Origin of the Greek Gods

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Origin of the Greek Gods

According to the early Christian church fathers the ancient Greeks believed that their Gods were originally real people who their ancestors deified and to whom they prescribed divine rites derived from the Egyptians and Phoenicians whose Gods were also once mortal men.

 “[Diodorus] The gods, they say, had been originally mortal men, but gained their immortality on account of wisdom and public benefits to mankind, some of them having also become kings: and some have the same names, when interpreted, with the heavenly deities, while others have received a name of their own, as Helios, and Kronos, and Rhea, and Zeus,” (Eusebius: The Preparation of the Gospel Book 2.1)

In the Preparation of the Gospel Eusebius quoting from original Greek sources tells how the Hellenic religion was created from the corruption of written histories that dated back to the time of Ahmose I and even earlier. Over the generations the biographies of the kings of Greece and the events which occurred during their reigns were mixed up with Egyptian theology by the poets and the caretakers of the tombs of these kings and thus the kings were turned into Gods, their tombs into temples and the caretakers into priests. Centuries later because of the imperfections of the Gods characters, their incestuous relationships, the wars they waged against their own offspring and their bizarre initiation ceremonies Socrates thought that their acts should best be left to be forgotten by no longer being taught and a new form of natural philosophy should be adopted. Fortunately Socrates view did not prevail and the true history of the kings that became the Gods remains to be reconstructed.

The Beginning

According to Plato the earliest Greek kings whose names were recorded were those of Atlantis. The Egyptian priests who had translated them from Greek into Egyptian gave their names to Solon. Solon recovered the original meaning of the names and translated them back into Greek. The name Atlas the founder of Atlantis after whom the land was named may have originally been the name of the Egyptian Pharaoh Wankare c.2094 BC who was known to the Greeks by the name of Achtoes III.

In Mycenaean Greek the title used for the supreme king was Wa-na-ka-(s) and this name may have been the source of Wankare since according to Plato the kings of Atlantis ruled as far as Egypt.

Atlas farther was said to have been Eveneor in Greek and this may have been Wankare’s father Neferkare IV c.2112 BC

The Birth of the World

The period of the Gods in Greek Mythology was that of the Cretan Palace Civilisation of the 17th century BC and the period of the Heroes was the 16th to 12th century BC. Almost all of the Gods names have been found in Linear B inscriptions in circumstances relating to their worship dating to about 1250 BC, and the names of hero’s have been found in Hittite and Egyptian inscriptions beginning in the 15th century BC. It is therefore highly likely that the Gods and Heroes were all based on real people whose hero cults survived well into the Christian era.

Ouranos 1750-1710 BC the son of Gia may have been identified with the cult of Hittite king Tudhaliya I 1740-1710. The story of Uranus castration by Kronos with a sickle has parallels in Hittite and Phoenician mythology. The Greek version of this mythology originates from the expansion into Greece, Europe, Anatolia, Palestine and Northern Africa of the first Greek speaking peoples. According to Diodorus, Ouranos was said to have had a brother called Zeus who was king of Crete and father of the Curates. At about the time of these kings reign shaft tombs start appearing at Mycenae indicating the arrival of a foreign culture.

The Reign of the Titans.

Kronos c.1715-1675 BC known by the Romans as Saturn was probably the Cretan king Satur who ruled at Knossos some time between 1725 and 1675 BC according to Linear A inscriptions.

At the time of Kronos the Idaean Dactyls lived around Mt Ida in Crete. One of the Dactyls was named Herakles and he may have been referred to on the Phaistos Disc which was found at Phaistos in Crete near Mt Ida and dates to about 1700 BC. According to the decipherment and translation by J. Faucounau's the Phaistos Disc refers to the funeral of a Greek king called Arion and was written in proto-Ionic dialect. The name Arion is Arik in Hebrew which is the same as the name Arioch in the Old Testament, which in Elamite was written Eri-Aku giving the name Her-ak-les. The Greeks used the same rites as those of the Phoenician God Melcathrus in their worship of Herakles so both names are related to each other. Herakles is probably a corruption of Melcathrus in the following manner, Mel-ca-thrus to Her-ak-les where the letters L and R are interchangeable as in Linear B. Mel-ca-thr could be a corruption of “Melech Terra” meaning “king of the land” and “Melech” is probably also the original source of the Elamite name Eriaku.

