Zeus – The King of the Gods

When you think of Greek mythology, you have to think of the famous Zeus. Crowned the king of the gods, he was the ruler of Mount Olympus and the god of the sky and thunder. Born to overthrow his father, Zeus had many more important tasks to carry out in his lifetime as well and has since become one of the most famous Greek gods.

Symbols for Zeus include the eagle, the bull, the oak and the thunderbolt. He is also often known to carry a scepter. Greek artists often drew him in one of two famous poses: standing while striding forward with a thunderbolt in his raised hand or seated in a semblance of his majesty. To fully understand the importance of Zeus, you have to understand the story surrounding his birth.

Zeus was the son of Cronus and Rhea. Cronus was said to have many children with Rhea, according to popular tales. Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon were all born to Cronus and swallowed whole as soon as they were born since Cronus had been told by Gaia and Uranus that was destined to have a son that would overthrow him.

Rhea retreated to Gaia for help and protection before Zeus was born and after his birth, they gave Cronus a rock in place of the baby which he promptly swallowed as he had his other children. Cronus believed his son was eaten and there are different myths and stories regarding how Zeus was raised and who raised him.

Some versions of the story say that Gaia raised him whereas others say that he was raised by a goat named Amalthea and that a company of smaller gods danced and shouted to keep Cronus from hearing the baby’s cries. Another version says that he was raised by a nymph named Adamanthea and that she hid him from a dangling rope from a tree making him invisible to his father who was the god of the Earth, the heavens and the sea. There are still other stories as well. Regardless of the truth, Zeus would grow to be a man, safe from his father.

Zeus was the youngest of his siblings and the other one to survive his father’s fury and jealousy and later was married Hera although some versions of the story of Zeus say differently. He was well known for erotic relationships, many of which resulted in children.

Children contributed to Zeus include Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes and Persephone by Demeter as well as Dionysus, Perseus, Hercales, Helen, Minos and the Muses by Mnemosyne. From Hera, he is known to have Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.

Zeus had a Roman counterpart, Jupiter and an Etruscan counterpart, Tinia. Once he became an adult, he overthrew his father and forced him to disgorge first the stone and then each of his siblings in reverse order. Zeus and his brothers and sisters as well as the Gigantes, Cyclopes and Hecatonchires overthrew Cronus once and for all and Zeus attempted to undo many of the wrongs his father had created. Zeus became the king of the gods.