Zeus at Olympia and political ideals in ancient Greece

Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The article explores the profile of Zeus as the contending king of gods in Aeschylus Prometheus Bound and the sculptures decorating his famous temple at Olympia. I argue that both sources portray violence as an indispensable stage of political struggle which will eventually give way to a phase of political benevolence. Thus, one can appreciate Zeus transformation from a tyrant to the divine upholder of justice in the new-fangled Athenian democracy, but, also, his continuous appeal as the epitome of the ideal ruler, especially as the Athenians claimed the leadership of Greece in the aftermath of the Persian Wars. In the Hellenistic period, the Macedonian kings also employed Zeus royal status, as celebrated at Olympia, to legitimize their own claims to power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478 - 499
Number of pages22
JournalMaia: rivista di letterature classiche
Volume66
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this