Dodona (/doʊˈdoʊnə/; Doric Greek: Δωδώνα, Dōdṓna, Ionic and Attic Greek: Δωδώνη,[1] Dōdṓnē) in Epirus in northwestern Greece was the oldest Hellenic oracle, possibly dating to the second millennium BC according to Herodotus. The earliest accounts in Homer describe Dodona as an oracle of Zeus. Situated in a remote region away from the main Greek poleis, it was considered second only to the oracle of Delphi in prestige.

Aristotle considered the region around Dodona to have been part of Hellas and the region where the Hellenes originated.[2] The oracle was first under the control of the Thesprotians before it passed into the hands of the Molossians.[3] It remained an important religious sanctuary until the rise of Christianity during the Late Roman era.

View of the bouleuterion in Dodona
Dodona is located in Greece
Shown within Greece
LocationDodoni, Ioannina, Epirus, Greece
Coordinates39°32′47″N 20°47′16″E / 39.54639°N 20.78778°ECoordinates: 39°32′47″N 20°47′16″E / 39.54639°N 20.78778°E
TypeCity and sanctuary
FoundedSecond Millennium BCE
Abandoned391–392 CE
PeriodsMycenaean Greek to Roman Imperial
CulturesGreek, Roman
Site notes
Public accessYes


During classical antiquity, according to various accounts, priestesses and priests in the sacred grove interpreted the rustling of the oak (or beech) leaves to determine the correct actions to be taken. According to a new interpretation, the oracular sound originated from bronze objects hanging from oak branches and sounded with the wind blowing, similar to a wind chime.[4]

According to Nicholas Hammond, Dodona was an oracle devoted to a Mother Goddess (identified at other sites with Rhea or Gaia, but here called Dione) who was joined and partly supplanted in historical times by the Greek deity Zeus.[5]


Early history

Sacrificial hammer Dodona Louvre Br1183 n2
Sacrificial hammer from Dodona. Bronze, 7th century BC. Louvre Museum

Although the earliest inscriptions at the site date to c. 550–500 BC,[6] archaeological excavations conducted for more than a century have recovered artifacts as early as the Mycenaean era,[7] many now at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, and some in the archaeological museum at nearby Ioannina. There was an ancient tradition that Dodona was founded as a colony from the city, also named Dodona, in Thessaly.[8]

Cult activity at Dodona was already established in some form during the Late Bronze Age (or Mycenaean period).[9] During the post-Mycenaean period (or "Greek Dark Ages"), evidence of activity at Dodona is scant, but there is a resumption of contact between Dodona and southern Greece during the Archaic period (8th century BC) with the presence of bronze votive offerings (i.e. tripods) from southern Greek cities.[9] Archaeologists also have found Illyrian dedications and objects that were received by the oracle during the 7th century BC.[10] Until 650 BC, Dodona was a religious and oracular centre mainly for northern tribes: only after 650 BC did it become important for the southern tribes.[11]

Zeus was worshipped at Dodona as "Zeus Naios" or "Naos" (god of the spring below the oak in the temenos or sanctuary, cf. Naiads)[12] and as "Zeus Bouleus" (Counsellor).[13] According to Plutarch, the worship of Jupiter (Zeus) at Dodona was set up by Deucalion and Pyrrha.[14]

The earliest mention of Dodona is in Homer, and only Zeus is mentioned in this account. In the Iliad (circa 750 BC),[15] Achilles prays to "High Zeus, Lord of Dodona, Pelasgian, living afar off, brooding over wintry Dodona" (thus demonstrating that Zeus also could be invoked from a distance).[16] No buildings are mentioned, and the priests (called Selloi) slept on the ground with unwashed feet.[17] No priestesses are mentioned in Homer.

The oracle also features in another passage involving Odysseus, giving a story of his visit to Dodona. Odysseus's words "bespeak a familiarity with Dodona, a realization of its importance, and an understanding that it was normal to consult Zeus there on a problem of personal conduct."[18]

The details of this story are as follows. Odysseus says to the swineherd Eumaeus[19] (possibly giving him a fictive account) that he (Odysseus) was seen among the Thesprotians, having gone to inquire of the oracle at Dodona whether he should return to Ithaca openly or in secret (as the disguised Odysseus is doing). Odysseus later repeats the same tale to Penelope, who may not yet have seen through his disguise.[20]

According to some scholars, Dodona was originally an oracle of the Mother Goddess attended by priestesses. She was identified at other sites as Rhea or Gaia. The oracle also was shared by Dione (whose name simply means "deity"). By classical times, Dione was relegated to a minor role elsewhere in classical Greece, being made into an aspect of Zeus's more usual consort, Hera — but never at Dodona.[21]

Many dedicatory inscriptions recovered from the site mention both "Dione" and "Zeus Naios".

