I kind of just realized that in all the crazy that’s been going on I never wrote up the promised post on Zeus. That would be my bad. But today I am going to rectify the oversight. In case you missed the previous posts (which, considering how sporadic they have been, wouldn’t be that surprising) I have already talked about the Titans, Hades, and Poseidon. Now, without further delay, on to Zeus!
After the overthrow of the Titans, Zeus and his brothers drew lots to determine what realms they would each have dominion over and Zeus was given the sky. He ruled with his lightening bolt and came to be the “Father of Gods and man.” Just like his brothers, Zeus was a bit temperamental, so naturally, most of the more fun and interesting stories are not exactly the most flattering.
Zeus was kind of full of himself. He was powerful and he knew it, so anytime someone attempted to defy him he went a little berserk. One of the most famous examples is with Prometheus. Prometheus was a Titan god and was given the task of forming man from clay. As their creator, he wanted to make things better for mankind and this desire often brought him in conflict with Zeus. On one occasion, Prometheus had the audacity to sneak away the best portion of food from a feast the gods were having and give to mankind – gods gotta eat too, you know.
But the act that sent Zeus over the edge occurred when Zeus decided to withhold fire from mankind. Prometheus went and stole that fire and sneaked it down to man within a fennel stalk. Zeus *punished* mankind by creating Pandora, the first woman, who was supposed to bring all kinds of misfortune upon man. He then punished Prometheus by tying him to a stake for an eternity of torture at the beak of an eagle. I don’t know about you, but the idea of eternity with an eagle eating my regenerating organs does not sound like much fun.
Zeus’ behavior did not always go over well, even with the gods. Perhaps the reason he thought Pandora was such a great punishment was because of all the trouble a certain female caused him. I’m talking, of course, about his wife, Hera. She caused no end of trouble for Zeus in her jealous efforts to end his affairs or harm the children they created, and at one point she grew so frustrated with Zeus and his rule that she organized the gods against him. They managed to drug Zeus and tie him up with rope, but while they argued about what to do next Zeus was released by a god still sympathetic to his side. As you can imagine, Zeus was kind of pissed off and ended up hanging Hera up in the sky.
But let’s be honest here, it’s not exactly like Zeus showed an overwhelming respect towards women. Like his brother Poseidon, Zeus had quite the lusty appetite. He coupled with pretty much whomever he wanted to – god and mortal alike – whether or not they consented. In several instances he even changed his form. He took women at various times as a swan, a bull, and a shower of gold (yes, you read that correctly). As would be expected, these many unions of the flesh (or whatever it is you call a shower of gold) produced many, many children. Zeus fathered gods, demi-gods, and mortals. He is the father of the fates, the muses, and the graces. It’s no wonder he is known as the “Father of Gods and man.”
In spite of all his crazy, Zeus was a god that the people worshiped and looked to for guidance. He was the god above all the other gods. There are countless stories that could be told about Zeus and the antics he got up to – it would be impossible to cover them all in this little blog. I hope you enjoyed reading about those stories that I was able to share. I have had a lot of fun writing about these moody and volatile Greek gods, and I am sure that one day I will revisit the topic.
What do you think about Zeus? What are your favorite stories involving him? Let me know in the comments.