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date: 19 April 2024



  • Fritz Graf


Zeus, the main divinity of the Greek pantheon (see olympian gods; religion, greek) and the only major Greek god whose *Indo-European origin is undisputed. His name is connected with Latin Iu-p̣-piter, Rigveda Dyaus pitar, derived from the root †diéu-, ‘day (as opposed to night)’ (Lat. dies), (clear) sky’; as the Rigveda and Latin parallels suggest, his role as father, not in a theogonical or anthropogonical sense, but as having the power of a father in a patriarchal system, is Indo-European too. Thus in *Homer, Zeus is both πατήρ, ‘father’, and ἄναξ, ‘king’ or ‘lord’. His cult is attested in bronze-age Greece (see religion, minoan and mycenaean); the Linear B texts (see mycenaean language) attest several sanctuaries (*Pylos, Chania) and, at Minoan Cnossus, a month name or a festival, if in fact the Mycenaean names of months derive from festivals (KN Fp 5, 1). Another Cnossian text attests the epiclesis Dictaeus, Zeus of Mt. Dicte (KN Fp 1, 2), which remained an important place of cult in the first millennium. A text from Chania gives a common cult of Zeus and *Dionysus, a Pylos text (PY Tn 316, 8–10) one of Zeus, *Hera, and (a figure later unknown) Drimios son of Zeus, which suggests Hera as the consort of Zeus, as in later mythology.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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