Get Dyeus essential facts below. View Videos or join the Dyeus discussion. Add Dyeus to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Sky-god in Proto-Indo-European mythology
The sky over a field in Ukraine. *Dy?us ph?t?r has been translated as "father daylight-sky-god".
*Dy?us (lit. "daylight-sky-god"), also *Dy?us ph?t?r (lit. "father daylight-sky-god"), is the reconstructed name of the daylight-sky god in Proto-Indo-European mythology. *Dy?us was conceived as a divine personification of the bright sky of the day and the seat of the gods, the *deyw?s. Associated with the vast diurnal sky and with the fertile rains, *Dy?us was often paired with *D?ém, the Earth Mother, in a relationship of union and contrast.
The divine name *Dy?us stems from the root *dyeu-, denoting the "diurnal sky" or the "brightness of the day" (in contrast to the darkness of the night), ultimately deriving from *di or dei- ("to shine, be bright").Cognates in Indo-European languages revolving around the concepts of "day", "sky" and "deity" and sharing the root *dyeu- as an etymon suggest that Dy?us was the vast and bright sky of the day conceived as a divine entity, such as Sanskrit dyumán- 'heavenly, shining, radiant'.
The most constant epithet associated with *Dy?us is "father" (*ph2t?r). The term "Father Dy?us" was inherited in the Vedic Dyáu? Pit, Greek Zeus Pat?r, Illyrian Dei-pátrous, Roman Jupiter (*Djous pat?r), even in the form of "dad" or "papa" in the ScythianPapaios for Zeus, or the Palaic expression Tiyazpapaz. The epithet *Ph2t?r ?enh1-t?r ("Father Procreator") is also attested in the Vedic, Iranian, Greek, and perhaps the Roman ritual traditions.
*Dy?us was the Sky or Day conceived as a divine entity, and thus the dwelling of the gods, the Heaven. As the gateway to the deities and the father of both the Divine Twins and the goddess of the Dawn (*H2éws?s), *Dy?us was a prominent deity in the Proto-Indo-European pantheon. He was however likely not their ruler or the holder of the supreme power like Zeus and Jupiter.
*Dy?us was associated with the bright and vast sky, but also to the cloudy weather in the Vedic and Greek formulas *Dy?us' rain. Although several reflexes of Dy?us are storm deities, such as Zeus and Jupiter, this is thought to be a late development exclusive to Mediterranean traditions, probably derived from syncretism with Canaanite deities and the Proto-Indo-European god *Perkwunos.
Due to his celestial nature, *Dy?us is often described as "all-seeing" or "with wide vision" in Indo-European myths. It is unlikely however that he was in charge of the supervision of justice and righteousness, as it was the case for the Zeus or the Indo-IranianMithra-Varuna duo; but he was suited to serve at least as a witness to oaths and treaties. Proto-Indo-Europeans also visualized the sun as the "lamp of Dy?us" or the "eye of Dy?us", as seen in various reflexes: "the god's lamp" in Euripides' Medes, "heaven's candle" in Beowulf, "the land of Hatti's torch" (the Sun-goddess of Arinna) in a Hittite prayer,Helios as the eye of Zeus,Hvare-khshaeta as the eye of Ahura Mazda, and the sun as "God's eye" in Romanian folklore.
*Dy?us is often paired with *Dhé?h?m, the Earth goddess, and described as uniting with her to ensure the growth and sustenance of terrestrial life; the earth becomes pregnant as the rain falls from the sky. The relationship between Father Sky (*Dy?us Ph2t?r) and Mother Earth (*Dhé?h?m Méhat?r) is also of contrast: the latter is portrayed as the vast and dark dwelling of mortals, located below the bright seat of the gods. According to Jackson however, as the thunder-god is frequently associated with the fructifying rains, she may be a more fitting partner of *Perkwunos than of *Dy?us.
While Hausos and the Divine Twins are generally considered the offsprings of *Dy?us alone, some scholars have proposed a spouse-goddess reconstructed as *Diw?n? or *Diu?neh2, with a possible descendant in Zeus's consort Dione. A thematic echo occurs in the Vedic tradition as Indra's wife Indr?n? displays a similar jealous and quarrelsome disposition under provocation. A second descendant may be found in Dia, a mortal said to unite with Zeus in a Greek myth. The story leads ultimately to the birth of the Centaurs after the mating of Dia's husband Ixion with the phantom of Hera, the spouse of Zeus. Another reflex may be found in the Mycenaean GreekDiwia, possibly a feminine counterpart of Zeus attested in the second part of the 2nd millennium BC and which may have survived in the Pamphylian dialect of Asia Minor. The reconstruction is however only based upon the Greek-and to a lesser extent the Vedic-tradition, and it remains therefore not secured.
