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Fall Of The Great Goddess

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The Lost Great Goddess

At one point the Great Goddess was worshiped above any male deity. She was known for being the creator, the giver of life, and the one who could take life away. These ways of thinking were more earth. An example of this is the Goddess Gaea being the goddess of earth. Also today how we call it mother earth. This view was later replaced by a more sky oriented belief. This can be seen by how Zeus the leader of the Greek gods was the god of the sky and how the gods resided in the heavens. There was a shift from matriarchy to patriarchy. This can be seen in Aeschylus' play The Eumenidies. This play is about the trial of Orestes. He is being prosecuted by the fates for matricide. He has Apollo defending him and Athena judging him. Athena reaches her final judgment through a very masculine way of thinking. In this play the gods are even represented differently.

Athena is the judge of this case. She comes to the decision that Orestes is innocent. The perplexing part is that she really isn't the one that came to this conclusion. She even says herself that it was Zeus that granted understanding. "Apollo states that the mother is not a parent only the nurse" (619), and that it is the father that that keeps the child safe. It is stated that there can be a child without a mother. An example of this is Athena herself. She was not born from another goddess but from the head of Zeus. She was raised and protected by her father. This is an example of Zeus taking over the role of women. He has taken over the power of giving life. This has always been known to be something that women did. When he bore Athena out of his head he took over the role of giver of life. Because of her background, she sided with Orestes. She also agreed with Apollo that Orestes had no blood ties to Clymenestra. She later says though that it was not her that made the decision but Zeus. She is no more then a mediator.

The Fates were very upset with this. With this decision the ways of old were gone. The Fates, who were women, had the power over the lives of people who had committed a crime. When this first trial took place their power to take control of the soul was taken away because Zeus said what this man (Orestes) did wasn't wrong. This is where Zeus has taken over the ability to take life away. At first it belonged to the Fates and now Zeus makes the final decision. This is power being taken away from women. In order to appease



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