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I am having difficulty in understanding the meaning of "great power as part of the cosmos" in the following encrypt from an article on Pre-Socratics:

For the Greeks, the fundamental properties of divinity are immortality (they are not subject to death) and great power (as part of the cosmos or in managing events), and each of Hesiod's characters has these properties (even though in the story some are defeated, and seem to be destroyed).

It is clear the the second part is saying that the divinity has exceptional power to manage events (where it says: "or in managing events") but I am not getting what is it referring to when it says: "great power as part of the cosmos"?

Is it referring to the fact that those divinities were part of this world and not something outside of it as the article referred to it few lines before when it said:

The divine figures that thus arise are often connected with a part of the physical universe, or with some aspect of human experience, so his theogony is also a cosmogony (an account of the generation of the world).


2 Answers 2


In Ancient Greek religion gods are part of the cosmos, the world.

They are supe-humans (like super-heroes with super-powers) and immortals (Chronus swallowed is children, but Zeus released them opening Chronus' stomach) but they live in the world and interact with humans.

And they produce natural events : storm, war, etc.

  • Thank you very much! Can you help me appreciate the reason, the writer has written "as part of the cosmos" with "great power". I mean that it is clear they had great power in managing events. But, why we need to say: "great power as part of the cosmos"? Commented May 6, 2018 at 0:29
  • 1
    @MushrrafBaigAshraf - because in a sense gods are "natural" and they are part of the Cosmos i.e. part of the order of the universe. They are subject to (at least some) of the laws and forces that rules the world. Commented May 6, 2018 at 8:55

If we take even the two major Greek gods, Zeus and Poseidon, in Greek mythology their power was limited. They had great power, power exceeding that of any other gods and any humans, but they were not omnipotent. Zeus could not command the seas, and Poseidon could not control the land.

They and the other gods were a part of the cosmos : Poseidon's home was mainly the sea, and Zeus and subordinate gods such as Hera and Apollo lived on Mount Olympus. Both the sea and the mountain were clearly located in the cosmos, and not outside it.

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