Challenges to the Power of Zeus in Early Greek Poetry.


In Archaic epos , the will (or plan) of Zeus is called 'unerring' ( nemertea , H.Ap. 132), and is perpetually, and proverbially, being fulfilled {Dios ďeteleieto boulē , II. 1.5). Such language is just one strategy by which the texts tend to project both the inevitability and the finality of a cosmos ruled by Zeus - the state of affairs in which the poems' early audiences believed themselves actually to be living. Yet Zeus - unlike the god of the Israelites, but like his counterparts in other religions of the ancient Near East - also has a mythological birth, youth, and ascendance, a period in which he must strive to obtain and solidify his power. The monograph under review joins a growing body of scholarship interested in interpreting our earliest hexameter poems in terms of an overarching narrative about the origins of the present, Zeus-dominated cosmic order.


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