Cleanthes: “Hymn to Zeus”

(ca. 280–276 BCE)

Document Text

Greatest of the gods, God with many names, God ever-ruling, and ruling all things!

Zeus, origin of Nature, governing the universe by law,

All hail! For it is right for mortals to address thee;

For we are thy offspring, and we alone of all

That live and creep on earth have the power of imitative speech.

Therefore will I praise thee, and hymn forever thy power.

Thee the wide heaven, which surrounds the earth, obeys:

Following where thou wilt, willingly obeying thy law.

Thou holdest at thy service, in thy mighty hands,

The two-edged, flaming, immortal thunderbolt,

Before whose flash all...

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