A Guide to Greek Mythology: King of the Gods

Zeus is one of the most iconic and recognizable characters in all of Western Mythology. He is the supreme ruler of the pantheon of Olympus and a notorious troublemaker throughout Greek mythology. 

Zeus is often referred to as the Father of the Gods, the Lord of Olympus, and the King of the Gods. He is the son of the titan Kronos, who was king of the gods before Zeus deposed him. 

Zeus is the most powerful figure in Greek mythology, and all the other gods (eventually) bow to his will. He is often depicted sitting on a golden throne holding a lightning bolt. 

Who Zeus became king 

Kronos was given a prophecy that one of his sons would be more powerful than him. Fearing this, Kronos ate all his children once they had been born. Horrified by the death of her children, Zeus’ mother, Rhea, gave Kronos a rock to eat instead of Zeus, and she hid the child. 

When Zeus grew up, he returned to challenge his father. In their first fight, Zeus sliced Kronos’ stomach open and released his trapped siblings, who were all alive inside. Kronos’ children declared war against their father and the other Titans – the war became known as The Titanomachy. 

Eventually, Zeus defeated his father. Instead of keeping all the power to himself, he shared it with his two brothers. As a result, Hades was tasked with ruling over the Underworld, Poseidon ruled the Sea, and Zeus ruled over the Heavens and the Earth. 

After defeating the Titans, Zeus went to war with the Giants and defeated the powerful monster Typhon, who he imprisoned in Mount Etna. 

Zeus’ family, children, and lovers 

Zeus had five siblings – Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia. The goddess Aphrodite is his cousin. 

Zeus was married to the Goddess Hera, and together they have Ares, the God of War. However, Hera is not Zeus’ only lover – he had a large variety of lovers amongst the gods and mortals, as well as amongst the magical creatures of the world. 

Some of Zeus’s most notable children include: 

  • The Muses (the spirits responsible for the art in the world) who he had with the Titan Mnemosyne 
  • Hermes (the Messenger God) who he had with Maia 
  • Dionysus (the God of alcohol and pleasure) with the mortal Semele
  • Apollo (God of the healing and prophecy) and Artemis (Goddess of the Hunt) with the Goddess 
  • Hercules (the Demi-God) with the mortal Alcmene 

Zeus’ favorite child was said to be born straight from his mind. This child was Athena, who is the Goddess of War, Tactics, and Wisdom. 

Zeus also had a habit of transforming into animals and birds to mate with mortals hoping that Hera wouldn’t notice and hurt him. He most notably turned into a Bull, a Swan, and a Cuckoo to mate with mortals. 

Zeus’ relationship with men and the earth 

Zeus was the patron god of Kings. To men, he represented Justice, Law, keeping of Oaths, Honor, Order, Zeal, Hospitality, and Leadership. He also had a personal relationship with the city of Dodona, to whom he issued prophecies. 

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Zeus’ fights and feuds 

The list of Zeus’ enemies is very long. They include Titans like Kronus, Atlas, and even the Mother Earth Gaia. Zeus wiped out the Giants and fought Thypon, the greatest monster ever to exist. His brother Hades was an enemy of the God-king, as was his wife. Hades was upset that he had been forced to rule over the Underworld. Hera was heartbroken that Zeus continued to cheat on him. 

Perhaps the most famous enemy of Zeus is Prometheus – the fire bringer. 

When Zeus had created the world, he tasked Prometheus and Epimetheus with filling it. Epimetheus filled the world with animals, while Prometheus created humans. While creating the world’s animals, Epimetheus gave away all the gifts (horns, shells, etc.), and there was nothing left for humanity. 

Prometheus asked Zeus if he could give the humans some of the fire from Olympus – as the humans were savage and had no civilization. Zeus said no, but Prometheus did it anyway. The fire helped man to advance and move out of the age of darkness. 

Zeus was so angry with Prometheus that he had him chained to a boulder in the Underworld. Every morning an eagle would land on Prometheus and eat his liver. This would happen every day until the end of Eternity. 

Prometheus was eventually rescued by Herakles, who shot the eagle and freed God. 

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