If the female goddesses Hera, Juno, Frigg and Shakti share a common association with marriage and fertility, Mallory and Adams note however that "these functions are much too generic to support the supposition of a distinct PIE 'consort goddess' and many of the 'consorts' probably represent assimilations of earlier goddesses who may have had nothing to do with marriage."
Cognates stemming either from the root *dyeu ("daylight, bright sky"), the epithet *Dy?us Ph2ter ("Father Sky"), the v?ddhi-derivative*deiwós ("celestial", a "god"), the derivative *diwyós ("divine"), or the back-formation *deynos (a "day") are among the most widely attested in Indo-European languages.
Other reflexes are variants that have retained both descendants of the root *dyeu- ("sky") and the original structure "Father God". Some traditions have replaced the epithet *ph2ter with the nursery word papa ("dad, daddy"):
Albanian: Zot, "lord" or "God", epithet of Zojz, the sky-father (generally thought to be derived from Proto-Albanian *d?ie?u ? a(t)t-, "heavenly father"; although the etymology *w(i)t?- pati-, "lord of the house", has also been proposed).
The word 'Tuesday' in ON Týs-dagr, OE T?wes-dæg and OHG Zies-tag, a calque of Latin dies Martis; interpreted as a remnant of the sky and war functions of *T?waz by G. Kroonen, although M. L. West views it as unlikely,
Latin: Di?na (from an older Dna), goddess of the moon and the countryside.
Latin: D?s Pater, from d?ves ('wealthy, rich'), probably derived from d?us via the intermediate form *deiu-(o/e)t- ("who is like the gods, protected by the gods").
As the pantheons of the individual mythologies related to Proto-Indo-European religion evolved, attributes of *Dy?us seem to have been redistributed to other deities. In Greek and Roman mythology, *Dy?us was the chief god, while the etymological continuant of Dy?us became a very abstract god in Vedic mythology, and his original prominence over other gods largely diluted.
In Slavic tradition
At one point, early Slavs, like some Iranian peoples after the Zoroastrian religious reformation, demonized the Slavic successor of *Dy?us (abandoning this word in the sense of "heaven" at the same time, keeping the word for day, however, and abandoning many of the names of the other Proto-Indo-European gods, replacing them with new Slavic or Iranian names), while not replacing it with any other specific god, as a result of cultural contacts with Iranian peoples in the first millennium BC. Hence, after the process of demonization by the Slavs, *Dy?us is considered to have originated two continuations: *divo ("strange, odd thing") and *div? ("demon"). The result of this demonization may be Pan-Slavic demons, e.g. Polish and Czechdziwo?ona, or Div occurring in The Tale of Igor's Campaign.
According to some researchers, at least some of *Dy?us's traits could have been taken over by Svarog (Urba?czyk: Sun-Da?bóg - heavenly fire, Svaro?i? - earthly fire, Svarog - heaven, lightning).Helmold recalls that the Slavs were also supposed to believe in a god in heaven, who only deals with heavenly matters and commands other gods.
^ abcWest 2007, p. 168: "But in general we may say that MIE had *dyéus (Dyéus) for 'heaven (Heaven)' [...] In Anatolian the picture is a little different [...] The reflex of *dyeus (Hittite sius) does not mean 'heaven' but either 'god' in general or the Sun-god. [...] The Greek Zeus is king of the gods and the supreme power in the world, his influence extending everywhere and into most spheres of life. There is little reason, however, to think that the Indo-European Dyeus had any such importance."
^Fairbanks, Arthur. The Mythology of Greece and Rome. New York: D. Appleton-Century Company. 1907. p. 162. Regarding the meaning of "Pandia", Kerenyi (Kerenyi, Karl. The Gods of the Greeks. Thames & Hudson. 1951), p. 197, says: '"the entirely shining" or the "entirely bright"-- doubtless the brightness of nights of full moon.'
