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In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus zews zooss; Ancient Greek: Ζεύς; Modern Greek: Δίας, Dias) was the "Father of Gods and men" (πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε) who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.The Jupiter de Smyrne, discovered in Smyrna in 1680[1]

Zeus was the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. In most traditions he was married to Hera, although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort was Dione: according to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione. He is known for his erotic escapades. These resulted in many godly and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne); by Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.

As Walter Burkert points out in his book, Greek Religion, "Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, and all the gods rise in his presence."[6] For the Greeks, he was the King of the Gods, who oversaw the universe. As Pausanias observed, "That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men". In Hesiod's Theogony Zeus assigns the various gods their roles. In the Homeric Hymns he is referred to as the chieftain of the gods.

His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical "cloud-gatherer" also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the Ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.

Etymology

 
The Chariot of Zeus, from an 1879 Stories from the Greek Tragedians by Alfred Church

In Greek, the god's name is Ζεύς Zeús /zdeús/ or /dzeús/ (Modern Greek /ˈzefs/) in the nominative case and Διός Diós in the genitive case. The earliest forms of the name are the Mycenaean Greek di-we and di-wo, written in Linear b syllabic script. With the apparent interchangeability of "z" and "d", Zeus can also be Deus.

Zeus, poetically referred to by the vocative Zeu pater ("O, father Zeus"), is a continuation of *Di̯ēus, the Proto-Indo-European god of the daytime sky, also called *Dyeus ph2tēr ("Sky Father"). The god is known under this name in Sanskrit (compare Dyaus/Dyaus Pita), Latin (compare Jupiter, from Iuppiter, deriving from the Proto-Indo-European vocative *dyeu-ph2tēr[10]), deriving from the basic form *dyeu- ("to shine", and in its many derivatives, "sky, heaven, god"). And in Germanic mythology (compare *Tīwaz > Old High German language Ziu, Old Norse Týr), together with Latin deus, dīvus and Dis (a variation of dīves[11]), from the related noun *deiwos. To the Greeks and Romans, the god of the sky was also the supreme god. Zeus is the only deity in the Olympic pantheon whose name has such a transparent Indo-European etymology.

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