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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


One of Zeus’ epithets is Georgos, meaning “farmer” or literally “earth worker”.  This epithet obviously describes his agricultural connections.  Now some may find this surprising.  “But he’s a sky god!”  He is now, but remember, Zeus was raised on Gaia.  He only became a sky god when the Titans were defeated in the Titanomachy.  Zeus Georgos was honored on 30 Maimakterion (November/December) which was the time plowing and planting of grain.  (I like to imagine it as right around the time of the US holiday of thanksgiving.)  He received bloodless sacrifices like ambrosia (water, oil and a sweetened mixture of edible seeds) or cakes. The dios kodion, the fleece of Zeus, was probably carried around the fields in his name for purification and protection from bad weather. 


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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Warrior's Grief

I ease my students into Beowulf by having them read the Anglo-Saxon poem 'The Wanderer' first. It's a great introduction to the warrior ethos that the longer narrative celebrates, but in a short form. It's a poem about grief but the first thing we'll notice is that the loss mourned isn't a partner, child or parent, but the narrator's leader.

Wyrd bið ful aræd!       Fate always goes as it must!

The center of the warrior's life is a relationship the Roman historian Tacitus named comitatus when he first observed it in the continental Germanic tribes. A leader gained followers by offering them praise and treasures for courageous behaviour in battle. They rewarded him with their loyalty. It was the center of their lives; it also took a central role in the poetry of the era.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    We don't hear enough about the sanctity and beauty of the warrior ethic from these traditions. You know how much I love "Beowulf"
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Thank you, my dear. This piece actually motivated me to kick off a series on Hávamál, so I hope you'll find that appealing as well
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Really great information here. Lots to take in and consider.

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