The Birth of Zeus and the Other Olympians, the Children of Kronos and Rhea
And Rhea, mating with Kronos, bore him glorious children:
Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, who walks on sandals of gold;
powerful Hades, who dwells in a mansion under the earth and
has a pitiless heart; the roaring Shaker of Earth; and
Zeus of the Counsels, who is the Father of Gods and of Men
and at the sound of whose thundering a trembling seizes the broad earth.
Great Kronos swallowed each of these children as each of them came
out of the holy womb of their mother and fell at her knees,
this his set purpose, that no other lordly descendant of Ouranos
should possess the honor of kingship among the immortals.
For he had learned of the future from Gaia and star-studded Ouranos,
how he was destined to meet with defeat at the hands of his son;
this was to be in spite of his strength, for great Zeus would plan it.
Therefore no blind man's lookout was his, but he being watchful
swallowed his children, and Rhea was seized with a grief unforgettable.
But when she was finally about to give birth to Zeus,
the Father of Gods and of Men, then she begged her mother and father,
that they should tell her how she might secretly bear her dear baby,
and how her father's Erinys might be an avenger against
great Kronos, the clever deviser, in payment for swallowing her children.
They then heeded their daughter's request and did as she asked them,
telling her all that was destined to be, revealing the future,
what was to happen to Kronos the king and her stout-hearted son.
And they sent her to Lyktos, off in fertile-soiled Krete,
when she was going to bear him, her youngest, the last of her children,
Zeus, great Zeus. There in the broad isle of Krete huge Gaia
received him from her in order to nurse him and rear him to manhood.
Bringing him there she came in the covering darkness of swift night
first to Lyktos, and taking him into her hands she put him
into a cave under the holy earth high up
on Mount Aigaion, where is abundant thickly grown forest.
And she swaddled a great stone and put it into the hands of
Ouranos's son, the great lord, king of the earlier gods,
who, having taken it from her, sent it down into his stomach,
hardhearted wretch, nor did he foresee what was going to happen,
that his son, replaced by the stone, unconquered and carefree,
still surviving, would prove himself victor by force of his hands and
drive him out of his honor and rule as king of the gods.
Then the strength and the glorious power of the limbs of this king
rapidly grew and, the circling year having come to completion,
great Kronos, the clever deviser, being the dupe of Gaia's
very superior advice, sent up his children again,
for he was brought to defeat by the trickery and force of his son.
First he was forced to spew up the stone - he had swallowed it last - and
this was established and fixed by Zeus in the wide-wayed earth at
holy Pytho down in the hollow beneath Mount Parnassos,
there to remain as a sign, a marvel for mortal men.
Rhea, sleeping with Kronos, gave birth to glorious children: Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, who has golden sandals. Hades, who is powerful and lives in a mansion under the earth with a pitiless heart, Poseidon, who shakes the earth, and Zeus, the father of gods and men, who makes the earth tremble with his thundering.
Great Kronos swallowed each of his children as they came out of the womb of their mother and fell at her knees. He did this because he had learned from Gaia and Ouranos that his youngest son would overthrow him, and he wanted to prevent it. This was supposed to happen despite Kronos' great strength, for Zeus would plan it.
Kronos knew what was coming, so he swallowed his children, causing Rhea a deep and lasting grief. But, when she was about to give birth to Zeus, Rhea begged her mother and father to tell her how to secretly have her baby, and how her father's Furies might avenge themselves on Kronos, for swallowing her children.
Gaia and Ouranos did as their daughter asked them, and told her all that was destined, revealing the future, and telling what was to happen to Kronos and her son. They sent her to Lyktos, off in Crete, to give birth to Zeus, her last child. There on Crete, Gaia received him from Rhea in order to nurse him and rear him to manhood. Bringing him there, Rhea came at night first to Lyktos, and then, taking him in her arms, she put him in a cave under the holy earth, high up on mount Aigaion, in the thick forest. Then, she swaddled a great stone, and put it in the arms of Ouranos' son, Kronos, who, having taken it from her, sent it down into his stomach, the hardhearted wretch. He didn't know what was to happen, that his son, replaced by the stone, still living, would depose his father and become king of the gods.
Zeus rapidly grew, becoming stronger and glorious, and, the circling year having come to completion, great Kronos, clever deviser but dupe of Gaia's advice, sent up his children again, for he was defeated by the trickery and force of his son.
First, he was forced to spew up the stone - he had swallowed it last - and this was placed by Zeus in the wide earth at holy Pytho, down in the hollow beneath Mount Parnassus, as a sign and marvel for mortals.
