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A History of Greek Religion by Martin Persson Nilsson

By Martin Persson Nilsson

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Ll16S' KOVpOl, and 'rulers, lords', &'lIaKtf. , not. a household deity. The transition had far-reaching consequences. Old legends becoming implicated, there arose the myth of the birth of Zeus, the story of the swallowing and r/;,scue of the child, and of his being suckled by wild beasts. he heroes. The magnificence of the funeral-cult in Mycenaean times is often spoken of, but from the point of view of the history of religion a shll more important fact $is that the continuity of a cult by the grave-side can be directly traced from Mycenaean to classical times.

The common myth relates that Semele, the mother of Dionysos, was killed before his birth, and Homer already speaks of the nurses of Dionysos. As nurses they must have a child to nurse; consequently the conception of Dionysos as a new-born child not reared by its mother is old. Etymologically Semele signifies 'Earth' and Dionysos , Son of Zeus'. y the aid of Phrygian inscriptions. · The Phrygian invaders took over the cults of the old inhabitants, chief of which is the cult of the Great 1 lfplw h~l {Jpt}lOV I Hippolytus, Rejutatio Ilaere· sem, v.

The princess and half the kingdom is the familiar formula. Greek heroes also, Bias, for instance, demand half the kingdom as a reward, and when it is refused, two-thirds, but the Greeks were strangers to our romantic sentimentality, which also colours the folk-tale, as well as to the idea of female succession. The princess is the reward of the victor who has delivered her from the monster (Andromeda, Resione); this is natural and indeed obvious. iliar from the OdYiisey. 1 Cleostrains of Thespiae, Pans ix.

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