Zeus in Aeschylus: The Factor of Monetization

Jan N. Bremmer and Andrew Erskine

in The Gods of Ancient Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780748637980
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670758 | DOI:
Zeus in Aeschylus: The Factor of Monetization

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This chapter offers a new interpretation of the opening of the famous Hymn to Zeus in Aeschylus’ tragedy the Agamemnon (160-6) with its reference to weighing in the divine scales. Zeus is imagined as beyond equivalence with all the commodities that can be put on the (cosmic) balance. The Greek polis was the first thoroughly monetised society in history, and Aeschylus’ conception of Zeus has been influenced (here and in other passages) by the all-pervasive omnipotence of abstract (monetary) value. Aeschulus sees the world as pervaded by the unity of opposites, an idea also associated with Heraclitus and Pythagoreanism.

Keywords: Aeschylus; Zeus; Monetization; Weighing; Tragedy; Heraclitus; Pythagoreanism

Chapter.  6727 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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