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Earth And Water: The Foundations Of Sovereignty In Ancient Thought

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Chapter Summary

Earth and water are fundamental elements in the cosmologies of the ancient Near East and in the cosmogonic thought derived by the Greeks from the Near East. Natures beneficence was seen as the source of true kingship. The classical Greeks, who generally spurned strong kingship as a form of political sovereignty, nevertheless observed the relationship between sources of water and the true kingship of Zeus. The conjunction of water sources and the blessing bestowed by divine nymphs formed a rich nexus in Greek art and cult. The importance of natural sources of water to the imagery of the Mother in her Anatolian setting is even more strongly indicated by the locations of her cult monuments. Although the Greeks honored her, the Mother of the Gods was always treated as in some sense a foreign deity, at home in the mountains of Anatolia, the land of kingship and tyranny.

Keywords: Anatolia; earth; Greek art; kingship of Zeus; water sources

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