Zeus- a Reflection of Ancient Greek Society

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Olympian gods were deliberate reflections of the notions embodied in early Greek life. However, amongst all, Zeus had the most prepotent ground. Stories featuring him usually involved fruitful sexual unions with mortals or immortals at all times, under any circumstances- as if accentuating the fact that his forcefulness and promiscuity as a god, king and a husband were superior to any possible obstacle. His positions enclosing the entire hierarchical order as well as supporting his promiscuity were justifications for pederasty, male power to procreate and ascendant male wit in particular. These concepts were central in early Greek society and examples revolving around them prove that the aristocratic males used the myths and actions of gods to advocate their own behavior. In early Greek society, young men gathered at symposiums to court teenage cupbearer boys and admire them. The courtship could lead to copulation, and the aim of this was said to be the refinement of moral qualities. Pederasty could continue even after a man’s marriage. Zeus too was engaged in pederasty, and he kidnapped the Trojan prince Ganymede from Mount Ida to make him his cupbearer. So as a god, he had pederastic relations after marriage- as if legitimizing the concept for the society. The idea of procreation implicated begetting as much offspring as possible, and Zeus had more than three hundred children from hundreds of consorts. Being the “king” of gods, he could have relations with any goddess he wanted to- like his sexual union with his sister Demeter. The right of a man to reproduce with whoever, then, was seen to be coming from the ultimate authority Zeus. The ascendancy of male wit was the principal idea in Greek society and Zeus’s position as a husband reflected it. Throughout his marriage with Hera, his unfaithfulness was well known and his sexual union with mortal Leda in the form of a swan was an example of his creative tricks. He used his wit and changed forms to...
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