List of Ancient Greek temples
List of Ancient Greek temples (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zeus is the son of the Titan Cronus and Titaness Rhea. He is the chief of the second generation Greek gods, and is usually arrayed with thunderbolts and an eagle.

By the time of Homer he became most powerful deity in the Greek pantheon. As an overseer of cosmic justice, he protects property, receives prayers and sacrifices, and punishes transgressors.

Because he was so influential, he ironically had a relative few polis (city) festivals in his honor. Polis festivals were generally reserved for lesser deities, like Athena or Apollo, who presided over a particular city.

Zeus had many offspring with several different goddesses, his most famous partner being Aphrodite. Also, 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.¹

Zeus (Crop)
Zeus (Crop) (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

According to NeoPlatonist thought, Zeus doesn’t sit at the top of the all-time divinity charts. Instead, the NeoPlatonists lowered his rank from his previous status as King.

Zeus’ Roman equivalent is Jupiter. Many scholars agree that the name Zeus has deep roots extending back into Vedic India. But they rarely suggest that the Greek form could radically differ from the Vedic form. This Wikipedia entry, for example, says “The god is known,” which arguably implies equivalence instead of potential difference. And that’s a real problem with academic studies of religion. The possibility of experiential difference is often ruled out (or simply ignored) among different religions and/or religious developments.

The god’s name in the nominative is Ζεύς Zeús /zdeús/. It is inflected as follows: vocative: Ζεῦ / Zeû; accusative: Δία / Día; genitive: Διός / Diós; dative: Διί / Dií. Diogenes Laertius quotes Pherecydes of Syros as spelling the name, Ζάς.[10]

Zeus is the Greek continuation of *Di̯ēus, the name of the Proto-Indo-European god of the daytime sky, also called *Dyeus ph2tēr (“Sky Father”).[11] The god is known under this name in the Rigveda (Vedic Sanskrit Dyaus/Dyaus Pita), Latin (compare Jupiter, from Iuppiter, deriving from the Proto-Indo-European vocative *dyeu-ph2tēr),[12] deriving from the root *dyeu– (“to shine”, and in its many derivatives, “sky, heaven, god”).[11] Zeus is the only deity in the Olympic pantheon whose name has such a transparent Indo-European etymology.[13]

The earliest attested forms of the name are the Mycenaean Greek , di-we and, di-wo, written in the Linear B syllabic script.[14]

¹ The Greek Myths, Combined edition, London: Penguin, 1992, p. 117.

Related Posts » Aesculapius, Aliens and Extraterrestrials (ETs), Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Castor and Pollux, Demeter, Dionysus, Dyaus, Fates, Hera, Hercules, Hermes, Hesiod, Jupiter, Muses, Odin, Olympians, Orphic Mysteries, Persephone, Poseidon, Shapeshifter, Titans, Tyche



  1. First, thank you for connecting to Spirit’s I Ching way – “Yesterday marries tomorrow…”
    Now, with Zeus. I am impressed (no big deal, eh?) with your seeming insistence on emphasizing “experiential differences” between religions. That surely has to be the major (and perhaps only) purpose of different religions existing at all. Awareness of this reality would dissolve contemptuous tolerance. Even two people experiencing the same religious reality are necessarily going to experience it differently. At least during this lifetime I do not expect to be able to completely share anyone’s (not even my Spirit teacher – perhaps least of all, His) essence. Why did I use that word. Spirit is a trickster. I give up. Perhaps our unique blend of personality traits and intellectual and emotional capacities all do, eventually, dissolve into one. But, it would have to be a one comprised on countless individual potentials. ‘my train of thought, again.
    The best of luck with your blog. I love it.


    • Interesting, Jean. Thanks for your comments and ideas. The way I tend to view it is like this. We basically have an essence and lots of other personality stuff… be it ancestral, genetic, learned, acquired, mimicked, influenced by… etc. All or perhaps most of those factors may come into play with regard to how essence relates to spirit. And yes, I do believe in different types of spirit (Jungian and general academic term = numinosity).

      Whether or not each and every essence will ultimately connect with the best type of spirit/numinosity, I’m not sure. I would hope so, though. Now… what do I mean by “best”? Another topic for discussion… 🙂


      • Thank you Earthpages, for your intelligent response. Perhaps, in this world of relativity, there can be no “best”. Perhaps there can also be no “better than” except as a personal choice. Who can know why others choose what and how they do; the path of least resistance, low self-esteem, apathy, or …
        Life is so interesting, eh?


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