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Zas and Chthonie

April 19, 2012

Something of an “ah ha!” and yet still a puzzle that I stumbled over today.

Pherecydes of Syros, a philosopher of the 5th Century BCE described the wedding of Zas (Zeus) and Chthonie:

“When it came to be the third day of the wedding, Zas made a large, beautiful robe and on it he wove Ge (Gaia) and Ogenus (Okeanos) and the house of Ogenus…[broken fragment]…to marry you I honor you with this. Hail to you and be my wife” They say that this was the first unveiling (anakalypteria), and from this it became the custom among both gods and men.”

First of all, the only marriage Zeus had was to Hera according to the myths, despite having several consorts before her. The marriage of Zeus and Hera was the first wedding ever.  Hera refused to give herself to Zeus until after he promised to be hers alone in front of witnesses.  (This probably happened during the whole cuckoo incident.)

Now some theorize that Khthonie is Gaia but why would Zeus give his wife a robe with a picture of herself and the Okeanos upon it? Shouldn’t it then be of Zeus and her? No, I do not think it is Gaia to whom he is presenting the robe. I think the rope is a representation of sea and land. By marrying Zeus, she becomes Queen of the sky automatically.  He also gave her dominion over land and sea and presented it with this robe. Who is the only divinity that the myths say was Queen of Land, Sea and Sky? Hekate who also bears the epithet Chthonie (aka Khthonie).   Also she is the only goddess I’m aware of that consistently uses this epithet (though Demeter and maybe Persephone use it too I believe).

Maybe it is a long stretch but it certainly causes bell ringing in my head!  This very well maybe the myth that infers who Hera was before she assumed that name of Hera which has been conjectured to mean “wife”.  I just wish this myth was not so fragmented!

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