Zeus

Article

May 25, 2022

Zeus (in ancient Greek: Ζεύς, Zeus) in Greek religion is the king of all gods, the leader of Olympus, the god of sky and thunder. His symbols are the thunderbolt, the bull, the eagle, the oak and the olive tree. Son of the titan Cronus and Rhea, he is the youngest of his brothers and sisters: Estia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. In most legends or myths he is married to Hera (protector of marriage and children), although in the sanctuary of the oracle of Dodona as his consort God was venerated (it is told in the Iliad that Zeus is the father of Aphrodite, had with Dione). The fruit of his numerous amorous conferences were his many famous children, including Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Athena, Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen, Minos and the Muses. According to the tradition from Hera, the legitimate wife, had Ares, Hebe, Hephaestus and Ilizia. Such love affairs were consumed by Zeus also in the form of animals (swan, bull, etc.), since among his enormous powers he also had that of transforming himself into anything he wanted. The figure equivalent to Zeus in Roman mythology was Jupiter, while in the Etruscan one it was the god Tinia.

Etymology and elements of the cult

Zeus, which is often poetically called with the vocative Zeu pater (O father Zeus!), Is the evolution of Di̯ēus, the god of the diurnal sky of the proto-Indo-European religion also called Dyeus ph2tēr (Father Heaven). The name of the god comes from the root Diovis (la di in Greek) which means light, which is why Zeus is the god of light. The god was also known by this name in Sanskrit (Dyaus ove Dyaus Pita), in the Messapian language (Zis) and in Latin (Jupiter, from Iuppiter, which derives from the Indo-European vocative * dyeu-ph2tēr) languages ​​that elaborate the root * dyeu- ("to shine" and in its derived forms "heaven, heaven, god"), as well as in Germanic and Norse mythology (* Tīwaz, in Old High German Ziu, in Old Norse Týr) combined with the Latin deus, dīvus and Dis (a variation of dīves) which comes from the similar noun * deiwos. The zero-degree radical of * Di̯ēus and the epithet "father" are thought to be contained in the Albanian Zot, which is considered to be derived from the Proto-Albanian * dźie̅u ̊ a (t) t-, an ancient compound for "heavenly father" , in proto-Indo-European language * dyew- ("sky, bright sky") + * átta ("father"), therefore a cognate in the proto-Indo-European religion with * Dyḗus ph₂tḗr and with his descendants: Illyrian Dei-pátrous, Sanskrit द्यौष्पितृ (Dyáuṣ Pitṛṛ ), Proto-Italic * djous patēr (from which Latin Iuppiter), Ancient Greek Ζεῦ πάτερ (Zeû páter). Some linguists have also proposed the Proto-Albanian etymology * dzwâpt * w (i) tš-pati-, "landlord"; finally from the proto-Indo-European * wiḱ-potis, "head of the clan"). For the Greeks and Romans the god of the sky was also the greatest of the gods, while in Nordic cultures this role was attributed to Odin: consequently these peoples did not identify, for his primary thunder god attribute, Zeus / Jupiter with neither Odin nor Tyr, but rather with Thor (Þórr). Zeus is the only Olympian deity whose name has such an obvious Indo-European origin.In addition to this Indo-European origin, the Zeus of the classical era took some iconographic aspects from Near Eastern cultures, such as the scepter. The Greek artists imagined Zeus above all in two particular positions: standing, while with his right arm raised, he follows with wide strides a thunderbolt that he has just thrown, or sitting on his throne.

The role of Zeus in classical mythology

Zeus was the most important of the gods and ruled over the entire ancient Greek Olympic Pantheon. He was the father of many heroes and heroines and the figure of him is present in most of the legends concerning them. Although the "cloud gatherer" Zeus of the Homeric poems was a god of sky and thunder on a par with the equivalent oriental deities, he represents