Who Unites and Divides


Ζεύς στί αθήρ, Ζεύς δέ γ, Ζε δ' ορανός, Ζε τοί τό πάντα χώτι τν δ' πέρτερον.

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11.  ZEFS (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς, ΖΕΥΣPronounced: zĕfs; the diphthong εύ is pronounced like the ef in left.

The parentage of Zefs

Zefs (Zeus) is the son of Krónos (Cronus; Gr. Κρόνος) and Rǽa (Rhea; Gr. Ῥέα). And when Rǽa was called the mother of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) she became Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ). [1]

The siblings of Zefs

Zefs is the youngest of his siblings who are as follows: the lovely Goddesses Æstía (Hestia; Gr. Ἑστία) and Íra (Hera; Gr. Ήρα), and his mighty brothers Ploutohn (Pluto; Gr. Πλούτων) and Poseidóhn (Poseidon; Gr. Ποσειδῶν).

The wives and children of Zefs

Zefs is called the Father of Gods and Men; he is supreme, and because of his position and his countless glorious qualities, Zefs is one the very most important of all deities in Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. By countless liaisons, Zefs fathered numerous children, indeed, he fathered all of creation, but some of the most famous of his wives, consorts, and children are as follows:

Mítis (Metis; Gr. Μῆτις), who he is said to have swallowed, by whom he fathered Athiná 
(Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ) from his own head. Mítis is the great primordial Titan Goddess who in the Orphic Theogony is equated with Phánis (Phanes or Fanes; Gr. Φάνης). She is also called the first wife of Zefs.

Thǽmis (Themis; Gr. Θέμις) by whom he fathered the Óhrai (Horae, the Seasons, or Hours; Gr. Ὧραι) and the Mírai (Moirai, the Fates; Gr. Μοῖραι). 
Thǽmis is called "Good Counsel" and she is associated with divine law often revealed through oracle. Thǽmis is sometimes called the second wife of Zefs.

Evrynómi (Eurynome; Gr. Εὐρυνόμη) by whom he fathered the Kháritæs (Charites; Gr. Χάριτες). 
Evrynómi is a daughter of Tithýs (Tethys; Gr. Τηθύς) and Okæanós (Oceanus or Ocean; Gr. Ὠκεανός) and is sometimes thought of as the third wife of Zefs.

Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ) by whom he fathered Pærsæphóni (Persephone; Gr. Περσεφόνη). 
When Rǽa gave birth to Zefs, she became Dimítir and her daughter, Pærsæphóni, holds, in the succession of Queens, a similar position to Diónysos in his seat in the succession of Kings. Dimítir is sometimes thought of as the fourth wife of Zefs.

Mnimosýni (Mnemosyne; Gr. Μνημοσύνη) by whom he fathered the Mousai (Muses; Gr. Μοῦσαι). 
Mnimosýni is the great Titan Goddess of Memory and is sometimes thought of as the fifth wife of Zefs.

By his sister Íra, to whom he is married, he fathered the Olympians Áris (Ares; Gr. Άρης) and Íphaistos (Hephaestus; Gr. Ἥφαιστος), as well as the Goddess Ívi (Hebe; Gr. Ἥβη). Íra is the final wife of Zefs and the third in the succession of the Three Queens.

Litóh (Leto; Gr. Λητώ) by whom he fathered the twins Ártæmis (Artemis; Gr. Ἄρτεμις) and Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). 
Litóh is the Titan daughter of Phívi (Phoebe; Gr. Φοίβη) and Kíos (Coeus; Gr. Κοῖος).

By Dióhni (Dione; Gr. Διώνη), he fathered Pándimos Aphrodite. According to the mythology, Zefs pursued Dióhni, who avoided his advances, and Zef's semen fell into the sea from which Pándimos Aphrodite was born, she who blesses the sexual unions of mortals. Ouranía Aphrodite, she who harmonizes the soul, was born from the castrated genitals of Ouranós (Οὐρανός) as they fell into the sea after Krónos castrated his father.

By Maia (Gr. Μαῖα), he fathered Ærmís (Hermes; Gr. Ἑρμῆς). Maia is the daughter of Átlas (Gr. Ἄτλας) and Pleióni (Pleione; Gr. Πλειόνη).

By Pærsæphóni (Persephone; Gr. Περσεφόνη), he fathered Zagréfs (Zagreus; Gr. Ζαγρεύς). Pærsæphóni is the great Goddess of the Mysteries, the great Kóri (Core or Kore; Gr. Κόρη) who has come to earth for the benefit of all.

By Sæmǽli (Semele; Gr. Σεμέλη), he fathered Diónysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος) from the heart of ZagréfsSæmǽli is the daughter of Armonía (Harmony; Gr. Ἁρμονία) and Kádmos (Cadmus; Gr. Κάδμος).

