Greek Mythology and Zeus Essay

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Greek Mythology and Zeus

Zeus and Jupiter are two of the most powerful Gods in Greek and Roman mythology. Their influence on other gods is very influential to all of mythology. They have powerful political roles and many symbols that are connected with ideas in mythology. Zeus and Jupiter are very similar in many ways and can also be considered very different based on their features depicted by the Greeks and the Romans. According to Greek mythology Zeus was born from Rhea who was known as mother of the Gods and Cronus who was known as the leader of the Titans. Zeus’s brothers and sisters were Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon.

Cronus swallowed all of them except Zeus when they were born in order to prevent the prophecy, which happened to his own father Uranus. In order to save Zeus, Rhea gave birth to him in Crete, and in order to save her son she gave Cronus a rock wrapped in cloth and he swallowed the rock thinking it was Zeus. (Michael Peppard) In contrast, according to Romany Mythology Jupiter was born as a twin of Juno. There is little information depicting Jupiter as a child especially since the Greeks have such an elaborate story of Zeus’s birth and helped the creation of society.

(Alexander Murray) In the Roman culture there is no stories like this showing how different Zeus and Jupiter are. In Greek society Zeus is a main focus of their creation. In Roman society there is no trace of Jupiter as a kid just during manhood. This idea that the Greeks have compared to the Romans show how they have different theologies when it comes to creation. Zeus is such a main focus of their religion as well as many other symbols, but Jupiter does not have the initial story that Zeus does. He is still thought of as the father for the Romans, but he has on creation story explaining where he came from.

These birth stories have a great contrast considering they represent many of the same qualities. The Greek god Zeus was considered the father of gods and men. (Hesiod). He was considered the king of the gods, the god of the sky, and the god of the weather, law, order, and fate. He was depicted as a regal man and was always pictured as a sturdy figure with a dark long beard. The Greeks also associated him with a lightning bolt, royal scepter and an eagle. There are many images that always include the symbols of Zeus because they explain his power.

Each symbol has a different meaning explaining different qualities of Zeus. He always is depicted above everyone showing his reign over the Greek society. He is also celebrated as a religious figure as his existence allows the Greeks to understand things in society. (www. theoi. com/Olympios/Zeus. html) Here are two pictures showing the differences in the depiction of Zeus and Jupiter. The first picture is from Athens that clearly shows these symbols and the second is a Roman sculpture of Jupiter, which includes his symbols: The Roman god Jupiter is king of the gods, god of the sky, and god of thunder.

He is represented as the father of the gods for the Romans. Jupiter was originated as a sky-god; usually Jupiter is associated with wine festivals and the sacred oak on the Capitol. Like the Greek god Zeus, Jupiter’s sacred animal is also the eagle. He was the central deity of the early Capitoline Triad and was also part of the modern Capitoline Triad. Jupiter has a strong influence on the Roman religion. The sky god has a great influence over the Romans and they accept his power and wisdom, through his symbols. The eagle is considered a universal emblem of the gods of the sky according the Romans.

The eagle is a symbol of the high aspirations of the spirit, and its triumph over the carnal nature. This is why the eagle is depicted in combat with many other animals such as serpents or bulls. The bull symbolizes earthly desires and the serpent represents evil. The eagle shows the power of Jupiter because everyone looks to him for help. He is praised and the Romans expect to be protected by Jupiter and his eagle. The eagle can be considered a solar symbol, but sometimes it is thunder or lightning. The divine eagle is often a hybrid or transformed man, often a king or hero of great virtue.

This is a very accurate symbol of that holds true to the belief of the Romans. (www. symboldictionary. net) The Aetos Dios which is depicted as a giant, golden eagle which served as Zeus’personal messenger and animal companion. According to some Greeks, the eagle was once depicted as a mortal king named Periphas, whose virtuous rule was so celebrated that he was came to be honored like a god. Zeus, in anger, would have smote him with a thunderbolt, but Apollo intervened and, transforming the king into an eagle, set him beside the throne of Zeus. This became a symbol for Zeus.

The eagle became a messenger for Zeus. They symbol of the eagle displayed his power and wisdom representing Zeus. In other accounts, Zeus adopted the eagle as his bird when it first appeared to him before the Titan War as a sign of good omen. The eagle was later sent by Zeus to carry the handsome youth Ganymedesup to heaven to become the cupbearer of the gods. The eagle became a symbol of the gods and Zeus’s messenger. This symbol was a great symbol to represent Zeus. (www. theoi. com) The Roman and Greek symbol of the eagle have very similar characteristics.

