Clash of the Gods - Zeus

A son battles his father for the control of the universe. And seizes more power than any god ever had. This is the story of Zeus, Greek mythology's supreme commander. To us it's a myth but to the ancients it was reality. A way to make sense of a terrifying world. Some Greeks believed Zeus was the one true god centuries before Christ. And that nature's worst catastrophes were a sign of his wrath. This is the myth of Zeus as it was originally told, and the surprising truth behind it. If you control the sky you control the world. In Greek mythology that power belongs to one god...Zeus.

He reigns as the enforcer of justice, the master of men and gods. Zeus was the king of the gods but he was also responsible for dispensing justice both to the gods and to mortals on the Earth. This is something really cool about Greek mythology. Because one of the things that you were supposed to do as a Greek when you worshipped the gods was simply to do what was required to keep the gods from squashing you. As commander of the skies Zeus has the power of nature at his disposal. That gives him the most devastating weapon of all. The most powerful symbol of Zeus is the lightning bolt. This is what Zeus carries, it's his main accoutrement, and it's a thing that makes him the most powerful of all the divinities.

Attributing lightning to Zeus was a way for the Greeks to explain the unexplainable. In a time before science, mythology put faces on the forces that shaped the world. The Greeks used mythology to try and figure out why the world operates the way that it does. They didn't have scientific explanations yet for how the world came into existence or why lightning strikes here but not there, or why it strikes then and not some other time. The natural world was very frightening to them, so they associated it with the divine. These were symptoms of the gods' power that they could use to punish people who hadn't worshipped them properly... Zeus' command over nature would make him Greece's most feared god.

But how did he get there? What we know of Zeus begins with the writings of the ancient Greek author Hesiod, around 700 BC. His book, called Theogony, was the ancient Greek story of Creation. What the book of Genesis is to our own world. Theogony is Hesiod's attempt to make sense of the world, to bring order to it, by telling the story of a dynastic family rivalry that winds up in a well-ordered Cosmos that is the world that you and I know today. In the myth, Zeus doesn't start out as the king of the gods. He rises from obscurity to challenge his father for control of the universe.

And that won't be easy. His father is Kronos. He is king of the Titans, the most powerful gods in the universe. The Titans are an older order of Greek god. They're pretty rough around the edges, they're not too bright, they're also not very well civilized. As leader of the Titans, Kronos is expected to produce offspring, so he mates with his own flesh and blood, his sister and fellow Titan, Rhea. Incest shows up quite a bit in mythology. Among the gods there's nobody else at the beginning to have sex with so they end up marrying one another. There's an old time aristocratic idea that says that no one else is good enough for our family except only our family.

And the Greek gods definitely seem to ascribe to this kind of principle. These two Titan siblings, Kronos and Rhea, produced the next generation of Greek gods. Mythology's household names, the Olympians. Among them are Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus. But they will not simply inherit the Earth, they must fight for it. Kronos was very worried about having children because he was concerned that his son would be greater than him and would supplant him. The father fears being replaced by the son, that's human psychology, I mean, go to Freud and... actually Freud found it in classical mythology. So this fear of losing your power to the next generation was real. If you had a kid and you had something worth taking at some point you needed to keep an eye on the kid.

So his solution to this problem was to swallow alive all of his offspring. As soon as his wife gave birth he would actually ingest them. Now, of course, since they're immortal, the children that Kronos swallows are not dead, they're just locked away inside of his belly. He's trying to control them and keep them from developing a power base so they might be able to overthrow him. To the Greeks who told the myth, this was an appalling act. Cannibalism was as deplorable then as now. We see the Greek authors giving voice to their fears through mythology.

Cannibalism, sacrifice, were horrible taboos, but when you project these things on to the gods it gives you a safe place to explore the consequences of what might happen. Rhea is horrified. All five of her children have been swallowed alive. Now she is pregnant again. But this time she has a plan. She sneaks away and gives birth in secret to a son, the future king of the gods, Zeus. But Kronos is expecting another child to swallow, so Rhea wraps a rock in a baby blanket and presents it to him. Without thinking twice he grabs the bundle and gulps it down.