According to some archaeologists, not until the 4th century BC, was a small stone temple to Dione added to the site. By the time Euripides mentioned Dodona (fragmentary play Melanippe) and Herodotus wrote about the oracle, the priestesses appeared at the site.

Classical Greece

Map greek sanctuaries-en
A map of the main sanctuaries in Classical Greece.

Though it never eclipsed the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, Dodona gained a reputation far beyond Greece. In the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, a retelling of an older story of Jason and the Argonauts, Jason's ship, the "Argo", had the gift of prophecy, because it contained an oak timber spirited from Dodona.

In c. 290 BCE, King Pyrrhus made Dodona the religious capital of his domain and beautified it by implementing a series of construction projects (i.e. grandly rebuilt the Temple of Zeus, developed many other buildings, added a festival featuring athletic games, musical contests, and drama enacted in a theatre).[17] A wall was built around the oracle itself and the holy tree, as well as temples to Dione and Heracles.

In 219 BC, the Aetolians, under the leadership of General Dorimachus, invaded and burned the temple to the ground.[22] During the late 3rd century BC, King Philip V of Macedon (along with the Epirotes) reconstructed all the buildings at Dodona.[23] In 167 BC, Dodona was destroyed by the Romans[24] (led by Aemilius Paulus[25]), but was later rebuilt by Emperor Augustus in 31 BC. By the time the traveller Pausanias visited Dodona in the 2nd century CE, the sacred grove had been reduced to a single oak.[26] In 241 CE, a priest named Poplius Memmius Leon organized the Naia festival of Dodona.[27] In 362 CE, Emperor Julian consulted the oracle prior to his military campaigns against the Persians.[28]

Pilgrims still consulted the oracle until 391-392 CE when Emperor Theodosius closed all pagan temples, banned all pagan religious activities, and cut down the ancient oak tree at the sanctuary of Zeus.[29] Although the surviving town was insignificant, the long-hallowed pagan site must have retained significance for Christians given that a Bishop Theodorus of Dodona attended the First Council of Ephesus in 431 CE.[25]

Panorama of the theatre of Dodona, the modern village Dodoni and the snow-capped Mount Tomaros are visible in the background
Panorama of the theatre of Dodona, the modern village Dodoni and the snow-capped Mount Tomaros are visible in the background


Plan Dodona sanctuary-en
Plan of the sanctuary, as it developed up to the Roman period. #16 on this map is the Christian Basilica that occupies the site of the former Zeus temple.

Herodotus[30] (Histories 2:54–57) was told by priests at Egyptian Thebes in the 5th century BC "that two priestesses had been carried away from Thebes by Phoenicians; one, they said they had heard was taken away and sold in Libya, the other in Hellas; these women, they said, were the first founders of places of divination in the aforesaid countries." The simplest analysis of the quote is: Egypt, for Greeks as well as for Egyptians, was a spring of human culture of all but immeasurable antiquity. This mythic element says that the oracles at the oasis of Siwa in Libya and of Dodona in Epirus were equally old, but similarly transmitted by Phoenician culture, and that the seeresses – Herodotus does not say "sibyls" – were women.

Herodotus follows with what he was told by the prophetesses, called peleiades ("doves") at Dodona:

that two black doves had come flying from Thebes in Egypt, one to Libya and one to Dodona; the latter settled on an oak tree, and there uttered human speech, declaring that a place of divination from Zeus must be made there; the people of Dodona understood that the message was divine, and therefore established the oracular shrine. The dove which came to Libya told the Libyans (they say) to make an oracle of Ammon; this also is sacred to Zeus. Such was the story told by the Dodonaean priestesses, the eldest of whom was Promeneia and the next Timarete and the youngest Nicandra; and the rest of the servants of the temple at Dodona similarly held it true.