By Alkmíni (Alcmene; Gr. Ἀλκμήνη), he fathered Iraklís (Heracles or Hercules; Gr. Ἡρακλῆς), the great saviour of mankind. Alkmíni is the daughter of Anaxóh (Anaxo; Gr. Ἀναξώ) and Ilæktrýohna (Electryon; Gr. Ἠλεκτρύωνα).

The Mythology of Zef's Rise to Supremacy

Krónos, the father of Zefs, received an oracle that one of his children would overthrow him, so he swallowed each as they were born to Rǽa. When Zefs came forth, Rǽa became Dimítir. She connived against Krónos and gave him a stone wrapped in swaddling cloth rather than surrender her last child to him. Krónos swallowed the stone and vomited up all the children. Ploutohn (Pluto; Gr. Πλούτων) now took his seat on Earth and Poseidóhn (Poseidon; Gr. Ποσειδῶν) assumed the governance of the Sea and the Middle Sky up to the moon. Zefs was taken in haste to the Cave (Ἄντρον) of Nyx (Night; Gr. Νύξ). When he grew in strength, Nyx advised him to intoxicate his father with honey and usurp the throne. Zefs explained all this to his mother Dimítir and she then held a great banquet for her husband, serving him generous helpings of honey. Krónos got very drunk and wandered off into an oaken forest falling down into a deep sleep. Zefs, with the help of his cohorts, bound and castrated him, as Krónos had castrated his father. Thus, Zefs defeated Krónos. He then consulted his deposed father as to how to set up the kingdom and the Olympian Gods took governance over the Natural Laws. Now the Goddess Nyx advised him, telling Zefs to engulf everything, the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the stars, to surround them in the Aithír (Aether; Gr. Αἰθήρ). He then swallowed Phánis (Φάνης) and drew everything into his belly, creating everything anew. Having accomplished everything, Zefs took the Staff of Phánis along with his Thunderbolts and mounted a she-goat to journey to his mighty throne in the Heavens. Thus Zefs ascended to become the king of Gods and men forever and ever. This mythology can be found in the Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony along with appropriate citations. [2]

Introduction to Zefs

Zefs is supreme, even Fate is subservient to him. He is the great Olympian, whom even the Gods obey: he is the king and father of Gods and men (Gr. Πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε Θεῶν τε)His sister Íra (Hera; Gr. Ήρα) sits at his side and is his equal:

“Hence Juno (ed. Íra) proceeds together with Jupiter (ed. Zefs), generating all things in conjunction with the father. Hence, too, she is said to be equal in rank with Jupiter, as is likewise Rhea with Saturn (ed. Krónos). For this Goddess is the bosom of all the Saturnian (ed. Kronian) power. Earth also is equal in dignity with Heaven (ed. Ouranós). For Earth is the mother of all things, of which Heaven is the father.” (Orphic frag. 132. Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος 18c [I 46, 27 Diehl], trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820. Found here in 2006 edition of Vol. 1 Proclus' Commentary on the Timaeus of Plato, Prometheus Trust [Dorset, UK]. p. 52. Cf. Orphic frag. 153.)

“But the Demiurgus, who is the great Jupiter (ed. Zefs), is conjoined with Juno (ed. Íra). Hence also, she is said to be of equal rank with him, and proceeds from the same fathers.” (Orphic frag. 163. Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος 31a [I 450, 20 Diehl] trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

Zefs oversees and manages the whole Kózmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος).  

Zefs hears everything; therefore it would have to be assumed that he possesses some sort of omnipresence: 

"...οὐδέ τίς ἐστιν
αὐδὴ οὔδ' ἐνοπὴ οὐδὲ ϰτύπος οὐδὲ μὲν ὄσσα,
ἣ λήθει Διὸς οὖας ὑπερμενέος Κρονίωνος. (Orphic frag. 168, lines 19 and 20)

"Nothing which is, no word nor cry nor noise nor voice,
escapes the ear of the mightiest son of Krónos."

Mind (Nous; Gr. νοῦς = νόος) is the dominion of Great Zefs. 

Zefs is the source of all prophecy and Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλωνspeaks his oraclesApóllohn speaks the will of Zefs and sits at his right hand.

Zefs rules the sky, lightning and thunder and tempest, which he produces by shaking his mighty Aiyís (Aegis; Gr. Αἰγίς). 

Zefs cares for all the affairs and sufferings of man and punishes those who commit injustice. He presides over the entire state and every family and person. His dominion is that of Justice, Law and Order.

Zefs is God of hosts and God of guests who protects travelers and strangers and presides over hospitality (Xænía; Gr. Ξενία) and the rights and sanctity of suppliants

Zefs presides over oaths, which are sworn to his name.