So the plan of Rhea is put into place. Kronos has swallowed down the stone instead of Zeus. Zeus then as an infant is spirited away and is put in what the ancient mythtellers tell us is the folds of the Earth. Zeus has been saved by his mother's cleverness. It's a memorable story, but could that secret cave at the heart of the myth really exist? It seemed the ancients thought so. They believed Zeus had been born in the island of this mountain cave. The cave on the island of Crete is perhaps the most important sanctuary for the veneration of Zeus.

It was considered as one of the possible places where the baby Zeus was kept hidden from his own father. Excavations at the cave have revealed that it was a major pilgrimage site for visitors from across the ancient world. It was a place that people would go to worship Zeus. How do we know? We've excavated thousands of dedications to Zeus, and ritual objects to Zeus from all over the Mediterranean. One find in particular ties directly into the myth of Zeus. Amongst the material remains were these cool shields that probably were along the walls and were put up there to indicate... the clanging of shields that the people defending Zeus used to muffle his crying when he was a baby, so that Kronos could not hear it.

A chosen son, hidden to save his life. For Christians and Jews, the story of Zeus' birth is very familiar. Many religious and mythological traditions have stories of sacred or divine children who are hidden away in order to protect them so that they can grow to adulthood and fulfill their destinies. We think, perhaps, of Jesus who is hidden away in the manger so that Herod will not be able to get to him. Or of Moses who is hidden away in Egypt. In the myth, Zeus quietly comes of age inside the cave.

He has a kind of training period there out of the eyes of Kronos, and is able to acquire his strength and develop into a man. Zeus spends his childhood preparing to fulfill his self-appointed destiny: To challenge his father and the Titans for control of the Universe. Zeus has escaped the fate of his siblings, who were all swallowed alive by their father, the Titan Kronos. Inside a remote cave hideaway he has matured into a fully formed god. Now he is ready to begin the epic power struggle he was born to wage to avenge his father's savagery.

To liberate his five Olympian siblings from his father's belly, and to seize control of the world from the Titans who now rule it. The stakes for him are tremendously high. If he succeeds he'll be master of the universe, but if he fails, he may well be the one who winds up down in Tartarus. Tartarus, the lowest level of Hades, and the ancient Greek equivalent of Hell. Tartarus was the part of Hades where the damned went, the people who were bad or committed offences against the gods on Earth would be sent to Tartarus.

If Zeus fails in his attempt to seize power from Kronos and the Titans, he'll be damned to this place for all eternity. But if he wins, he'll command gods and men from his throne atop Mount Olympus. In Greek myth, Mount Olympus is the towering home of the gods, but it's also a real location. It's the highest peak in Greece, rising nearly 10,000 feet above sea level. And it's a natural setting for supernatural powers. The Greeks really believed that their gods actually lived physically on Mount Olympus. It was important for them to actually have a sense of where heaven was, where the gods actually resided.

เรื่องผี It is from his home base on Mount Olympus that Zeus engineers his rebellion against Kronos and the Titans. Zeus is gonna have to get others to come in and help him out so that he can achieve supreme power. This is the ultimate family feud. And so it is to his own flesh and blood that Zeus turns first. He knows his strongest allies will be his five siblings, the Olympians, now fully-formed adults. But still trapped deep inside Kronos' stomach. If they can be liberated, the Olympians could tip the scales in Zeus' favor, and help him destroy the Titans forever. He wanted to free his brothers and sisters so he concocted a potion.

Quietly, Zeus enters Kronos' lair and slips the drug into his nightly cup of mead. Kronos drinks it and becomes violently ill. First he vomits up the stone his wife had given him in place of baby Zeus. According to tradition, that rock is the cornerstone of ancient Greece's most sacred site, the Temple of Delphi, home of the Oracle. Delphi is a sanctuary in Greece where people would come from all around to consult with god; it was a direct phone line up to heaven, to ask the answer to anything you wanted.

To this day, thousands of years after the story was first told, the stone that Kronos supposedly vomited is still there. At the very centre of the Temple complex at Delphi is an egg-shaped stone that was understood to be the exact stone that played the role of being the substitute for Zeus that Kronos swallowed. And if you go there today, to the Temple of Delphi, the locals will still tell you that the stone that's there is the actual one that was in Kronos' belly.