In the simplest analysis, this was a confirmation of the oracle tradition in Egypt. The element of the dove may be an attempt to account for a folk etymology applied to the archaic name of the sacred women that no longer made sense and the eventual connection with Zeus, justified by a tale told by a priestess. Was the pel- element in their name connected with "black" or "muddy" root elements in names like "Peleus" or "Pelops"? Is that why the doves were black?

Herodotus adds:

But my own belief about it is this. If the Phoenicians did in fact carry away the sacred women and sell one in Libya and one in Hellas, then, in my opinion, the place where this woman was sold in what is now Hellas, but was formerly called Pelasgia, was Thesprotia; and then, being a slave there, she established a shrine of Zeus under an oak that was growing there; for it was reasonable that, as she had been a handmaid of the temple of Zeus at Thebes, she would remember that temple in the land to which she had come. After this, as soon as she understood the Greek language, she taught divination; and she said that her sister had been sold in Libya by the same Phoenicians who sold her.

I expect that these women were called 'doves' by the people of Dodona because they spoke a strange language, and the people thought it like the cries of birds; then the woman spoke what they could understand, and that is why they say that the dove uttered human speech; as long as she spoke in a foreign tongue, they thought her voice was like the voice of a bird. For how could a dove utter the speech of men? The tale that the dove was black signifies that the woman was Egyptian.

Thesprotia, on the coast west of Dodona, would have been available to the seagoing Phoenicians, whom readers of Herodotus would not have expected to have penetrated as far inland as Dodona.


According to Strabo, the oracle was founded by the Pelasgi:[31]

This oracle, according to Ephorus, was founded by the Pelasgi. And the Pelasgi are called the earliest of all peoples who have held dominion in Greece.

The site of the oracle was dominated by Mount Tomaros, the area being controlled by the Thesprotians and then the Molossians:[32]

In ancient times, then, Dodona was under the rule of the Thesprotians; and so was Mount Tomaros, or Tmaros (for it is called both ways), at the base of which the temple is situated. And both the tragic poets and Pindaros have called Dodona 'Thesprotian Dodona.' But later on it came under the rule of the Molossoi.

According to Pindar, the prophecies were originally uttered by men:[31]

At the outset, it is true, those who uttered the prophecies were men (this too perhaps the poet indicates, for he calls them “hypophetae” [interpreters] and the prophets might be ranked among these), but later on three old women were designated as prophets, after Dione also had been designated as temple-associate of Zeus.

Pindar also reports as uncertain the story that the predecessor of Dodona oracle was located in Thessaly:[31]

...the temple [oracle] was transferred from Thessaly, from the part of Pelasgia which is about Scotussa (and Scotussa does belong to the territory called Thessalia Pelasgiotis), and also that most of the women whose descendants are the prophetesses of today went along at the same time; and it is from this fact that Zeus was also called “Pelasgian.”

In a fragment of Pindar we find the following:[33]

Among the Thesprotians and the Molossians old women are called "peliai" and old men "pelioi," as is also the case among the Macedonians; at any rate, those people call their dignitaries "peligones" (compare the gerontes[34] among the Laconians and the Massaliotes). And this, it is said, is the origin of the myth about the pigeons [peleiades] in the Dodonaean oak-tree.[35]

Other commentaries

According to Sir Richard Claverhouse Jebb, the epithet Neuos of Zeus at Dodona primarily designated "the god of streams, and, generally, of water". Jebb also points out that Achelous, as a water deity, received special honours at Dodona.[36] The area of the oracle was quite swampy, with lakes in the area and reference to the "holy spring" of Dodona may be a later addition.

Jebb mostly follows Strabo in his analysis. Accordingly, he notes that the Selloi, the prophets of Zeus, were also called tomouroi, which name derived from Mount Tomares. Tomouroi was also a variant reading found in the Odyssey.

According to Jebb, the Peleiades at Dodona were very early, and preceded the appointment of Phemonoe, the prophetess at Delphi.[36] The introduction of female attendants probably took place in the fifth century.[37] The timing of change is clearly prior to Herodotus (5th century BC), with his narrative about the doves and Egypt.

Aristotle (Meteorologica, 1.14) places 'Hellas' in the parts about Dodona and the Achelous and says it was inhabited by "the Selloi, who were formerly called Graikoi, but now Hellenes."[2][38]

The alternative reading of Selloi is Helloi. Aristotle clearly uses "Dodona" as the designation of the whole district in which the oracle was situated. Thus, according to some scholars, the origin of the words "Hellenes" and "Hellas" was from Dodona.[38] Also, the word "Greece" may have been derived from this area.