Zefs is accompanied by the Goddesses Vía (Gr. Βία, Power) and Níki (Nike; Gr. Νίκη, Victory), along with their brothers Krátos (Cratus; Gr. Κράτος, Authority) and Zílos (Zelos; Gr. Ζῆλος, Competition); these four siblings all being progeny of the Titánæs (Titans; Gr. Τῑτᾶνες) Styx (Gr. Στύξ) and Pállas (Gr. Πάλλας), this according to Ἡσίοδος (Θεογονία 383-388) According to the same source, they fought beside him in the Titanomakhía (Battle of the Titans; Gr. Τιτανομαχία) in which Zefs ascended to the throne of Gods and men forever and ever, and they never leave his side. (Θεογονία 389-405. Cf. above The Mythology of Zef's Rise to Supremacy)

The lion and the eagle are associated with Zefs, as well as the oak. The Orphic hymns call for storax (use benzoin) to be offered to him; we can offer cakes in the shape of goats and cows and bulls, as these animals were sacrificed to him in antiquity.

Zefs Unites, Zefs Divides

Zefs is he who unites, and he who divides. This was first described by Sohkrátis  (Socrates; Gr. Σωκράτης) in the Kratýlos (Cratylus; Gr. Κρατύλος) of Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων):

"But it appears that the name of him who was called his (ed. Tántalos; Gr. Τάνταλος) father, is composed in an all-beautiful manner, though it is by no means easy to be understood: for in reality the name of Jupiter (ed. Zefs) is, as it were, a sentence; but dividing it into two parts, some of us use one part, and some another, for some call him Ζῆνα (ed. Zína, the poetical, accusative of Zefs), and somΔιά (ed. Diá, separation). And these parts collected into one, evince the nature of the God; which, as we have said, a name ought to effect: For there is no one who is more the cause of living, both to us and every thing else, than he who is the ruler and king of all things.  It happens, therefore, that this God is rightly denominated through whom life is present with all living beings; but the name, though one, is distributed, as I have said, into two parts, viz. into δια and ζηνα." [3] 

Therefore Zefs (Zeus) is "he who unites and he who divides," as is explained in Próklos (Proclus; Gr. Πρόκλος):

"For he (ed. the Dimiourgós) divides the soul into parts, harmonizes the divided parts, and renders them concordant with each other. But in effecting these things, he energizes at one and the same time Dionysiacally [i.e. Bacchically] and Apolloniacally. For to divide, and produce wholes into parts, and to preside over the distribution of forms, is Dionysiacal; but to perfect all things harmonically, is Apolloniacal. As the Demiurgus, therefore, comprehends in himself the cause of both these Gods, he both divides and harmonizes the soul." [4]

The concept of uniting and dividing is related to the dual name of the God: Zefs and Diós. Zefs or Ζεύς is etymologically related to zefxis (Gr. ζεῦξις), to yoke [5] . Diós (genitive of Ζεύς; Gr. Διός) is etymologically related to Δί, Δία = Ζεύς [6] διά, poet. διαί, through [5] διαιρέσιμος, divisiblediairæsisδιαίρεσις, divisibility [7] .

Zefs is the Dimiourgós (Demiurgus or Demiurge; Gr. Δημιουργός)  

Zefs utilizes ("swallows," as is said at line 167 of the Rhapsodies) the power of Phánis (Phanes; Gr. Φάνης), the Firstborn (Prohtogónos; Gr. Πρωτογόνος) to reveal the Forms which reside in the Cave (= Ántron; Gr. Ἄντρον) of Nyx (Gr. Νύξ); by revealing the forms, he creates. Zefs does not create ex nihilo, "out of nothing," as is said in monotheistic religions, but he creates out of what is pre-existent, ex materia, "from material." In reality, Zefs does not create, he reveals what is there already. This is portrayed in the mythology in the many stories in which Zefs pursues Goddesses and mortal womenVisit this page: CREATOR-GOD.

The Three Zefs

Zefs (Zeus), as we speak of him on this page, is Olympian Zeus, for there are three we call Zefs: Olympian Zefs, Zefs of the Sea and the Middle Sky (Poseidóhn [Poseidon]; Gr. Ποσειδῶν), and Zefs of the Earth (Terrestrial Zefs or Ploutohn
Gr. Πλούτων). 
In the words of Próklos:

"He (ed. Olympian Zefs) is also the summit of the three, has the same name with the fontal Jupiter (ed. Zefs), is united to him, and is monadically called Jupiter (ed. Zefs). But the second is called dyadically, marine Jupiter, and Neptune (ed. Poseidóhn). And the third is triadically denominated, terrestrial Jupiter, Pluto (ed. Ploutohn), and Hades (ed. Aidis; Gr. Ἅιδης). The first of these also preserves, fabricates, and vivifies summits, but the second, things of a second rank, and the third those of a third order. Hence this last is said to have ravished Proserpine (Pærsæphóni), that together with her he might animate the extremities of the universe."  [8]

Zefs wields the thunderbolt and Poseidóhn wields the Tríaina (Trident; Gr. Τρίαινα), Ploutohn possesses the Áïdos kynǽin (Aïdos kuneēn; Gr. Ἄϊδος κυνέην), the dog-skin cap which renders the wearer invisible. All these symbols of the Three Zefs were created for these mighty Gods by the Kýklohpæs (Cyclopes; Gr. Κύκλωπες).

