The Worship of Jupiter
From Zeus let us begin; him do we mortals never
leave unnamed; full of Zeus are all the streets and all the marketplaces
of men; full is the sea and the heavens thereof . . . He it was who first
set up the signs in heaven . . . Wherefore him do we men ever worship
first and last. (1)
In these words Aratus (fl. -310) pictured the place
the planet-god Jupiter occupied in the thoughts of men. Nobody today in
the streets and marketplaces mentions the planet Jupiter.
St. Augustine, seven centuries after Aratus, asked:
But since they call Jupiter king of all, who will
not laugh to see his star so far surpassed in brilliancy by the star
of Venus? . . . They answer that it only appears so because it is higher
up and much farther away from the earth. If, therefore, its greater
dignity has deserved a higher place, why is Saturn higher in the heavens
Marduk, the great god of the Babylonians, was the planet
Jupiter;(3) so was Amon
of the Egyptians;(4) Zeus
of the Greeks was the same planet; Jupiter of the Romans, as the name
shows, was again the same planet. Why was this planet chosen as the most
exalted deity? In Greece it was called all-highest, mighty Zeus,
(5) in Rome Jupiter Optimus, Maximus
;(6) in Babylon it was
known as the greatest of the stars (7);
as Ahuramazda it was called by Darius the greatest of the gods
(8); In India Shiva was described as the
great ruler and considered the mightiest of all the gods(9);
he was said to be as brilliant as the sun. (10)
Everywhere Jupiter was regarded as the greatest deity, greater than the
sun, moon, and other planets.(11)
Homer makes Zeus say that all the other gods together
could not pull him down, but he could pull them along with the Earth.(12)
That is how far I overwhelm you all, both gods and men. Commenting
on this passage, Eustathius wrote that according to some ancient authorities
Homer meant the orbits of the planets from which Jupiter could drive the
rest of them, but they could not drive it.(13)
This sentence of Homer is close to the truth. Jupiter is greater and more
powerful than Saturn, its rival, together with Mars, Earth, Venus, and
Mercury. Jupiter is more than a thousand times greater than the Earth
or Venus in volume, and six thousand times greater than Mercury.(14)
But it appears that one could not guess this from observation with the
naked eye. Even through a very powerful telescope Jupiter looks like an
inch-large flat disc, surrounded by its four larger satellites.(15)
The ancients knew something unknown to the moderns when
they asserted that Jupiter can overpower all other planets, the Earth
transl. by G. R. Mair (London, 1955).
of God, VII. 15, transl. by M. Dods (Edinburgh, 1872).
Bartel L. van der Waerden, Science Awakening,
vol. II (Leyden, 1974), p. 59; cf. P. Jensen, Die Kosmologie der
Babylonier (Strassburg, 1890), pp. 131, 134. [Marduk
was called the great lord of the gods and also the
Enlil of the gods. See L. Legrain, Royal Inscriptions and Fragments
from Nippur and Babylon, (Philadelphia, 1926), p. 38.]
[Herodotus II. 41; Diodorus
Siculus I. 13. 2; Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, IX;]
Amen, used at the end of a prayer in Hebrew and in European languages
that borrowed it from Hebrew, was the name of the Egyptian deity Jupiter.
It is part of the names of many Egyptian kingsAmenhotep, Tutankhamen;
of the same root is amen"to believe. It is beyond
the scope of this work to find which of the wordsas the name of
the deity or as a word in vocabulary, precede, and which is derived.
VIII. 22. [In Book II of the Iliad (lines
410f.) Agamemnon addresses the god thus: Zeus, most glorious,
most great . . . that dwellest in the heaven. Plato wrote: Zeus,
the mighty lord, holding the reigns of a winged chariot, leads the
way in heaven, ordering all and taking care of all. (Phaedrus
246e, transl. by B. Jowett ). The stellar aspect of Zeus
is discussed by A. B. Cook, Zeus, A Study in Ancient Religion (Cambridge,
1914), pp. 751, 760.].
Maximus Caelus Aeternus Jupiter was the planets appellative
in its official cult. Cf. Cumont, Astrology and Religion Among
the Greeks and Romans, p. 115. Seneca called Jupiter exalted
ruler of the sky, who sittest in majesty upon the throne of heaven.
Vergil termed him the mightiest of all gods The Aeneid
Kosmologie der Babylonier, p. 117. [Cf.
Lehmann in Zeitschrift fuer Assyriologie II. 214ff. and M.
Jastrow in ibid., 353f.]
Herzfeld, Altpersische Inschriften, no. 6,
quoted in A. T. Olmstead, The History of the Persian Empire (Chicago,
19xx), p. 255. [In the Bundahis (transl.
by E. West, The Sacred Books of the East, Vol. V , pt.
I, p. ), the planet Jupiter is called Ahuramazda. Also in the inscriptions
uncovered by Th. Goell at Nemrud Dagh, Oromazdes (Ahuramazda) is equated
with Zeus. Dio Chrysostom wrote that the Persian Magi considered Zeus
as being the perfect and original driver of the most perfect chariot.
For the chariot of Helius, they claim, is relatively recent when compared
with that of Zeus ("The Thirty-sixth Discourse, transl.
by J. W. Cohoon [London, 19xx].)].
the identification of Shiva with Jupiter, see Lippincotts
Universal Pronouncing Dictionary of Biography and Mythology, ed.
by J. Thomas, 4th edition (xxxx), p. 2203. Cf. F. Wilford, On
Egypt, etc. from the Ancient Books of the Hindus, Asiatick
Researches III (Calcutta, 1799), p. 382: . . . Many of
the Hindus acknowledge that Siva, or the God Jupiter shines in that
planet [Jupiter] . . . The Skanda Purana also tells of
a special relationship between Brihaspati, the astronomical designation
for the planet Jupiter, and Shiva.]
A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology,
seventh ed., (London, 1950), p. 296.
[The Incas of Peru regarded
the planet Jupiter as the guardian and ruler of the empire.
See the seventeenth-century chronicle De las costumbres antiguas
de los naturales del Piru, published in 1879. Cf. Jan Sammer, The
Cosmology of Tawantinsuyu, KRONOS.]
Commentarii ad Homeri Iliadem 695. 5 (Leipzig,
1828), Vol. II, p. 184: Others believe the golden chain to refer
to the orbits of the planets . . . for when the planets come together
on those orbits, many are the changes that universally arise.
has about 70 percent of the mass of the solar system not contained
in the Sun.
four Galilean moons may have been known to the ancients. Marduk was
said to be accompanied by four dogs. Cf. Jensen, Die Kosmologie
der Babylonier, p. 131: Die vier Hunden des Marduk. Mein
Herr mit den Hunden. In Egyptian mythology Horus, or Jupiter,
was often associated with his four sons. Cf. S. Mercer, Horus,
the Royal God of Egypt, (1942).]
[A similar idea is expressed
in Enuma Elish. Marduk, or the planet Jupiter, threatens to
alter the ways of the gods""I will change their paths.
(Tablet VI). In Tablet VII it is said of Marduk: For the stars
of heaven he upheld the paths, he shepherded all the gods like sheep.
(L. W. King, The Seven Tablets of Creation [London, 1902]). Cf.
F.-X. Kugler, Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel, Vol. I (1907),