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Challenges to the power of Zeus in early Greek poetry

Yasumura, Noriko; (2004) Challenges to the power of Zeus in early Greek poetry. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In the earliest extant works of Greek literature, Zeus reigns supreme in the Olympian hierarchy. However, throughout the early Greek portrayals of him, there are allusions scattered and scanty as they may be - to threats of rebellion which challenge Zeus' supremacy. This thesis examines these passages, drawn from Homer, Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns, to offer new interpretations of these texts. While focusing on the theme of cosmic/divine strife, I also reveal hidden logic and lost legends underlying these texts: discoveries of significance to the improved understanding of early Greek poetry. Chapter one, focusing on Thetis' supplication, examines the crisis of Zeus in Iliad 1. I analyse the (mythological) theme of the son who is mightier than his father, interpreting Achilles and Peleus' relationship in terms of succession myth. Chapter two explores the Golden Chain of Hera in Iliad 15. Retracing a lost Gigantomachia epic, I view the incident from the perspective of cosmic strife, discussing Hera's rebellion and the role of Heracles in this rebellion. Drawing on the re-evaluation of the Gigantomachia, Chapter three investigates the war between the gods in the Eiad, concentrating on antagonism between Zeus and Poseidon, which reaches its end with Zeus' reordering of the universe. Chapter four reinterprets the Hesiodic account of Athena's birth, offering solutions as to how and why Zeus achieves his final conquest in the succession story. Chapter five considers the Typhon-story in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. Examining this hymn from the broad perspective of the struggle for cosmic power, I re-integrate this story into the hymn. Chapter sbc focuses on the love of Aphrodite and Anchises in the Hymn to Aphrodite. I explore the dual themes of mortality and the bitter sorrow of Aphrodite - defeated by Zeus and diminished in power.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Challenges to the power of Zeus in early Greek poetry
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Greek literature
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098745
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