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Ash Altar Of Zeus Offers Insights Into Greece's Most Powerful God - UPDATES

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Author Topic: Ash Altar Of Zeus Offers Insights Into Greece's Most Powerful God - UPDATES  (Read 2363 times)
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« on: January 28, 2009, 12:17:10 pm »

Early writings suggest that Mycenaean cult members sacrificed animals -- and possibly even humans -- before feasting. Romano and his colleagues haven't found any human bones at the site, but indicated they would not be surprised if they did.

The mountaintop site "is quite different in nature" from other lower elevation cult locations throughout Greece. In terms of the Mycenaean culture, marked by epic conquests dramatized by the poet Homer, cult meeting places were usually rooms or buildings connected to palaces. They often contain frescoes, statuettes and votive offerings.

The recent discoveries support the writings of Pausanias, a second century B.C. Greek historian who described "the birthplace of Zeus" at Arcadia in his multi-volume Description of Greece. Other early historians claimed it was in Crete on Mt. Ida.

Pausanias wrote, "On the highest point of the mountain is a mound of earth, forming an altar of Zeus Lykaios, and from it most of the Peloponnesos can be seen. Before the altar on the east stand two pillars....On this altar they sacrifice in secret to Lykaion Zeus."

In addition to searching for human remains on the mountaintop, the archaeologists continue to look for a shrine to Pan -- god of mountain wilds -- that historical texts suggest might be nearby.


Related Links:

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology
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