Search Results for Zeus
Zeus The son of the Titan Cronus and Titaness Rhea, Zeus is the chief of the second generation Greek gods, usually arrayed with thunderbolts and an eagle.
By the time of Homer he came to be the most powerful deity in the Greek pantheon, his main role role being the overseer of cosmic justice. As such, he protects property, receives prayers and sacrifices, and punishes transgressors.
Because he was so big, he ironically had a relative few polis festivals (i.e. city festivals) in his honor. Polis festivals were generally reserved for lesser deities presiding over a particular city, such as Athena or Apollo.
Zeus had numerous offspring with several different goddesses, the most famous being Aphrodite.
He apparently had amorous relations with his young male cup-bearer, Ganymedes.
The mythologer Robert Graves says
The Zeus-Ganymedes myth gained immense popularity in Greece and Rome because it afforded religious justification for grown man’s passionate love for a boy.
The Greek Myths, Combined edition, London: Penguin, 1992, p. 117.
According to NeoPlatonist thought, Zeus isn’t at the top of the all-time divinity charts. Instead, the NeoPlatonists lowered his status from his previous rank of King.
Zeus’ Roman equivalent is Jupiter.
» Aesculapius, Aliens and Extraterrestrials (ETs), Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Castor and Pollux, Demeter, Dionysus, Dyaus, Fates, God, Hera, Hercules, Hermes, Hesiod, Jupiter, Muses, Odin, Olympians, Orphic Mysteries, Persephone, Poseidon, Romeo and Juliet, Shapeshifter, Titans, Tyche
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Cyclops [Greek cyclops: round-eyed] – In Greek mythology, the Cyclopes are one-eyed giants, often employed as smiths and associated with volcanoes.
The cyclops appear in several ancient literature sources. In Homer‘s Odyssey, the Cyclops Polyphemus is tricked and eventually blinded by Odysseus. In anger Polyphemus tries to destroy Odysseus’ crew by tossing huge rocks at their ship during their narrow escape.
Although they have one eye, the cyclops should not be confused with the Asian idea of the “third eye” or, for that matter, with the Christian idea of the “single eye.”¹ Not to say that these ideas are identical. They’re not. The Hindu Siva, for example, burns his enemies to ashes with a heat ray that emanates from this third eye.² By way of contrast, Jesus Christ never advocates this kind of violence. Even if they’re not the same, these two images of the single eye, Hindu and Christian, do share the connotation of some kind of privileged spiritual perspective.
By way of contrast, Wikipedia says this about the cyclops:
They were giants with a single eye in the middle of their forehead and a foul disposition. According to Hesiod, they were strong, stubborn, and “abrupt of emotion”. Collectively they eventually became synonyms for brute strength and power, and their name was invoked in connection with massive masonry.³
This clearly isn’t about spiritual insight. However, the cyclops do fashion thunderbolts (as weapons) for Zeus’ purposes. But they’re just the tool makers. It’s Zeus who decides how his thunderbolts should be used in the cosmic battleground.
² Many Hindus, of course, would argue that Siva’s death ray is only aimed at the inferior deities, these symbolizing the inferior aspects of the self. An excellent book about Siva in Hindu mythology is Siva: The Erotic Ascetic by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty http://books.google.ca/books/about/Siva.html?id=dnfZ_MBErlQC&redir_esc=y
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Also known as the Dioscuri, the Greek Kastor and Polydeuces figure in classical myth. The Roman Castor and Pollux are believed to have intervened in the battle of Regillus in 484 BCE , and recent temple excavations support this claim.¹
As the twin sons of Leda, they are often honored among the pagan gods at Sparta and Rome,² and represented on horseback. As Zeus‘ child, Pollux was immortal and an outstanding boxer.
Castor was the offspring of Tyndareus, mortal and an excellent horseman. At Castor’s death, Pollux beseeched Zeus to grant Castor immortality as he could not bear the thought of separation.
Zeus transformed them both into the constellation Gemini (the Twins). They appear as St. Elmo’s Fire to aid seafarers, and appeared in the New Testament as the image on a grain ship that carried Paul from Malta to Puteoli ³ (Acts 28:11).
And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.4
¹ Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1999, p. 303.
² Maas, Georgia S.. “Castor and Pollux.” Oxford Reference. Oxford University Press. . n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195170726.001.0001/acref-9780195170726-e-217.
³ Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, 1987, p. 1024.
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In astrological belief Capricorn (December 22-January 21) [Latin caper: goat + cornu: horn] is the 10th sign of the zodiac. It’s symbolized by the Goat and associated with the planetary ruler of Saturn.
Capricorn’s astrological element is Earth. Believers maintain that Capricorn is the organizational person. Practical, regular, and at times doggedly stubborn, Capricorn’s apparently get things done and do them well. They achieve whatever they see as important, be it in battle, business or public service.
Notable Capricorns are Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Jr., Elvis Presley and the American radio host and actor Howard Stern.
