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Dione, pronounced /daɪˈoʊni/, in Greek mythology is a vague goddess presence who has her most concrete form in Book V of Homer's Iliad as the mother of Aphrodite. Aphrodite journeys to Dione's side after she has been wounded in battle while protecting her favorite son Aeneas. In this episode, Dione seems to be the equivalent of Gaia the Earth Mother, whom Homer also placed in Olympus, and to that extent might be classed as a "mother goddess".[1] Dione's Indo-European name is really less a name than simply a title: the "Goddess", etymologically a female form of Zeus. After the Iliad, Aphrodite herself was sometimes referred to as "Dionaea" and even "Dione", just "the goddess" (Peck 1898).

Roman "Diana" has a similar etymology but is not otherwise connected with Dione.

At the very ancient oracle of Zeus at Dodona, Dione rather than Hera, was the goddess resorted to in the company of Zeus, (as mother of Aphrodite) and as many surviving votive inscriptions show.[2] The birds associated with her at Dodona are doves,[3] and her priestesses at Dodona were "doves", peliades.[4]

Although Dione is not a Titan in Hesiod, but appears instead in his Theogony among the long list of Oceanids, Apollodorus includes her among the Titans (1.1.3 and 1.3.1) and the Roman mythographer Gaius Julius Hyginus[5] makes her the daughter of the Titan Atlas.

The archaic king Tantalus in Lydia had Dione as a consort: Hyginus says that Dione, daughter of Atlas, was the mother, by Tantalus, of Pelops, Niobe, and Broteas. See also Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.172 If a king's consort is "Dione", the logical implication is that he justifies his authority as the earthly, visible consort of "The Goddess" in an archaic model of sacred kingship.

Three goddesses from the Parthenon east pediment, possibly Hestia, Dione, and Aphrodite, ca. 435 BCE (British Museum)[6]

Notes

  1. ^ In the late second century CE, Pausanias notes (iii.22.4) at "Acriae, a city on the coast. Well worth seeing here are a temple and marble image of the Mother of the Gods. The people of Acriae say that this is the oldest sanctuary of this goddess in the Peloponnesus, although the Magnesians, who live to the north of Mount Sipylus, have on the rock Coddinus the most ancient of all the images of the Mother of the gods. The Magnesians say that it was made by Broteas the son of Tantalus." The connections Pausanias makes show that this Mother of the Gods was Cybele.
  2. ^ A room is devoted to finds from Dodona in the museum at Ioannina.
  3. ^ Herodotus, II.55, tells the local story of the oravcle's founding: a black dove flew from Egypt, establishing the shrine in the sacred oak grove dedicated to the Earth Mother.
  4. ^ Dorothy Burr Thompson, "A Dove for Dione" Hesperia Supplements, 20, Studies in Athenian Architecture, Sculpture and Topography. Presented to Homer A. Thompson (1982:155-219).
  5. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 82, 83.
  6. ^ [1] British Museum website: another interpretation of the two figures at the right, however, is that they are of the Sea (Thalassa) in the lap of the Earthj ([[Gaia (mythology)|]]).

References

  • Peck, Harry Thurston, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers, 1898.
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Simple English

Dione in Greek mythology is a vague goddess presence who has her most concrete was the mother of Aphrodite. Zeus was the father are stories about Dione are in the Iliad by Homer. Aphrodite journeys to Dione's side after she has been wounded in battle while protecting her favorite son Aeneas.



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