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By Martin Persson Nilsson

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Zeus begot them in the guise of a bird; their sister Helena is a Mycenaean tree-goddess. Their cult is a domestic cult. The snake is their sacred animal and representative; theIr symbol on Spartan monuments-two upright beams united by a cross-bearn-is nothing but an abbreviated representation of the half-timber work of a house. They are the domestic and tutelary deities of the Spartan kings, whom Lhey accompany even to the battle-field. Both the Zeus-child and the sons of Zeus show relationship with the Minoan religIOn, but WIth dIfferent sides of it.

In the artistic type of the divinity the connexion is evident. A favourite subject of archaic art is the figure formerly called • the Persian ArtemIs', now the ' Mistress of Animals' (n6rvL¢ 01JpOOll), a woman holding in her hands four-footed animals or birds of different kinds.! The idea is the same as that found in Minoan art and mentioned above, the only difference being that the archaic figure is winged. It is an artistic form which, coming probably from I 1 Treated most lecently by G. Radet, CybCb6 (Bibl.

The common myth relates that Semele, the mother of Dionysos, was killed before his birth, and Homer already speaks of the nurses of Dionysos. As nurses they must have a child to nurse; consequently the conception of Dionysos as a new-born child not reared by its mother is old. Etymologically Semele signifies 'Earth' and Dionysos , Son of Zeus'. y the aid of Phrygian inscriptions. · The Phrygian invaders took over the cults of the old inhabitants, chief of which is the cult of the Great 1 lfplw h~l {Jpt}lOV I Hippolytus, Rejutatio Ilaere· sem, v.

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