In astronomy Capricornus is the Sea Goat, a large but faint constellation located between Sagittarius and Aquarius. Wikipedia outlines some of Capricorn’s ancient mythological associations:
Despite its faintness, Capricornus has one of the oldest mythological associations, having been consistently represented as a hybrid of a goat and a fish since the Middle Bronze Age. First attested in depictions on a cylinder-seal from around the 21st century BC, it was explicitly recorded in the Babylonian star catalogues as MULSUḪUR.MAŠ “The Goat-Fish” before 1000 BC. The constellation was a symbol of the god Ea and in the Early Bronze Age marked the winter solstice...
In Greek mythology, the constellation is sometimes identified as Amalthea, the goat that suckled the infant Zeus after his mother Rhea saved him from being devoured by his father Cronos (in Greek mythology). The goat’s broken horn was transformed into the cornucopia or horn of plenty. Capricornus is also sometimes identified as Pan, the god with a goat’s head, who saved himself from the monster Typhon by giving himself a fish’s tail and diving into a river. †
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The celebrated Romanian scholar of religion Mircea Eliade suggests a linguistic relation among the Indo-European noun deiwos (“sky”) and terms denoting a deity (Lat. deus, Skt. deva, Iran div as well as names of the primary gods: Dyaus, Zeus and Jupiter).
Eliade and G. Parrinder suggest that the idea of deity is usually related to transcendence and light, this often having paternal connotations—e.g. God “the Father.”
Non-Christian examples of a paternal theme relating to a deity are found in the Indian Dyauspitar, Greek Zeus Pater, Latin Jupiter, Scythian Zeus-Papaios and the Thaco-Phrygian Zeus-Pappos.
Dionysus was the Greek god of wine but with implications and influence far outreaching such a description. Son of Zeus and Semele, Dionysos was also known for his cult of frenzied followers who allegedly ate live animals and children during ecstatic orgies.
He’s been associated with the raw, natural, emotional and unconscious forces of the psyche, in contrast to the cool and orderly aspects of ego-consciousness, as personified by Apollo. He’s inspired artists (David Bowie) and philosophers (Friedrich Nietzsche) alike, with his ritual madness and ecstasy perhaps appealing to those fascinated by the outer limits of normality and living on the edge.
In contrast to benign deities like Jesus Christ and the Buddha, Dionysus didn’t take kindly to those who didn’t respect him. Myths abound where he severely punishes people, even children, for not honoring his apparently divine status.¹ Nevertheless, he’s one of the most widely represented deities in ancient art,² and was worshipped in the country and the city.
In Rome his counterpart was Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, invoked and honored at musical and dramatic functions. But there was a dark side to the Roman worship of Bacchus. When occupying Judea, the Roman authorities forces the Jews to wear ivy during the annual festival of Dionysus, and they threatened to destroy the Jewish temple and replace it with one dedicated to Dionysus if the chief priests didn’t hand over Judas Maccabeus.
¹ For instance, in the Homeric Hymn 7 he turns a ship full of pirates into dolphins for not recognizing his divinity. See Susan Guettel Cole “Dionysus” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Ed. Michael Gagarin. © Oxford University Press 2010. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Toronto Public Library. 13 August 2012 http://www.oxford-greecerome.com/entry?entry=t294.e384
² The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1999, pp. 479-483.
³ The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, 1987, p. 284.
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Diana (Greek equivalent = Artemis) was a Roman goddess worshipped by the plebeians, the so-called lower classes of ancient Rome. G. Parrinder says Diana’s name may have meant “bright one” like the Indic Dyaus and Greek Zeus. Diana may have been revered as a moon goddess but was primarily a goddess of women, the wood, wilderness and the hunt.
Widely worshipped in the ancient world, her primary centers of worship were as follows:
King Servius Tullius (578-535 BCE) dedicated a temple to her on the Aventine Hill at Rome. She was also worshipped at Aricia (in the crater of a dead volcano about 10 miles from Rome), and at the mountainous Tifata. And the Romans converted a Greek temple at the Asian port of Ephesus, formerly dedicated to Artemis, for Diana’s worship.
That she was favored by women is evidenced by the fact that religious processions of women bore torches in her honour at Aricia¹ and votive offerings were made for successful childbirth. She was also favored by slaves, making her a patroness of many marginalized peoples.
The Roman Emperor Augustus decided that he’d make Diana the patroness of his wife Livia and his daughter Julia to counterbalance his own egotistical identification with the god Apollo.²
Associated with the woodlands as well as the moon, the celebrated mythographer, Sir J. G. Frazer, writes in The Golden Bough that Diana had a sacred grove of oak trees at Lake Nemi, just outside of Rome at Aricia. The resident priest of the grove usually was an escaped slave who served as Diana’s consort. Priestly succession was determined by the outcome of a deadly challenge made by another escaped slave, these new rivals generally coming from the city.
