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The Gods of Ancient GreeceIdentities and Transformations$
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Jan Bremmer and Andrew Erskine

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748637980

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637980.001.0001

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Zeus in Aeschylus: The Factor of Monetization

Zeus in Aeschylus: The Factor of Monetization

(p.178) 9 Zeus in Aeschylus: The Factor of Monetization
The Gods of Ancient Greece

Jan N. Bremmer

Andrew Erskine

Edinburgh University Press

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

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