The Six Vasileis

Zefs (Zeus) is the personalized, primordial evolution of the non-personal Aithír (Ether; Gr. Αἰθήρ). Aithír, in this context, refers to all these three: Fire, Air, or Water) [9], therefore, his position as supreme is not arbitrary. The mythology surrounding this evolution is symbolic. This progression is represented by the Six Vasileis (Basileis = Kings; Gr. Βασιλεῖς. Βασιλεύς is nom. singular.):  Phánis,  NyxOuranós,  Krónos,  Zefs, and Diónysos.  In a similar manner, Íra (Hera) is the personalized, primordial evolution of Yi [Earth, Ge; Gr. Γῆ].  (See Mystic Materialism) as well as The Three Vasíleiai.) This explains why the mythology describes Íra and Zefs as brother and sister yet united in marriage. And this also explains why Íra and Zefs, being emanations of the primordial substances, are preeminent in the Orphic kozmogony and why all ritual ends with homage to them. Please visit this page for the mythology of the Six Kings: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.

Zefs and Íra (Hera)

According to the mythology, Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) is the king of Gods and the father of Gods and men (Gr. Πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε Θεῶν τε). Íra (Hera; Gr. Ήρα) is said to be his sister and wife. The meaning of this mythology is that Zefs is the manifestation of the active kozmogonic substance, Water, called variously, from this perspective, Water/Fire/Aithir. Íra is the manifestation of the receptive kozmogonic substance: Earth. These kozmogonic substances are primal, from the beginning, and exist together; therefore, poetically, they are siblings, i.e. brother and sister. Without the interaction of Earth and Water, Zefs and Íra, there is no creation; therefore, they are, poetically, married.

The philosopher Próklos (Proclus; Gr. Πρόκλος) explains marriage between Gods thus:

"That Ocean (ed. Okæanós; Gr. Ὠκεανός) is said to have married Tethys (ed. Tithýs; Gr. Τηθύς), and Jupiter (ed. Zefs married) Juno (ed. Íra), and the like, as establishing a communion with her, conformably to the generation of subordinate natures. For an according co-arrangement of the Gods, and a connascent (ed. i.e. born together) co-operation in their productions, is called by theologists marriage (ed. Thæogamía; Gr. Θεογαμία, marriage between Gods)." [10]

Festivals of Zefs

Thæogamía – (Theogamia; Gr. Θεογαμία) Thæogamía is marriage between Gods, but here we are speaking of the festival which celebrates the marriage of Íra (Hera) and Zefs, i.e., the union of the two kozmogonic substances, Earth and Water. (See Mystic Materialism)

In the Thæogamía, we also celebrate the union of Ærmís (Hermes) and Aphrodíti, (Aphrodite) a pairing which is an exception, not the same as the Divine Consorts, but a great symbol of them. Together they represent the union or marriage of each pair. The union of Ærmís and Aphrodíti produces Ærmaphróditos (Ermaphroditos; Gr. Ἑρμαφρόδιτος), a being with both male and female sexes. Each pair of Olympians is an Ærmaphróditos but the Great Ærmaphróditos (Toh Mægáloh Ærmaphróhditoh; Gr. Τω Μεγάλω Έρμαφρώδιτω) is the marriage of Zefs and Íra, which is the union of the two kozmogonic substances, Earth and Water, or Earth and Sky. This union is celebrated in the Thæogamía.

The date of the Thæogamía is disputed, perhaps 26 or 27 Gamilióhn (Gamelion; Gr. Γαμηλιών), late January, in the month of Ydrokhóos (= Aquarius; Gr. Υδροχόος). The entire month of Gamilióhn; the "marriage month, was dedicated to Íra.

The Names Zefs, the word Diós, and the word Dióh

There is confusion between the words Diós and Dióh, but the confusion is not so great when you see the actual Greek words: 

Diós (Gr. Διός) is the genitive of Zefs (Ζεύς); it means "of Zefs" and it is the name used to designate the dividing power of the God; the name Zefs is used to designate the uniting power of the God. 

The name Dióh (Dio; Gr. Δηώ) is a name of the Goddess Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ). The dælta (Δ) at the beginning of Dimítir in later times became a gámma (Γ), so the first syllable Δη became ΓῆΔη originally was a word for Earth but became Yi (Γῆ)mítir (Gr. μήτηρ) means mother, so Dimítir means "Earth-Mother."

