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The noun "Zeus"

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The noun "Zeus"

Postby Thucydides » Sat Nov 22, 2003 6:07 pm

1) Zeus, Dia, Dios Dii - presumably this is linked to the adjective dios - "godlike"? Did Zeus originally mean God and then become applied to the king of the gods? Or the reverse?
Or was there a word Di (nominative) which had Zeus replace its nominative? This seems unlikely b/c z (sd) is phonetically similarish to d I think....

2) Zeus originally had a digamma - Zewus. Is the root of words like div(w)ine?
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Re: The noun "Zeus"

Postby Skylax » Sat Nov 22, 2003 7:35 pm

Thucydides wrote:1) Zeus, Dia, Dios Dii - presumably this is linked to the adjective dios - "godlike"?


Not exactly "godlike" in Greek, but rather "Heavenly, shiny", hence "brilliant, illustrious", even about horses... The Latin derived deus form deiwos (I don't know how) to designate the gods. So, the Latin gods are "the shiny ones". In India, the Deva were the "good" race of gods, which conquered the Asura (the "Lords"), the bad ones, but in Iran, in reverse, the Deva were the bad ones, and the great god was Ahura Mazda, the "wise Lord".

Or was there a word Di (nominative) which had Zeus replace its nominative? This seems unlikely b/c z (sd) is phonetically similarish to d I think....


Zeus is from *dye:us, parallel to Sanskrit Dya:uh. The name seems linked to the root *diw- of [face=SPIonic]di=oj[/face] and deus. I believe it was a very old proper name, "the Shiny". Maybe this name was given in respect of the shiny sky, but among the Greek, Zeus is a thunderstorm god, not a god of light, thus his name don't match his power.

2) Zeus originally had a digamma - Zewus. Is the root of words like div(w)ine?


Yes, but in the nominative Zeus, the digamma, used as a vowel, has become the "u". As I said, this name, meaning "Shiny", was a very old god name that was overtaken by a god of thunderstorm.

Thus, in my mind, the root *diw- didn't mean "divine" but "shiny", although the Roman used a word derived from this root to designate their gods.
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Postby Thucydides » Sat Nov 22, 2003 7:41 pm

Thanks! How do you know all this interesting stuff? :shock:

There's a book "Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin" that discusses all these kind of things and that I hope to get hold of.

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Postby annis » Sat Nov 22, 2003 8:11 pm

Also note that the phrase [face=spionic]Zeu\j path/r[/face] has an identical etymology to "Iupiter" and Sanskrit dyáush pitá.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby Thucydides » Sat Nov 22, 2003 9:20 pm

Couldn't the shining be refering to Zeus's thunderbolts?
And what about the word theos? Is that from the same root as deus? Or is that something to do with "theaomai" - I admire or something?
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Postby Baphomet » Sat Nov 22, 2003 10:48 pm

Moreover, the Indo-European root '*dy' means 'light'. We may also find the name 'Ziu', i.e., the ancient Norse-Germanic god of Light, which was known among several Northern people by the names of Tyr, Tiwar or Tiwaz. Later it was assimilated to Wotan, Wodan, Woden, Wodin and, of course, Odin.

See: http://www.valkyrietower.com/tyr.html
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Postby Skylax » Sun Nov 23, 2003 11:03 am

Thucydides wrote:Couldn't the shining be refering to Zeus's thunderbolts?

I don't think so because the Indian god Dyaus was "the Sky", so the shining refers rather to the light of the Sun.

And what about the word theos? Is that from the same root as deus? Or is that something to do with "theaomai" - I admire or something?


Sadly enough, I must confess that don't know anything yet about the origin of "theos", except that it has nothing to do with deus.
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Postby Skylax » Sun Nov 23, 2003 11:10 am

Baphomet wrote:Moreover, the Indo-European root '*dy' means 'light'.


Yes, yes ! the root is *di-(*dei-) ! So *di-w-/*dei-w- is an enlargement of the root, what can also explain the formation of the stem *di-ew-/*di-w- of Zeus and Dyaus !
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Postby tdominus » Sat Nov 29, 2003 12:02 am

Here's what "A dictionary of selected synonyms in the principle Indo-European languages" has to say:

22.12 GOD
Grk. theos,
NG theos,
Lat. deus
...
OE god, os
OHG got
...
St. deva-, sura-

For 'god' there is a group of cognates common to Italic, Celtic, Baltic, and Indo-Iranian (traces in Gmc. , but not the usual word for 'god'), related to words for 'sky', 'day', and the widespread 'Sky-god', all from then otion of 'bright, shining'. A smaller group, common to Slavic and Iranian, is based on the notion of 'one who dispenses, gracious'. The other words are of disputed etymology.
The old words for a pagan 'god' were generally retained for the Christian 'God'. But a few forms are used only in the former sense.
...
1. EI *deiwo-s in words for 'god', beside *dyew- *diw- in words for 'sky', 'day' and the personified Grk. Zeus, gen Dios, Lat Iuppiter (earlier Iupiter, fr. voc. = GRk Zeu pater) gen. Iovis, early Diovis, Skt. dyaus, all with the common notion of 'bright, shining' and representing an extension of the simpler *dei- seen in Skt. dideti 'shines', etc. ...
OLat deiuos, Lat. deus (> It. dio, Fr. dieu, Sp. dios; Rum zau interj., zeu 'pagan god'; but for Christian God dumnezeu, fr. Lat. voc. domine deus 'Lord God'), Osc fem. dat. sg. deivai; Ir. dia, W. duw, Br. doue; ON tivar (pl.; cf. ON Tyr, OE Tig, gen. Tiwes, OHG Zio); Lith dievas, Lett. dieus, OPruss deiws; Skt. deva- (Av. daeva, OPers. daiva- 'demon)

2. ChSl. bogu, etc., general Slavid (per. early loanword fr. Iran. through the Scythians; cf. the Slavic word for 'dog'), Av. baga, OPers. baga-: Skt. bhaga- 'dispenser, gracious lord', bhaj-'divide, distribute, share', Grk. aor. phagein ('partake of' >) 'eat'.

3. Grk theos, fr *Thesos (cf. thesphatos 'spoken by god, ordained'), but root connection much disputed and still dubious. Perh. best (but difficulties): Lat. (dies) festus 'holiday', feriae 'holidays', Osc. fiisnam, Lat. fanum (*fas-no-) 'shrine', fr. *dhes-, *dhes-, prob. an extension of *dhe- 'put' in its frequently attested religious application.... Mrs Hopkins, op cit, rejects all the proposed IE etymologies and suggests that, like some of the names of the Greek gods, so theos itself is a loanword from pre-Greek sources.

4. [germanic languages]

5. Skt. sura- , abstracted fr. asura- (as if a-sura-) after this had come to mean 'evil spirit' vs. earlier sense 'spiritual beneficent spirit' (in RV freq. epithet of the gods, esp. Varuna; = Av. ahura mostly in Ahuro Mazda), prob asu-ra-, fr. asu- 'breath of life, life'.
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