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Euhemerus (4th Century BC) is famous for his attempt to interpret myths as deformed historical events. In particular he thought that Zeus was originally a Cretan king whose tomb could be found in Crete. This theory was followed by a few of his contemporaries and later by Christian scholars, including early chistians such as Cyprian in De idolorum vanitate (3rd Century AD) and to some extent even 17th century historians such as Antoine Banier in La Mythologie et les fables expliquées par l'histoire (1711; litteraly Mythology and fable explained by history).

Without going into the details of the actual tomb which seems a little bit far-fetched, does any modern scholar (mythologist?) give any credit to the idea that Zeus was a king, later deified by the rumor?

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No. Modern scholarship usually considers Zeus to be the Greek continuation of a Proto-Indo-European sky deity reconstructed as *Dyēus ph2ter. In fact, of all the Greek pantheon, Zeus is the most obviously descended from a prehistorical deity common to the Proto-Indo-European peoples. Under the prevailing consensus, therefore, Zeus is not a deified Cretan king.

The same root for 'shine' furnished the name of the head of the PIE pantheon, a god called Father Sky, whose name is securely reconstructible from the exact equation of Vedic Sanskrit dyàuṣ pítar '(o) Father Sky', Greek Zeu pater '(o) Father Zeus', and the Latin Iū-piter 'Jupiter' (Literlaly 'father Jove', also originally a vocative or form of direct address like the previous two."

- Fortson, B. Indo-European Language and Culture: an Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

More generally, Euhemerus' theory on the origin of myths has one essential flaw. There is typically no evidence to support historical explanations for mythical events or figures. In the case of Zeus, the evidence that he dates back to the time of Proto-Indo-Europeans makes the theory that he was a (relatively) more recent Cretan king quite unlikely.

Euhemerus' theory has one basic weakness. In most cases, modern scholars lack enough historical evidence to determine whether a mythical figure ever existed.

- Jacobs, Dale W. The World Book Encyclopedia. World Book Inc, 1997.

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