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by Archaeology Newsroom

The god of vegetation and the Cretan Zeus

Inscriptions, cave excavations and sanctuaries on mountain tops testify to the cult of the Cretan Zeus. A study of the Sphragistics may lead to some conclusions on this orgiastic, mountainous cult. The surviving part of Euripides tragedy Κρήται (= the Cretans) clarifies certain details of the Kouretes ritual. Through this part of the tragedy is reflected a certain relation of Zeus with the Dionysus of the archaic and classical period. It is probable that the Cretan cult was the origin of all later Helladic cults of orgiastic character.