Exploring the nature of Zeus/Jupiter lord of the gods
CLA 310F: Greek and Roman Mythology
April, 27 2012
Fulvia De Maio
By: Alec Prostok
Zeus and Jupiter are two of the most powerful Gods in Greek and Roman mythology. Their influence on other gods is very influential to all of mythology. They have powerful political roles and many symbols that are connected with ideas in mythology. Zeus and Jupiter are very similar in many ways and can also be considered very different based on their features depicted by the Greeks and the Romans. According to Greek mythology Zeus was born from Rhea who was known as mother of the Gods and Cronus who was known as the leader of the Titans. Zeus’s brothers and sisters were Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. Cronus swallowed all of them except Zeus when they were born in order to prevent the prophecy, which happened to his own father Uranus. In order to save Zeus, Rhea gave birth to him in Crete, and in order to save her son she gave Cronus a rock wrapped in cloth and he swallowed the rock thinking it was Zeus. (Michael Peppard) In contrast, according to Romany Mythology Jupiter was born as a twin of Juno. There is little information depicting Jupiter as a child especially since the Greeks have such an elaborate story of Zeus’s birth and helped the creation of society. (Alexander Murray)
In the Roman culture there is no stories like this showing how different Zeus and Jupiter are. In Greek society Zeus is a main focus of their creation. In Roman society there is no trace of Jupiter as a kid just during manhood. This idea that the Greeks have compared to the Romans show how they have different theologies when it comes to creation. Zeus is such a main focus of their religion as well as many other symbols, but Jupiter does not have the initial story that Zeus does. He is still thought of as the father for the Romans, but he has on creation story explaining where he came from. These birth stories have a great contrast considering they represent many of the same qualities. The Greek god Zeus was considered the father of gods and men. (Hesiod). He was considered the king of the gods, the god of the sky, and the god of the weather, law, order, and fate. He was depicted as a regal man and was always pictured as a sturdy figure with a dark long beard. The Greeks also associated him with a lightning bolt, royal scepter and an eagle. There are many images that always include the symbols of Zeus because they explain his power. Each symbol has a different meaning explaining different qualities of Zeus. He always is depicted above everyone showing his reign over the Greek society. He is also celebrated as a religious figure as his existence allows the Greeks to understand things in society. (www.theoi.com/Olympios/Zeus.html) Here are two pictures showing the differences in the depiction of Zeus and Jupiter. The first picture is from Athens that clearly shows these symbols and the second is a Roman sculpture of Jupiter, which includes his symbols:
The Roman god Jupiter is king of the gods, god of the sky, and god of thunder. He is represented as the father of the gods for the Romans. Jupiter was originated as a sky-god; usually Jupiter is associated with wine festivals and the sacred oak on the Capitol. Like the Greek god Zeus, Jupiter’s sacred animal is also the eagle. He was the central deity of the early Capitoline Triad and was also part of the modern Capitoline Triad. Jupiter has a strong influence on the Roman religion. The sky god has a great influence over the Romans and they accept his power and wisdom, through his symbols. The eagle is considered a universal emblem of the gods of the sky according the Romans. The eagle is a symbol of the high aspirations of the spirit, and its triumph over the carnal nature. This is why the eagle is depicted in combat with many other animals such as serpents or bulls. The bull symbolizes earthly desires and the serpent represents...
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Hesiod, and Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Hesiod. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2000. Print.
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Peppard, Michael. The Son of God in the Roman World: Divine Sonship in Its Social and Political Context. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
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