In the เรื่องผี myth, after throwing up the sacred stone, Kronos regurgitates Zeus' five siblings. And they are ready to join Zeus' revolution. What marks Zeus as a different kind of leader from those that have come before, is his intelligence. He's able to persuade and convince those around him that he should be leader, and he's able to build coalitions. Zeus now has his siblings by his side, but he still needs more muscle to take on the Titans. And there are some other estranged members of the family who are out for revenge.

Forgotten brothers of Kronos. The Cyclops, and the Hundred-Handers. But to find them Zeus has to go to Hell. Kronos had feared the powers of these Hundred-handers and the Cyclops so he'd locked them down into Tartarus. Zeus knew that if he could get their power on his side he could marshal it to his own ends. He goes down and talks to the Hundred-handers and says, "I will pay you great respect. "And I know that my father Kronos has mistreated you. "Now I've freed you and now you owe me. " And even they are moved and say, "Yes, great Zeus, we realize not only are you very powerful, "but you also know how to treat people well. "So we appreciate that and we will now fight on your side. " In gratitude for being liberated the Cyclops present Zeus with a gift, the power of lightning. Lightning is one of the most devastatingly powerful forces in nature.

When lightning arcs through the air, the air is briefly raised to a temperature that can be more than 50,000 degrees, that's five times the surface temperature of the Sun. The lightning bolt gives Zeus the power to rule the universe. With this lightning bolt, no one is going to be able to overthrow him. The battle lines are drawn. The Titans will fight from Mount Othrys, the Olympians from Mount Olympus. Between them lies the Plain of Thessaly. But this isn't just a mythical battlefield. Thessaly is actually, if we take into consideration the modern map of Greece, is the central part of Greece.
It's the biggest plain and the most fertile plain in Greece from ancient times to today.

Thessaly has a long, bloody history, stretching from the Greco-Persian wars of the 5th Century BC, to the World Wars of the 20th Century AD. And it is here that the ultimate battle of the gods will play out. Armed with a weapon of mass destruction and an elite fighting force Zeus braces for an Earth-shattering battle. And to this day, a real place may still bear the scars. Mythology's defining moment is now at hand. The battle between father and son is about to begin. It's the old guard of Kronos and his Titans versus the new blood of Zeus and the Olympians. The outcome will determine who controls everything. From the top of Mount Olympus Zeus sends a fury of lightning down upon his father's army.

The fighting shakes the Earth to its core. The only way we can conceive of this battle is simply worlds colliding. All the forces in the universe smashing together at once. You've got the Hundred-handers over on one side that are ripping off huge hunks of mountain and throwing mountains at the other side. From the Titans you've got a lot of just brute force and brute strength. They're able to take a punch and keep coming back over and over. It's an apocalyptic scene, and not entirely a myth. Experts have recently determined that a real event, just as frightening, actally happened in
the ancient world.

About 3,600 years ago, the Greek island of Santorini experienced one of the most devastating volcanic explosions ever. Its effects were felt as far away as California. The volcanic blast was the single largest seismic event on Earth in the last 27,000 years. To give you an idea of how massive it was, imagine a mountain about 3.5 miles tall being blown into the sky all at once. In 2006, scientists discovered that the Santorini eruption was even larger than originally believed. Excavations uncovered deposits of volcanic ash piled 20 storeys deep, blanketing a 30-mile
radius around the island.

Based on this evidence, it's now believed the eruption unleashed the equivalent power of 50,000 Hiroshima bombs. An explosion that powerful would have annihilated much of the Greek world. For the survivors, who knew little about how volcanoes work, it could only have been the wrath of the gods. When the ancient myth-tellers told the story of great cataclysmic battles that shook the Earth,
they weren't doing so in a vacuum. There had been massive seismic events that had happened in the memory of some of the earlier generations of Greeks before these myth-tellers had written down their stories.

As the clash of the gods plays out in the myth it appears Zeus is finally about to seize control of the universe. His powerful allies have tipped the balance and the Olympians are closing in on victory.
But the Titans have one last weapon at their disposal... From the depths of Tartarus they call forth a colossal beast, Typhon. Typhon is a tremendously strong, powerful monster that's challenging Zeus himself. It's a last gasp effort, and the final monster, the final challenge he has to put down in order to secure his reign over the universe. It is a supernatural death match.

