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11.6.3.  Zeus

Zeus is most commonly addressed or spoken of as the father of the gods, and the phrase patêr andrôn te theôn te (father of men and gods) is often a substitute for his name (12-3-6). There is a group of collocations in which the name Zeus is followed or preceded by the word patêr. Thus we find the invocation Zeu pater (21-11-1) and the dative Diï patri (17-7-4). The collocation patêr+Zeus occurs in the genitive patros Dios (7-0-4) and the nominative patêr Zeus (3-0-2).

Distinctive to Zeus are three epithets with an archaic nominative ending in "-a":

The first of these is distinctly Iliadic; the second and third are relatively more common outside of Homer. The nonce word steropêgereta ('gathers the thunder-flash') is also used of Zeus (Il. 16.298). There appears to a consistent association of this archaic nominative with the semantic concept "age". Thus the heroic epithets hippota and hippêlata are used of heroes who belong to an earlier world or are envisaged as fathers. 1 

Other phrases for Zeus include Diï Kroniôni ('Zeus the son of Kronos', 12-2-3) and two phrases that are more common in the Odyssey as well as in Hesiod and the Hymns: *Dios megaloio (great Zeus, 6-10-6) Diï terpikeraunôi (thunder-delighting Zeus, 5-7-5)

Of particular interest is the collocation of Zeus with aigiochos (aegis-holding), which is found in the following combinations:

While this is primarily a description of Zeus, it is also prominently associated with Athene and with the word noos ("mind"). On more than half of its occurrences (5-9-5) the sequence Dios aigiochoio is preceded by a form of the word kourê ('young woman') and refers to daughters of Zeus, whether Athene (10), the Muses (5), nymphs (3), or Helen (1). There is also the line:

*kourên t' aigiochoio Dios glaukôpin Athênên (1-0-2) ("the daughter of aegis-holding Zeus, owl-eyed Athene")

The phrase aigiochoio Dios is most commonly expanded into aigiochoio Dios tekos (child of aegis-holding Zeus, 8-2), and this phrase always refers to Athene, whether or not it is followed by her special and obscure epithet Atrutônê (4-2).

The collocation Zeus+word+aigiochos occurs most commonly in the verse-terminal construction Dios+ word+aigiochoio (10-4-5). Noos is the word in ten of those occurrences; the other nine are divided between seven different words. Thus the phrase 'mind of aegis-holding Zeus' has a clear resonance, and there is a cluster of phrases that link Zeus with Athene and thought through the epithet aigiochos.

 
Eumaios: a collaborative website for Early Greek epic Next
Martin Mueller, About Homeric Repetitions> Observations on idiomatic or formulaic repetitions> Phrases about gods>Previous