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ZEUS 100.00%
The greatest god in the Greek mythology; according to the common legend the eldest son of Cronus (Kronos) and Rhea, hence called Cronides. According to a myth indigenous to Crete, he was the youngest son, and Rhea in dread of Cronus who had swallowed all is previous children, bore him secretly in a cave of the island, where he was suckled by the goat Amalthea (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, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, he had over-thrown 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, but in a subordinate position, stands, as queen of the gods, his sister and consort Hera, the mother of Ares, Hephaestus, and Hebe, who was regarded as pre-eminently his rightful wife. Not incompatible with this however was the idea that the marriage with Hera was the earliest of a series of marriages with other goddesses: first, according to Hosiod, 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 Eurynome, the mother of the Graces; Demeter, the mother of Persephone; Mnemoysene, 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 Alemene, 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 eges, 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 irresiptible lightning. As by the shaking of his oegis (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 of the seasons also proceed from him as the father of the Hours. As the supreme lord of heaven, he was worshipped under the name of Olympian Zeus in many parts of Greece, but especially in Olympia, where the Olympian games (q.v.) were celebrated in his honour. The cult of Zeus at the ancient seat of the oracle at Dodona recognised his character as dispenser of the fertilizing dew. Among the numerous mountain-cults in the Peloponnesus, the oldest and most original was that of the Lycaean Zeus, on Mount Lycaeus in Arcadia, where human beings were actually sacrificed to him in propitiation. (See LYCAeA.) In Attica, again, many festivals refer to the god as a personification of the powers of nature. Various rites of purification and expiation were observed in his honour as the god of wrath (Gr. Maimaktes), in the month Maemacterion (Nov.-Dec.) at the beginning of the winter storms; while towards the end of winter he was worshipped as the gracious god (Gr. Meilichios) at the festival of the Diasia (q.v.). Among the islands, Rhodes and Crete were the principal seats of the worship of the sky-god; not only his birth but also his death was there celebrated, and even his grave was shown, in accordance with the widely spread notion that the annual death of Nature in winter was the death of the god. In Asia, the summit of Mount Ida in the Troad was especially and beyond all other places sacred to Zeus. As he presides over the gods and the whole of nature, so also is be the ruler of men, who all stand in need of his help, and to whom, according to Homer, he weighs out their destinies on golden scales [IL. viii 69, xxii 209], and distributes good and evil out of the two jars which stand in his palace, filled the one with good and the other with evil gifts [xxiv 527]. But his natural attributes are goodness and love; hence Homer calls him "the father of gods and men." He gives to all things a good beginning and a good end: he is the saviour in all distress: to Zeus the saviour (Gr. soter) it was customary to drink the third cup at a meal, and in Athens to sacrifice on the last day of the year. From him comes everything good, noble, and strong, and also bodily vigour and valour, which were exhibited in his honour, particularly at the Olympian and Nemean games. He is also the giver of victory; indeed the goddess of victory (see NICE), and her brothers and sister, Force, Might, and Strife (Gr. Bia, Krotos, Zelos), are his constant companions. From him, as ruler of the world, proceed those universal laws which regulate the course of all things, and he knows and sees, everything, the future as well as the past. Hence all revelation comes in the first instance from him. At times he himself announces to mortals his hidden counsels by manifold signs, thunder and lightning and other portents in the sky, by birds, especially the eagle, which was sacred to him, by prophetic voices (see MANTIKE), and special oracles. (See DODONA and AMMON.) At times he makes use of other deities for this purpose, chiefly of his son Apollo, through whose mouth he speaks at Delphi in particular. Thus the course of the world is ordained by him; he is the author and preserver of all order in the life of men. In conjunction with Themis, Dike, and Nemesis, he watches over justice and truth, the foundations of human society; in particular he is the special god who guards the sanctity of the oath; he is also the avenger of perjury, the keeper of boundaries and of property, the defender of the laws of hospitality and the rights of the suppliant. But nevertheless to him who has offended against the laws of human life, Zeus, as the supreme god of atonement, offers the power of expiating his guilt by rites of purification. As he presides over the family and community of the gods, so also he is the chief patron of the family and of all communal life. In the former relation