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Origin of the name ZEUS.
Etymology of the name ZEUS.
Meaning of the baby name ZEUS.


ZEUS (Ζεύς).  Greek myth name of the most supreme god of the Olympians, meaning "brightness, sky, day, god."  Equal to Gothic-Teutonic Tius.

In the Iliad and the Odyssey Zeus no longer appears as the sole divine arbiter of the sky and the supreme lord of the weather, for both Hera and Poseidon stir up wind and wave against those who have incurred their anger, apparently with only little less freedom of initiative than has Zeus himself.  Yet when the Greeks set sail homeward from Troy, we learn in the Odyssey, it was Zeus who scattered the ships; and after Odysseus's companions perfidiously slew the Cattle of the Sun in Thrinakia, it was Zeus who brought the disaster of shipwreck upon them.  Despite the encroachments upon his power, he still remained the undisputed master of the thunder and the lightning, so that when, on the morning before the slaughter of the suitors, Odysseus heard the roar of thunder, he knew it to be a sign from Zeus that he would not thwart his plans.  This sort of omen could, however, be interpreted as unfavourable or even as doubtful, as when, on one occasion, thunder which lasted all night long set both the Greek and Trojan armies to wondering what Zeus had in store for them, and made all the warriors turn pale with fear.
    Although in Homer the original character of Zeus had become dim, whether in reality or by contrast, one side of his nature was very clearly illumined:  he was potentially the ruler of the universe.  The other gods had their departmental functions in nature, but Zeus could usurp them if only he chose to do so, and in the last analysis his will was supreme, being limited by nothing, for it was itself Fate.  He was not merely an Olympian; he was the Olympian; nor was he the petty god of a tribe or nation, for all the peoples of whom Homer had cognizance acknowledged his supremacy as "Father of gods and men," although the title "Father" conveyed not so much the idea that he was of necessity a physical father or the creator of men and things (on the contrary, Okeanos was the great creative source of all things in Homer) as that he exercised over the great family of beings, human and divine, that kind of rule which we call paternalistic.  To men he dispensed joys or ills, as he pleased; he determined for them the issues of their battles in arms until they became mere puppets; and according to his whim he warned or deluded by omens.  Unlike the other gods, he observed a strict neutrality in the Trojan War, save when it suited his purposes to lean toward this side or toward that, and he became gravely ethical on occasion, as when he rebuked Ares as a lover of contention, or when he ordered concord among the Ithakans; though at other times, open-eyed, he flung ethics to the winds, as he did when he devised means for breaking the solemn truce between the Trojans and the Achaians.  He wielded, Roman-like, a patria potestas over the universe, for he weighed the Fates of Hektor and Achilles in the scales and assented to Hektor's death.  This paternalistic attitude showed most clearly in the circle of the gods, whom he convened in the dictatorial manner of a feudal chieftain, and who espoused one or the other cause before Troy simply because he said they might.  His ipse dixit, conveyed by Hermes, forced Kalypso to release Odysseus against her heart and will; he bestowed boons upon the other gods, but only as he was convinced of the real need for them in each instance, or as he was forced through guile.  At times he stepped down from his throne to mingle with his fellows on the common floor of Olympos, but he never lost consciousness of his superiority.  In all this we are to see not the absolute political ideal of the Homeric period, but, rather, the refined portrayal of the conditions of state to which the Greeks of that time had advanced. (The
Mythology of All Races: Greek and Roman, v.1, 1916).


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