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Kurdish Warriors by Frank Feller (1898) (Public Domain)

Are Zeus’ Curetes the Ancestors of Modern Kurds?

The hypothesis that there is a relationship between the ancient Curetes of Greek mythology and the Kuri or Kuronians, a tribe of warriors and navigators of the Baltic world, where the medieval Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus locates an ancient land called Curetia (now called Kurland, a region of Latvia), is supported in an article entitled Ancient Curetes and the Baltic tribe of Kuri by Professor Ilze Rūmniece, dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Riga. Can the Kuri be linked to the mysterious Curetes, Zeus’s worshippers, mentioned in the Iliad and Greek mythology? The Curetes feature in the myth of the birth of Zeus, but they were never identified in the Greek world. Today’s Kuronians, therefore, may be descended from the Homeric Curetes.

Infancy of Zeus, by Jacob Jordaens, (early 1630s)Louvre Museum (Public Domain)

Infancy of Zeus, by Jacob Jordaens, (early 1630s)Louvre Museum (Public Domain)

Zeus’ Curetes on Crete

According to Hesiod, Rhea came to Crete and hid the child Zeus in a deep cave called Dictaeon Antron (meaning Psychro Cave) on Mount Aigaion (or Mount Ida according to other sources) with its dense forests, to prevent Chronus from finding his son and devouring him.  The Cretan Couretes' were young men or rustic daimones (spirits) appointed to protect the baby Zeus and their ritual orgiastic war dance of clashing spears and shields was intended to drown out the infant god's cries and prevent his discovery. According to the author Jane Ellen Harrison the Curetes were guardians, nurturers, and initiators of the infant Zeus, but also primitive magicians and seers. They were metal workers and metallurgy was considered an almost magical art.


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