See also



  1. ^ Liddell & Scott 1996, "Dodone"
  2. ^ a b Hammond 1986, p. 77; Aristotle. Meteorologica. 1.14.
  3. ^ Potter 1751, Chapter VIII, "Of the Oracles of Jupiter", p. 265.
  4. ^ Harissis, Haralambos. "A Bronze Wheel from Dodona. The Iynx, the Cauldron and the Music of the Gods".
  5. ^ Hammond 1986, p. 39: "...Greek gods too, especially Zeus the sky-god, were at home on Mt. Olympus and in Pieria, and the Zeus of Dodona derived his importance from the Bronze Age when he displaced a Mother Goddess and assimilated her as Aphrodite."
  6. ^ Lhôte 2006, p. 77.
  7. ^ Eidinow 2014, pp. 62–63; Tandy 2001, p. 23.
  8. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium. Ethnica. sub voce Δωδώνη.
  9. ^ a b Eidinow 2014, pp. 62–63: "There appears to be evidence for contact between Epirus and Mycenean culture from the early and middle Bronze Age (mostly ceramic), with most evidence dating to the late Bronze Age and including as well as pottery remains, weaponry (swords and double-axes), tools and jewellery, and imports from the Europe and the Near East. Objects and archaeological remains at the site of Dodona suggest that there was already some kind of cult activity there in the late Bronze Age. There is little evidence for the Dark Age period (1200/1100-730/700 BC), but contact between the area and cities in South Greece seems to resume in the eighth century (with the foundation of Kassopeia in 730-700 BC by Elis, and settlements by Corinth, including Ambracia, Anaktorion Epidamnus and Apollonia, 650/630 BC); and this is supported by the appearance at Dodona of bronze votive offerings from the south of Greece, dating to the end of the eighth century, and beginning with the pervasive tripod, but going on through the archaic period to encompass a variety of animal, human and divine imagery."
  10. ^ Boardman 1982, p. 653; Hammond 1976, p. 156.
  11. ^ Boardman 1982, pp. 272–273.
  12. ^ Kristensen 1960, p. 104; Tarn 1913, p. 60.
  13. ^ LSJ: bouleus.
  14. ^ Plutarch. Parallel Lives, Pyrrhus.
  15. ^ Homer. Iliad, 16.233-16.235.
  16. ^ Richard Lattimore translation.
  17. ^ a b Sacks, Murray & Bunson 1997, "Dodona", p. 85.
  18. ^ Gwatkin, Jr. 1961, p. 100.
  19. ^ Homer. Odyssey, 14.327-14.328.
  20. ^ Homer. Odyssey, 19.
  21. ^ Vandenberg 2007, p. 29.
  22. ^ Dakaris 1971, p. 46; Wilson 2006, p. 240; Sacks, Murray & Bunson 1997, "Dodona", p. 85.
  23. ^ Sacks, Murray & Bunson 1997, "Dodona", p. 85; Dakaris 1971, p. 46.
  24. ^ Sacks, Murray & Bunson 1997, "Dodona", p. 85; Dakaris 1971, p. 62.
  25. ^ a b Pentreath 1964, p. 165.
  26. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece, 1.18.
  27. ^ Dakaris 1971, p. 26.
  28. ^ Dakaris 1971, p. 26; Fontenrose 1988, p. 25.
  29. ^ Flüeler & Rohde 2009, p. 36.
  30. ^ Vandenberg 2007, pp. 29–30.
  31. ^ a b c Strabo. Geography, 7.7.
  32. ^ Strabo. Geography, 7.7.9ff.
  33. ^ Strabo. Fragments, Book VII.
  34. ^ This was the name of the senators at Sparta, meaning 'the elders'.
  35. ^ The similarity of these two words is pointed out here.
  36. ^ a b Jebb 1892, Appendix, p. 202, Note #4.
  37. ^ Eidinow 2014, p. 64: "But from the fifth century the sanctuary appears to have been managed by priestesses, and this may indicate some sort of reorganization in the intervening period."
  38. ^ a b Guest 1883, p. 272.


Further reading

External links

382 Dodona

Dodona (minor planet designation: 382 Dodona) is a large Main belt asteroid that was discovered by the French astronomer Auguste Charlois on 29 January 1894 in Nice. It is classified as an M-type asteroid.