A decisive struggle between good and evil. And it will all come down to the ultimate weapon. As Zeus and Typhon are engaged in this final epic battle, Zeus eventually gets the upper hand and wins via his lightning bolt. With one final assault, Zeus drives Typhon and his Titan allies down into Tartarus, where they are damned to spend eternity in a fiery abyss. According to the ancients, it was across the Mediterranean, in the island of Sicily that Zeus' enemies descended into Hell through the volcanic crater of Mount Etna. Local legend says Typhon is still inside and has been behind all of the volcano’s eruptions over the centuries. Greeks used this myth as a way of explaining why lava was constantly pouring out of the volcano. They explained that as either the remnants of Zeus' lightning constantly shooting out, or of the flames of Typhon who's still breathing just a little bit exploding flame out of the centre of the volcano.

It is also said that Typhon causes destructive windstorms. In fact, his name is the basis for the word "typhoon". But in the myth, the storm clouds are broken for the time being. Zeus' victory over his father makes him the king of the gods, the absolute ruler of the Universe. So goes the myth. But what is the link to reality? In 2003, at the base of Mount Olympus, a lost temple was discovered.
It was the centerpiece of an ancient city known as Dion, and it was dedicated to Zeus. Dion was a city that was built at the base of Mount Olympus and so it's very close to the home of the Olympian gods and goddesses and where Zeus lived in Greek mythology.

In fact, the name of the town, Dion, means Zeus. The Dion temple dates back to the 5th Century BC. The golden age of Greek mythology. Scattered around the site on marble blocks with unmistakable engravings - eagles. In ancient Greece eagles were  the divine symbol of Zeus. But there's more. This headless statue was found in a nearby riverbed. Carved into its 2,400
year-old base are three words: "Zeus the highest". There's a debate among experts about what this reference to "the highest" means.  Some believe the statuecould be a missing link between Greece's worship of many gods and the single-god philosophy of Christians and Jews. And that this find is proof that the Greeks were embracing the idea of one god on their own, before the arrival of Christianity. The Greeks sometimes identified that highest god with Zeus, after all the word Zeus in its dative form "theos" is where we get our word "deus", so there is an etymological reason
to understand Zeus as the highest deity.

Starting in about the 3rd, 2nd and 1st centuries BC we have different philosophical and theological schools that arise, and that start to propose a very strong view that there is only one god and that all the ancient stories and tales are actually just metaphors that reflect different aspects of what this divinity is all about. For the people who worshipped at Dion, it's clear that Zeus was different from all the other Greek gods. In fact, he may well have been the only one that mattered. In the myth, Zeus has achieved the absolute power he has long sought. But that power will soon be threatened
by an unexpected foe. The king of the gods is about to be betrayed  by the person closest to him. Zeus has won his epic clash with the Titans. He now sits atop Mount Olympus as king of the gods
and master of mankind.

The ancient Greeks worshipped Zeus above all others, even though he was fatally flawed. The ancient Greek gods are very relatable. They have faults, they have strengths, they have weaknesses,
they have all the things that normal human beings would. In fact, when the Greeks, in these early times, think about their gods, one way of trying to understand it is that they see their gods as being a lot like you and I, just really, really big. According to the myth, Zeus has one very human weakness that threatens to be his undoing. An uncontrollable sex drive. Zeus likes the ladies.
That's one of the most endearing and enraging things about him. It's that he has this very, very human character that he never saw a girl that he didn't like.

Zeus will stop at nothing to seduce his conquests. He even uses disguise. Zeus visits mortal women in various guises. Whatever it takes to consummate the relationship. So in different tales, we hear of Zeus turning into an eagle, turning into a swan, turning into a bull, turning into all these different shapes, turning into human beings to mimic a woman's husband's face, to trick the women as best he can into having a union with him. A beautiful young goddess named Metis is the first to capture Zeus' attention. He takes her as his wife. Metis is a very attractive and appealing young woman
and the quality that really sets her apart is that she has practical wisdom.

