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The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Dec 28, See Article History. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Mythological views of providence, destiny, or fate are given precise shades of meaning….
But there was also a Cretan sky god, whose birth and death were celebrated in rituals and myths quite different from those of the incomers.
The incomers applied the name of Zeus to his Cretan counterpart. This story of crime and revolt, which is the central subject of the Theogony, is interrupted by many additional pedigrees of gods.
Elsewhere, in addition to mythical family relations, Hesiod presents new ones that are the product of his own speculation.
Jupiter , the chief ancient Roman and Italian god. Greek religion and mythology In Greek religion: The roots of Greek religion In Greek mythology: Religious myths In Greek mythology: Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.
Help us improve this article! Contact our editors with your feedback. In Bekker, August Immanuel. At the Internet Archive.
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Translated with an introduction by A. A Study in Ancient Religion , I: Zeus God of the Bright Sky , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.
Zeus overturned the table and struck the house of Lyceus with a thunderbolt; his patronage at the Lykaia can have been little more than a formula.
Cook , Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion , Vol. Westminster John Knox Press, Retrieved 7 May Retrieved 25 January The New York Times Company.
Burkert, Walter, Greek Religion , especially section III. A Study in Ancient Religion , 3 volume set , — Still the standard reference.
Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth: Evelyn-White , Cambridge, Massachusetts. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Mitford, William , The History of Greece , Rohde, Erwin , Psyche: Ancient Greek religion and mythology.
Dragons in Greek mythology Greek mythological creatures Greek mythological figures List of minor Greek mythological figures. Aphrodite Aphroditus Philotes Peitho.
Empusa Epiales Hypnos Pasithea Oneiroi. Angelia Arke Hermes Iris. Apate Dolos Hermes Momus. Circe Hecate Hermes Trismegistus Triple deity.
Acherusia Avernus Lake Lerna Lake. Charonium at Aornum Charonium at Acharaca. Bident Cap of invisibility. Agon Panathenaic Games Rhieia.
Greek mythology in popular culture. Ancient Greek deities by affiliation. Atlas Epimetheus Menoetius Prometheus. Aoide Arche Melete Mneme.
Bia Kratos Nike Zelos. Primordial deities Titan deities Aquatic deities Chthonic deities Mycenaean deities. Muses in popular culture Zeus father Mnemosyne mother.
God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, and justice. Thunderbolt , eagle , bull , and oak. Hera and various others.
This article contains special characters. Without proper rendering support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zeus.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Psychopomps Hermanubis Hermes Thanatos. He was also the father of innumerable mortal kings and heroes, the most famous of which were Perseus, Herakles Heracles , and Helene of Troy.
A much more detailed family tree for Zeus including all of his immortal lovers and children can be found here transliterated Greek version and here English names version.
When Zeus and his brothers distributed among themselves the government of the world by lot, Poseidon obtained the sea, Hades the lower world, and Zeus the heavens and the upper regions, but the earth became common to all Hom.
Later mythologers enumerate three Zeus in their genealogies two Arcadian ones and one Cretan; and tne first is said to be a son of Aether, the second of Coelus, and the third of Saturnus Cic.
This accounts for the fact that some writers use the name of the king of heaven who sends dew, rain, snow, thunder, and lightning for heaven itself in its physical sense.
According to the Homeric account Zeus, like the other Olympian gods, dwelt on Mount Olympus in Thessaly, which was believed to penetrate with its lofty summit into heaven itself Il.
He is called the father of gods and men i. He is the highest ruler, who with his counsel manages every thing i. For the same reason he protects the assembly of the people agoraios , the meetings of the council boulaios , and as he presides over the whole state, so also over every house and family herkeios, Od.
He also watched over the sanctity of the oath horkios , the law of hospitality xenios , and protected suppliants hikesios, Od. He avenged those who were wronged, and punished those who had committed a crime, for he watched the doings and sufferings of all men epopsios, Od.
He was further the original source of all prophetic power, front whom all prophetic signs and sounds proceeded panomphaios, Il.