Measurements of the thermal inertia of 115 Thyra give an estimated range of 15–150 J m−2 K−1 s−1/2, compared to 50 for lunar regolith and 400 for coarse sand in an atmosphere.

Dione (Titaness)

Dione (; Greek: Διώνη, Diōnē) was an ancient Greek goddess, an oracular Titaness primarily known from Book V of Homer's Iliad, where she tends to the wounds suffered by her daughter Aphrodite. One source describes her as an ancient wife of Zeus.

Dodona (disambiguation)

Dodona is a location in Greece, known for its oracle.

Dodona may also refer to:

Dodona (Thessaly), a city in ancient Thessaly, Greece

Dodona (genus), a genus of butterflies

382 Dodona, an asteroid

Dodona (see), a titular see of the Catholic church

Dodona (genus)

Dodona, the punches, are a genus of butterflies found in Asia.

Dodona (see)

The former residential episcopal see of Dodona, situated in the Roman province of Epirus Vetus, is now a titular see of the Catholic Church.

Dodona adonira

Dodona adonira, the striped Punch, is a small but striking butterfly found in the Indomalayan realm that belongs to the Punches and Judies, that is, the family Riodinidae.

Dodona dipoea

Dodona dipoea, the lesser Punch, is a small but striking butterfly found in the Indomalayan realm (Tibet, Himalayas, Northeast India (hills), Burma, West China) that belongs to the Punches and Judies, that is, the family Riodinidae.

Dodona durga

Dodona durga, the common Punch, is a small but striking butterfly found in the Indomalayan realm (Tibet, Chitral to Nepal, West China, Central China) that belongs to the Punches and Judies, that is, the family Riodinidae.

Dodona egeon

Dodona egeon, the orange Punch, is a small but striking butterfly found in the Indomalayan realm - in Mussoorie to Assam, Burma (nominate) and Peninsular Malaya (D. e. confluens Corbet, 1941) that belongs to the family Riodinidae (which is also known as the Punches and Judies in India).

Dodona eugenes

Dodona eugenes, the Tailed Punch, is a small but striking butterfly found in the Indomalayan realm that belongs to the Punches and Judies, that is, the family Riodinidae.

Dodone (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Dodone was said to be one of the Oceanid nymphs (the daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys), after whom the ancient city of Dodona was named. The 6th century AD grammarian Stephanus of Byzantium (s.v. Δωδὠνη), writes that according to Thrasyboulos (FHG II 464, a), as reported by Epaphroditus (fr. 57 Braswell–Billerbeck) in his commentary on Callimachus's Aetia (fr. 53 Pfeiffer), the ancient city Dodona was named after an Oceanid nymph named Dodone. Stephanus further notes that, according to Akestodorus, the city was instead named after Dodon, a son of Zeus and Europa, but concludes that it is more likely that the city was named after the river Dodon, as Herodian says. According to Schol. Iliad 16.233) the city was named after Dodon or Dodone the wife of Deucalion who named the city after her, and according to Eustathius, on Iliad 2.750, the city was named after Dodone, a heroine or Oceanid, or after Dodon.


Epirus () is a geographical and historical region in southeastern Europe, now shared between Greece and Albania. It lies between the Pindus Mountains and the Ionian Sea, stretching from the Bay of Vlorë and the Acroceraunian mountains in the north to the Ambracian Gulf and the ruined Roman city of Nicopolis in the south. It is currently divided between the region of Epirus in northwestern Greece and the counties of Gjirokastër, Vlorë, and Berat in southern Albania. The largest city in Epirus is Ioannina, seat of the region of Epirus, with Gjirokastër the largest city in the Albanian part of Epirus.A rugged and mountainous region, Epirus was the north-west area of ancient Greece. It was inhabited by the Greek tribes of the Chaonians, Molossians, and Thesprotians, and home to the sanctuary of Dodona, the oldest ancient Greek oracle, and the most prestigious one after Delphi. Unified into a single state in 370 BC by the Aeacidae dynasty, Epirus achieved fame during the reign of Pyrrhus of Epirus who fought the Roman Republic in a series of campaigns. Epirus subsequently became part of the Roman Republic along with the rest of Greece in 146 BC, which was followed by the Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire.

