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The Mother Goddess

Dione in The Iliad [reference]
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Dione is a resident of Mount Olympos and even though she is not one of the twelve Olympians, she is honored by Zeus and the other Immortals. Dione is only mentioned several times in the ancient Greek texts but there is no doubt that she is held in the highest esteem. Dione can heal the other Immortals with just the touch of her hands.

Dione is called Mother by Aphrodite [goddess of love], which is significant because Aphrodite is herself a very ancient goddess. Aphrodite was created from the blood of Ouranos [Heavens] as it mixed with the foam of the sea. In the chronology of the Greek Immortals, Gaia [Earth] was the second Immortal to come into existence and Ouranos was Gaia's son ... that would mean that Aphrodite is younger than Dione and for her to refer to Dione as Mother would be an indication that Dione is truly ancient.

In the Iliad, Dione played an important role as the healer of Aphrodite after the goddess was wounded in the fighting during the siege of the city of Troy. The Achaean hero Diomedes was infused with vigor and boldness by the goddess Athene and told to avoid all Immortals on the battlefield except Aphrodite ... Athene told Diomedes that he should attack Aphrodite if he saw her.

Aphrodite's son Aineias was in danger of being killed, so Aphrodite swooped into the fighting and shielded Aineias from harm. At that moment, Diomedes lunged at the goddess and wounded her on the wrist. Ares [god of War] was nearby so Aphrodite mounted his chariot and fled to Mount Olympos. Once she reached the sacred mountain, Aphrodite went to Dione.

Dione wiped away the oozing ichor [divine blood] from Aphrodite's wounded wrist and tried to comfort the sobbing goddess. Dione sought to make Aphrodite realize that even though she was immortal, she was still subject to pain and injury. When Dione spoke to Aphrodite, she revealed priceless information about the vulnerabilities of the Immortals.

First, Dione told Aphrodite how mighty Ares had once been bound and held prisoner by the gigantic brothers, Ephialtes and Otos. They had confined Ares inside a brazen cauldron for thirteen months ... Ares would have died if Eeriboia, the stepmother of Ephialtes and Otos, had not alerted Hermes, who rescued Ares.

Dione told Aphrodite that Herakles had also done harm to the goddess Hera as well as Hades [lord of the dead]. Hera had been struck in the right breast with a tri-barbed arrow by Herakles and Hades was wounded in the shoulder by an arrow from Herakles's bow.

Dione remains one of the more mysterious Greek goddesses. It has been suggested that she is the personification of a more ancient Mother Goddess [Goddess of the Oak from Asia Minor] and that the Greeks simply adopted her into their pantheon. Regardless, we know without doubt that Dione was an honored resident of Mount Olympos at the time of Trojan War, i.e. 1250 BCE.

Dione in The Iliad

[listed by book and line from four different translations]

Richmond Lattimore

Loeb Classical Library

Robert Fagles

Robert Fitzgerald

Other Text References


Hymn to Delian Apollon

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