New evidence validates theory of Greek God Zeus being born on Mt. Lykaion

February 3rd, 2009 - 1:59 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 3 (ANI): A team of archaeologists, in excavations in Greece, has found new evidence which validates the theory that Zeus, considered as the father of Greek Gods, was born in Arcadia on Mt. Lykaion and worshipped at the same place more than 3,200 years ago.

New excavation evidence indicates that Zeus worship was established on Mt. Lykaion as early as the Late Helladic period, if not before, more than 3,200 years ago.

According to Dr. David Gilman Romano, Senior Research Scientist, Mediterranean Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum, and one of the projects co-directors, it is likely that a memory of the cults great antiquity survived there, leading to the claim that Zeus was born in Arcadia.

New evidence to support the ancient myth that Zeus was born on Mt. Lykaion in Arcadia has come from a small trench from the southern peak of the mountain, known from the historical period as the ash altar of Zeus Lykaios.

Over fifty Mycenaean drinking vessels, or kylikes, were found on the bedrock at the bottom of the trench along with fragments of human and animal figurines and a miniature double headed axe.

Also found were burned animal bones, mostly of goats and sheep, another indication consistent with Mycenaean cult activity.

This new evidence strongly suggests that there were drinking (and perhaps feasting) parties taking place on the top of the mountain in the Late Helladic period, around 3,300 or 3,400 years ago, said Dr. Romano.

In mainland Greece, there are very few if any Mycenaean mountain-top altars or shrines.

This time period 14th-13th centuries BC is approximately the same time that documents inscribed with a syllabic script called Linear B (an archaic form of the Greek language) first mention Zeus as a deity receiving votive offerings.

Linear B also provides a word for an open fire altar that might describe this altar on Mt. Lykaion as well as a word for a sacred area, temenos, a term known from later historical sources.

Evidence from subsequent periods in the same trench indicate that cult activity at the altar seems to have continued uninterrupted from the Mycenaean period down through the Hellenistic period (4th 2nd centuries BCE), something that has been documented at very few sites in the Greek world.

Miniature bronze tripods, silver coins, and other dedications to Zeus including a bronze hand of Zeus holding a silver lightning bolt, have been found in later levels in the same trench. (ANI)

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