In fact her name in Greek means "practical wisdom". When Zeus spies her he finds her very appealing. But Zeus' affection for Metis is overshadowed by a dark prophecy that threatens his grip on power. He is told that she will bear him a child who will one day seize his throne. Suddenly Zeus, like his father, must fear his offspring. Zeus is representative of this awful tradition that starts literally
from the dawn of time of sons destroying their fathers in order to take prominence. But Zeus vows that this time will be different, and he takes a drastic step to make sure of it. He swallows his wife...

Once again, family love falls prey to power. It's history repeated. But this horrifying act will make Zeus stronger and wiser. By swallowing her, Zeus internalizes Metis' cunning and prudence all at  once. She becomes a part of Zeus. In a sense she's probably imprisoned in his stomach but he also takes on these greater qualities of intellectual ability. This to us seems a little strange but it's important to remember that for the Greeks, one of the places that some Greeks thought that they carried their wisdom and their ideas was actually in their stomach. So when Zeus swallows Metis
he takes her into the part of himself where really a lot of his best thinking was done.

With Metis gone, Zeus is in need of a new wife. And like his father before him, he finds one in his own family. His sister, and fellow Olympian, Hera. She's not like Zeus' earlier conquests. She's mythology's most powerful goddess. The king of the gods has met his match. Between Zeus and Hera we actually see a relationship which is between two people who are on some level equals.
So, in some of the conflicts between Zeus and Hera I think we can see as the Greeks culturally working out what would it look like if you had two people with equal power within a relationship.

She's the queen of the goddesses and she has wonderful beauty, she's supremely intelligent, she's mighty, but she's also exceedingly jealous because Zeus is always running after other women.
The king of the gods continues to step out with an endless string of sexual partners. He conceives well over 100 offspring with a host of lovers, both divine and mortal. If I'm not mistaken, Zeus never
has an encounter with a woman that does not produce a child. So in that sense, it's extreme virility, it's extreme power.

Zeus' ability to sleep with anybody matches a kind of fantasy of what ancient Greek males would hope or desire their lives to be. Men fantasized about such things and they thought if there was an all-powerful god out there he would surely act on those fantasies. Zeus' promiscuity provided a perfect way for Greeks to connect themselves to him. Every corner of the Greek world boasted of having its own hometown loved child. As Zeus' fame and power grow across ancient Greece,  more and more cities and towns wanted to be associated with him.

And they therefore claimed that there was some kind of actual liaison between Zeus and some mortal woman within their family tree that then produces the offspring that produces the local ruling families. Evidence of this connection can still be found in cities throughout the Greek world. Athens, Thebes, Magnesia, Macedonia, all are named after children of Zeus. But there is one individual
who isn't happy about Zeus' abundant fertility. In the myth, his wife Hera, has had enough.

She vows to make the king of the gods pay dearly for his chronic philandering. She doesn't like to be humiliated in front of the other gods so she will take it out on her husband. Hera gathers the other Olympians together and lays the groundwork for a revolution. Hera goes to her fellow Olympian gods and says, "Why is Zeus in charge? "He is no more important or powerful than the rest of us. "If we all get together we can kick him out. " So in fact they rise up and they bind Zeus with chains.

Zeus awakes from a nap to find himself tied down. A prisoner in his own bed. It is the ultimate betrayal. A conspiracy carried out by the siblings he once saved. The gods' revolt was the greatest threat that Zeus ever faced. There was never any sense that mortals could challenge his power. But the combined power of all of the Olympian gods really could have defeated him. This was indeed one of the most horrifying moments in Zeus' career. He was actually about to lose everything. But just when all seems lost help comes in the form of an old ally. The Hundred-handers. When they hear Zeus is in trouble they come to his rescue breaking his chains as the Olympians run for cover ตำนาน.

Zeus survives de coup attempt. Now is time to exact his revenge. His wife Hera is sentenced to hang from the sky by golden chains. His son, Apollo, and brother Poseidon are condemned to hard labor. They are ordered to build one of the ancient world's most iconic monuments, the massive walls of Troy. It's another example of myth explaining the unexplainable. To the ancient Greeks,
the walls of Troy seemed too strong to have been built by man. So Zeus's punishment of Apollo and Poseidon helped explain their existence.

