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Dyēus (also *Dyēus ph2ter, alternatively spelled dyēws) is believed to have been chief deity in the religious traditions of the prehistoric Proto-Indo-European societies. Part of a larger pantheon, he was the god of the daylight sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in society. This deity is not directly attested; rather scholars have reconstructed this deity from the languages and cultures of later Indo-European nations.
Later gods etymologically connected with Dyeus
- In Greek mythology Zeus
- In Roman mythology Jupiter (originally Iuppiter)
- In Historical Vedic religion Dyauṣ Pitār
- Possibly Dionysus, and Thracian Sabazios (from Saba Zeus?)
Rooted in the related but distinct Indo-European word *deiwos is the Latin word for deity, deus. The Latin word is also continued in English divine, "deity", and the original Germanic word remains visible in "Tuesday" ("Day of Tīwaz") and Old Norse tívar, which may be continued in the toponym Tiveden ("Wood of the Gods", or of Týr).
The following names derive from the related *deiwos:
- Germanic Tīwaz (known as Týr in Old Norse)
- Latin Deus (not originally the name of any single god, but later adopted as the name of the Christian god)
- Indo-Iranian Deva/Daeva
- Baltic Dievas
- Celtic mythology e.g. Gaulish Dēuos
- Slavic mythology div(-ese) (miracle)
Dyeus was addressed as Dyeu Ph2ter, literally "Sky father" or "shining father", as reflected in Latin Iūpiter, Diēspiter, possibly Dis Pater and deus pater, Greek Zeu pater, Sanskrit Dyàuṣpítaḥ. In his aspect as a father god, his consort was Pltwih2 Mh2ter, "Earth Mother".
As the pantheons of the individual mythologies related to the Proto-Indo-European religion evolved, attributes of Dyeus were sometimes redistributed to other deities. In Greek and Roman mythology, Dyeus remained the chief god, but in Vedic mythology, the etymological continuant of Dyeus became a very abstract god, and his original attributes, and his dominance over other gods, were transferred to gods such as Agni or Indra.
As an ordinary noun
Dyēus's name also likely means "the daytime sky":
- In Sanskrit as div- (nominative singular dyāus with vrddhi), its singular means "the sky" and its plural means "days".
- Its accusative form *dyēm became Latin diem "day", which later gave rise to a new nominative diēs. The original nominative survives as diūs in a few fixed expressions.
- Finnish taivas Estonian taevas, Livonian tōvaz etc. (from Proto-Finnic *taivas), meaning "heaven" or "sky," are likely rooted in the Indo-European word. The neighboring Baltic Dievas or Germanic Tiwaz are possible sources, but the Indo-Iranian *daivas accords better in both form and meaning. Similar origin has been proposed for the word family represented by Finnish toivoa "to hope" (originally "to pray from gods").
- "Zeus". American Heritage Dictionary. Bartleby. Retrieved 2006-07-03.
- "Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans". American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). Bartleby. 2000. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
- Oberlies, Thomas (1998), Die Religion des Rgveda (in German), Wien.
- Etymological dictionary of Latin and the other Italic languages, De Vaan, 2008