he was especially worshipped in all branches of the family as protector of house and home (Gr. herkeios), and defender of the domestic hearth (ephestios): in the latter, as the shield of the State, e.g. in Athens at the Diipolid (q.v.); as director of the popular assembly and of the council; as the god of covenants; as the source of kingship, whose, symbol, the sceptre, was traced back to him. From him also proceed both national and personal freedom; hence a sanctuary was dedicated at Athens by freedmen to Zeus the Liberator (eleutherios); and after the battle of Plataea a thanksgiving festival, Eleutheria, was instituted by the allied Greeks, which was still celebrated by the Plataeans in Roman times, and attended by deputies from the other states. Zeus is to the Greeks--as Jupiter (q.v.), who in his principal characteristics exactly corresponds to him, is to the Romans,--the essence of all divine power. No deity received such wide-spread worship; all the others were in the popular belief, subordinated to him at a greater or less distance. The active operations of most of the gods appear only as an outcome of his being, particularly those of his children, among whom the nearest to him are Athene and Apollo, his favourites, who often seem to be joined with their father in the highest union. The eagle and the oak were sacred to Zeus; the eagle, together with the sceptre and the lightning, is also one of his customary attributes. The most famous statue of Zeus in antiquity was that executed by Phidias in gold and ivory for the temple at Olympia. It represented the enthroned Olympian god, with a divine expression of the highest dignity, and at the same time with the benevolent mildness of the deity who graciously listens to prayer. The figure of the seated god was about forty feet high; and since the base was as high as twelve feet, the statue almost touched with its crown the roof of the temple, so as to call forth in the spectator the feeling that no earthly dwelling would be adequate for such a divinity. The bearded head was ornamented with a wreath of olive leaves, the victor's prize at Olympia. The upper part of the body, made of ivory, was naked, the lower part was wrapped in a golden mantle falling from the hips to the feet, which, adorned with golden sandals, rested on a footstool. Beside this lay golden lions. The right hand bore the goddess of victory, the left the sceptre, surmounted by an eagle. Like the base, and the whole space around, the seat of the throne was decorated with various works of art. It was supported by figures of the goddess of victory; and on the back of the throne, which rose above the head of the god, were represented the hovering forms of the Hours and the Graces [Pausanias, v 11; Strabo, p. 353]. This statue was the model for most of the later representatives of Zeus. Among those that are extant the well-known bust of Zeus (fig. 1) found at Otricoli (the ancient Ocriculum in Umbria) and now in the Vatican Museum, is supposed (as well as some others) to be an imitation of the great work of Phidias. In the most direct relation to the latter stand the figures of Zeus on the coins of Elis (fig. 2). Among the standing statues of Zeus the most famous was the bronze colossus, forty cubits (or sixty feet) high, by Lysippus at Tarentum [Pliny, N. H. xxxiv 40].
DIONE 96.73%
In Greek mythology, the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, or, according to another account, of UrInus and Gaia. By Zeus she was mother of Aphrodite, who was herself called Dione. At Dodona she was worshipped in Hera's place as the wife of Zeus. Her name, indeed, expresses in a feminine form the attributes of Zeus, just as the Latin Juno does those of Jupiter, When the oracle of Dodona lost its former importance, Dione was eclipsed by Hera as the wife of Zeus, and came to be regarded as a nymph of Dodona.
The son of Tros, king of Dardania, brother of Ilus and Assaracus. According to Homer he was carried away by the gods for his beauty, to be the cup-bearer of Zeus, and one of the immortals. In the later legend he is carried away by Zeus himself in the shape of an eagle, or by the eagle of Zeus. To make amends to his father, Zeus presented him with four immortal horses for his chariot. Ganymedes was afterwards regarded as the genius of the sources of the Nile, and the astronomers made him into the constellation Aquarius. The rape of Ganymede was represented in a group by the sculptor Leochares (see LEOCHARES ).
According to Homer, son of Zeus and Laodamia and grandson of Belleroplion; like his cousin Glaucus (q.v., 4), a prince of the Lycians and ally of Priam. At the storming of the Greek camp he, in company with Glaucus, was the first upon the enemy's wall; on his falling by the hand of Patroclus, a fearful battle arose over his body, until Apollo, by the command of Zeus, rescued the disfigured corpse from the Greeks, and, after washing it and anointing it with ambrosia, had it carried through the air to Lycia by the twin brothers Sleep and Death [Homer, xvi 419-683]. Later writers describe him as a son of Zeus and Europa, and brother of Minos; driven out by the latter, he won for himself a lordship in Lycia, and lived there by the favour of Zeus for three generations.
