a son of Aether, the second of Coelus, and the third of Saturnus (Cic. de Nat. Deor. iii. 21). This accounts for the fact that some writers use the name of the king of heaven who sends dew, rain, snow, thunder, and lightning for heaven itself in its physical sense. (Horat. Carm. i. 1. 25 ; Virg. Georg. ii. 419.)
According to the Homeric account Zeus, like the other Olympian gods, dwelt on Mount Olympus in Thessaly, which was believed to penetrate with its lofty summit into heaven itself (Il. i. 221, &c., 354, 609, xxi. 438). He is called the father of gods and men (i. 514, v. 33; comp. Aeschyl. Sept. 512), the most high and powerful among the immortals, whom all others obey (Il. xix. 258, viii. 10, &c.). He is the highest ruler, who with his counsel manages every thing (i. 175, viii. 22), the founder of kingly power, of law and of order, whence Dice, Themis and Nemesis are his assistants (i. 238, ii. 205, ix. 99, xvi. 387; comp. Hes. Op. et D. 36 ; Callim. Hymn. in Jov. 79).
For the same reason he protects the assembly of the people (agoraios), the meetings of the council (boulaios), and as he presides over the whole state, so also over every house and family (herkeios, Od. xxii. 335; comp. Ov. Ib. 285). He also watched over the sanctity of the oath (horkios), the law of hospitality (xenios), and protected suppliants (hikesios, Od. ix. 270; comp. Paus. v. 24. 2). He avenged those who were wronged, and punished those who had committed a crime, for he watched the doings and sufferings of all men (epopsios, Od. xiii. 213; comp. Apollon. Rhod. i. 1123).
He was further the original source of all prophetic power, front whom all prophetic signs and sounds proceeded (panomphaios, Il. viii. 250 ; comp. Aeschyl. Eum. 19 ; Callim. Hymn. in Jov. 69). Every thing good as well as bad comes from Zeus, and according to his own choice he assigns their good or evil lot to mortals (Od. iv. 237, vi. 188, ix. 552, Il. x. 71, xvii. 632, &c.), and fate itself was subordinate to him.
He is armed with thunder and lightning, and the shaking of his aegis produces storm and tempest (Il. xvii. 593) : a number of epithets of Zeus in the Homeric poems describe him as the thunderer, the gatherer of clouds, and the like.
He was married to Hera, by whom he had two sons, Ares and Hephaestus, and one daughter, Hebe (Il. i. 585, v. 896, Od. xi. 604). Hera sometimes acts as an independent divinity, she is ambitious and rebels against her lord, but she is nevertheless inferior to him, and is punished for her opposition (Il. xv. 17, &c., xix. 95, &c.) ; his amours with other goddesses or mortal women are not concealed from her, though they generally rouse her jealousy and revenge (Il. xiv. 317). During the Trojan war, Zeus, at the request of Thetis, favoured the Trojans, until Agamemnon made good the wrong he had done to Achilles.
Zeus, no doubt, was originally a god of a portion of nature, whence the oak with its eatable fruit and the fertile doves were sacred to him at Dodona and in Arcadia (hence also rain, storms, and the seasons were regarded as his work, and hence the Cretan stories of milk, honey, and cornucopia) ; but in the Homeric poems, this primitive character of a personification of certain powers of nature is already effaced to some extent, and the god appears as a political and national divinity, as the king and father of men, as the founder and protector of all institutions hallowed by law, custom. or religion.
Hesiod (Theog. 116, &c.) also calls Zeus the son of Cronos and Rhea , and the brother of Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. Cronos swallowed his children immediately after their birth, but when Rhea was near giving birth to Zeus, she applied to Uranus and Ge for advice as to how the child might be saved. Before the hour of birth came, Uranus and Ge sent Rhea to Lyctos in Crete, requesting her to bring up her child there. Rhea accordingly concealed her infant in a cave of Mount Aegaeon, and gave to Cronos a stone wrapped up in cloth, which he swallowed in the belief that it was his son. Other traditions state that Zeus was born and brought up on Mount Dicte or Ida (also the Trojan Ida), Ithome in Messenia, Thebes in Boeotia, Aegion in Achaia, or Olenos in Aetolia. According to the common account, however, Zeus grew up in Crete. As Rhea is sometimes identified with Ge, Zeus is also called a son of Ge. (Aeschyl. Suppl. 901.)
In the meantime Cronos by a cunning device of Ge or Metis was made to bring up the children he had swallowed, and first of all the stone, which was afterwards set up by Zeus at Delphi. The young god now delivered the Cyclopes from the bonds with which they had been fettered by Cronos, and they in their gratitude provided him with thunder and lightning. On the advice of Ge. Zeus also liberated the hundred-armed Gigantes, Briareos, Cottus, and Gyes, that they might assist him in his fight against the Titans. (Apollod. i. 2. 1; Hes. Theog. 617, &c.) The Titans were conquered and shut up in Tartarus (Theog. 717), where they were henceforth guarded by the Hecatoncheires. Thereupon Tartarus and Ge begot Typhoeus, who began a fearful struggle with Zeus, but was conquered. (Theog. 820, &c.)
Zeus now obtained the dominion of the world, and chose Metis for his wife. (Theog. 881, &c.) When she was pregnant with Athena, he took the child out of her body and concealed it in his own, on the advice of Uranus and Ge, who told him that thereby he would retain the supremacy of the world. For Metis had given birth to a son, this son (so fate had ordained it) would have acquired the sovereignty. After this Zeus, by his second wife Themis. became the father of the Horae and Moerae; of the Charites by Eurynome, of Persephone by Demeter, of the Muses by Mnemosyne, of Apollo and Artemis by Leto, and of Hebe, Ares, and Eileithyia by Hera. Athena was born out of the head of Zeus; while Hera, on the other hand, gave birth to Hephaestus without the co-operation of Zeus. (Theog. 8866, &c.)