Jupiter’s eagle and Zeus’s eagle both represent a messenger. The symbol of the eagle is a companion to both of them. They have many of the same symbols as characteristics. The way the Greek and Roman eagle are represented is a great example of this. Both symbolic eagles show the power of Zeus and Jupiter. The eagle represents strength and wisdom for both of them. The eagle is a highly looked upon animal in these society’s so it is not surprising that they use the eagle to symbolize Zeus and Jupiter. (www. theoi. com) The Romans have a certain political role to interpret Jupiter.

The fatherly role of Jupiter has been documented an analyzed in the study of Roman religion, it has frequently played a role in the official political ideology of Roman rulers during Republic and Empire. The concept of Jupiter as a fatherly figure clearly predates the Capitoline cult of Roman Jupiter stretching back to the Indo-European roots. The implication of the Father is based on rule and dependence. Jupiter brings belief and structure to society. The dependence of human worshiper upon his divine protector who can supply his needs and protect him and under whose power he stands as one inferior in age and status.

The Roman people are scared of Jupiter but treat him as a fatherly figure that will protect them in a time of need. (Michael Peppard pg. 221) The Greeks had a very similar political role for Zeus. They all would converge in Olympia in order to pay tribute to their chief god Zeus. They celebrated a quadrennial festival, which feature the famous games of Greece. These games were made in order to honor Zeus. They created an altar to honor Zeus it was made not from stone, but of ash. It accumulated the remains of many centuries worth of animal sacrifices.

At each of the games they would always sacrifice the animals in honor of Zeus. Since, there was not many other ways to honor Zeus this was a special time for the Greeks. They looked upon Zeus as a father figure of the gods as well as a father figure of creation. Outside of the sanctuaries there were no methods of worshipping Zeus precisely shared across the Greek world. There was a hierarchy of deities, with Zeus, the king of the gods, having a level of control over all the others, although he was not omnipotent. He was just looked upon as the greatest god of them all.

Some deities had dominion over certain aspects of nature. For instance, Zeus was the sky-god, sending thunder and lightning. While being immortal, the gods were not all powerful. They had to obey fate, which overrode all. This idea kept the gods from doing whatever they wanted. In the Greek society there was such a strong belief in fate that even the gods respected it. (Hesiod) There were many similarities and differences between the political ideology of Jupiter and Zeus. One of the similarities was the idea of religion. They both would honor Jupiter and Zeus as well as praise them.

They looked for dependence from both of these gods and were considered as father figures to their societies. They also had multiple differences including the aspect of fate. In Greek mythology the aspect of fate is considered way more preeminent then in Roman mythology. The Romans had an easier time in praising Jupiter because of their temples. The Greeks were not as lucky since the Olympic games were a time of worship for Zeus. Overall Zeus and Jupiter were seen as this father figure who would help and protect the Greeks and the Romans.

(Zeus: Greek King of the Gods) Jupiter and Zeus have an incredible influence on the society of the Greeks and Romans. Each of them is looked at in different and similar ways based on their mythology. Jupiter and Zeus has become a shield for their beliefs and allow them to understand things in their society. Clearly, Jupiter and Zeus are incredibly important figures of ancient society and each had an effect on their society that has led each culture to feel safe and able to understand certain things that they may have not originally understood. (Peppard) Bibliography “The Arcana Wiki.

” Jupiter (Mythology) -. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://arcana. wikidot. com/jupiter-mythology>. “Google Images. ” Google Images. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://images. google. com/>. Hesiod, and Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Hesiod. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2000. Print. Murray, Alexander. “DEITIES OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. _______________________. ” Elfinspell: Zeus or Jupiter [Jove], Manual of Mythology, by Alexander S. Murray, Revised Edition, with Additonal Notes by S. Rhoads, Online Text, Religion, Mythology, Legend of the Antiquity, Greek, Roman Deities,. Philiadelphia. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://elfinspell.

com/MurrayMyth/Zeus. html>. Peppard, Michael. The Son of God in the Roman World: Divine Sonship in Its Social and Political Context. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print. “THEOI GREEK MYTHOLOGY & THE GODS. ” THEOI GREEK MYTHOLOGY, Exploring Mythology & the Greek Gods in Classical Literature & Art. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://www. theoi. com>. “ZEUS : Greek King of the Gods, God of Sky & Weather | Mythology, W/ Pictures | Roman Jupiter. ” THEOI GREEK MYTHOLOGY, Exploring Mythology & the Greek Gods in Classical Literature & Art. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://www. theoi. com/Olympios/Zeus. html>.

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