Frazer's Comment ::
Kronos and Rhea produce a triad of females and a triad of males. The first female, Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, is a vague figure about whom there is very little mythology. Demeter, the second female, is the goddess of the grain; she is married to Zeus, by whom she produces Persephone (912ff.). The third female, Hera, becomes the last wife of Zeus, by whom she produces Hebe, Ares, and Eileithyia (921ff.).
The first male is Hades, the king of the Underworld; his name is often used to stand for the Underworld itself. The second male, Poseidon, is the god of the sea and the waters under the earth; he is called the Shaker of Earth because he sometimes causes earthquakes. Zeus, who is the greatest of the gods, surpassing all others in wisdom and power, holds the last and most important position. His power is made manifest by his thunderbolts, which he obtains from the Kyklopes [cyclops] in the next section. With the birth of Zeus, Theog. reaches the goal toward which the preceding sections have been pointing. From now on he will dominate the stage as he defeats all his enemies and consolidates his government in the final events of the Succession Myth.
The story of the birth of the gods has several parallels with that of the birth of the Titans. Kronos and Ouranos both try to supress their children and so cause their wives great pain, but finally their youngest sons take vengeance upon them and drive them from power. The two stories are closely connected by the theme of vengeance. We remember that the Erinyes (furies), who are spirits of vengeance, spring up from the blood of Ouranos's castration.
Greek civilization was greatly influenced by earlier Minoan civilization on Krete (Crete), and the Greek Zeus was identified with a Minoan god of vegetation who was thought of as dying and being born again every year. Thus Krete became the birthplace of Zeus. Some Greeks also spoke of a tomb of Zeus on Krete, but most found this impossible to believe, for Zeus was immortal. Plutarch (Moralia 153F) tells how, at the funeral games of Amphidamas, Homer challenged Hesiod with the following words:
Muse, tell me such things as never have happened before and never will happen in future.
To which Hesiod answered:
But when horses with clattering hoofs run their course around Zeus's tomb and shatter their chariots striving for victory.
It was for this answer, Plutarch says, that Hesiod was awarded the prize of the tripod-cauldron. Although this story is probably apocryphal, it is a good illustration of the fact that most Greeks, and certainly Hesiod, believed in the immortality of Zeus. There never had been and never would be a tomb of Zeus on Krete or anywhere else. There never would be a funeral games, such as the race with horse and chariot, held in his honor.
When Zeus has forced Kronos to spew up the stone along with his brothers and sisters, he sets it up at Pytho (an ancient name for Delphi) to be a memorial of his victory. It was a common practice for victors, whether in war or at the Panhellenic games, to set up tokens of their victory at Delphi for all the world to see.
heyheyhey, a short one!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
The children of Okeanos and Tethys
Tethys bore to Okeanos the rivers that swirl in their courses:
Nile and Alpheios and deep Eridanos swirling with eddies,
Strymon, Maiander, and Ister flowing with beautiful waters,
Phasis and Rhesos, Acheloos the silvery swirler,
Nessos and Rhodios, salt-rich Haliakmon, and the Heptaporos,
then the Granikos and the Aisepos, divine Simois,
and the Peneios and Hermos, the beautifully flowing Kaikos,
and the mighty Sangarios, Ladon and the Parthenios,
and the Euenos and the Ladeskos and godlike Skamander.
and she bore daughters, a race that is holy, who over the earth,
helped by lordly Apollo and by the rivers, act as
nurses to men, for Zeus has granted this office to them:
Peitho, a nymph of persuasion, Admete, Ianthe, Elektra,
Doris, Prymno who dwells in the foothills, godlike Ourania,
Hippo and Klymene, rosy Rhodeia, lovely Kallirhoe,
Zeuxo, Klytie, knowing Idyia, nimble Pasithoe,
splashing Plexaura and bright Galaxaura and lovely Dione,
Melobosis, swift Thoe, shapely Polydora,
and Kerkeis, a beautiful girl, and the soft-eyed Pluto,
and Perseis, Ianeira, Akaste, and Xanthe,
lovely, rock-haunting Petraia, steady Menestho, Europa,
Metis the wise one, lawful Eurynome, bright-robed Telesto,
and the golden Chryseia and Asia and charming Kalypso,
and Eudora and Tyche, Amphirho, Okyrhoe, and finally
Styx, the water of hate, the most revered of them all.
