Paper abstract

The evidence for the worship of Zeus during the 11th - 7th centuries B.C.

Zolotnikova Olga

This paper will present the results of the research conducted for my Ph.D. thesis “The Concept of Zeus in the Iliad: Its Origins and Its Relation to the Early Greek Religion” (in Greek, University of Athens, 2003). The archaeological investigations in combination with the literary references have so far permitted the identification of approximately 20 sites associated with the worship of Zeus, where the religious or some other kind of human activity is traced back to the prehistoric / early historic period. The study of the archaeological material from these sites leads to a series of conclusions about the nature of the cults of Zeus practiced during that period. It appears that except Dodona and contrary to the image of Zeus presented in the Homeric poems, Zeus was not initially worshipped as a storm-deity. Summarizing all the available evidence, it is possible to infer the role of Zeus in the religion of the late prehistoric / early historic period and to specify the relation of this deity in the process of the formation of the polis. It may be argued that during the end of the prehistoric / beginning of historic era the worship of Zeus was relatively limited, and the specific divinity practically did not appear as a protector of the cities or urban settlements.

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