Sunday, 17 March 2019

Zeus

God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order and justice.
Zeus was the sixth child of the Titan Kronos. Kronos devoured his five previous children to prevent them from overthrowing him in the same way that he had overthrown his father, Uranus, ruler of the old gods. Zeus was born in secret in a mountain top cave in Crete, hidden well away from Kronos by his mother Rhea. 

He was raised in the cave by the goat Amalthea and the nymph Melissa. Amalthea suckled the infant and from her cornucopia came all manner of good things. The nymph Melissa also nursed Zeus and looked after him. She fed him her nourishing honey so that he would grow quickly.
When Zeus became a man he poisoned his father Kronos, King of the Titans, making him regurgitate his five siblings. His siblings then overthrew the Titans to become the new gods and goddesses.
Although Zeus was married to the goddess Hera, he also took many mortal lovers. A Phoenician princess named Europa became one of the objects of his desire. At his first sight of her he was infatuated by her striking beauty and grace. Not being one to ignore his desires, Zeus came up with a cunning plan to win her affections. He metamorphosed himself into a handsome, cute, white bull. Europa was busy gathering flowers along the shoreline, in what is today known as Lebanon, when she saw the bull. She was fascinated by its handsome appearance and gentle behaviour - she caressed and stroked him and then climbed onto his back. This was the opportunity Zeus wanted in order to abduct her,
he galloped into the sea and swam back with her to to the Island of Crete.

Abduction of Princess Europa by Rembrandt


They came ashore on this southerly beach in Matala. They were both hot and tired, and it is here that he revealed to her his true identity. He galloped on for a few more miles until he found a large shady Plane tree near what is now the Roman ruins of Gortys, and it is here that he ravished her. As a result she became pregnant with Minos, who became the king of the ancient Minoans in Crete.     

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There is a more recent story about Matala beach, but that will have to await another time.

37 comments:

  1. I once guessed the name of Rhea at about 4 in the morning in order to finish The Times crossword for the first and last time in my life. For me, she is the goddess of crossword puzzles.

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    1. At least you will always remember her name henceforth.

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  2. Another lovely story :) You're very knowledgeable on ancient history. I'm looking forward to your next post about Matala Beach. Best, Jane x

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    1. Thanks Jane - the next visit to Matala Beach will not have anything to do with mythology.

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  3. And of course Hera was one of Zeus' sisters rescued from the stomach of their father Kronos.

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    1. Yes, I think that he was probably better off with Europa!

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  4. What a fascinating post Rosemary - Greek mythology is so full of unusual stories, and I love this one.
    The Rembrandt is beautiful, and that statue, and the angle you shot it, wow, amazing!

    Snow covered peaks and sunny shorelines - all so breathtaking.
    Hugs - Mary (who would love to see Crete)

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    1. It was a lovely island Mary - I found so much that we discovered completely intriguing. The myths are such a big part of their lives, previously I had no idea that the myths originally began their journey in Crete via the Minoans.

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  5. I a not sure how Rhea is pronounced in Greek. I do know Rhea is also a Scottish last name pronounced Ray. It happens to be my middle name, My great grandfathers last name.
    Once again a very interesting post. I am always learning something of value here. :-)

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    1. Hello Catherine - Rhea is pronounced re EH aa in Greece.
      Glad that you enjoyed the post.

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  6. Wow the things I didn’t know about Zeus. Thank you Rosemary for all of your research!......and wonderful pictures.

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    1. The stories surrounding Zeus are many Janey, this is just a small taster.

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  7. Hello Rosemary, I decided that I want the ability to hurl thunderbolts! (An alien vaporizing ray would also work.) Seriously, Greek mythology is so interesting, and to learn about it in the areas where it took place must make it extra-fascinating.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - until I came to Crete I hadn't realised that this was the spot where the myths began with the Minoans.
      We had a wonderful Cretan chap travelling with us - he was so knowledgeable and full of endless stories that we loved hearing and learning about.

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  8. Somebody in Ancient Greece must have had a fertile imagination to come up with all these legends - assuming that such things didn't happen even then. Isn't it amazing that we can still read these legends today.

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    1. There was a time and not so long ago, that people did not know just how and when the myths began and where they ended. However, I will elaborate on that in my next post.

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  9. Zeus was certainly given to a wandering eye, wasn't he?

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    1. Zeus was given to an excess in most things, the tales surrounding him are endless. Yes, his eye wandered continuously, but after all he was a god.

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  10. It’s good to have a run down on Greek Mythology. Didn’t realise the connection between Zeus and Minos. Always learning :). B x

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    1. I think that my interest in mythology has changed a lot since this stay in Crete.

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  11. Dearest Rosemary,
    Of course Greek mythology is very interesting and placing it back in the approx. time of 700 BC, this Zeus story makes more sense. Dutch Master Rembrandt did paint it very well!
    By the way, you must have overlooked the question I had on my post for you, below the banquet's card info.
    You no doubt have more knowledge of proper English protocol at such events!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Loved everything about visiting Crete - they even had my favourite homemade Halva on the breakfast table each and every morning.

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  12. Stories passed down from years gone by - amazing and wonder how much truth there is attached to all these myths.

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    1. Yes, there are 4000 years of tales here Margaret.

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  13. You are a master of retelling the ancient story in a shortened and very interesting way. This is a great post that includes all the information that is needed with thoughtful matching photos added! Wow, chapeau!

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    1. Thank you for your visit Yael and for your extremely kind comment - you have made my day.

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    2. :-) Big hug! I will stay....

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  14. Oh I am loving your posts about Crete, Rosemary. When I studied Ancient History the Minoan civilization was my favourite and I have always wanted to visit. The Rembrandt painting is a beautiful rendering of the story of Zeus, and I really love that snow-capped mountain too. I look forward to seeing more of this wonderful culture.

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    1. Thank you so much dear Patricia - I completely understand your love of Minoan history and their civilisation - it is thrilling to learn about and see. May be you could visit Crete too one day.

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  15. It's amazing, even today, how many common place names objects, household brands, buildings etc are named after Greek and Roman mythology. I'd love to climb that mountain.

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    1. That is so correct Bob - even Europa gives her name to Europe itself.
      That mountain retains its snowy peaks even into July.

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  16. I can remember learning about this in school and how fascinated I was. I should study it again! Thanks for the photos and great info. Very interesting!

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    1. Thank you for visiting Lavender Dreamer - I am so pleased to learn that your old blog is up and running again for you.

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  17. The Greeks always had better myths than the Xians. Hebrew and Christian myths have hardly any sex and it’s usually punished or castigated in some way.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this tale - thanks for your visit Annie.

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