These are the most illustrious daughters of all those produced by
Okeanos and Tethys, but there are many others besides them,
for there are three thousand daughters of Okeanos, trim-ankled girls,
scattered abroad on the earth and dwelling in the depths of the water,
everywhere showing their power, glorious children divine.
No less numerous than these are those others, the rivers that roar,
who are the sons whom her majesty Tethys produced with Okeanos.
Hard would it be for one mortal to tell all the names of these sons,
but everyone everywhere knows the river he happens to live by.
Okeanos, with Tethys, fathered the rivers that swirl: The Nile, The Alpeios, and The deep Eridanos, which has many eddies, The Strymon, The Maiander, and The Ister, which has beautiful waters, The Phasis and Rhesos, The silvery swirling Acheloos, The Nessos and Rhodios, the salt rich Haliakmon, and The Heptaporos. Then The Granikos and The Aisepos, The divine Simois, and The Peneios and The Hermos, The beautiful Kaikos, The Mighty Sangarios, The Ladon and The Parthenois, and The Euenos and The Ladeskos and The Godlike Skamander.
Tethys also had daughters, a holy race, who, over the Earth, and helped by Apollo and the Rivers, act as nurses to men, for Zeus has granted this power to them ::
Peitho - a nymph of persuasion, Admete, Ianthe, Elektra, Doris, Drymno (who dwells in the foothills), godlike Ourania, Hippo and Klymene, rosy Rhodeia, lovely Kallirhoe, Zeuxo, Klytie, knowing Idyia, nimble Pasithoe, splashing Plexaura and bright Galaxaura and lovely Dione, Melobosis, swift Thoe, shapely Polydora, and Kerkeis (a beautiful girl), soft-eyed Pluto, Perseis, Ianeira, Akaste, and Xanthe, lovely and rock-hunting Petraia, steady Menestho, Europa, Metis the wise, lawful Eurynome, bright-robed Telesto, and the golden Chryseia and Asia and charming Kalypso, and Eudora and Tyche Amphirho, Okyrhoe, and finally Styx, the water of hate, the most revered of them all.
These are the illustrious daughters of all of those produced by Okeanos and Tethys, but there are many others besides them, for there are 3,000 daughters of Okeanos, beautiful girls all, scattered abroad across the earth and dwelling in the depths of the water, everywhere showing their powers, glorious divine children. No less numerous than these are those others, the rivers that roar, who are the sons whom her majesty Tethys had with Okeanos. Hard would it be for 1 mortal to tell all the names of these sons, but, everyone everywhere knows the river he happens to live by.
river locations are soon to be a page in the sidebar. there's too many of them to put here.
Frazer's Comment ::
Okeanos and Tethys have as their sons the rivers and as their daughters the springs. Hesiod gives us the names of only 25 rivers, beginning with the Nile, the great river of Egypt, and ending with the Skamander, the famous river of Troy. Most of these rivers can be located in the east, in Greece or Asia Minor or along the coast of the Black Sea. The Hermos and the Kaikos, for instance, are near Kyme, in Asia Minor, the town from which Hesiod's father originally came; and the Ister can be identified with the Danube. Only the Eridanos, perhaps to be identified with the Po, perhaps with the Rhone, belongs in the west.
The catalog of springs begins with a sentence on the function of springs (and also of rivers) in the government of Zeus: they (along with Apollo and the rivers) are nurses of men. Perhaps Hesiod connected Tethys, their mother's name, with tithene, "nurse". Two or more divinities often work together in the performance of a single service. Just as Apollo helps the Muses to inspire poets (94ff., so he helps the rivers and springs to rear the young. Rivers and springs are easy to imagine as life-giving nurses, for they flow through the land bringing nourishment to fields, flocks, and men.
Hesiod lists 41 springs, the last one being Styx, the most important of all. Later in Theog., Styx and her children are the first to side with Zeus against the Titans (383ff.), and we are told how her water is used in the oath of the gods (790ff.). Many of the springs have names that show them to be suitable nurses, such as Peitho, "The Persuader"; Doris, "The Giver"; Polydora, "Giver of Many Things"; Eudora, "Giver of Good Things"; Idyia, "The Knowing One"; Metis, "The Wise One"; and Tyche, "Fortune". Closely connected with these are Melobosis, "The Persuader"; Doris, "The Giver"; Polydora, "Giver of Many Things"; Eudora, "Giver of Good Things"; Idyia, "The Knowing One"; Metis, "The Wise One"; and Tyche, "Fortune". Closely connected with these are Melobosis, "Flock Tender"; and Pluto "Wealth Bringer". Others have names that show them to be beautiful girls or swift and bright spirits of the water. We should note that the names Europa and Asia are not connected in Hesiod with continents, and that Kalypso, "The Concealer", perhaps so called because she flows for part of her course under the earth, is not the famous nymph of the Odyssey. Okyrhoe, "She Who Flows Swiftly", is the next to the last to be listed, and her name apparantly echoes that of her father, Okeanos, in the same way as Nemertes, the last to be named of the Nereids, does Nereus.