Every thing good as well as bad comes from Zeus, and according to his own choice he assigns their good or evil lot to mortals Od. He is armed with thunder and lightning, and the shaking of his aegis produces storm and tempest Il.
Hera sometimes acts as an independent divinity, she is ambitious and rebels against her lord, but she is nevertheless inferior to him, and is punished for her opposition Il.
During the Trojan war, Zeus, at the request of Thetis, favoured the Trojans, until Agamemnon made good the wrong he had done to Achilles.
Zeus, no doubt, was originally a god of a portion of nature, whence the oak with its eatable fruit and the fertile doves were sacred to him at Dodona and in Arcadia hence also rain, storms, and the seasons were regarded as his work, and hence the Cretan stories of milk, honey, and cornucopia ; but in the Homeric poems, this primitive character of a personification of certain powers of nature is already effaced to some extent, and the god appears as a political and national divinity, as the king and father of men, as the founder and protector of all institutions hallowed by law, custom.
Cronos swallowed his children immediately after their birth, but when Rhea was near giving birth to Zeus, she applied to Uranus and Ge for advice as to how the child might be saved.
Before the hour of birth came, Uranus and Ge sent Rhea to Lyctos in Crete, requesting her to bring up her child there. Rhea accordingly concealed her infant in a cave of Mount Aegaeon, and gave to Cronos a stone wrapped up in cloth, which he swallowed in the belief that it was his son.
According to the common account, however, Zeus grew up in Crete. As Rhea is sometimes identified with Ge, Zeus is also called a son of Ge.
In the meantime Cronos by a cunning device of Ge or Metis was made to bring up the children he had swallowed, and first of all the stone, which was afterwards set up by Zeus at Delphi.
The young god now delivered the Cyclopes from the bonds with which they had been fettered by Cronos, and they in their gratitude provided him with thunder and lightning.
On the advice of Ge. Zeus also liberated the hundred-armed Gigantes, Briareos, Cottus, and Gyes, that they might assist him in his fight against the Titans.
The Titans were conquered and shut up in Tartarus Theog. Thereupon Tartarus and Ge begot Typhoeus, who began a fearful struggle with Zeus, but was conquered.
Zeus now obtained the dominion of the world, and chose Metis for his wife. When she was pregnant with Athena, he took the child out of her body and concealed it in his own, on the advice of Uranus and Ge, who told him that thereby he would retain the supremacy of the world.
For Metis had given birth to a son, this son so fate had ordained it would have acquired the sovereignty. After this Zeus, by his second wife Themis.
Athena was born out of the head of Zeus; while Hera, on the other hand, gave birth to Hephaestus without the co-operation of Zeus. These twelve Olympian gods, who in some places were worshipped as a body, as at Athens Thueyd.
In surveying the different local traditions about Zeus, it would seem that originally there were several, at least three, divinities which in their respective countries were supreme, but which in the course of time became united in the minds of tile people into one great national divinity.
He was brought up there by the nymphs Theisoa, Neda, and Hagno; the first of these gave her name to an Arcadian town, the second to a river, and the third to a well.
Lycaon, a son of Pelasgus, who built the first and most ancient town of Lycosura, called Zeus Lycaeus, and erected a temple and instituted the festival of the Lyceia in honour of him; he further offered to him bloody sacrifices, and among others his own son, in consequence of which he was metamorphosed into a wolf lukos; Paus.
No one was allowed to enter the sanctuary of Zeus Lycaeus on Mount Lycaeon, and there was a belief that, if any one entered it, he died within twelve months after, and that in it neither human beings nor animals cast a shadow.
Those who entered it intentionally were stoned to death, unless they escaped by flight; and those who had got in by accident were sent to Eleutherae.
On the highest summit of Lycaeon, there was an altar of Zeus, in front of which, towards the east, there were two pillars bearing golden eagles.
The sacrifices offered there were kept secret. At Dodona Zeus was mainly a prophetic god, and the oak tree was sacred to him ; but there too he was said to have been reared by if the Dodonaean nymphs Hyades; Schol.