Their ruins survive to this day. In antiquity people thought it had been built by the gods, or some kind of divine intervention on behalf of the Trojans. In the myth, Zeus has dealt justice to those who crossed him. But it will be human beings who bear the brunt of his wrath. That wrath will arrive in the form of a massive flood. One that may even be linked to the Biblical story of Noah. Greece's most powerful god has survived a coup attempt. He dealt swift justice to the conspirators, but he's not through yet.

Now, mankind will experience the full measure of his rage. In ancient times, fear of Zeus' punishment kept a lot of Greeks out of trouble. When people did something wrong they would have to be very careful that Zeus did not smite them with a thunderbolt. They're many examples in Greek history of Zeus destroying entire cities and civilizations because he felt that they had overreached themselves, that they had blasphemed against the gods, that they had become too proud to be allowed to live any longer.

The Greek author Hesiod wrote that without the fear of Zeus' wrath humans would live like beasts and the weak would be in the hands of the strong. Zeus is the order bringer. Zeus is the bringer of justice and the bringer of civilization. When natural catastrophes occurred in the real world, the Greeks believed that they were sent by Zeus to punish evil men. Often stories were invented to explain what had made the supreme god so angry. According to the myth, Zeus' most frightening moment of wrath comes after he sees humans engaging in cannibalism.

Cannibalism was as important as it was in ancient Greek religion because they considered it to be so heinous. In fact, identification of eating human flesh is something that you would attribute to wolves or dogs but hardly to human beings. Zeus is no stranger to cannibalism. His own father Kronos once swallowed all of Zeus' siblings. When he is confronted with the sight of mortals doing the same thing he becomes enraged and vows to destroy the human race... with a catastrophic flood. Nine days and nights pass. The rain is relentless. And the Earth slowly drowns. The waters reach the peak of Mount Parnassus, which stands over 8000 feet high.

In all corners of the Earth, the human race perishes. When the rain stops only two mortals are still alive. Incredibly they have survived the storm by building an ark. A raging flood, an ark, and only two surviving humans. The parallels with the  Old Testament are striking. It could be the Biblical flood of Noah, it could be Zeus' deluge, it could be similar sorts of giant watery disasters that we see figuring in a wide number of different cultures around the world. All these stories go back to a natural catastrophe that affected the collective memory of peoples living in the Eastern parts
of the Mediterranean Sea.

A deluge like the one described in these myths would have devastated humanity. But could such a flood have really happened? In the past decade, scientists have uncovered some stunning clues that prove it did. Research has shown that as the Ice Age ended about 7,000 years ago runoff from melting glaciers surged into the Black Sea basin, vitally submerging nearly 170,000 square miles of dry land. For these people, their entire world was flooding. And it surely must have seemed like they must have angered the gods to have brought down this kind of disaster upon themselves.
Could this be the real life disaster that spawned the story of Zeus' flood? In the myth, Zeus has held on to power in the face of strong opposition. But there's one more challenger he didn't count on,
Jesus Christ. In the 1st Century AD, his message would take the world by storm and dethrone Greece's dominant god.

When Christianity came and promised salvation in the afterlife it gave people something to believe in, something that could happen to them after their death, Christianity found many followers. Zeus' stranglehold on humankind faltered as this new religion spread across the Mediterranean world. Ultimately, the same civilization that worshipped him would reject him. In antiquity there was no more
powerful force than Zeus except from one, Fate. Not even Zeus himself could overturn it, much as he wants to on occasions try to change fate or re-direct it, he himself is even subject to its dictates.

Before the rise of Christianity, Zeus' myth captivated the Greek world for thousands of years and made him the most feared and respected of all the gods. But he was only one of many, from Greece and beyond, who would live their mark on Mankind. Some are still familiar names - Hercules, Hades, Medusa. And each of their stories is a window into a long lost world. A code waiting to be  eciphered. These myths reveal to us in a uniquely powerful way the hidden strata that lay underneath our conscious, awake lives, our understanding of the world. Like an archaeology of the human mind we can dig into them and see the deep recesses of human psyches. And I think that's what makes these myths so powerful ผี.


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