Dione - Encyclopedia

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DIONE, in the earliest Greek mythology, the wife of Zeus. As such she is associated with Zeus Naius (the god of fertilizing moisture) at Dodona (Strabo vii. p. 329), by whose side she sits, adorned with a bridal veil and garland and holding a sceptre. As the oracle declined in importance, her place as the wife of Zeus was taken by Hera. It is probable that in very early times the cult of Dione existed in Athens, where she had an altar before the Erechtheum. After her admission to the general religious system of the Greeks, Dione was variously described. In the Iliad (v. 370) she is the mother by Zeus of Aphrodite, who is herself in later times called Dione (the epithet Dionaeus was given to Julius Caesar as claiming descent from Venus). In Hesiod (Theog. 353) she is one of the daughters of Oceanus; in Pherecydes (ap. schol. Iliad, xviii. 486), one of the nymphs of Dodona, the nurses of Dionysus; in Euripides (frag. 177), the mother of Dionysus; in Hyginus (fab. 9.82), the daughter of Atlas, wife of Tantalus and mother of Pelops and Niobe. Others make her a Titanid, the daughter of Uranus and Gaea (Apollodorus i. I). Speaking generally, Dione may be regarded as the female embodiment of the attributes of Zeus, to whose name her own is related as Juno (= Jovino) to Jupiter.

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