Okeanids make excellent wives. As we have already seen, Foris is married to Nereus (241), Elektra to Thaumas (266), and Kallirhoe to Chrysaor (288). Later we shall find that Metis and Eurynome are married to Zeus (886 + 907), and that Perseis is married to Helios (957) and Idyia to Aietes (960).
The children of Hyperion and Theia
Theia gave birth to mighty Helios and beaming Selene and
Eos the bright one, who shines for every mortal on earth
and for the immortal gods who dwell in broad heaven above;
these were her children when she had yielded in love to Hyperion.
Theia gave birth to mighty Helios (the sun), beaming Selene (the moon), and Eos (the dawn) the bright one, who shines for everyone on earth and for the immortal gods who dwell in broad heaven above; these were Theia's children when she had slept with Hyperion.
Frazer's Comment ::
Helios (sun), Selene (moon), and Eos (dawn) are a natural threesome. as we have already seen in the case of the Kyklopes [cyclopes], the Hundred-Handers, and the children of Thaumas and Elektra, Hesiod likes triads. As an early riser, he seems to have felt a special reverence for Dawn, whom he praises in W.D. 578ff. for starting the farmer on his work.
The descendants of Krios and Eurybia. Styx and her children.
And Eurybia, a goddess divine, when she had mingled with
Krios in love, bore him mighty Astraios, Pallas, and
Perses, who is a power surpassing all others in wisdom.
And Eos bore to Astraios the winds who are mighty in spirit,
sky-clearing Zephyros, swiftly moving Boreas, and Notos;
these she, a goddess, produced, having lain in love with a god.
Then, after these, the Early Born bore the star named Eosphoros
and the sparkling stars with which high heaven is crowned.
And Styx, the daughter of Okeanos, mingling with Pallas, produced
Zelos and beautiful-ankled Nike at home in her palace;
and she gave birth to Kratos and Bia, glorious children.
Theirs is no house which is far off from Zeus, nor have they a seat nor
make they a journey inless they are following this god as their leader,
but they are always seated beside loud-thundering Zeus.
So Styx arranged it, the unfailing daughter of Okeanos,
when the Olympian One, Zeus, the Lord of the Lightening, having
summoned all the immortal gods to lofty Olympos,
promised not to deprive of his power any god who would give him
aid in the war with the Titans, but that each one would retain
whatever earlier honor he had among the immortals;
as for those who were lacking in honor and power under Kronos,
these would then enter on honor and power, as would be right.
Then the unfailing Styx, following her father's advice, was
first to come to Olympos, bringing her children along.
So she was granted by Zeus honor and gifts in abundance,
for he established her water for use in the gods' mighty oath and
made her children to be dwellers forever with him.
Thus in like manner for all he exactly brought to fulfillment
what he had promised, and his is the great power, his is the kingship.
Eurybia made love with Krios, and gave birth to mighty Astraios, Pallas, and Perses, who is a power surpassing all others in wisdom. Then Eos (dawn) bore to Astraios the winds who are mighty in spirit: sky-clearing Zephyros, swiftly moving Boreas, and Notos. Then, the Early Born (dawn, again) gave birth to the star called Eosphoros and the rest of the stars in the night sky.
Styx, sleeping with Pallas, gave birth to Zelos and pretty Nike at home in her palace; and she gave birth to Kratos and Bia, glorious children.
Their house is close to Zeus, and they don't sit or make a journey unless they are following him as their leader, for they're always seated beside Zeus. Styx arranged this for them when the Olympian One, Zeus, the Lord of Lightening, having summoned all the immortal gods to lofty Olympus, promised not to deprive of his power any god who gave him aid in the war against the Titans. Each would retain whatever earlier honor they had among the immortals; those who were lacking in honor and power under Kronos would be given both, as it would be right.
Styx, following her father's advice, was the first to come to Olympus, bringing her children with her. So she was granted by Zeus honor and gifts in abundance, for he established her water for use in the gods' mighty oath and allowed her children to live with him on Olympus forever. Thus in this way for all he brought to fulfillment what he had promised, and thus his is the great power, his the kingship.
