As a good Byzantine Christian, [John] Tzetzes did not believe in the gods. But he did believe in nature. Following a long tradition of Platonic exegesis, he treated each intervention of the gods in human affairs as a meteorological event. Each god was a code name for some powerful weather formation, much as hurricanes are spoken of by their Christian names—with bated breath—on the more excitable modern weather channels. Zeus was a lightning storm. Themis and the Nymphs stood for the rising of the mist. Apollo was the merciless light of the morning sun as it slanted into the eyes of the Trojans, blinding them to the onslaught of Achilles. And above and behind the weather on earth, human affairs were ruled by the planets, who glowed treacherously as they sidled through the Zodiac. This was not a world of steady matter.
The New York Review of Books