Many leading scholars believed that Zeus’s thunderbolt was a mental construct and did not exist in the real world. Author Ken Dowden is representative of this belief: “There is no such thing as a thunderbolt because lightning is not an object that is thrown. . . “
Given such skepticism with regards to archetypal mythological motifs, it is hardly surprising to find that a survey of modern attempts to explain the thunderbolt’s iconography or behavior reveals a vast wasteland of wild guesses and discarded hypotheses. All the more appropriate for comparative mythologist Ev Cochrane to analyze and decipher what may be the actual anatomy of the mighty thunderbolt itself.
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