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My notes on Khthonic Zeus, part 1

November 2, 2011

Taken from the previously mentioned Propitiation of Zeus by Joseph William Hewitt (1908).

  • a Propitiatory Sacrifice is:
    • one offered to avert harm from fields and crops
    • offered to avert any ill
    • any time a human is offered up for sacrifice (which I refuse to cover because it is a disgusting practice no matter who does it or for what reason.  It is all well and fine to have it in myth but I have no interest in covering what may have happened in reality.  Often these sacrifices were carry overs from very old religious rites.)
    • offered for purposes of purification
  • a Khthonic being is any being supposed to dwell beneath the earth’s surface, whether as gods of the dead, gods of agriculture, dead mortals or heroes.
  • Zeus Meilikios (Gracious/Merciful)
    • greatest festival was the Diasia celebrated in Athens 22/23 of Anthesterion (Feb/March).
      • this is the season when weather was most apt to injure grain, vine, fig and olive
      • celebrated “with shuddering”, called apophras emera (ominous day)
      • the month of February is when the ancient Greeks sacrificed to those under the earth, gods and the dead
    • received pigs (a typical khthonic offering) or black rams by holocaust (the sacrifice was completely burned).
      • pigs also offered to:  Demeter, Kore, Eubuleus, Aesculapius, Moira, Nemesis, Apollo Carneus, Poseidon, Dionysos Scyilites, Korotophos, Artemis Koryphallia, Aphrodite Kastnitis, Artemis Laphria, Hestia, Athene Hellotis, Athene Soteria, Zeus Soter, Despoina and Tykhe.
      • skin of ram commonly called a dios kodion (meaning fleece of Zeus or divine fleece) used in purification rituals like the Apodiopompeisthai (escort out of the city the fleece of Zeus) also known as the Pompia.
        • also used in connection with Zeus Ktesios
        • curse averting or to avert danger
        • ram said to be a surrogate for human sacrifice
          • used in magic rites
          • also offered to:  Demeter Khloe, Demeter Akhea, Persephone, Pandora, Hades, Hermes, Apollo Karneus, Apollo of Telmessus, the Moira, Mother of the Gods, Trophonius, Amaphiaraus, Aesculapius, Poseidon, Spercheus, Artems Kolaenis, Hesykhos, Kalkhas, Tiresias, Pelope, Erekhtheus, Konnidas, the dead and Agathos Daimon
          • used in oaths
          • evil averting properties
    • received nephalia (sober sacrifices) of honey, honeyed water or honeyed milk.
    • purificatory sacrifices for shedding blood of relatives
    • oversight of agriculture
    • said to have treasures of gold and silver (Xenophon propitiated Zeus Meilikios to secure wealth)
    • sometimes represented with a cornucopia (which is often seen with Hades/Pluto)
    • sometimes represented as a pyramid
    • some claim the epithet is of an euphemistic character
      • such euphemisms are also used with:  Erinyes, Pluto, Persephone, Hermes, Charon, Hekate, Dionysos and the dead
    • sometimes represented as a serpent (an animal typically associated with khthonic deities)
      • evil averting properties, used in decorating cradles.
      • others with a snake form, partial snake form, attended by snakes, snake attributes or with snake ornaments:  Zeus Khthonios, Eumenides, Aesculapius, Sabazius, Trophonius, Cerberus, Eros, Demeter, Hekate, Dionysos, heroes, Cychreus, Erichthonius, Giants, Winds, Cecrops, Persephone, Hermes, Artemis, Amphiaraus, Gorgons, Athene, Thetis, Gaia,  Hercyna, Sabazius, and Helios.
    • connected with:  Demeter, Hekate Enodia, Gaia, Helios
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