SEMELE 79.79%
Daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia, beloved of Zeus. Hera, jealous of her, took the form of her nurse Beroe, and induced her to obtain of Zeus a solemn promise to fulfil her wish, and then to request him to show himself to her in all his divine splendour. When Zeus appeared amid thunder and lightning, Semele was consumed by the flames, and, dying, gave birth to a six months' child, Dionysus, whom Zeus saved from the fire and hid in his thigh till the due time of birth. Her son, on being made a god, raised her up from the world below, and set her in the heavens under the name of Thyone. See DIONYSUS; and for Dionysus and Semele see MIRRORS.
ARCAS 79.19%
Son of Zeus by the nymph Callisto, and ancestor of the Arcadians, who was translated to the sky by Zeus as Arcturus - Watcher of the Bear. (See CALLISTO.)
DIASIA 77.15%
A festival of atonement held by the whole population of Attica, on the 23rd of Anthesterion (February to March), to Zeus Meilichios (the Zeus of propitiatory offerings). The offerings were bloodless, and consisted chiefly of cakes.
SOTER 76.09%
An epithet of several Greek gods (e.g. of Zeus), [and also of several kings, e.g. Ptolemy I, king of Egypt].
HERA 75.11%
In Greek mythology, the queen of heaven, eldest daughter of Cronus and Rhea, sister and lawful consort of Zeus. According to Homer, she was brought up in her youth by Oceanus and Tethys. But every place in which her worship was localized asserted that she was born there, and brought up by the Nymphs of the district. She is said to have long lived in secret intimacy with Zeus, before he publicly acknowledged her as his lawful consort. Her worshippers celebrated her marriage in the spring time. In the oldest version of the story it took place in the Islands of the Blessed, on the shore of the Ocean stream, where the golden apple tree of the Hesperides sprang up to celebrate it. But this honour, too, was claimed by every place where Hera was worshipped. According to one local story, Zeus obtained the love of Hera by stealth, in the form of a cuckoo. Hera seems originally to have symbolised the feminine aspects of the natural forces of which Zeus is the masculine representative. Hence she is at once his wife and his sister, shares his power and his honours, and, like him, has authority over the phenomena of the atmosphere. It is she who sends clouds and storms, and is mistress of the thunder and the lightning. Her handmaids are the Horae or goddesses of the season, and Iris, the goddess of the rainbow. Like Zeus, men worship her on mountains, and pray to her for rain. The union of sun and rain, which wakes the earth to renewed fertility, is symbolised as the loving union of Zeus and Hera. In the same way a conflict of the winds is represented as the consequence of a matrimonial quarrel, usually attributed to the jealousy of Hera, who was regarded as the stern protectress of honourable marriage. Hence arose stories of Zeus ill-treating his wife. It was said that he scourged her, and hurled Hephaestus from heaven to earth when hurrying to his mother's assistance; that in anger for her persecution of his son Heracles, he hung her out in the air with golden chains to her arms and an anvil on each foot. There were also old stories which spoke of Hera allying herself with Athene and Poseidon to bind Zeus in chains. Zeus was only rescued by the Giant Aegaeon, whom Thetis called to his assistance. The birth of Athene was said to have enraged Hera to such a pitch that she became the mother of Typhon by the dark powers of the infernal regions. In fact, this constant resistance to the will of Zeus, and her jealousy and hatred of her consort's paramours and their children, especially Heracles, becomes in the poets a standing trait in her character. In spite of all this, Homer represents her as the most majestic of all the goddesses. The other Olympians pay her royal honours, and Zeus treats her with all respect and confides all his designs to her, though not always yielding to her demands. She is the spotless and uncorruptible wife of the King of Heaven; the mother of Hephaestus, Ares, Hebe, and Ilithyia, and indeed may be called the only lawful wife in the Olympian court. She is, accordingly, before all other deities the goddess of marriage and the protectress of purity in married life. She is represented as of exalted but severe beauty, and appears before Paris as competing with Aphrodite and Athene for the prize of loveliness. In Homer she is described as of lofty stature, large eyes, white arms, and beautiful hair. On women she confers bloom and strength; she helps them, too, in the dangerous hour of child-birth. Her daughters Hebe and Ilithyia personify both these attributes. In earlier times Hera was not everywhere recognised as the consort of Zeus; at the primitive oracle of Dodona, for instance, Dione occupies this position. The