The Rise of the Gods

According to Greek Mythology Zeus (or Sdeus) was born in Lyctos and was taken to the Diktaian caves near Lato (or Lyctos) in Crete after his birth or to the Idaian caves which are near Tylissos. Diodorus Siculus says that the Cretan city of Goulas was known as a "city of Zeus". Linear B tablets found at Knossos mention a Goulas settlement in the area of Lato and Tylissos. If this evidence is correct then it would indicate that Zeus was the Cretan king Saasi[tepi(s)] or Saa[si]tepi(s) who ruled at Lato and at Tiliss somewhere between 1650 and 1600 BC according to Linear A inscriptions.

This Saasitepis may also have been the Hyksos king Sheshi also known as Shalik (inscription) or Salatis (Manetho) who ruled in Egypt from 1674 to 1667.5 BC (Based on Manethos figures). There is no reason why Hyksos rule could not have extended to Greece or Cretan rule to Egypt in this period.

Hades whose realm in the Argonautica was located in Phrygia is most probably a reference to the Hittite king Hattusilis I 1660-1630 BC whose name rendered in Greek is Attis. The Attis death and resurrection god cult was still present in Anatolia until the Christian era.

According to Herodotus the rituals of the Greek Gods apart from Poseidon were exactly the same as those of the Egyptian gods who were brought to Greece at the time of Cadmus c.1450 BC. Since the worship of Poseidon did not originate from Egypt Poseidon may have been identified with the Phoenician Sea God Yah or Yam. He may have been the Hyksos vassal Yakobaam who ruled in northern Sinai in about 1650 BC. If this was the case then name Poseidon may have derived from the Greek expression “apo sidon” meaning “from Sidon” or the Phoenician “Abi Sidon” or “Baal-Sidon” meaning “Father of Sidon” the city where the worship of Yah was practiced until 1300 BC.

The practice of the God cults of the above kings indicates that there may have been an alliance in place between the Cretan Greeks, Hittites and Phoenicians that lasted until 1450 BC when the proto-Achaean civilisation conquered Greece.

A Cretan king named Iasiton reigned at Minoia somewhere between 1625 and 1575 BC and may have been Iasion the son of Zeus or Corythus and Electra c.1660 BC the daughter of Atlas.

The Affairs of the Gods.

Ares or Mars could have originally been the Maeonian king Manes 1650-1628 BC who according to Herodotus was the progenitor of the Lydians and Carians. The Romans would have known of this king since the Lydian’s founded colonies in Umbria in Italy. Later personifications of Ares were associated by Greek writers with the Thracian kings Dryas (c.1480BC), Tereus (c.1368 BC) and Tegyrius (c.1330 BC).

Epaphus the son of Io was the Egyptian Hyksos king Apachnas 1645.5-1626.5 BC who is also known as Apepi I. Herodotus states that the name Epaphus was the Greek form of the Egyptian name Apis.

Apis 1628-1600 BC the son of Phoeroneus may have been the Cretan king Saiapis (from Linear A inscriptions) who ruled at Tilisis somewhere between 1625 and 1575 BC. It is highly likely that if Epaphus was Apepi I then Apis was Apepi II who ruled immediately after the first king of that name. In Hellenistic times the Egyptians worshiped Apis son of Phoeroneus by the name of Sarapis as Greco-Egyptian God and pharaoh of Egypt.

Hephaestus himself is not mentioned in any known inscriptions but his son Radamanthys the king of Crete (1599-1555) is named in Linear A inscriptions as Nodamate the king of Crete at Knossos dating to 1600-1550 BC.

The cult of Phoebus Apollo is most likely to have originated in Greece as the cult of Phorbas who ruled over Argos from 1544-1527 BC according to Castor. According to Jerome’s Chronicon Phorbas conquered the island of Rhodes and this island was known to be a centre for the worship of Apollo.

Cadmus was originally based on the Hyksos Pharaoh Khamudy Aasehre 1571-1546 who according to Manetho was called Assis. His father Agenor was the Hyksos Pharaoh Aaqenenre 1610-1569, who according to Manetho was Janins 1596-1571 and probably corresponds to Yakhuber c.1600 in other extant Egyptian inscriptions  The Cadmus who was husband of Harmonia was a different person who based on the Theban genealogies and from king lists from Jeromes Chroncion reigned from 1436-1380 BC.

The Heroic Age

Egyptian texts from the reign of Tutmoses III indicated that the Greek tribe of the Danai who were descended from Danaus (1472 BC) were known to the Egyptians and made tribute to Tutmoses III in 1457 BC at the same time that the Danids the daughters of Danaus married and then murdered the sons Aegyptus. This would mean that Tutmoses III also known as Djehutymes III was Aegyptus which is an obvious corruption of (A)djehutymes.

