The Greeks knew of two different kinds of thunderbolt, and Zeus is shown with each type.
The ordinary one is shown in the hand of Zeus, with spikes projecting from either end. The design is similar to the pattern of iron filings on a piece of card when a bar magnet is put underneath. This makes it probable that it was copied from experiments with magnets and pieces of iron on Samothrace, a Greek island where mysteries were celebrated, which were described by the Roman poet Lucretius in his work on the nature of the universe, De Rerum Natura, VI: 1044ff.:
"It also happens that iron sometimes moves away from this stone, and is accustomed to flee and to follow it by turns. I saw iron at Samothrace jumping, and fragments of iron moving inside the bronze basin, when the Magnesian stone had been put underneath. The iron always seemed to wish to escape from the stone."
The first kind of bolt was used by Zeus for short range work from a thundercloud hovering over an impious person whose wicked actions called out for punishment. It was also thought that it was sent as a general demonstration of power and as a reminder to mortals that they ought to behave properly.
Bolts were frequently seen in marshy districts. The Greek word kypeiros is of Semitic origin and is the name of a marsh plant. It is possible that the Egyptian khu, soul, is present in the word.
Anything suggestive of brilliant flashes of light was likely to be associated with lightning. Ovid speaks of the boar "fulmineo ore", with mouth [i. e. tusks] like a thunderbolt. [Fasti II: 192.] It is possible that the Roman toga symbolised the clouds concealing the electrical deity who controls the lightning. The Di Involuti advised Jupiter on when to hurl the thunderbolt. Their name suggests that they were wrapped in cloud.
The Egyptian ames, sceptre, is represented in a hieroglyph as almond shaped. This is the second type of thunderbolt.
Greek amygdale, almond, may be a compound of ames, Gad [a name of Baal], and Al, or El, 'the sceptre of Baal, the god above'. Zeus can be seen holding a thunderbolt shaped like an almond, possibly a plasmoid. This would be the high -powered long range weapon. There may be a link between this kind of bolt and the planet Venus.
If we assume that ames, rod or sceptre, is the first part of the name Ammisaduqa, an explanation of the rest of the name becomes easier. Duq, or dug, suggests the Greek dokein, to appear. Could the name mean 'the appearance of the sceptre'?
That the planet Venus should be referred to as a sceptre may seem strange, until we recall that Venus is often referred to as the 'hairy star'. Jubar stella, the star with a fiery mane, is the morning and evening star, i. e. the planet Venus.
Observations of Venus as they are recorded in the tablets are concerned with the disappearance and appearance of the planet in its journey round the sun, as observed from the earth. Fear that it would not appear on time was one of the causes of the close study of the planet by so many civilisations. It was a good sign if it appeared punctually.
It may be significant that the Greek dokein, to appear, is the word used to mean 'it seems good', or 'it was decided'. For example, it was a good sign when the priest succeeded in eliciting a spark or sound from a capacitor [ark].
It is an interesting coincidence that the reversal of dug
resembles the German gut, good.