from http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Zeus.html

Cult titles and epithets http://www.theoi.com/Cult/ZeusTitles.html#Cult

Images of statues, cult information http://www.theoi.com/Cult/ZeusCult.html
http://www.theoi.com/Cult/ZeusCult2.html
http://www.theoi.com/Cult/ZeusCult3.html

Vase paintings and mosaics http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Zeus.html#Gallery

Hymns to Zeus http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Zeus.html#Hymns

More links:
http://www.pantheon.org/areas/mythology/europe/greek/articles.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus
http://www.loggia.com/myth/zeus.html
http://www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Zeus/zeus.html
http://www.answers.com/topic/zeus

RavenStars
June 6th, 2007, 02:17 AM
Wow, a lot of reading---I know, duh. But lots of pictures and I liked being introduced to some invocations. I followed quite a few sublinks so I was all over the place. Personally he's not my thing but I appreciate the exposure.

I wasn't able to tell if any one of his cults had more followers or was considered more "correct" (for lack of a better word) since there seem to be quite a large range of understanding about who and what he is. I'm curious if anyone who worships Zeus concerns themselves with a regional or cult distinction. I guess this applies to any of the Greek gods, too.

Fiamma
June 6th, 2007, 05:42 AM
Wow, a lot of reading---I know, duh. But lots of pictures and I liked being introduced to some invocations. I followed quite a few sublinks so I was all over the place. Personally he's not my thing but I appreciate the exposure.

I wasn't able to tell if any one of his cults had more followers or was considered more "correct" (for lack of a better word) since there seem to be quite a large range of understanding about who and what he is. I'm curious if anyone who worships Zeus concerns themselves with a regional or cult distinction. I guess this applies to any of the Greek gods, too.

Answering in reference to the Greek gods in general, I've never heard of such a thing as any of their particular cults being considered more "correct" than others.

There were many cult titles and epithets for many of the gods. Some are geographic references, some are descriptive, others refer to a particular area over which that deity holds sway. Some overlap one or more deities...for example, the title Meilikhios meaning gracious or merciful, is given to both Zeus and Hermes.

Leaving Zeus for a moment and shifting to a god much more familiar to me, it's interesting to note that some folks believe that Pythian Apollo and Delian Apollo are two different gods.

Similarly, some believe that there are two different gods named Dionysus- that is, Dionysus borne of Persephone, and Dionysus who was taken from Semele, sewn into Zeus's leg and then born later.

Ultimately, my answer to that is that I've never heard of such a thing as one or anther cult of any particular god being considered more correct, and my honest guess is that there really weren't any such cases...but if anyone knows otherwise, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Brightshores
June 6th, 2007, 07:31 AM
Great GOTW post about Zeus... I find Him to be extremely interesting; almost a contradiction in terms. Thunderer and Father, All-Powerful yet often conquered with the love of human women. Very interesting - thank you for posting!


Leaving Zeus for a moment and shifting to a god much more familiar to me, it's interesting to note that some folks believe that Pythian Apollo and Delian Apollo are two different gods.

This fascinates me, and I was not aware of this. I thought the priestess of Apollo at Delphi was called the Pythia? I always assumed, then, that Pythian Apollo and Delian Apollo were the same. Very confusing.. :awilly: Do you have a link where I can find more about this?