^Skelton, Christina. Greek-Anatolian Language Contact and the Settlement of Pamphylia. Classical Antiquity. Vol. 36, Issue 1. The Regents of the University of California. 2017. pp. 104-105. ISSN0278-6656
^Yon, Marguerite. La ville de Salamine. Fouilles françaises 1964-1974 / The town of Salamis. French excavations 1964-1974. In: Kinyras : L'Archéologie française à Chypre / French Archaeology in Cyprus Table ronde tenue à Lyon, 5-6 novembre 1991 / Symposium held in Lyons November 5th-6th 1991 Lyon : Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée Jean Pouilloux, 1993. p. 145. (Travaux de la Maison de l'Orient, 22) www.persee.fr/doc/mom_0766-0510_1993_act_22_1_1796
^Tatishvili, Irene. "Transformations of the Relationship between Hittite Kings and Deities". In: Acts of the IXth International Congress of Hittitology (Çorum, 1-7 September 2014). Vol. II. Çorum: 2019. pp. 1048 and 1050. ISBN978-975-17-4338-1
^Ricl, Marijana. "Current Archaeological and Epigraphic Research in the Region of Lydia". In: L'Anatolie des peuples, des cités et des cultures (IIe millénaire av. J.-C. - Ve siècle ap. J.-C.). Colloque international de Besançon - 26-27 novembre 2010. Volume 2. Approches locales et régionales. Besançon: Institut des Sciences et Techniques de l'Antiquité, 2013. pp. 189-195. (Collection « ISTA », 1277) www.persee.fr/doc/ista_0000-0000_2013_act_1277_2_3751
^Melchert, Harold Craig. Anatolian Historical Phonology. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi B. V. 1994. p. 351. ISBN90-5183-697-X
^West 2007, pp. 167, 243: "The Albanian Perëndi 'Heaven', 'God', has been analysed as a compound of which the first element is related to perun? and the second to *dyeus."
^Mallory & Adams 1997, pp. 408-409, 582: "It is argued that the underlying meaning here is not oak but rather that the Norse and Baltic forms are from *per-kw-, an extension on the root *per- 'strike' [...] These would then be related to *peruhxnos 'the one with the thunder stone' [...], and possibly Albanian peren-di..."
^MacLeod, Sharon P. (1998). "Mater Deorum Hibernensium: Identity and Cross-Correlation in Early Irish Mythology". Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium. 18/19: 340-384. ISSN1545-0155. JSTOR20557350.
^FERNANDES, Luís S.; CARVALHO, Pedro Sobral de; FIGUEIRA, Nádia (2009). "Divindades indígenas numa ara inédita de Viseu". Acta Palaeohispanica X [Actas do X Colóquio sobre Línguas e culturas Paleo-hispânicas]. Paleohispanica, 9, 2009, pp. 143-155. ISSN1578-5386 (in Portuguese)
^d'Encarnação, José. "Testemunhos Recentes de Teónimos Pré-Romanos na Lusitânia". In: ANTROPE N. 12. julho 2020. Instituto Politécnico de Tomar. p. 255. ISSN2183-1386 (in Portuguese)
"Indo-European *Deiwos and Related Words" by Grace Sturtevant Hopkins, Language Dissertations number XII, December 1932 (supplement to Language, journal of the Linguistic Society of America).
Cook, Arthur Bernard. "The European Sky-God. III: The Italians." Folklore 16, no. 3 (1905): 260-332. www.jstor.org/stable/1253947.
Cook, Arthur Bernard. "Zeus, Jupiter, and the Oak. (Conclusion.)." The Classical Review 18, no. 7 (1904): 360-75. www.jstor.org/stable/694614.
Kerényi, Carl, and Christopher Holme. "The Word 'Zeus' and Its Synonyms, 'Theos' and 'Daimon'." In Archetypal Images in Greek Religion: 5. Zeus and Hera: Archetypal Image of Father, Husband, and Wife, 3-20. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1975. doi:10.2307/j.ctt13x190c.5.
Kretschmer, Paul. "Dyaus, ?, Diespiter Und Die Abstrakta Im Indogermanischen." Glotta 13, no. 1/2 (1923): 101-14. www.jstor.org/stable/40265088.
Laroche, E. "Les Noms Anatoliens Du "dieu" Et Leurs Dérivés." Journal of Cuneiform Studies 21 (1967): 174-77. doi:10.2307/1359369.
Seebold, Elmar. "Der Himmel, Der Tag Und Die Götter Bei Den Indogermanen." Historische Sprachforschung / Historical Linguistics 104, no. 1 (1991): 29-45. www.jstor.org/stable/40849007.