The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

1323

ZEUS,

§ 1 ; Hes. Theog. 617, &c.) The Titans were conquered and shut up in Tartarus (T/ieog. 717)> where they were henceforth guarded by the Heca-toncheires. 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 if 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 Denieter, 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. 886, &c.) The family of the Cronidae accordingly embraces the twelve great gods of Olympus, Zeus (the head of them all), Poseidon, Apollo, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Hestia, De-meter, Hera, Athena, Aphrodite, and Artemis. These twelve Olympian gods, who in some places were worshipped as a body, as at Athens (Thucyd. vi. 54), were recognised not only by the Greeks, but were adopted also by the Romans, who, in particular, identified their Jupiter with the Greek Zeus.

In surveying the different local traditions about Zeus, it would seem that originally there were several, at least three, divinities which in their respective countries were supreme, but which in the course of time became united in the minds of the people into one great national divinity. We may accordingly speak of an Arcadian, Dodonaean, Cretan, and a national Hellenic Zeus.

1. The Arcadian Zeus (Zeus aukcuos) was born, according to the legends of the country, in Arcadia, either on Mount Parrhasion (Callim. Hymn, in Jov. 7, 10), or in a district of Mount Lycaeon, which was called Cretea. (Paus. viii. 38. § 1 ; Callim. I.e. 14.) He was brought up there by the nymphs Theisoa, Neda, and Hagno ; the first of these gave her name to an Arcadian town, the second to a river, and the third to a well. (Paus. viii. 38. § 2, &c., 47. § 2 ; comp. Callim. I.e. 33.) Lycaon, a son of Pelasgus, who built the first and most ancient town of Lycosura, called Zeus Lj'caeus, and erected a temple and instituted the festival of the Lyceia in honour of him ; he further offered to him bloody sacrifices, and among others his own son, in consequence of which he was metamorphosed into a wolf (Av/cos ; Paus. viii. 2. § 1, 38. § I ; Callim. I. c. 4 ; Ov. Met. i. 218.) No one was allowed to enter the sanctuary of Zeus Lycaeus on Mount Lycaeon, and there was a belief that, if any one entered it, he died within twelve months after, and that in it neither human beings nor animals cast a shadow. (Paus. viii. 38. §5 ; comp. SchoL ad Callim. Hymn, in Jov. 13.) Those who en­tered it intentionally were storied to death, unless they escaped by flight ; and those who had got in by accident were sent to Eleutherae. (Plut. Quaest. Gr. 39.) On the highest summit of Ly­caeon, there was an altar of Zeus, in front of which, towards the east, there were two pillars bearing

ZEUS.

golden eagles. The sacrifices offered there were kept secret. (Paus. viii. 38. § 5 ; Callim. I.e. 68.)

2. The Dodonaean Zeus (Zeus aw§wj/cuos or fleAatryt/cos) possessed the most ancient oracle in Greece, at Dodona in Epeirus, near mount Tomarus (Tmarus or Tomurus), from which he derived his name. (Horn. II. ii. 750, xvi. 233 ; Herod, ii. 52 ; Paus. i. 17. § 5 ; Strab. v. p. 338, vi. p. 504; Virg. Eclog. viii. 44.) At Dodona Zeus was mainly a prophetic god, and the baktree was sacred to him ; but there too he was said to have been reared by the Dodonaean nymphs (Hyades ; Schol. ad Horn. II. xviii. 486; Hygin. Fab. 182; Ov. Fast. vi. 711, Met. iii. 314). Respecting the Dodonaean oracle of Zeus, see Diet, of Ant. s. v. Oraculum.

3. The Cretan Zeus (Zeus aiktcuos or Kpr^ra-76*/r]s). We have already given the account of him which is contained in the Theogony of Hesiod. He is the god, to whom Rhea, concealed from Cronos, gave birth in a cave of mount Dicte, and whom she entrusted to the Curetes and the nymphs Adrasteia and Ida, the daughters of Melisseus. They fed him with milk of the goat Amaltheia, and the bees of the mountain provided him with honey. (Apollod. i. 1. § 6 ; Callim. /. c.; Diod. v. 70 ; comp. Athen. xi. 70 ; Ov. Fast. v. 115.) Crete is called the island or nurse of the great Zeus, and his worship there appears to have been very ancient. (Virg., Aen. iii. 104 ; Dionys. Perieg. 501.) Among the places in the island which were particularly sacred to the god, we must mention the district about mount Ida, especially Cnosus, which was said to have been built by the Curetes, and where Minos had ruled and conversed with Zeus (Horn. Od. xix. 172 ; Plat, de Leg. i. 1 ; Diod. v. 70 ; Strab. x. p. 730 ; Cic. de Nat. Deor. iii. 21); Gortyn, where the god, in the form of a bull, landed when he had carried off Europa from Phoenicia, and where he was worshipped under the surname of Hecatombaeus (Hesych. s. v.) ; further the towns about mount Dicte, as Lyctos (Hes. Theog. 477), Praesos, Hierapytna, Biennos, Eleuthernae and Oaxus. (Comp. Hoeck, Creta, i. p. 160, &c., 339, &c.)

4. The national Plellenic Zeus, near whose temple at Olympia in Elis, the great national panegyris was celebrated every fifth year. There too Zeus was regarded as the father and king of gods and men, and as the supreme god of the Hellenic nation, His statue there was executed by Pheidias, a few years before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war, the majestic and sublime idea for this statue having been suggested to the artist by the words of Homer, //. i. 527. (Comp. Hygin. Fab. 223.) According to the traditions of Elis, Cronos was the first ruler of the country, and in the golden age there was a temple dedicated to him at Olympia. Rhea, it is further said, entrusted the infant Zeus to the Idaean Dactyls, who were also called Curetes, and had come from mount Ida in Crete to Elis. Heracles, one of them, contended with his brother Dactyls in a footrace, and adorned the victor with a wreath of olive. In this manner he is said to have founded the Olympian games, and Zeus to have contended with Cronos for the kingdom of Elis. (Paus. v. 7. § 4.)

The Greek and Latin poets give to Zeus an immense number,of epithets and surnames, which are derived partly from the places where he was worshipped, and partly from his powers and func­tions. He was worshipped throughout Greece and

Pages
About | First

1321

1322

1323
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.