Respecting the Dodonaean oracle of Zeus, see Dict. We have already given the account of him which is contained in the Theogony of Hesiod.Darum verfolgte Zeus Kratos ohne Ende. Über das Schicksal von Kronos gibt es viele verschiedene Versionen. Als König der Götter ist er nahezu unbesiegbar. Vielleicht sogar mit Freispielen obendrauf. Dieser wurde von Hephaistos geschmiedet und wird meist als schuppen- und schlangenbewehrter Halskragen dargestellt. Schauen wir also mal an, was Zeus, der Gott des Donners, sonst noch im Petto hat für uns. Hebe , Ilithyia , Arge. Auch ohne Waffen ist er ein ernstzunehmender Gegner. Durch die Nutzung dieser Website erklären Sie sich mit den Nutzungsbedingungen und der Datenschutzrichtlinie einverstanden. Siehe auch Höhle von Psychro , Idäische Grotte. Kronos gibt sie anstatt Zeus einen in eine Windel gewickelten Stein, den er verschlingt. Näheres unter Ammen des Zeus. In anderen Projekten Commons. Zeus verurteilte dann Deimos mit einer nie aufhörenden Folter.
He was respected as an allfather who was chief of the gods  and assigned the others to their roles: In addition to his Indo-European inheritance , the classical "cloud-gatherer" Greek: Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: It is inflected as follows: Plato , in his Cratylus , gives a folk etymology of Zeus meaning "cause of life always to all things," because of puns between alternate titles of Zeus Zen and Dia with the Greek words for life and "because of.
Cronus sired several children by Rhea: Hestia , Demeter , Hera , Hades , and Poseidon , but swallowed them all as soon as they were born, since he had learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overthrown by his son as he had previously overthrown Uranus, his own father, an oracle that Rhea heard and wished to avert.
When Zeus was about to be born, Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save him, so that Cronus would get his retribution for his acts against Uranus and his own children.
Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handing Cronus a rock wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed. After reaching manhood, Zeus forced Cronus to disgorge first the stone which was set down at Pytho under the glens of Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, the Omphalos then his siblings in reverse order of swallowing.
Then Zeus released the brothers of Cronus, the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes , from their dungeon in Tartarus , killing their guard, Campe. As a token of their appreciation, the Cyclopes gave him thunder and the thunderbolt, or lightning , which had previously been hidden by Gaia.
Together, Zeus, his brothers and sisters, Hecatonchires and Cyclopes overthrew Cronus and the other Titans, in the combat called the Titanomachy.
The defeated Titans were then cast into a shadowy underworld region known as Tartarus. Atlas , one of the titans who fought against Zeus, was punished by having to hold up the sky.
After the battle with the Titans, Zeus shared the world with his elder brothers, Poseidon and Hades , by drawing lots: Zeus got the sky and air, Poseidon the waters, and Hades the world of the dead the underworld.
The ancient Earth, Gaia , could not be claimed; she was left to all three, each according to their capabilities, which explains why Poseidon was the "earth-shaker" the god of earthquakes and Hades claimed the humans who died see also Penthus.
Gaia resented the way Zeus had treated the Titans, because they were her children. He vanquished Typhon and trapped him under Mount Etna , but left Echidna and her children alive.
When Cronus realized that he wanted power for the rest of time he started to eat his children, Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. When Rhea realized what was going on, she quickly saved their youngest child, Zeus.
Having escaped, Zeus was spared because of the swiftness of Rhea tricking Cronus into thinking she consumed Zeus. She wrapped a stone in a blanket, and Cronus swallowed it thinking he was swallowing his last child.
When Zeus was atop Mount Olympus he grew upset with mankind and the sacrifices they were performing on one another.
Furiously, he decided it would be smart to wipe out mankind with a gigantic flood using the help of his brother Poseidon , King of the Seas.
Killing every human except Deucalion and Pyrrha , Zeus flooded the entire planet but then realized he then had to restore society with new people.