Peloponnesus may be regarded as the earliest seat of her worship, and in the Peloponnesus, during the Homeric period, Argos, Mycenae, and Sparta are her favourite seats. Of these, according to the poet, she is the passionate champion in the Trojan War. In later times the worship of Hera was strongly localized in Argos and Mycenae. At Argos she took the same commanding position as Athene at Athens, and the year was dated by the names of her priestesses. Between these cities was situated the Heraeum (Heraion), a temple held in great honour (see HERAeA). At Corinth she was the goddess of the stronghold. At Elis a garment was offered her every five years by sixteen ladies chosen for the purpose, and the maidens held a race in her honour on the race-course at Olympia. Baeotia had its feast of the Daedala (see DAeDALA); Samos its large and splendid temple, built by the famous Polycrates. The cuckoo was sacred to her as the messenger of spring, the season in which she was wedded to Zeus; so were the peacock and the crow, and among fruits the pomegranate, the symbol of wedded love and fruitfulness. Hecatombs were offered to her in sacrifice, as to Zeus. In works of art she is represented as seated on a throne in a full robe, covering the whole figure. On her head is a sort of diadem, often with a veil; the expression of the face is severe and majestic, the eyes large and wide open, as in the Homeric description. The ideal type of Hera was found in the statue by Polyclitus in the temple at Argos. This was a colossal image, in gold and ivory, representing the goddess on her throne, her crown adorned with figures of the Graces and the Seasons, a pomegranate in one hand, and in the other a sceptre with the cuckoo on the top. The Farnese Juno at Naples, and the Ludovisi Juno in Rome, are copies of this work (see figs. 1 and 2). The Romans identified Hera with their own Juno. (See JUNO.)
IXION 71.65%
Son of Phlegyas (or of Ares), and king of the Lapithae. By Dia he was the father of Pirithae (who, according to Homer, however, was a son of Zeus). He attempted to withhold from his father-in-law, Deloneus, the bridal gifts he had promised. Deloneus accordingly detained the horses of Ixion. The latter invited him to his house and threw him into a pit filled with fire. When Zeus not only purified him from this murder, but even invited him to the table of the gods, he became arrogant and insolent, and even sought to win the love of Hera. Zeus thereupon formed of the clouds a phantom resembling Hera, and by it Ixion became the father of the Centaurs. On his boasting of the favours he imagined the goddess to have granted him, Zeus caused him to be punished for this crime by being fastened to a wheel, on which he was to turn in terror for evermore in the world below.
ELECTRA 71.32%
One of the Pleiades, the mother (by Zeus) of Dardanus, ancestor of the royal house of Troy.
PLUTUS 69.58%
The Greek personification of riches; born in Crete as the son of Demeter and her beloved Iasion or Iasius, whom Zeus out of jealousy killed with lightning. He was supposed to have been blinded by Zeus, because he distributes his gifts without choice. In Thebes and Athens he was represented as a child on the arm of Tyche and of Eirene (q.v., with cut).
A nymph, the daughter of the Arcadian Lycaon, and a companion of Artemis. She became, by Zeus, the mother of Arcas, the ancestor of the Arcadians. She was'turned into a bear, according to one account by the jealous Hera, according to another by Zeus, who was anxious to protect her from Hera's wrath. In this shape she was slain by Artemis, and set among the constellations by Zeus under the title of the She-Bear. There was another story, according to which Callisto's son was intending to slay his transformed mother while hunting; upon which Zeus set him in the sky under the name of Arcturus (Arktouros), the Watcher of the Bear, and his mother under the name of Arctus (Arktos), the She-Bear. As the stars bearing these names never set, Homer describes them as the only ones which have no share in the bath of the ocean. Later poets, accordingly, invented the further story that Tethys, wishing to gratify Hera, refused to receive her former rival into her waters.
EUROPE 65.86%
A figure in Greek mythology. In Homer she is the daughter of Phoenix, in the later story of the Phoenician Agenor, and sister of Cadmus. Zeus, in the shape of a bull, carried her over the sea to Crete, where she bore him Minos, Rhadamanthys, and according to the later legend, Sarpedon also. Zeus left her with Asterion, king of Crete, who brought up her sons and left them his kingdom. She was worshipped in Crete under the name of Hellotis, especially at Gortyn, where she was supposed to have been wedded with Zeus, and to have borne him her sons. A festival called Hellotia was held in her honour, at which her bones were carried in a wreath of myrtle.
