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Zeus notes, part ummm, yeah

November 15, 2011

Still making my way through my notes on the “Propitiation of Zeus”as my physical health allows.  (This head cold is killing me and NOT helping the sleep factor!)

  • Custom at Athenian banquets of pouring three libations
    • 1st to Olympian Zeus and his spouse or all Olympians
    • 2nd to heroes (I assume he means the beloved dead)
    • 3rd to Zeus Soter (Hades is possibly meant here as Persephone does have the epithet Soteira)
  • Mnaseas says thet  Ctesius is the son of Soter and his sister Praxidice who was originally a sort of fury but eventually became “completely confused with Persephone”.
  • Disoteria a monthly festival for Zeus Soter was held on the 30th which was particularly sacred to the dead.o
  • Zeus Soter was a supplication god to whose altar the “pursued” went to for protection.
  • strong indications that Zeus of Crete received human sacrifice.  Cretan Zeus is different in cult, story and art than Greek Zeus may not have been Zeus at all originally but a companion of Cybele/Ma/Rhea.
    • there were orgies, shields, drums and lots of noise and excitement.
    • dwelt in a cave
      • other deities that dwelt in a cave or possessed caves:  Rhea, Demeter Melaena, Persephone, Hades, Hermes, The Winds, Ge, Erinyes, Cronus, Selene, Pan, Nymphs, Giants, Ilithyia, Aphrodite, Aesculapius, Trophonius, Pholus, Chiron, Io, Dionysos, Poseidon, Heracles Spelaetes, Apollo Spelaetes, Phrygian Mother, Mithras, Apollo Clarius
      • Anytime an Olympian is associated with a cave it is “reasonable” to suspect syncretism with an older khthonic deity.
    • Cretan Zeus’ grave is said to exist in Crete too
      • symbolizes new life of nature in spring and death in autumn or
      • hero grave or
      • went from being a cave god to a buried god
      • Aesculapius had graves in various locations and Dionysos had one in Delphi
    • incubation a feature of his worship to secure a dream to aid in recovery of health or other boon.
      • Greeks believed that dreams came from below sent by the gods in the realms of the dead
      • two dream gates of horn and ivory which may or may not be in Hades.
      • Vergil says the Manes of the dead send forth dreams.
      • Hecuba calls Gaia the mother of black-winged dreams
      • incubation was a wide spread practice
    • only certain people allowed within his cave unlike Olympian shrines which were open to all
      • other deities who had areas that were abatos (forbidden):  cave of Rhea, precinct of Hades, precinct of the Furies, grove of Demeter and Cora; the shrines of Amphiaraus, Aesculapius, Achilles, Apollo Carneus, the Katakthonioi, Zeus Kataibates, Pluto and Cora, Trophonius, Palaemon,  Athene Poliatis, Mother Dindymene, Dionysus, Semele, Ilithyia, Necessity and violence, Artemis Soteria and Poseidon
    • 9 appears often in the Cretan cult
      • 9 attendants (Curetes), Minos entered his cave every 9 years, Pythagoras remained in 3x 9 days
      • 3, 9 and 27 are frequent in khthonic cult.
      • 9 occures in the worship of earth gods for the Greeks, Romans, Umbrians and Germans
      • 9 is found in the worship of Semele because she is reckoned an earth god
      • 27 appears in the cult of the Furies
      • 9 is found in the Roman cult of Lemures
    • appeared in snake form
    • black is a color peculiar to khthonic worship
      • Pythagoras wore it when descended into the cave of Zeus
    • torch was used in his mysteries, partially for light, partially for lustration (purification)
    • Mystery cult
    • received a swine holocaust
    • connected in story and cult with Rhea who is sometimes called Gaea, Curetes who were said to have sprung from the earth, Cronus
    • pictures of Pluto found in the cave of Zeus so Cretan Zeus may be “indistinguishable from Hades”.
    • Cult of Cretan Zeus seems to have had a good deal of influence upon Zeus cult elsewhere
2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2015 6:03 PM

    Reblogged this on mixelica.



  1. Zeus Notes Part 5 « 4 of Wands

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