When we talk about religion in antiquity, very few gods came close to Zeus in terms of popularity and worship. Zeus was the king of the gods and ruler of Mount Olympus; he was god of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, and justice. He was first worshiped by the Greeks, then by the Romans (who referred to him as Jupiter), and then by the peoples of many other parts of the world. As the father of the gods, Zeus ensured that each deity performed their individual duty, punished their misdeeds, settled their disputes, and acted as their all-knowing counselor and mighty friend.
Zeus also loved to frequently interfere in human lives. He often took a paternal interest in the actions and well-being of mortals. He watched over them with tender solicitude, rewarding truth, charity, and fairness, while severely punishing perjury and cruelty. Even though he’s mostly remembered for his wild love affairs with numerous mortal women, Zeus was also the protector of the poorest and demanded that the wealthy inhabitants of the earth be attentive to the needs of their less fortunate fellow citizens. Take a look at these 25 Fascinating Facts About Zeus.
Zeus was the child of Kronos and Rhea, the youngest of his siblings, though sometimes he is reckoned the oldest, as the others required disgorging from Kronos’s stomach.
Zeus avoided being swallowed by his father, who had been told one of his children would overthrow him, when Rhea hid him in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete and sought help from Gaia.
According to another legend, Zeus was raised by a goat named Amalthea, while a company of soldiers danced, shouted, and clashed their spears against their shields every night so that Kronos would not hear the baby’s cries.
Zeus vanquished his father and released his siblings, who were still living in Kronos’s stomach.
Thanks to this action and after the revolt against his father, Zeus became the ruler of heaven and earth. Along with Hades (god of the underworld) and Poseidon (god of the sea), Zeus shared the rule of the world and became king of Olympus.
Even though he’s known for causing thunder and lightning, Zeus was once a rain god. One way or another, he was always associated with the weather.
Maybe that explains why the legendary Greek poet Homer believed heaven was located on the summit of Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece and the logical home for a weather god.
Physically, Zeus is often described or depicted in art as a strong, tall, muscular man, with a black or gray beard and long curly hair.
His wife, Hera, was also his sister. However, Zeus was not very faithful to her and he’s widely known for his many erotic escapades. These relationships resulted in many godly and heroic offspring, including Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, Perseus, Minos, the Muses, and the great Heracles.
Zeus fathered Heracles, the most famous mythical hero of all time, by deception. He disguised himself as Amphitryon, Alcmene’s husband, in order to have sex with her.
Very few are aware that before Zeus married Hera, he had already been married twice. After the victorious war against his father, Zeus married Metis, the Titaness of wisdom and daughter of Okeanos and Tethys. After his marriage to Metis, Zeus married Themis, the Titaness of justice. With her he had the Moirae (the Fates), the Horae (the Hours), and Astraea.
If you enjoyed this list, you may also enjoy these 25 Fascinating Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Greek Gods.