Zeus was the King of all the Gods in Greek Mythology. With complete dominion over sky and thunder, he is a father figure to the extended families of Greek Gods.
The Greek God Zeus
In Greek mythology, Zeus is the King of the Gods, and the ruler of Olympus. In addition, he was also the main deity associated with justice, honour, thunder, lightning, air, weather and sky. Although he is the King of the Gods, Zeus is actually the youngest born son of the Titans Kronos and Rhea. He escaped the fate of being eaten by Kronos when he was hidden in a cave on Crete by his mother.
Later, he freed his siblings from the belly of Kronos, and led them into battle against the Titans. Victorious, Zeus and his brothers then decided to divide up creation. Poseidon took control of the sea, Hades took over the Underworld domain, while Zeus took to the sky. He was also given supreme authority over Mount Olympus and earth.
Dikteon Cave in Crete Birthplace of Zeus - credits: ABBPhoto/depositphotos
Zeus in Greek Mythology
In addition to the myth of how the Gods rose to Mount Olympus, Zeus plays a central or pivatol role in many other Greek myths. In some cases, he is cited as the father of a hero such as Perseus or Herakles. For the most part though, the myths and stories about Zeus involved him seducing mortal women - much to the annoyance of his sister/wife Hera!
The Children of Zeus
Zeus was well known for his adulterous ways and had numerous offspring. One of them was the Goddess Athena who he had with his first wife, the Titan Metis. Zeus swallowed Metis fearing a son that would usurp him but as he did Athena came to life through his head. She became his favourite child. Another famous child of Zeus was Hercules, who he had with Alkemene. This child was subjected to a jealous Hera who constantly schemed toward his demise. Zeus eventually brought him to Mount Olympus and turned him into a God upon his death. With Danae he had Perseus. Danae was won over by Zeus' charm when the Greek God appeared to her in the form of golden rain so as to enter the bedchambers where she was imprisoned in by Acrisius, her father. Hermes was from the Nymph Maia. Impressed by his silver tongue and trickery, Zeus decided to make Hermes the messenger of the Gods. Last, but not least, one of his interesting children was Arcas. Born from Callisto the Nymph, both mother and son were turned into bears by Artemis who was jealous of them. Zeus eventually turned them into constellations. Ursa Major and Minor.
Powers, Weapons and Attributes
The most powerful Greek God was undoubtedly Zeus and he had several powers he could wield. He is most famous for being able to throw lightning bolts. He had a winged horse named Pegasus that carried them for him and a trained eagle that retrieved them after he threw any. He also had control over the weather and could cause huge storms as well as heavy rains at will. Some of his other less famous powers were the ability to mimic anyone's voice sounding just like they would, as well as the power to shape shift and look like any person or animal on earth. Another interesting power, that isn't that widely documented, is that when he got really mad he would sometimes turn some people into animals as punishment.
Zeus - credits: matintheworld/depositphotos
Zeus in the Percy Jackson Books
Zeus is introduced to us in the Percy Jackson books when his lightening bolt is stolen. The God of thunder accuses his brother Poseidon of being behind the theft. Zeus believes his brother used a human hero named Percy to steal the master bolt in the attempt to overthrow him as ruler of Mount. Olympus. The God of lightning gives his brother ten days to return the weapon or he wages war. In the Percy Jackson books, his role is that of an antagonist in some way. The threat of war is his mantra.
Famous temples in Greece connected with Zeus
As the most revered, or perhaps even feared God in Ancient Greece, Zeus had a huge number of temples dedicated in his honour. Perhaps the two most famous, are the Temple of the Olympian Zeus in Athens, and the Temple of Zeus at Ancient Olympia. The Temple of the Olympian Zeus in Athens is easily visited by anyone spending time in the city, and is located near the Arch of Hadrian just a short walk away from the Acropolis Museum. The Temple of Zeus at Olympia is best visited during a tour of Olympia itself, normally as part of a Mythology Tour of Greece or as a day trip from Nafplion. Take a look here to find out more about our Percy Jackson day trip to Olympia from Nafplion.
Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens - credits: marinaplug/depositphotos