AEGINA 64.54%
a nymph, daughter of the rivergod Asopus, and, by Zeus, mother of Aeacus (q.v.).
AEGIS 62.23%
The storm-cloud and thunder-cloud of Zeus, imagined in Homer as a shield forged by Hephaestus, blazing brightly and fringed with tassels of gold, in its centre the awe-inspiring Gorgon's head. When Zeus shakes the aegis, it thunders and lightens, and horror and perdition fall upon those against whom it is lifted. It is borne not only by Zeus "the Aegis-bearer," but by his daughter Athena, and occasionally by Apollo. As the same word means a goatskin, it was explained in later times as the skin of the goat which had suckled Zeus in his infancy. At the bidding of the oracle, he drew it over his thunder-shield in the contest with the Giants, and fastened on it the Gorgon's head. When the aegis became a standing attribute of Athena, it was represented as a skin either shaggy or scaly, with a fringe of snakes and the Gorgon's head in the middle, and either serving the goddess as a breastplate, or hanging behind to screen the back and shoulders, or fastened like a shield on the left arm.
NICE 59.69%
The Greek goddess of victory, according to Hesiod, daughter of Pallas and Styx, by whom she was brought to Zeus to assist him in his struggle with the Titans: thenceforward she remains always with Zeus on Olympus. Sculptors often represent her in connexion with divinities who grant victory: thus the Olympian Zeus and the Athene on the Acropolis at Athens held in one hand a statue of Nice. (See ZEUS, fig. 2; and, for another Nice, cp. PAeONIUS.) She was generally represented as winged and with a wreath and a palm-branch. As herald of victory she also has the wand of Hermes. This mode of representing her was adopted for the statues of the goddess specially revered by the Romans under the name Victoria. Vica Pota ("Victorious Issue") was an earlier designation of the same goddess. Such statues were erected chiefly on the Capitol by triumphant generals. The most famous was the statue [brought from Tarentum and therefore probably the work of a Greek artist] which Augustus dedicated to her in the Curia Iulia, in memory of his victory at Actium. When the Curia Iulia had been destroyed by fire in the reign of Titus and rebuilt by Domitian, the statue was Paced in the new building, and was adored as the guardian goddess of the senate until Christianity became the religion of the empire.
CRONUS 58.88%
In Greek mythology, the youngest son of Uranus and Gaea, who mutilated and overthrew his father, and, with the assistance of his kinsfolk the Titans, made himself sovereign of the world. He took his sister Rhea to wife, and became by her father of Hestia, Demeterr, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus. But his mother prophesied that one of his children would overthrow him. He accordingly swallowed them all except Zeus, whom Rhea saved by a stratagem. Zeus, when grown tip, obtained the assistance of the Ocean-nymph Thetis in making Cronus disgorge his children, and then, with the help of his kinsfolk, overpowered Cronus and the Titans. According to one version of the fable, Cronus was imprisoned in Tartarus with the Titans; according to another, he was reconciled with Zeus, and reigned with Rhadamanthys on the Islands of the Blessed. Cronus seems originally to have been a god of the harvest; whence it happens that in many parts of Greece the harvest month was called Cronion. His name being easily confused with that of Chronos ("Time"), he was afterwards erroneously regarded as the god of time. In works of art he was represented as an old man with a mantle drawn over the back of his head, and holding a sickle in his hand. The Romans identified him with Saturnus, their god of sowing (see SATURNUS).
LEDA 57.44%
Daughter of Thestius, and sister of Althaea, and wife of Tyndareos. According to Homer it was by Tyndareos, that she became the mother of Castor and Pollux (Polydeuces), and also of Clytaemnestra, while Helen was her daughter by Zeus. Generally, however, Helen and Pollux are described as children of Zeus, Clytaemnestra and Castor as those of Tyndareos. According to the later story, Zeus approached Leda in the shape of a swan, and she brought forth two eggs, out of one of which sprang Helen, and out of the other Castor and Pollux.
LAERTES 56.70%
King of Ithaca, and son of Arcisius, a son of Zeus. He was the husband of Anticleia and father of Odysseus (q.v.).
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