The two Orphic Hymns to Zefs

Please visit these pages for a thorough examination of the two most well-known Orphic hymns to Zefs. Each includes the Thomas Taylor translation, the original Greek text, an easy transliteration of the Greek text for anyone who may wish to learn the hymn in ancient Greek, a word-by-word examination of each poem, and a new translation of each hymn for purposes of study:

The Orphic Hymn to Zefs (from the Orphic Hymns, number 15)

Zefs and Orphismós

Father Zefs rules the eleventh Orphic Íkos (House or Oikos; Gr. Οἶκος)the month of Lǽohn (Leo or Leon; Gr. Λέων) from July 21 through August 20, and his dominion is the Natural Law of Life in the Divine World. The cortex (shell) of the Orphic Egg is the symbol of Zefs: Nous-Mind. The Divine Consort of Zefs is his sister, the Goddess Íra (Hera). The Orphic Hymns suggest an offering of storax (use benzoin) to Zefs.

The Foresight and Compassion of Zefs: Pærsæphóni and Diónysos

Zefs fathered a new generation of beings...our generation...with immortal souls but with bodies subject to dissolution by sickness, old age, and violence. This generation experiences great beauty but also persistent sufferings. When the body dies the soul eventually returns in a sorrowful circle of rebirths (κύκλος γενέσεως). This state of existence was the best possible condition, constrained by natural law. But Zefs foresaw the sufferings of his creatures and in great compassion conceived a solution. The liberation which wide-eyed Zefs conceived can be uncovered in the great stories of our religion.

According to the mythology, Zefs pursued his mother Rǽa (Rhea; Gr. Ῥέα) who had become Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ) at his own birth. Dimítir assumed the shape of a snake in order to escape his advances, but Zefs then also transformed himself into a snake and they united in a Knot of Iraklís (Heracles or Hercules; Gr. Ἡρακλῆς) and produced the Daughter (Core; Gr. Κόρη) Pærsæphóni (Persephone; Gr. Περσεφόνη), destined to promote great Mysteries. When she was of age, Zefs came to her, again in the form of a serpent, united with her, and she conceived a son. [11] This son is Zagréfs who was sacrificed by the Titánaes (Titans; Gr. Τιτᾶνες) [12] but whose still-beating heart was retrieved by Athiná (Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ) [13].

Zefs then united with Sæmǽli (Semele; Gr. Σεμέλη), the daughter resulting from the unity of Armonía (Harmony; Gr. Ἁρμονία) and Kádmos (Cadmus; Gr. Κάδμος). Sæmǽli conceived a child but, according to the mythology, her body was burnt away when she insisted that Zefs appear to her in his true form. The fetus was saved and Zefs sewed it up in his own leg. When the months were up he bore a son. [14] This son is Diónysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος) who with his Mysteries frees us from the cycle of births.

All these stories can be found in greater detail in the Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony (See The Sixth King).

"But sorrow in many forms possessed the life of men, which begins with labour and never sees the end of care: and Time his everlasting companion showed to Zeus Almighty mankind, afflicted with suffering and having no portion in happiness of heart. For the Father had not yet cut the threads of childbirth and shot forth Bacchos from his pregnant thigh, to give mankind rest from their tribulations; not yet did the libation of wine (ed. the Aithír of the Father) soak the pathways of the air and make them drunken with sweetsmelling exhalations [15] .Then all in wild jubilation will cry Euoi over the echoing table with mutual toasts, in honour of Dionysos the protector of the human race." [16]

For a more thorough discussion of this topic: The Compassion of Zefs.

Zefs in Iconography

In art, Zefs is depicted as regal, mature, powerful, and bearded. He wields the thunderbolt as his scepter or sometimes he will be depicted with a separate scepter. He is crowned with olive or oak leaves. The eagle is often at his side and he holds an image of Victory in his hand, and sometimes a cornucopia.

Zefs can be represented by the lion, the bull, or the eagle, the animals which most exemplify power and authority.

The philosopher Porphýrios (Porphyry; Gr. 
Πορφύριος) says:

"Zeus, therefore, is the whole world, animal of animals, and God of Gods; but Zeus, that is, inasmuch as he is the mind from which he brings forth all things, and by his thoughts creates them. When the theologians had explained the nature of God in this manner, to make an image such as their description indicated was neither possible, nor, if any one thought of it, could he show the look of life, and intelligence, and forethought by the figure of a sphere.

"But they have made the representation of Zeus in human form, because mind was that according to which he wrought, and by generative laws brought all things to completion; and he is seated, as indicating the steadfastness of his power: and his upper parts are bare, because he is manifested in the intellectual and the heavenly parts of the world; but his feet are clothed, because he is invisible in the things that lie hidden below. And he holds his sceptre in his left hand, because most close to that side of the body dwells the heart, the most commanding and intelligent organ: for the creative mind is the sovereign of the world. And in his right hand he holds forth either an eagle, because he is master of the Gods who traverse the air, as the eagle is master of the birds that fly aloft - or a victory, because he is himself victorious over all things." [17]

Zefs and the Generations of Man

Zefs rules over the third and final generation of man: the Titanic Age. [18]