The cult of Atthis 1460-1444 BC the daughter of Cranaus king of Athens (1459-1404) was set up after she died as a maiden and later become associated with the worship of Athena. Attica formerly known as Acte was named after her. Erichthonius who is said to have set up a wooden image of Athena was reputed to be either Atthis or Athena’s son by Hephaestus. Since Amphictyon the son of Deukalion the king of Athens (1404-1399 BC) was married to Cranaus daughter it is highly probable that Amphictyon was the Hephaestus referred to in the myths. The most likely explanation is that in the poetic version of this story the author made Amphictyon appear to Atthis in the form of Hephaestus and  Atthis herself appeared in the form of Athena.

Erichthonius the king of Troy and Erichthonius the king of Athens were most probably one and the same person since the Athenians and Trojans always claimed they had a common ancestry. According to Trojan mythology Erichthonius was the son of Dardanus and Batia the daughter of Teucer (1460-1440 BC). Teucer is the same name as that of the Hittite king Tudhaliya II (1460-1440 BC) whose name is also the same as Deukalion (1460-1440 BC). Either there were 4 separate kings who shared variations of the same name or all 4 kings were one and the same person. Teucer was the son of the river Scamander who was also known as Xanthus. Phonetically Scamander and Xanthus are exactly the same name as Sekander, which is a corruption of the name Alexander. Alexander was the Greek name for Paris the son of Priam (also called Podakis) who abducted Helen and his name has been found in Hittite inscriptions.

The Cypriot cults of Adonis the son of Phoenix (1417-1400 BC) and of Adonis the son of Cyniras (1276-c.1250 BC) were both derived from the Attis cults of Hittite king Hattusilis II (1420-1400 BC) and Hattusilis III (1275-1250BC).

Dionysus, Tauro Kranos or Lyaeus since he was a God who came to Greece from Lydia and Phrygia probably had his cult based on that of the Hittite king Tudhaliya III who had a god cult associated with him in Asia-Minor. He may have also been Orotal (equivalent to the biblical Thurgal or Tidal, or Turkish Tarkan or Kurdish Turgut) the god who was worshiped by the Arabs who Herodotus identifies with Dionysus. Since Tauro Kranos (Bull Head) was an epithet from Dionysus it may also be an epithet for Uranus, a contemporary with Tudhaliya I, whose name could be a corruption of Kranos substituting Hou for K. Tudhaliya III 1400-1380 BC was deposed in a coup by his son Supiluliama who ruled over Lydia the place of Dionysus stated origin. Along with this Dionysus there were two other Dionysus’s. Firstly Deiones or Deion the son of Aeolus was the Dionysus who made the Argive women mad. He died in 1310 BC in the 32nd year of Perseus according to Eusebius and Clement. The final Dionysus was Deukalion the son of Minos and brother of Ariadne.

Deukalion in whose time the flood occurred in Phthiotis, shared his wine cult with Dionysus and has the same name and lived at the same time as the Hittite king Tudhaliya II who shared the same god cult as his grandson Tudhaliya III. Deukalion is also supposed to have also had a son called Dionysus. Cranaus and Teucer who were contemporaries to Deukalion all have similar sounding names to that of Tudhaliya II so they could have all been local variants of the same king or were allies or vassels of one another.

Demeter originated from the ancestor cult of the Cretan Queen Deo or Doso established in Greece in 1420 BC, which was adapted from the Eleusian version of the Hera cult, brought from Argos in 1530 BC.

Deo lived at the same time as Arcas the king of Arcadia who was also a contemporary of Triptolemos. As queen of Crete at this time Demeter, Deo or Doso was probably based on the same historical account that the story of Europe who was abducted by Zeus in 1438 BC was based on. The Homeric hymn to Demeter says that in the form of Doso she was abducted and taken to Eleusis.

Demeter is said to have been raped by Iasion the brother of Dardanus who reigned in 1440 BC. Persephone was probably their daughter. Minos who was said to be the son of Zeus was probably the son of either Iasion who met an early death for his crime or Astereus the king of Crete.

The Argive version of the Demeter story places her in 1520 BC by referring to Pelasgus who was king at the time and the enmity between Trochilus the priest of the mysteries (of Hera) and Agenor the son of Ecbasus the son of Argus. A Sicyonian story places her in 1480 BC. If the Argive Demeter had a 16 year old daughter these two accounts are unlikely to be linked to the same person unless Demeter was well into her late 70’s by then.