In order to obtain the right of combat the challenger first had to break off a bough of mistletoe from within the grove. If the challenger obtained the mistletoe without being killed by the residing priest, ritual combat would ensue. If the challenger won this “religious” fight to the death, he replaced the slain priest and found himself in the same uneasy spot as his predecessor.
Diana’s renown is recorded in Acts 19: 23-41, in which the King James version of the Bible calls the Greek goddess Artemis “Diana.” In this story St. Paul turns many away from Artemis through his preaching about Jesus at Ephesus. As a result, the converts stop buying small terra cotta and silver images of Artemis. In turn, some of the townsfolk become angry and denounce Paul.
A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”³
The writer on women’s myth, Barbara Walker, says that Diana was declared evil and denounced by 14th century Christian Inquisitors.
¹ The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1999, p. 463.
² (a) C. M. C. Green “Diana” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Ed. Michael Gagarin. © Oxford University Press 2010. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Toronto Public Library. 3 August 2012 http://www.oxford-greecerome.com/entry?entry=t294.e369
(b) C. G. Jung and Joseph Campbell talk about this dynamic, generally regarded in depth psychology as “inflation.” Campbell, however, adds a few interesting nuances to the idea or, at least, puts some of the complexities of Jung’s depth psychology into easily understandable terms.
³ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+19%3A23-41&version=NIV See also, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, 1996, p. 88.
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Demeter was an influential mother and corn goddess with temples in virtually every ancient Greek city. She had a major temple at the town of Eleusis (about 10 miles from Athens). Her daughter by Zeus is Persephone or Kore (“the Girl”), who also personifies corn. Together, Demeter and Persephone are deities of agriculture and growth.
Demeter is usually depicted holding sheaves of corn. The oldest myth about Demeter is found in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which links her to the Eleusinian Mysteries. In this hymn Persephone/Kore is abducted by Hades to the underworld.
As the corn crop suffers in her daughter’s absence, Demeter searches for Persephone/Kore until Zeus decrees that she must spend one part of the year with Demeter and another part with Hades.
Hades…gave Persephone a pomegranate seed to eat, and because she had tasted food in the Underworld she was compelled to spend a third part of every year there, returning to earth in spring.¹
This is often cited as an example of how storytellers mythologize the natural cycles of seed-time, vegetation, harvest and the subsequent storage in underground containers. Demeter is also portrayed as sorrowful because of Persephone/Kore’s sad fate.
In Italy Demeter is often identified with Ceres.
¹ Nicholas J. Richardson, Demeter in The Oxford Classical Dictionary © Oxford University Press 1996, 2000.
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The Greek Fates or Moirae were three goddesses in charge of the destiny of human beings from birth to death.
Clotho spun the thread of a person’s life. Lachesis determined the length of the thread (one’s lifespan). And Atropos clipped the thread at the time of a person’s death.
Although other Greek gods were immortal, they too feared the Fates. The gods often favored heroic or noble human beings and had to appease or bargain with the Fates to deliver someone from the underworld.
Fortune tellers acted as mediums for the Fates. Normally depicted as ugly old hags, some mythic stories say the Fates were born of Zeus and the Titaness Themis (representing justice) but no unified opinion exists as to their origin.
They were called Parcae by the Romans, who incorporated many Greek core ideas into their religion.
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- Greco roman glossary (slideshare.net)
There are at least three main and possibly interrelated ways of conceptualizing God, as well as three main ways of relating to the deity.
First, in monotheism, God is generally seen as an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good transcendent but immanent (God dwells in creation but is also beyond it) being that created and rules over all of creation (e.g. Christianity, Judaism and Islam).
Some non-Catholics say that the Catholic saints degrade Christianity with a form of polytheism. But this is a misunderstanding. Catholic saints mediate through contemplative prayer, not unlike people living on Earth who pray for one another.
Also, some say the Christian Holy Trinity is polytheistic. But this, too, is a misrepresentation because Christians generally agree that the three persons of the Trinity share a unity of substance which is One.
Meanwhile, some say that the Hindu gods and goddesses are polytheistic. But most Hindus point out that they are manifestations of the Brahman, an unmanifest ground of All That Is.
The third main way of conceptualizing God is expressed in naturalistic pantheism. Here, the forces of nature (and usually the cosmos) are identified with God. Some believe that monotheism and polytheism may coexist within a hierarchy of value. On the individual experiential level, that would mean progressing through a belief in The Many to discovering a (usually described as higher) level of monotheistic worship.
Relating to God
The monotheistic approach to relating to God is aptly described by the Jewish theologian Martin Buber as an I-Thou relationship. This is experienced as a
- feeling of awe
- healthy fear of offending the deity
- keen sense of personal humility
Another way of relating to the deity is seeing oneself as potentially identical to God. This second way is divided into three types:
A third way of relating to God is more about phenomenology, that is, about a person’s unique experience. Michel Henry (1922–2002), for instance, talks about God as the “essence of Life” experienced by the individual. His view of God doesn’t go much beyond that because phenomenologists believe we can’t really know much (if anything) beyond ourselves.
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