EPITHETS: For the many names of Zefs, visit this page: Zefs - the Epithets


A contemporary musical offering to Zefs: Hymn to Zefs 

The Hymn to Zefs by the Alexandrian poet Kallímakhos (Callimachus; Gr. Καλλίμαχος): Kallímakhos' Hymn to Zefs

The Hymn to Zefs by the philosopher Klæánthis (Cleanthes; Gr. Κλεάνθης): Klæánthis' Hymn to Zefs


From Kallímakhos of Alexandria:

Hail! greatly hail! most high Son of Cronus, giver of good things, giver of safety. Thy works who could sing? There hath not been, there shall not be, who shall sing the works of Zeus. Hail! Father, hail again! and grant us goodness and prosperity. Without goodness wealth cannot bless men, nor goodness without prosperity. Give us goodness and weal. [19]

From Áratos of Soléfs:

ἐκ Διὸς ἀρχώμεσθα, τὸν οὐδέποτ᾽ ἄνδρες ἐῶμεν 
ἄρρητον: μεσταὶ δέ Διὸς πᾶσαι μὲν ἀγυιαί, 
πᾶσαι δ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἀγοραί, μεστὴ δὲ θάλασσα 
καὶ λιμένες: πάντη δὲ Διὸς κεχρήμεθα πάντες. 
τοῦ γάρ καὶ γένος εἰμέν: ὁ δ᾽ ἤπιος ἀνθρώποισιν 
δεξιὰ σημαίνει, λαοὺς δ᾽ ἐπὶ ἔργον ἐγείρει, 
μιμνῄσκων βιότοιο, λέγει δ᾽ ὅτε βῶλος ἀρίστη 
βουσί τε καὶ μακέλῃσι, λέγει δ᾽ ὅτε δεξιαὶ ὧραι 
καὶ φυτὰ γυρῶσαι καὶ σπέρματα πάντα βαλέσθαι. 
αὐτὸς γὰρ τά γε σήματ᾽ ἐν οὐρανῷ ἐστήριξεν, 
ἄστρα διακρίνας, ἐσκέψατο δ᾽ εἰς ἐνιαυτὸν 
ἀστέρας οἵ κε μάλιστα τετυγμένα σημαίνοιεν 
ἀνδράσιν ὡράων, ὄφρ᾽ ἔμπεδα πάντα φύωνται. 
τῶ μιν ἀεὶ πρῶτόν τε καὶ ὕστατον ἱλάσκονται. 
χαῖρε, πάτερ, μέγα θαῦμα, μέγ᾽ ἀνθρώποισιν ὄνειαρ, 
αὐτὸς καὶ προτέρη γενεή. Χαίροιτε δὲ Μοῦσαι 
μειλίχιαι μάλα πᾶσαι: ἐμοί γε μὲν ἀστέρας εἰπεῖν 
ᾗ θέμις εὐχομένῳ τεκμήρατε πᾶσαν ἀοιδήν.

"From Zeus let us begin; him do we mortals never leave unnamed; full of Zeus are all the streets and all the market-places of men; full is the sea and the havens thereof; always we all have need of Zeus. For we are also his offspring; and he in his kindness unto men giveth favourable signs and wakeneth the people to work, reminding them of livelihood. He tells what time the soil is best for the labour of the ox and for the mattock, and what time the seasons are favourable both for the planting of trees and for casting all manner of seeds. For himself it was who set the signs in heaven, and marked out the constellations, and for the year devised what stars chiefly should give to men right signs of the seasons, to the end that all things might grow unfailingly. Wherefore him do men ever worship first and last. Hail, O Father, mighty marvel, mighty blessing unto men. Hail to thee and to the Elder Race! Hail, ye Muses, right kindly, every one! But for me, too, in answer to my prayer direct all my lay, even as is meet, to tell the stars." [20]

The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods
based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms
related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.

[1] Orphic frag. 145. (106. 128) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Κρατύλος 403e, (90, 28 Pasqu.):

Ῥείη τὸ πρὶν ἐοῦσα, ἐπεὶ Διὸς ἔπλετο μήτηρ, Δημήτηρ γέγονε.

“Aforetime was she Rhea, but when she came to be called mother of Zefs she became Demetra.” (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 139.)

[2] For the more familiar mythology, see Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος) Thæogonía (Theogony; Gr. Θεογονία) 453-491.

[3] Plátohn Kratýlos 395e-396b, trans. Thomas Taylor, 1804; TTS XIII pp. 475-476.  And below is Taylor's note concerning this line of the text (found Ibid. Taylor pp. 527-528):

"It is evident from hence, that Jupiter (ed. Zefs), according to Plato, is the Demiurgus (ed. Dimiourgós; Gr. Δημιουργός), or artificer of the universe; for no one can be more the cause of living to all things, than he by whom the world was produced. But if this be the case, the artificer of the world is not, as we have before observed according to the Platonic theology, the first cause: for there are other Gods superior to Jupiter, whose names Plato, as we shall shortly see, etymologizes agreeably to the Orphic theology. Indeed, his etymology of Jupiter is evidently derived from the following Orphic verses, which are cited by Joannes Diac. Allegor. ad Hesiodi Theog. p. 278.