Following the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade, Epirus became the center of the Despotate of Epirus, one of the successor states to the Byzantine Empire. Conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, Epirus became semi-independent during the rule of Ali Pasha in the early 19th century, but the Ottomans re-asserted their control in 1821. Following the Balkan Wars and World War I, southern Epirus became part of Greece, while northern Epirus became part of Albania.


In Greek mythology, the name Guneus (; Ancient Greek: Γουνεὐς derived from gounos "fruitful land") may refer to:

Guneus, a man from Pheneus and father of Laonome, wife of Alcaeus. Through his daughter, he was the grandfather of Amphitryon, Anaxo and Perimede.

Guneus, leader of the Aenianes and Perrhaebians during the Trojan War. According to Homer, "Guneus brought two and twenty ships from Cyphus, and he was followed by the Enienes and the valiant Peraebi, who dwelt about wintry Dodona." Guneus survived the war, and went to Libya where he settled near the Cinyps River. Guneus was an obscure character, though his tribal followers (Aenienians and Perrhaebians) are usually placed in northwestern Greece. Homer does not record his pedigree, but elsewhere his parents were said to be Ocytus and Aurophyte, otherwise unknown. Yet another source gives his mother's name as either Tauropoleia or Hippodameia.

List of butterflies of India (Riodinidae)

The family Riodinidae or metalmarks are a family of small Old and New World butterflies. The common name refers to the bright, metallic spots marking the wings of many of its members.

In India they are better referred to as the family of Punches and Judies. Only 16 of the 1000 species are found in India.


An oracle is a person or agency considered to provide wise and insightful counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination.


The name Pelasgians (; Ancient Greek: Πελασγοί, Pelasgoí, singular: Πελασγός, Pelasgós) was used by classical Greek writers to either refer to populations that were the ancestors or forerunners of the Greeks, or to signify all pre-classical indigenes of Greece. In general, "Pelasgian" has come to mean more broadly all the indigenous inhabitants of the Aegean Sea region and their cultures, "a hold-all term for any ancient, primitive and presumably indigenous people in the Greek world".During the classical period, enclaves under that name survived in several locations of mainland Greece, Crete, and other regions of the Aegean. Populations identified as "Pelasgian" spoke a language or languages that at the time Greeks identified as "barbaric", though some ancient writers nonetheless described the Pelasgians as Greeks. A tradition also survived that large parts of Greece had once been Pelasgian before being Hellenized. These parts fell largely, though far from exclusively, within the territory which by the 5th century BC was inhabited by those speakers of ancient Greek who were identified as Ionians and Aeolians.


The Selloi (Greek: Σελλοί) were inhabitants of Epirus in ancient Greece, in a region between Dodona — site of the oldest reported oracle — and the Achelous river; Aristotle named the area ancient Hellas. A group who were formerly called Graecians and later Hellenes lived there as well. According to Homer, they were priests of the Dodonian Zeus.

The Marshall House

The Marshall House (formerly Dodona Manor) is a National Historic Landmark and historic house museum at 217 Edwards Ferry Road in Leesburg, Virginia. It is owned by the George C. Marshall International Center, which has restored the property to its Marshall-era appearance of the 1950s. It is nationally significant as the home of George Catlett Marshall, Jr. (1880–1959), Chief of Staff of the United States Army during World War II, Secretary of State, President of the American Red Cross, and Secretary of Defense.


Zeus (; Ancient Greek: Ζεύς, Zeús [zdeǔ̯s]) is the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who rules as king of the gods of Mount Olympus. His name is cognate with the first element of his Roman equivalent Jupiter. His mythologies and powers are similar, though not identical, to those of Indo-European deities such as Jupiter, Perkūnas, Perun, Indra and Thor.Zeus is the child of Cronus and Rhea, the youngest of his siblings to be born, though sometimes reckoned the eldest as the others required disgorging from Cronus's stomach. In most traditions, he is married to Hera, by whom he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe, and Hephaestus. At the oracle of Dodona, his consort was said to be Dione, by whom the Iliad states that he fathered Aphrodite. Zeus was also infamous for his erotic escapades. These resulted in many divine and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses.He was respected as an allfather who was chief of the gods and assigned the others to their roles: "Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, and all the gods rise in his presence." He was equated with many foreign weather gods, permitting Pausanias to observe "That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men". Zeus' symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical "cloud-gatherer" (Greek: Νεφεληγερέτα, Nephelēgereta) also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.

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