Zeus is the god of the sky, lightning and the thunder in Ancient Greek religion and mythology, and ruler of all the gods on Mount Olympus. Zeus is the sixth child of Cronos and Rhea, king and queen of the Titans respectively. His father, Cronos, swallowed his children as soon as they were born for fear of a prophecy which foretold that one of them would overthrow him. When Zeus was born, Rhea hid him in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete, giving Cronos a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes to swallow instead. When Zeus was older he went to free his brothers and sisters; together with their allies, the Hekatonkheires and the Elder Cyclopes, Zeus and his siblings fought against the Titans in a ten-year war known as the Titanomachy. At the end of the war, Zeus took Kronos' scythe and cut him into pieces, throwing his remains into Tartarus. He then became the king of gods.
God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, and justice
|Symbol||Thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak|
|Consort||Hera and various others|
|Children||Aeacus, Agdistis, Angelos, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Dionysus, Eileithyia, Enyo, Epaphus Eris, Ersa, Hebe, Helen of Troy, Hephaestus, Heracles, Hermes, Lacedaemon Minos, Pandia, Persephone, Perseus, Rhadamanthus, the Graces, the Horae, the Litae, the Muses, the Moirai|
|Parents||Cronus and Rhea|
|Siblings||Hestia, Hades, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Chiron|
|Norse equivalent||Thor or Odin|
The supreme deity of the Greek pantheon, Zeus was universally respected and revered throughout Ancient Greece; the ancient Olympic Games were held at the site of Olympia every four years in honor of him. Highly temperamental, Zeus was armed with the mighty thunderbolt, said to be the most powerful weapon among the gods. Zeus was married to his sister, Hera, though he was infamous for his infidelity, taking on an almost innumerable amount of lovers and consorts, both mortal and divine including Karis and Hercules' mother. Zeus was known for throwing thunderbolts at people.
The god of honor and justice, Zeus was the one who both established and enforced law, and served as the standard for kings to follow, ensuring they did not abuse the power of their position. His symbols were the thunderbolt, a sceptre, an oak tree, and the eagle and bull were his sacred animals. His Roman equivalent is Jupiter. Zeus was the strongest Greek god, the ruler of all gods. He also had a lot of children that he was not supposed to have.
- The sculpture was presented to Louis XIV as Aesculapius but restored as Zeus, ca. 1686, by Pierre Granier, who added the upraised right arm brandishing the thunderbolt. Marble, middle 2nd century CE. Formerly in the 'Allée Royale', (Tapis Vert) in the Gardens of Versailles, now conserved in the Louvre Museum (Official on-line catalogue)
- Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopedia, The Book People, Haydock, 1995, p. 215.