Zeus’s MDT – Day 16: How does Zeus represent Hellenic ideals?

Χαίρετε ἀναγνώστες!

Today I will discuss how Zeus represents Hellenic ideals.

As a King, Zeus enjoys the privileges and expectations that came with the role in the Hellenic mind. Kings were expected to be virile and manly, represented by their courage in battle, and Zeus definitely did that, but also their right to have several wives or at least concubines. Zeus had several wives in succession, perhaps in more ancient times they were literally His wives simultaneously, but in historical times it seems they were considered successively or temporary wives/concubines, with the exception of Hera.

Remember, strict monogamy or marital faithfulness was not something expected of Hellenic men, and we see this represented in Zeus (and many other male Gods). This is very important to keep in mind when it comes to ancient myths about Zeus and his many loves.

Other ways in which Zeus represents Hellenic ideals are His mastery of His oikos, which is basically the Divine Household and by extension the entire Kosmos. He is the master of His domain and He has earned it not just by leading the War against the Titans, but also by His defeating of Typhon, as well as His dealing with the coup plotted by Hera, Athena, and Poseidon that one time.

Zeus is basically the prime example of the ideal, mature, Hellenic man: married with children, having concubines, being strong and athletic, courageous in battle, authoritative, leadership, etc. He is also like a father to all Gods and Goddesses and mortals even, regardless of whether He is actually their father by siring them. Indeed, Pater “Father” is one of his most common epithets, if not the most common.

These are the main ways I can think of in which Zeus represents Hellenic values.



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