Hades (Aidonis) who abducted Persephone was Adonis the king of Cyprus son of Phoenix since Adonis is said to have fallen in love with both Persephone and Aphrodite and the story goes that he made a deal to spend 1/3 of the year with Persephone and 1/3 with Aphrodite and the other 1/3 he had for himself so he chose to spend it with Aphrodite. That meant the Persephone had to spend the other 9 months of the year with her mother. The deal reached by Demeter with Hades was that Persephone would spend 9 months with her and 3 with Hades, so it looks like two versions of this story existed. The Cypriot version that has been mixed up with about 3 generations Adonis cults and the Greek version, which was recorded by the Eleusians where Demeter established an agricultural school, preserved her memory and that of her daughter.

The Orphic version of the Demeter story moves all of the events to the time of Dysaules and Eumolpus in 1284 BC but this cannot be the original source since the Demeter cult was already in Athens at the time of Pandion I in 1374 BC according to Apollodorus.

Thus the most probable story is that in about 1517 BC Adonis the son of Phoenix arranged for Persephone to be his wife. Her mother Deo was not pleased at Adonis having two wives and went to Argos to stop the marriage but was informed by Chrysanthis that she had already been taken. Trochilus the priest of the mysteries of Hera was then forced to migrate to Eleusis by Agenor and established the Argive Hera cult there and became the father of Eubuleus and Triptolemus by an Eleusian woman and so created the royal line. In 1480 BC Deo might have gone to Sicyon to nurse the children of Plemnaaus. By 1440 BC Celeus was now king of Eleusis and Iasion of Troy raped Doso a Cretan queen or princess and was put to death and this became the source of the story of the rape of Demeter by Zeus. Doso was then abducted from Crete in about 1420 BC during a raid by pirates and was taken to Eleusis and became nurse to the children of Celeus and thought them the art of Agriculture and because of this she was identified with Demeter. Orpheus then merged the stories together and moved the events to 1284 BC.

Amyclas (1380-1335 BC) the son of Lacedaemon founded the city of Amyclae, which is named as a city of the Danai in an inscription made in the reign of Pharaoh Amenhopt III (1386-1349 BC). If the Egyptians are correct about the possession of this city which seems to contradict Homer who calls the Lacedaemonians Achaeans then the only way to resolve this is if Lacedaemon allegedly a son of Zeus was in reality a son of Metanastes the son of  Archander the son of Achaeaus. According to Pausanius Archander was married to Scaea the daughter of Danaus which would mean that the Lacedaemonians were Danai as well as Achaeans.

Since the people of Mycenae were also called Achaeans by Homer when though they were descended from Danaus the only way they could have gotten the name Achaeans is if Eurydice the daughter of Amyclas who was married to Acrisius the grandfather of Perseus was descended from Achaeus.

Pausanius states that while the Lacedaemonians and other Argives (including the Mycenaean’s) called themselves Achaeans the name Danai was reserved for the people of the cist of Argos alone. This can only be because in 1341 BC Perseus made and exchange with Megapenthes the son of his uncle Proetus where he have him Argos in return  for Mycenae, Midea, and Tyrins, and whereas Perseus was a descendent of Achaues,  Megapenthes was only descended from Danaus.

According to Herodotus the Assyrians held that Perseus (1341-1308) was not an Egyptian as the Greeks thought but an Assyrian. In this case the Assyrians probably associated Perseus with the Hittite king Mursilis II 1345-1315 BC. This Mursilis II is supposed to have received in marriage an Egyptian princess who was the daughter of Amenhotep III or IV. To the Greeks at the time of Herodotus the Hittites were Assyrians since the Assyrians had conquered them, but at the time of Perseus the Hittites were Egyptian vassals. Since the name of Amenhotep III is inscribed on the gateway to the palace of Mycenae which was built by Perseus or his father and plates bearing Amenhotep III’s name in hieroglyphics have also been found in the area Greece and Egypt were obviously allies at this time. Along with Amenhotep III or IV the Egyptian Pharoah Kheper-khepru-re Ai (1325-1321) is a possible candidate for Cepheus the father of Perseus wife Andromeda. Cepheus wife Cassiopeia may have been Ankh-esen-pa-aten (An-khesenpaa-ten) the wife of Kheper-khepru-re Ai.

