ch 6-Olympian family of Zeus

ch 6-Olympian family of Zeus - CHAPTER 6 THE OLYMPIAN...

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CHAPTER 6 THE OLYMPIAN FAMILY OF ZEUS: SHARING RULE OF THE UNIVERSE MAIN POINTS 1. Homer and Hesiod established for the Greeks the character and functions of the gods. We learn about the deities’ physical attributes from Archaic and Classical visual art. 2. Some of the deities (Aphrodite, Artemis, Poseidon, and Hermes), who had been independently powerful even into Mycenaean times, were transformed, with the passage of time, into the siblings or children of Zeus and thus subordinated to him. 3. According to Homer, Zeus and his two brothers divided the world by casting lots. Zeus received the sky, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the Underworld. As Hesiod’s firm focus, however, is on Zeus’s progress to lordship, so in his poem the division of the universe among the three brothers belongs to Zeus alone. 4. Zeus’s reign, unlike previous ones, was characterized by lasting order and stability. Despite occasional temporary opposition, he is able to maintain his position by giving each Olympian the power of independent governance in his or her own sphere. 5. Greek gods could have been organized in any number of ways. That the Greeks conceived of them as being members of a family is significant, as Zeus’s power over the family unit was extensive but neither unlimited nor unchallenged. 6. Arrangement of cosmic rulers in a diverse family of divine personalities both projected Greek human social hierarchies onto Olympus and helped explain the human experience of contradictions and oppositions in life. 7. The children of Cronus and Rhea (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia) are depicted as having physically mature, perfect human forms. 8. Zeus is King of Heaven, the champion of justice, sworn oaths, and lawful order. He is also a sky god, the god who gathers clouds and creates storms. NOTE: There is linguistic evidence that many of the European, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures share a common ancestral culture. The ancient, Proto-Indo-European people whose territories have not been established firmly because of conflicting archaeological and linguistic evidence, but who may have occupied areas between the Danube and the Volga Rivers, north of the Caucasus mountain range, have supplied common words to Indo- European languages all the way from Ireland to Chinese Turkestan. The Proto-Indo- European words for “one-two-three” are “oinos-duwo-treyes”; “brother” is “bhrater,” “sky” is “dyeus,” and “father” is “pater.” From this last constellation of words (sky-father) come the names of Zeus and Jupiter. However, linguists warn that we can’t assume that gods have had the same roles in the ancient Indo-European culture as they had later in the Mediterranean area. Today, English and Spanish are the most common Indo-European languages in the world; the most ancient Indo-European language still spoken is thought to be Romany, the language of the Gypsies. 9.
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ch 6-Olympian family of Zeus - CHAPTER 6 THE OLYMPIAN...

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