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Bulfinch's Mythology The Age of Fable

Page: 6

As the English literature came into being largely on French and Latin models, and as French is but a degraded Latin and retains Latin roots largely, in our older English poets the Latin forms of these names are generally used. In our own generation, with the precision now so much courted, a fashion has come in, of designating Mars by his Greek name of "Ares," Venus by her name of "Aphrodite," and so on. But in this book, as our object is to make familiar the stores of general English literature which refer to such subjects, we shall retain, in general, the Latin names, only calling the attention of the reader to the Greek names, as they appear in Greek authors, and in many writers of the more recent English schools.

The real monarch of the heavens in the mythology of both Greece and Rome is Jupiter (Zeus-pater, father-Jove) [Jove appears to be a word derived from the same root as Zeus, and it appears in the root dev of the Sanscrit, where devas are gods of different forms. Our English word devil probably comes from the French diable, Italian diavolo, Latin diabolus, one who makes division,- - literally one who separates balls, or throws balls about,— instead of throwing them frankly and truly at the batsman. It is not to be traced to the Sanscrit deva.]

In the mythological system we are tracing Zeus is himself the father of many of the gods, and he is often spoken of as father of gods and men. He is the father of Vulcan [In Greek Hephaistos], of Venus [in Greek Aphrodite], of Minerva [in Greek [Pallas] Athene, or either name separately], of Apollo [of Phoebus], Diana [in Greek Artemis], and of Mercury [in Greek Hermes], who are ranked among the twelve superior gods, and of many inferior deities. But Jupiter himself is not the original deity in these systems. He is the son of Saturnus, as in the Greek Zeus is the son of Kronos. Still the inevitable question would occur where did Saturnus or Kronos come from. And, in forms and statements more and more vague, the answer was that he was born from Uranus or Ouranos, which is the name of the Heaven over all which seemed to embrace all things. The Greek name of Saturn was spelled Kronos. The Greek name of Time was spelled Chronos. A similarity between the two was imagined. And the whole statement, when reduced to rationalistic language, would be that from Uranus, the infinite, was born Chronos, Time,— that from Time, Zeus or Jupiter was born, and that he is the only child of Time who has complete sway over mortals and immortals.

  "The will of Jove I own,
  Who mortals and immortals rules alone."
  Homer, II.xii

Jupiter was son of Saturn (Kronos) [The names included in parentheses are the Greek, the others being the [Roman] or Latin names] and Ops (Rhea in Greek, sometimes confounded with the Phrygian Cybele).

Saturn and Rhea were of the race of Titans, who were the children of Earth and Heaven, which sprang from Chaos, of which we shall give a further account in our next chapter.


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