The Family of Zeus in Early Greek Poetry and Myths


  • Ratko Duev Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia



IE Sky Father, hieros gamos, Διὸς ϑυγάτηρ, Διὸς υἱός, divine family


Family of Zeus in Early Greek Poetry and Myths

In early epic poetry it is evident that certain differences exist in both traditions, mainly due to the fact that Homer’s epic poems were written on the western coast of Asia Minor and the surrounding islands, while Hesiod’s poems were composed on mainland Greece. From the analysis, it becomes clear that the development of the cult of an Indo-European Sky Father differs significantly from the assumed Proto-Indo-European tradition. His family is completely different from that in the Indo-European tradition. His wife is the goddess Hera, whom Homer calls ‘old’, as opposed to the Hesiodic tradition, in which Hestia and Demeter are older than her. Homer makes no mention whatsoever of Hestia. The ‘daughters of Zeus’ are the goddesses Athena and Aphrodite, and the ‘son of Zeus’ is Apollo. The family of Zeus according to Homer also differs from the archaeological findings of the tradition on land. Hera of Samos bears no resemblance to Hera of Argos. The oldest large temples are connected to her, as well as to the memory of Oceanus and Thetis as parents to the gods, which is a direct influence of the Mesopotamian myths of Apsu and Tiamat. Homer’s Zeus from Mount Ida, Hera of Samos, Apollo of Cilla, and Tenedus and Artemis of Ephesus are closer to the Anatolian tradition.


Boedeker D.D., 1974, Aphrodite’s Entry into Greek Epic, Leiden.

Bonnet C., Pirenne-Delforge В., 1999, ‘Deux déesses en interaction: Astarté et Aphrodite dans le monde égéen’, [in:] Les syncrétismes religieux, C. Bonnet, A. Motte (eds.), Brussels, pp. 249–273.

Budin S., 2003, The Origin of Aphrodite, Bethesda.

Burkert W., 1979, Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual, Berkeley–Los Angeles–London.

Burkert W., 1985, Greek Religion, Cambridge.

Burkert W., 1992, The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age, Cambridge.

Dalley S., 1989, Myths from Mesopotamia, Oxford.

Dalley S., Reyes А.Т., 1998, ‘Mesopotamian contact and influence in the Greek world, 1: To the Persian conquest’, [in:] The Legacy of Mesopotamia, S. Dalley (ed.), Oxford, pp. 85–106.

Dowden K., 2006, Zeus, London–New York, DOI:

Duev R., 2008, ‘Zeus and Dionysus in the Light of Linear B Records’, [in:] Colloquium Romanum, Atti del XII colloquio internazionale di Micenologia, Pisa–Roma, pp. 223–230.

Duev R., 2010, Dzevs i Dionis. Raǵanje na antičkite veruvanja i kultovi, Skopje 2010.

Duev R., 2012, ‘di-wi-ja and e-ra in the Linear B texts’, [in:] Études mycéniennes 2010, Actes du XIIIe colloque international sur les textes égéens, P. Carlier (ed.), Pisa–Roma, pp. 195–205.

Dunkel G.E., 1988–1990, ‘Vater Himmels Gattin’, Die Sprache 34(1), pp. 1–26.

Evans D., 1974, ‘Dodona, Dodola and Daedala’, [in:] Myth in Indo-European Antiquity, G.J. Larson (ed.), Berkeley–Los Angeles–London, pp. 99–130. DOI:

Garcia Ramon J.L., 2012, ‘En travaillant à une grammaire du mycénien: 1. A-pi-e-qe /amphihenkwe/ «(on) mentionna, (on) énuméra». 2. Absence d’augment et mode injonctif. 3. Di-ri-mi-jo: Drimios, fils de Zeus’, [in:] Études mycéniennes 2010, Actes du XIIIe colloque international sur les textes égéens, P. Carlier (ed.), Pisa-Roma, pp. 435–454.

Hainsworth J.B., 1978, ‘Good and Bad Formulae’, [in:] Homer: Tradition and Invention, B.C. Fenik (ed.), Leiden, pp. 41–50.

Johnston S.I., 2008, Ancient Greek Divination, Malden, DOI:

Karageorghis J., 1977, La grande déesse de Chypre et son culte à travers l’iconographie de l’époque néolithique au VIème s.a.C., Lyon–Paris.

Larson G.J. (ed.), 1974, Myth in Indo-European Antiquity, Berkeley–Los Angeles–London. DOI:

Larson J., 2007, Ancient Greek Cults: A Guide, New York–London, DOI:

Mallory J.P., Adams D.Q., 2006, The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World, Oxford.

Марковић М., 2001, Студије о религији антике, Никшић.

Milani C., 2005, Varia Mycenaea, Milano.

Митевски В., 2001, Античка епика, Скопје.

Morford M.P.O., Lenardon R.J., 2003, Classical Mythology, Oxford.

Noegel S.B., 2007, ‘Greek Religion and the Ancient Near East’, [in:] A Companion to Greek Religion, D. Ogden (ed.), Malden, pp. 21–37, DOI:

O’Brien J., 1990–1991, ‘Homer’s Savage Hera’, Classical Journal 86, pp. 105–125.

Otto W.F., 1954, The Homeric Gods, Boston.

Pinch G., 2002, Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions in Ancient Egypt, Oxford.

Pulleyn S., 2000, Homer: Iliad 1, Oxford.

Pötscher W., 1965, ‘Der Name der Göttin Hera’, Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 108/4, pp. 317–320.

Rinon Y., 2006, ‘The Tragic Hephaestus: The Humanized God in the Iliad and the Odyssey’, Phoenix 60, pp. 1–20.

Ruijgh C.J., 1967, Études sur la grammaire et le vocabulaire du grec mycénien, Amsterdam.

Ruijgh C.J., 1995, ‘D’Homère aux origines proto-mycéniennes de la tradition épique’, [in:] Homeric Questions, J.P. Crielaard (ed.), Amsterdam, pp. 1–96.

Simon C.G., 1986, The Archaic Votive Offerings and Cults of Ionia, Diss. University of California.

Strauss Clay J., 2003, Hesiod’s Cosmos, Cambridge, DOI:

West M.L., 1997, The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth, Oxford.

West M.L., 2007, Indo-European Poetry and Myth, Oxford, DOI:




How to Cite

Duev, R. “The Family of Zeus in Early Greek Poetry and Myths”. Classica Cracoviensia, vol. 22, Oct. 2019, pp. 121-44, doi:10.12797/CC.20.2019.22.05.



Classica Linguistica