Today comes the second part of the seventh topic of this Month of Devotional Thought, the epithets and cult titles of Apollon. I split this topic from the first post since the discussion of the etymology of Apollon’s name already took up so much space, that I felt it necessary to make a separate post to deal with His many epithets. Now, since He has so many epithets, this will hardly be an exhaustive list. However, the study of epithets is a very important and useful tool to truly understand how a Deity was honoured in Antiquity, what Their functions are, Their domains, what places They are connected to, etc. This may be even more useful than the study of Their mythology, as it relates to the actual worship rather than just the stories told about Them.
Today I will discuss the etymology of Apollon’s name. Originally, I was going to include a discussion of His various epithets, but during my research and writing for this blog post, I found that just discussing the variations of His name and the etymology of it already constituted a whole blog post on its own. So, what I think I will do is cut this topic in half, with the names and etymology of Apollon’s name in this blog post, and then at a later time, I will discuss the epithets. Possibly, I will simply conflate two similar future topics to make a place for that second post. I do not currently know when that will be, but likely in the second half of this month. Anyways, let me get on with the blog post now.
Today I will discuss the etymology of Zeus’s name, as well as discuss his epithets. Now, Zeus is a God with perhaps the greatest number of epithets, and while I usually strive for being as exhaustive as I can (unless it concerns geographic epithets, where I focus on those I know), I will not do so here. There’s just too many. I’ll try to highlight each of Zeus’s aspects by offering the most well-known epithets in its regard, but I can not be as exhaustive as I would like to be.
Today’s topic will be the names and epithets of Hera. First of all, I want to note that her name has a variant spelling and pronunciation in the Ionic and Homeric/Epic dialects of ancient Hellenic. This alternate form is Here (Ἥρη). Also important, her name is already attested in Linear B tablets from the Bronze Age. Linear B is a syllabic script not very well suited to Hellenic, but the Mycenaean Hellenes used it anyway. In this script, her name is written as “e-ra”.