The Ancient Library

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On this page: Zephyrus – Zeugitae – Zeus




logical critic of the Alexandrian school. He came from Ephesus, and lived in the first half of the 3rd century B.C. at Alex­andria as tutor to the sona of Ptolemy Phlladelphus, and superintendent of the library founded by that king. He under­took the first critical edition of the Homeric poems, and thus laid the foundation for the works of Aristophanes of Byzantium, his most celebrated pupil, and of Aristarchus.

ZSphyrus. The West Wind, son of Astrseus and Eos, the messenger of spring, and the lover of the flower-goddess Chloris, who bore to him Carpus, the god of fruit. Spurned by the beautiful Hyacinthus (q.v.), he caused his death, by blowing the quoit of his rival Apollo against his head. The Romans identified him with Fdvonlus, the breeze of springtide. In art he is repre­sented as partly unclothed, and carrying flowers in the folds of his robe.

Zetes. Son of B6reas and Orlthyia, and brother of Calais (q.v.).

Zethus. Son of Antlope (q.v., 1) and of Zeus, brother of Amphion and husband of Aedon. (Cp. aedon and amphion.)

Zeugitffl. The third of the property-classes into which the citizens of Athens were distributed by Salon. (See solonian constitution and eisphoba.)

Zeus. The greatest god in the Greek mythology; according to the common legend the eldest son of Cronus (KrBnos) and Rhea, hence called CrBnldes. According to a myth indigenous to Crete, he was the youngest son, and Rhea, in dread of Cronus, who had swallowed all his previous children, bore him secretly in a cave of the island, where he was suckled by the goat Amalthla (q.v.), while the Curetes (q.v.) drowned the cries of the child by the clash of their weapons; but Rhea outwitted Cronus by giving him a stone to swallow instead. When he was grown up, Zeus married Metis (q.v.), who, by means of a charm, compelled Cronus to disgorge the children he had swallowed. When, with the help of his brothers and sisters, PSseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, he had over­thrown Cronus and the Titans, the world was divided into three parts, Zeus obtaining heaven, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the lower world; the earth and Olympus being appointed for the common possession of all the three. But the king of the gods is Zeus, whose power, as Homer says, is greater than that of all the other gods together.

Next to him, bat in a subordinate

position, stands, as queen of the gods, his sister and consort Hera, the mother of Ares, Hephsestus, and Hebe, who was re-


irded as pre-eminently his rightful wife, ot incompatible with this however was the idea that the marriage with Hera wag the earliest of a series of marriages with other goddesses: first, according to Hesiod, with Metis, whom he swallowed, in order to bring forth Athene from his own head ; then with Themis, the mother of the Hours and the Fates; afterwards with Eurf'nome, the mother of the Graces; Demeter, the mother of PersephSne; Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses; and Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis. The fact that still later, in Dodona, Dione, the mother of Aphrodite, was also honoured as the wife of Zeus, shows the origin of the legend. Originally different wives of Zeus were recognised in the different local cults. When the legend of the marriage with Hera had become the predominant one, an attempt was made to harmonize the different ver­sions of the story by the supposition of successive marriages. In the same way the loves of Zeus with half-divine, half-mortal women, of whom Alcmene, the mother of Heracles, was said to be the last, were originally rural legends, which de­rived the descent of indigenous divinities, like Hermes and Dionysus, or of heroes and noble families, from the highest god; and not until they had become the common pro­perty of the whole Greek people, which was practically the case as early as the time of Homer, could the love affairs of the greatest of the gods become the theme of those mythical stories which are so repugnant to modern taste.

The very name of Zeus (Sanskrit, dyaus, the bright sky) identifies him as the god of the sky and its phenomena. As such he was everywhere worshipped on the highest mountains, on whose summits he was con­sidered to be enthroned. Of all places the Thessalian mountain Olympus (q.v., 1), even in the earliest sges, met with the most general recognition as the abode of Zeus and of the gods who were associated with him. From Zeus come all changes in the sky or the winds; he is the gatherer of the clouds, which dispense the fertilizing rain, while he is also the thunderer, and the hurler of the irresistible lightning. As by the shaking of his cf.g\s (q.v.) he causes sudden storm and tempest to break forth, so he calms the elements again, brightens the sky, and sends forth favouring winds. The changes

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