Εστιν δη παντων αρχη Ζευς. Ζευς γαρ εδωκε,
Ζωα τ' εγεννισεν· και Ζην αυτον καλεουσι,
Και Δια τ' ηδ, οτι δη δια τουτον απαντα τετυκται.
Εις δε πατηρ ουτος παντων, θηρων τε βροτων τε.

ed. Æstin di pantohn arkhi Zefs. Zefs gar ædohkæ, 
Zoa t'ægænnisæn kai Zin afton kalæousi,
Kai Dia t'id, oti di dia touton apanta tætyktai.
Eis dæ patir outos pantohn, thirohn tæ vrotohn tæ.

i.e. 'Jupiter (ed. Zefs) is the principle of all things. For Jupiter is the cause of the generation of animals: and they call him Ζην (ed. Zin), and Δια (ed. Dia) also, because all things were fabricated through him; and he is the one father of all things, of beasts and men.' Here too you may observe that he is called fabricator and father, which are the very epithets given to the Demiurgus (ed. Dimiourgós; Gr. Δημιουργόςof the world by Plato (ed. Plátohn; Gr. Πλάτων) in the Timæus (Tímaios; Gr. Τίμαιος). In short, Jupiter, the artificer of the world, subsists at the extremity of that order of Gods which is called νοερος (ed. noæros), intellectual, as is copiously and beautifully proved by Proclus (ed. Próklos; Gr. Πρόκλος), in Plat. Theol. lib. v. [TTS Vol. VIII] And he is likewise celebrated by the Chaldaic theology, as we are informed by Damascius (Damáskios; Gr. Δαμάσκιος) and Psellus (ed. Psællós; Gr. Ψελλός) under two names, δις επεκεινα (ed. dis æpækeina), twice beyond.

[4] Próklos' Commentary on the Tímaios of Plátohn, Diehl pagination: 200C, 2,197; trans. Thomas Taylor in Vol. II of the same name, 1820; found here in the 2006 Prometheus Trust edition (Dorset UK) on p. 616, TTS XVI.

Damáskios of Rhodes, in his commentary on Phaidohn (Phaedo; Gr. Φαίδων) 3, states: "Creation being twofold, either indivisible or divided, the latter, according to the commentator, is ruled by Dionysus (Diónysos; Gr. Διόνυσος), and therefore divided."  (Damaskios Commentary on Phaedo.3; trans. L.G. Westerink from The Greek Commentaries on Plato's Phaedo, Vol. II, Damascius, Amsterdam, Oxford, and New York: North-Holland Publishing Co., 1977. This excerpt from Westerink was found in The Golden Chain: An Anthology of Pythagorean and Platonic Philosophy, Selected and edited by Algis Uždavinys, 2004, World Wisdom, Bloomington IN USA, p. 274.)

[5] L&S p. 754, right column.

[6] L&S p. 388, right column.

[7] L&S p. 395, left column.

[8] Extract from the Manuscript Scolia of Próklos On the Kratýlos of Plátohn, found in The Theology of Plato/Proclus, trans. Thomas Taylor, Prometheus Trust (Somerset UK), Vol. VIII of The Thomas Taylor Seriesp. 683.

The Three Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύςare Ploutohn (Pluto or Hades; Gr. Πλούτων), Poseidóhn (Poseidon or Neptune; Gr. Ποσειδῶν), and Zefs (or Jupiter). They can be understood from the perspective of the Orphic Egg. Ploutohn is the center (the yolk); Poseidóhn is the middle (the liquid, or white of the egg); Zefs is the cortex, (the shell or outer layer: Nous, mind).  They are also known as Zefs of the Earth (Ploutohn or Zefs Khthonios [Terrestrial]), Zefs of the Sea (Poseidóhn), and Zefs of the Sky (Olympian Zefs): 

"...but they themselves cast lots for the sovereignty, and to Zeus was allotted the dominion of the sky, to Poseidon the dominion of the sea, and to Pluto the dominion in Hades." (Apollódohros Vivliothíki I:2, trans. J.G. Frazer in Apollodorus: The Library I, Loeb LCL 121, Harvard Univ. Press [Cambridge MA & London England] 1921; we are using the 1990 edition, p. 11.)

