Becoming Powerful Through Compromise: Hesiod’s Zeus as Chairman of the Gods


This case study will look at the foundational narrative of the divine realm in the Theogony for the perspective it can offer on the development of effective leadership. Specifically, it will look at how the “succession story”—how Ouranos and Cronos are in turn overthrown while Zeus is not—can function as an allegory for different ways of using authority. In particular, it will offer a structural reading of myth to show how Zeus makes alliances, builds partnerships, and relies on both strength and intelligence. Hesiod’s story can therefore function as a paradigm for how to wield power. This model, however, depends on certain social conditions, the absence of which may pose challenges to authoritarian uses of power.

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