Frazer's Comment ::
Eurybia and Krios produce the triad of Astraios, Pallas, and Perses. Perses, who is praised for his wisdom, becomes (in the next section) the father of the great goddess Hekate. Perhaps Hesiod's brother was named after him in the hope - proved false in the event - that he would turn out to be wise.
Eos (dawn), who is called the Early Born, and Astraios ("The Starry One") produce the triad of winds and also the stars. Among the stars Eosphoros, the dawn or morning star, the brightest of them all, receives special mention. Hesiod was probably unaware that the morning and evening stars are the same planet (Venus). Perhaps the three winds are related to Eos and Eosphoros because they start blowing at dawn. The north wind Boreas is associated with winter, the west wind Zephyros with summer, and the south wind Notos with Autumn; compare W.D. 506ff., 594, and 675. In Theog. 870 these winds are distinguished from the wild winds that arise from the defeated Typhoeus.
The children of Styx by Pallas are Zelos (The spirit of Zeal in the Vindication of one's rights), Nike (Victory), Kratos (Sovereignty), and Bia (power). Perhaps the name of their father, Pallas, can be connected with the verb Pallo, "brandish", in the sense of brandishing a spear, which would suit their warlike character. We are told, in a narrative that refers to the beginning of the war with the Titans (a part of the succession Myth), how they became the constant companions of Zeus. Their attendance upon him reminds us of the description of God in Psalm 96:6 : "Majesty and splendor attend him, might and beauty are in his sanctuary."
The gods swear by the water of Styx, whose name, being connected with the verb "hate", shows that she is hateful to them. This oath is a reflection of oaths among men, for men were accustomed to swear by the water of springs, whose subterranean depths were thought to house divinities capable of punishing perjury. In Theog. 780ff. we are given a description of the oath by Styx and of the punishment that false-swearing gods are forced to endure.
The descendants of Koios and Phoibe. The Great Goddess Hekate.
Then bright Phoibe came to Koios's much-desired bed
and conceiving, a goddess laying in love with a god,
bore him black-robed Leto, who is gentle forever,
being kindly disposed both to immortals and mortals,
one who was gentle from the beginning, the kindest Olympian.
And she gave birth to Asteria of good name, who was by Perses
led to his great house that she might be acclaimed as his dear wife.
And she, Asteria, conceiving bore Hekate, who more than all others was
honored by Zeus, son of Kronos: he gave her glorious rights,
so that she shares in the powers of the earth and the exhaustless sea;
and she also shares in the honors of star-studded heaven;
and she is held especially in honor among the immortals.
Such are her powers, for now when any man living on earth,
making beautiful sacrifice, prays with ritual due, he
calls upon Hekate; and great is the honor he very easily
gains if only this goddess propitiously answers his prayer and
grants him a blessed existence, for she possesses such power.
She has a share in the power of every immortal who,
being descended from Gaia and Ouranos, came into honor.
Nor did Zeus, son of Kronos, constrain her nor take away any
right which was hers among the earlier gods, the Titans,
but she has just what she got when the first division was made.
Nor in view of the fact that she was an only child
did she obtain less honor on earth or in heaven or sea,
but much more than before, for Zeus has granted her honor.
She is abundantly present to bless whomever she wills to.
He whom she wills to be eminent saand out in the people's assembly;
and when they've put on their armor and gone into man-slaying war,
there is this goddess at hand for men on whom she is willing
graciously to bestow victory, granting superior power;
and in decisions of justice she sits by the honorable kings.
Good is she too whenever the athletes compete in the games,
where for whomever this goddess is present, granting him aid,
he, by his force and strength being victor, easily, joyfully
wins the beautiful prize and gives delight to his parents;
and she is good to stand by the charioteer whom she wills to.
And for those who are working the boisterous, dark-blue sea and
call upon Hekate and the loud-roaring Shaker of Earth,
easily does she, a glorious goddess, grant them a large catch or
easily take one away that seemed likely, should she so will to.
And she is good in the stables with Hermes to bring the stock increase:
herds of cattle, flocks of goats that spread out to feed, and
flocks of sheep with their deep wooly fleeces, should she so will it,
grow from a few to be many of fall off from many to few.
So in spite of her being the only child of her mother,
honor and power are vouchsafed to her among all the immortals.
And Zeus made her a nurse of the young, who having her aid were
able to see the light which the far-seeing dawn emits.
So from the first she was nurse of the young, and these were her honors.
