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date: 26 September 2023



  • H. S. Versnel


Theos Is the common word denoting a god, especially one of the great gods (see olympian gods). Although often referring to an individual deity in his anthropomorphic representation, the term is rarely used to address a god: no vocative exists. The term is often used instead of the proper name of a god, e.g. when the god's name is under certain restrictions or reserved for direct dealings with the deity, as in the mysteries: τὼ θεώ is the normal expression there for *Demeter and Kore (*Persephone), ὁ θεός and ἡ θεά are Pluto (*Hades) and Persephone. It is also employed when identification of an individual god is precarious, for instance in the case of an *epiphany or vision, or as a comprehensive reference to any inarticulate, anonymous divine operator (θεός τις, θεοί: ‘some god’, ‘the gods’); it alternates in Homer with δαίμων (*daimōn) to denote some unidentifiable divine operator.


  • Roman Myth and Religion

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