The 9 Muses (1242 BC) were said to be the daughters of Pierus the Macedonian the son of Magnes the brother of Macedon son of Deukalion. Before these muses there were only 3 muses and these had different names and were probably the daughters of the Aloeids who instigated their worship.

Tantalus who ruled over Pontus and Lydia and was the father of Pelops (who was a contemporary of Amphion 1325-1290 BC) was also the Hittite king Mursilis II 1345-1315. According to Herodotus The Lydian form of the name Mursilis is Candaules, which is probably a corrupted version of Tantalus.

According to the legend, when Herakles was conceived Zeus made one night into three thus making it last three times as long as normal, 36 hours instead of 24. 

Now the only reasonable way that this could have occurred is if a Total Solar Eclipse occurred over the Aegean at Midday on the day that Herakes was conceived. 

Herakels lived two generations before the Trojan war since he made Nestor king in place of his father Neleus while he was only a boy.  

Counting back from 1193 BC when the Trojan war took place according to the traditionally chronology, Helen was abducted by Paris 10 years earlier, the year before Atreus was murdered by Aegistheus who was only 9 but Agamemnon was too young to take revenge but was old enough to seek an oracle for his father thus would have just turned 16. Atreus became king after Theseus killed Eurestheus since and Herakles son Hyllus decapitated him on the orders of his mother since he was not old enough to marry when Herakels died, so would have been under 16 or 14. Before marrying Deianara Herakles spent 4 years in the Peloponnese and another 4 in service to Omphale and before that it took him 12 years to complete his labours. He had at least four children by Magara before this which would have taken about 6 years and won her after he saved Thebes shortly after he turned 18.

Thus Herakles would have been born somewhere around about 1279 BC.

According to NASA there were only 2 eclipses visible in Greece at this time and the one most likely to have occurred when Herakles was conceived occurred on February 10 1286 BC

Counting the days this would mean that Herakles was born on 3 November 1286 BC which is 40 weeks or 9 months later.

According to Ovid Herakles birth occurred when in the when the sign of Capricorn was hidden by the sun, ie. in the 10th month. In Ovids time this would have been on 23 December but because of the precession of the earths axis in 1286 this would have occurred in late November or early December. Since the earths axis precesses once every 26000 or so years it would take about 2000 years for the constellations to shift. Thus in 1200 BC Capricorn would have been celebrated on 1200/2000 * 31 = 19 days earlier which places it on December 4.

According to other sources Herakles birth was celebrated on the 4th day of every month thus the question is, was Herakles born on 4th December 1286 BC or was it on 4th November 1286. The story goes that when Herakels was born Nicippe was ordered by Hera to delay Herakels birth so this could account for the fact that Herakels was born a month late

The other eclipse mentioned by NASA occurred on 5th March 1223 BC and this was the day the Atreus became High King of Mycenae since the story goes that in order for Atreus to become king Zeus made the shadow on the dial go backwards which is something that can only occurred during a Total Solar Eclipse. The same prophesy is given in the bible in the year when Hezekiah is saved from Sennecherbs army. The date of 702 BC for Senecheribs campaign in his 3rd year is known from Assyrian records and the eclipse it coincides with occurred on 5th March 702 BC.

In the Madduwatta Text Odysseus (Attarsiya) is described by the Hittite king Arnuwanda III (1220-1200) as an Achaean (Ahhiyawa) who invaded Cyprus (Alasiya). This was at the time when Odysseus accompanied by Menelaus went to Cyprus to obtain ships from Cinyras for the first gathering at Aulis in 1201 BC two years after Helen had been abducted by Paris.

Pan the son of Penelope may have been derived from the cult of Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I  1114 to 1102 or 1076 BC who conquered Caria and destroyed the Hittite civilisation.

 

Hittite equivalents for Greek names in Asia-Minor

 

Hittite Name

Greek Name

Wilusa
Lukka
Milawata
Apasa
Ahhiyawa
Arzawa
Alasya
Kaska
Tarhuntassa
Kizzuwadna
Alaksandu
Attarsiya

Mysia or Ilios
Lykia
Millito(s)
Epheso(s)
Ahaiwoi (Achaeans)
Clazom(enae)
Karpasia (in Cyprus)
(Ther)miskyra
Telmissus
Kindos (river)
Alexandro(s)
Odysseo(s)

 

Greek Chronology

Extant Greek King Lists

Catalogue and Chronology of Extant Literature 

Biblical Chronology 

 

History of the Mycenaean’s

Linear-B inscriptions

Gods named in Linear-B

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last update 15-10-2006