Then bright Phoebe slept with Koios, whom she loved, and bore him black-robed Leto, who is the kindest Olympian. And Phoebe, who married Perses, gave birth to Asteria. Asteria bore Hekate, who more than all others was honored by Zeus, son of Kronos: he gave her glorious rights, so that she shares in the powers of the Earth, the Sea, and in the honors of the heavens.
Hekate is especially honored by the immortals, such are her powers. For now, when any man living on Earth, making sacrifice, prays with ritual due, he calls upon Hekate; and great is the honor he gains if this goddess answers his prayer, and grants him a blesséd existance, for she possesses such power.
Hekate shares the power of every immortal who, being descended from Gaia and Ouranos, came into honor. Zeus didn't limit her or take away any power or right which was hers among the Titans, but she has what she was given when the first division of power was made.
The fact that she was an only child doesn't matter on earth, in heaven, or in the sea. She is abundantly present to bless whomever she pleases. He whom she chooses to bless stands out in assembly; when they go to war, this goddess is at hand for the men she is willing to grant victory, granting superior power; in decisions of justice, she sits beside the honorable kings.
She's good to athletes when they come together to play the Games, because for whomever this goddess favours, granting him aid, he, by his force and strength being victor, easily and happily wins the beautiful prize and gives delight to his parents. Hekate is also good to the charioteer she chooses.
For sailors on the rowdy sea who call on Hekate and Poseidon, easily does she, a glorious goddess, grant them a large catch, or take one away that seemed likely, should she wish to. She, with Hermes, in the stables works to increase the stock: herds of cattle, flocks of goats and sheep, should she will it, grow from just a few to many, or fall from many to only a few.
So, in spite of her being the only child of her mother Asteria, honor and power are granted to her among all the gods. Zeus made her a nurse of the young, who having her aid, are able to make it through their most dangerous first night of life and see the light of Dawn. So from the first, she was nurse of the young, and these were her honors.
Frazer's Comment ::
Phoibe and Koios produce two daughters, Leto and Asteria, Leto is later described as the mother of Apollo and Artemis (918-20), but here she is praised entirely on her own account as the gentlest and kindest of all divinities. Asteria, "The Starry One", an appropriate daughter for Phoibe, "The Bright One", is the mother by Perses of the great goddess Hekate. Hesiod apparently thinks of Hekate as inheriting the brightness of her mother and the wisdom of her father (377). He rejects the idea of her as a goddess connected mainly with the Underworld and worshipped especially by witches.
Hekate is described as sharing in the powers of all the other gods and goddesses, whether of heaven, earth, or sea. We are reminded of the fact that two or more divinities often share in the performance of the same activity. Zeus, after the defeat of the Titans, confirms her in all her earlier rights - a theme we saw in the passage on Styx and her children - and even adds to these. We are twice told that she is an only child. This shows her uniqueness, but it also seems to mean that since she has no brothers she must depend on Zeus to protect her interests. Thus Hesiod is able to praise her as a universal divinity while at the same time maintaining the preeminence of Zeus.
How can we explain Hesiod's glorification of Hekate? She was probably never so important in actual cult as he would have us believe. Perhaps his family was especially devoted to her as a tradition derived from Asia Minor, where her cult seems to have originated. I like the suggestion, for which Marg argues, that Hesiod connects her name with the participle Hekon, "being willing", and the preposition Hekati, "by the will of", which is used with the names of gods (see also P. Walcot, "Hesiod's Hymns to the Muses, Aphrodite, Styx and Hecate", Symbolae Osloenses 34 , 11). Hekate thus represents the divine will upon which every worshipper must be admitted, however, that the words hekon and hekati do not appear in our text. But Hesiod repeatedly uses the verb ethelo, "will", in such phrases as "whomever she wills to" and "should she so will to". The emphasis on her will is also seen in statements that describe her as being able to do either of two exactly opposite things. She can grant fishermen either a good catch or no catch at all, and can cause the herds and flocks either to increase or decrease; compare W.D. 2ff. on the will of Zeus.
Hesiod's praise of Hekate reminds us of the hymn to the Muses at the beginning of Theog. and of the passage on the birth of Aphrodite. This is especially true of the description of her various functions, a feature typical of hymns. We are finally told, at the end of the list of her functions, that she is a nurse of the young. Thus not even the 3000 rivers and 3000 springs, who are also nurses of the young, are more universal than she is.
wow, that one was long! you'd think that those gods and goddesses could keep it in their pants, ne? :P