Also compare this passage from the ancient Alexandrian poet Kallímakhos:

"Fairly didst thou wax, O heavenly Zeus, and fairly wert thou nurtured, and swiftly thou didst grow to manhood, and speedily came the down upon thy cheek.  But, while yet a child, thou didst devise all the deeds of perfect stature.  Wherefore thy kindred, though an earlier generation, grudged not that thou shouldst have heaven for thine appointed habitation.  The ancient poets spake not altogether truly.  For they said that the lot assigned to the sons of Cronus their three several abodes.  But who would draw lots for Olympus and for Hades – save a very fool?  for equal chances should one cast lots;  but these are the wide world apart.  When I speak fiction, be it such fiction as persuades the listener’s ear!  Thou wert made sovereign of the Gods not by casting of lots but by the deeds of thy hands, thy might and that strength which thou hast set beside thy throne."  (KallímakhosHymn to Zefs 54-66, trans. A.W. Mair and G.R. Mair, 1921 in Callimachus Hymns and Epigrams; We are using the 1989 Harvard Univ. Press edition [Cambridge MA and London England], Loeb LCL 129, p. 43)

[9] “Zeus is Aithir (ed. Aithír; Gr. Αἰθήρ), Zeus is earth, Zeus is heaven: Zeus, in truth, is all things and more than all.” (Aiskhýlos [Aeschylus; Gr. Αἰσχύλος] fr. 70)

"Maiden, 'twas Aithir gave thee birth, Who is named Zeus by sons of earth." (Evrip
ídis [Euripides; Gr. Εὐριπίδης] fr. 877)

"O ever untamed Æther, raised on high, in Zeus’ dominions, ruler of the sky"  (Orphic Hymn To Aither translated by Thomas Taylor)

"Very well! I swear it by the Æther, the dwelling-place of the king of the Gods.." (Aristophánis Thæsmophoriázousai [Thesmophriazusae Gr. Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι273; translated by Eugene O'Neill, Jr.)

The Rhapsodic Theogony describes the evolution of Zefs from 

from the Manuscript Scolia of Pr
 On the Krat
los of Pl
tohn, found in The Theology of Plato/Proclus, trans. Thomas Taylor, Prometheus Trust (Somerset UK), Vol. VIII of The Thomas Taylor Series, p. 682.

[11] Orphic frag. 58. (41) Athenagoras Pro Christian 20 p.22, 10 Schw.:

"...and how he persecuted his mother Rhea when she refused to wed him, and, she becoming a she-dragon, and he himself being changed into a dragon, bound her with what is called the Herculean knot (ed. marriage knot), and accomplished his purpose, of which fact the rod of Hermes is a symbol; and again, how he violated his daughter Phersephoné, in this case also assuming the form of a dragon, and became the father of Dionysus." (trans. Rev. B. P. Pratten, 1885. Athenogoras: A Plea for the Christians, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 2 as found in the 1904 Charles Shribner's Sons edition [New York) p. 138.)

[12] Orphic fragments 34, 35, 210.

[13] Orphic frag. 35 and 210.

[14] The story of Sæmǽli and the birth of Diónysos is told very elaborately in Νόννος Διονυσιακά Books 7, 8, and 9 but it can be found in many collections of mythology from antiquity.

[15] Νόννος Διονυσιακά 7.7-13, trans. W. H. D. Rouse 1940. We are using the Loeb Classical Library edition entitled Nonnos Dionysiaca, the 1962 reprint. Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA) and William Heinemann LTD (London), p. 245.

[16] Ibid. Rouse Dionysiaká 7.94, p. 251.

[17] Porphýrios (Porphyry; Gr. Πορφύριος) On Images, Fragment 3, excerpt, translated by Edwin Hamilton Gifford.

[18] Orphic frag. 140. Πρόκλος Commentary on Rempubl. II 74, 26 Kr.

ὁ μὲν θεολόγος Ὀ. τρία γένη παραδέδωκεν ἀνθρώπων· πρώτιστον τὸ χρυσούν, ὅπερ ὑποστῆσαι τὸν Φάνητά φησιν· δεύτερον τὸ ἀργυροῦν, οὗ φησιν ἄρχαι τὸν μέγιστον Κρόνον· τρίτον τὸ Τιτανικόν, ὅ φησιν ἐκ τῶν Τιτανικών μελῶν τὸν Δία συστήσασθαι

"Whereas the Theologian Orphéfs conveys that there are three generations of men: the very first a Golden age said to be of Phánis; the second Silver brought forth by mighty Krónos; the third is the Titanic age formed of the Titanic limbs of Zefs." (trans. author)

Unlike this Orphic idea, Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) and others describe the ages of man differently. Plátohn calls the reign of Krónos and Rǽa a golden age as can be found in Πολιτικός 268e-272c. Cf. Ἡσίοδος Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι 109-201.

Kallímakhos (Callimachus; Gr. Καλλίμαχος) of Alexandria I.-To Zefs, 90-95; trans. A.W. Mair, 1921; found here in the 1989 Harvard Univ. Press edition (Cambridge MA & London England), Loeb LCL 129, pp. 45-47.

[20] Ἄρᾱτος ὁ Σολεύς Φαινόμενα 1-18. Trans.G. R. Mair, 1921. As found in Callimachus and Lycophron. Aratus. William Heinemann (London) G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York), p. 381.

The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The 
Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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