A Month of Devotional Thought — Zeus, Entry 7

This is the second of my “catch-up” entries and discusses Zeus’ epithets and titles.

Because Zeus has SO MANY, I will be discussing only some of them. The reason for the large number is that many of them are regional epithets or titles, so in this post I will try to focus on some of the more universal ones

Acraeus (Akraios), meaning “of the Heights” is one of those titles. Typically, it is a title that is given to any God or Goddess who has a temple on a hill, BUT in the case of the Lord of the Skies, this is also a more literal one in its application specifically to Zeus.

He is called Agathodaemon, or Agathos Deos, meaning “the Good God” and would be considered in this form to be the giver of blessings. Some scholars theorize that this is less of a title and more of an epithet. However, in either case, the meaning of the name is one that is indicative of his role in ensuring that things like prosperity are given to the worshipers.

Cla’rius (Klarios) is a surname of Zeus indicative of his role of distributing things by lot. It may have been in this role that Zeus was important to the story of how the Sons of Chronos gained their areas of rulership within the Cosmos.

Interestingly, and despite his frequent infidelities; Zeus is called Gamelios, the “protector of Marriage” alongside Hera Gamelia. The annual celebration of the marriage of these two divinities lends its name to the Attic month of Gamelion.

Zeus Horkios is the name by which he oversees Oaths and punishes their violation.

Maimaktês, or “the Stormy”, is an extremely obvious one for the Lord of the Thunderbolt and lends itself to the name of another Attic month and its namesake festival, Maimakterion

Importantly, he is called Panhellinos because of his worship by ALL the Greeks, even if there was regional variations in his worship, titles, and epithets.

Zeus is both Soter (savior) and Xenios (the hospitable) in description of the role that he plays in regards to suppliants. His title of Xenios is especially telling in light of the importance that the Classical Greeks placed on hospitality.

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