Deception of Zeus

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The section of the Iliad that ancient editors called the Dios apate (the "Deception of Zeus") stands apart from the matter of Book XV so distinctly that its peculiarities have been long discussed in Homeric studies. Albrecht Dihle<ref>Albrecht Dihle, Homer-Probleme, 1970, pp 83-92. Walter Burkert, The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Period (1992), p. 201, note 9, offers a condensed bibliography of the discussion.</ref> listed the linguistic features unique to this section and "found so many deviations from the normal, traditional use of Homeric formulas that he concluded that this section of the Iliad could not belong to the phase or oral tradition, but was a written composition." (Burkert 1992:91). The debate on this issue is not yet settled.

In this episode embedded in Iliad XV, Hera makes an excuse to leave Zeus. In her deception speech she declares that she wishes to go to Okeanos "origin of the gods" and Tethys, the "mother". In the climax of the episode, Zeus and Hera make love hidden within a golden cloud on the summit of Mount Ida. Burkert found that the passage "shows divinity in a naturalistic, cosmic setting which is not otherwise a feature of Homereric anthropomorphism" (Burkert 1992:92), and linked it to the opening of the Babylonian Enuma Elish, where Apsu and Tiamat, respectively the fresh and salt waters, are the primordial couple who "were mixing their waters." Like Tethys and Oceanus, they were superceeded by a later generation of gods: Tethys does not otherwise appear in Greek myth; she had no established cult.

Plato made use of this watery cosmogony in several of his dialogues: Cratylus 402, Theaetetus 152e and 180c-d, Timaeus 40e.

[edit] Notes

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[edit] References

  • Walter Burkert, 1992. The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Period (Harvard University Press)

Deception of Zeus

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