Zeus was the king of the Olympian gods and the supreme deity in Greek religion. Often referred to as the Father, as the god of thunder and the ‘cloud-gatherer’, he controlled the weather, offered signs and omens and generally dispensed justice, guaranteeing order amongst both the gods and humanity from his seat high on Mt. Olympus. Zeus’ Struggle... [continue reading]
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Silver stater of the Archadian League, c. 360 BCE. O: Head of Zeus Lykaios. R: Seated Pan.
Smarthistory, Art History at Khan Academy
published on 25 March 2014
Artemision Zeus or Poseidon, c. 460 B.C.E., bronze, 2.09 m high, Early Classical (Severe Style), recovered from a shipwreck off Cape Artemision, Greece (National Archaeological Museum, Athens) Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker
Silver tetradrachm from Knossos, Crete, 2nd or 1st century BCE. O: Head of Zeus. R: Labyrinth.
Dictean Cave, central Crete. Said to be the cave where Zeus was hidden as a baby.
Silver tetradrachm from Epirus, reign of Pyrrhus, 295-272 BCE. O: Head of Zeus Dodonaios. R: Dione on a throne.
Greek mythology, as in other ancient cultures, was used as a means to explain the environment in which humankind lived, the natural phenomena they witnessed and the passing of time through the days, months, and seasons. Myths were also intricately connected to religion in the Greek world and explained the origin and lives of the gods, where humanity... [continue reading]
In the ancient Greek world, religion was personal, direct, and present in all areas of life. With formal rituals which included animal sacrifices and libations, myths to explain the origins of mankind and give the gods a human face, temples which dominated the urban landscape, city festivals and national sporting and artistic competitions, religion... [continue reading]
The Greek poet Hesiod (c. 700 BCE) is most famous for his works Theogony and Works and Days. In this passage from Theogony, Hesiod relates the birth of the gods from cosmic Chaos and follows the lineage through the great Zeus, King of the Olympian gods, worshipped by Hesiod’s contemporaries: (ll. 1-25) From the Heliconian Muses let us begin... [continue reading]
This marble head (1st century CE) comes from a statue of the Roman God, probably copying the cult statue of Zeus from Olympia in pose i.e.: seated on a throne. The head was found in Milan near the Castle Sforzesco in the quarter known since antiquity as the 'Porta Giovia'. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
Among the many gods of the Romans, Jupiter, the son of Saturn, was the supreme god, associated with thunder, lightning, and storms. The first citizens of what would become Rome believed they were watched over by the spirits of their ancestors, and they added a triad of gods to these spirits. These new gods included Mars, the god of war; Quirinus, the deified Romulus... [continue reading]