Hiram College

Written by Timothy Hatfield ’18

This blog post is written in response to Timothy’s study away trip to Greece in the spring 3-week of 2018 led by Professors Matthew Notarian and Lisa Safford.

I’ve heard the myths, the stories, and the tall tales of my favorite ancient Greek God: Zeus. Zeus is one of the most popular and well known of the ancients Greek Gods. His popularity isn’t what draws me to be fascinated by him. His quivering stories and deviant behavior is what draws me to him. It’s also the fact that he was held to such high standards among the Greeks, since he was/is the most powerful God of them all. His deityness was seen to be holy and of the Greek people for the Greek people, which is true. It was believed that if you worshipped him and were pious, he would grant you a plentiful life. But that’s boring to me. What’s exciting is how he played with the Greeks, especially when it came to love. Zeus was the true master of disguise. We would disguise himself from the Greeks, and fall in love with women. That love created some of the most bizarre ancient mythological creatures like the minotaur.

My interest in such stories derive from my studies in Sociology. For a portion of my studies, I’ve examined religions across the spectrum. Most of my studies led me to the same conclusion; to have a religion, you need people who believe in a higher being, or deity and practice in rituals to please that deity. This deity would be seen as the holy of all holy, and only good stories would be told about them. Then I came across ancient Greek religion and found many deviant myths and stories of the Gods, especially Zeus! It was different, and to me felt more, relatable. I always had this idea that even Gods messed/mess up too. Zeus put this idea in reality for me!

I am standing at the entrance of the Temple of Zeus in Olympia! It was huge! It was stunning! It was incredible to see! You can ask anyone that went on the trip how excited I was, and they’ll tell you that I was like an archaeologist who discovered a mosaic floor of an ancient Roman house. Not only did I get to see the temple, but I also got to talk about its pediments in the Olympia Archaeological Museum, to the entire class. It was just an amazing day, to say the least!