After clearing all the water, he had Deucalion and Pyrrah create humans to repopulate the earth using stones that became humans.
These stones represented the "hardness" of mankind and the man life. This story has been told different ways and in different time periods between Ancient Greek Mythology and The Bible, although the base of the story remains true.
Throughout history Zeus has used violence to get his way, or even terrorize humans. As god of the sky he has the power to hurl lightning bolts as his weapon of choice.
Since lightning is quite powerful and sometimes deadly, it is a bold sign when lightning strikes because it is known that Zeus most likely threw the bolt.
As God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, justice, Zeus controlled ancient Greece and all of the mortals and immortals living there.
Notable Scenes that include Zeus  . Zeus was brother and consort of Hera. Some also include Eileithyia , Eris , Enyo and Angelos as their daughters.
In the section of the Iliad known to scholars as the Deception of Zeus , the two of them are described as having begun their sexual relationship without their parents knowing about it.
Among mortals were Semele , Io , Europa and Leda for more details, see below and with the young Ganymede although he was mortal Zeus granted him eternal youth and immortality.
For a time, a nymph named Echo had the job of distracting Hera from his affairs by talking incessantly, and when Hera discovered the deception, she cursed Echo to repeat the words of others.
Zeus played a dominant role, presiding over the Greek Olympian pantheon. He fathered many of the heroes and was featured in many of their local cults.
Though the Homeric "cloud collector" was the god of the sky and thunder like his Near-Eastern counterparts, he was also the supreme cultural artifact; in some senses, he was the embodiment of Greek religious beliefs and the archetypal Greek deity.
Aside from local epithets that simply designated the deity as doing something random at some particular place, the epithets or titles applied to Zeus emphasized different aspects of his wide-ranging authority:.
The major center where all Greeks converged to pay honor to their chief god was Olympia. Their quadrennial festival featured the famous Games.
Outside of the major inter- polis sanctuaries, there were no modes of worshipping Zeus precisely shared across the Greek world.
Most of the titles listed below, for instance, could be found at any number of Greek temples from Asia Minor to Sicily. Certain modes of ritual were held in common as well: With one exception, Greeks were unanimous in recognizing the birthplace of Zeus as Crete.
Minoan culture contributed many essentials of ancient Greek religion: The local child of the Great Mother, "a small and inferior deity who took the roles of son and consort",  whose Minoan name the Greeks Hellenized as Velchanos, was in time assumed as an epithet by Zeus, as transpired at many other sites, and he came to be venerated in Crete as Zeus Velchanos "boy-Zeus" , often simply the Kouros.
In the Hellenistic period a small sanctuary dedicated to Zeus Velchanos was founded at the Hagia Triada site of a long-ruined Minoan palace.
Broadly contemporary coins from Phaistos show the form under which he was worshiped: The stories of Minos and Epimenides suggest that these caves were once used for incubatory divination by kings and priests.
On Crete, Zeus was represented in art as a long-haired youth rather than a mature adult and hymned as ho megas kouros , "the great youth".
The myth of the death of Cretan Zeus, localised in numerous mountain sites though only mentioned in a comparatively late source, Callimachus ,  together with the assertion of Antoninus Liberalis that a fire shone forth annually from the birth-cave the infant shared with a mythic swarm of bees , suggests that Velchanos had been an annual vegetative spirit.
The works of Euhemerus himself have not survived, but Christian patristic writers took up the suggestion. The epithet Zeus Lykaios "wolf-Zeus" is assumed by Zeus only in connection with the archaic festival of the Lykaia on the slopes of Mount Lykaion "Wolf Mountain" , the tallest peak in rustic Arcadia ; Zeus had only a formal connection  with the rituals and myths of this primitive rite of passage with an ancient threat of cannibalism and the possibility of a werewolf transformation for the ephebes who were the participants.
Whoever ate the human flesh was said to turn into a wolf, and could only regain human form if he did not eat again of human flesh until the next nine-year cycle had ended.
There were games associated with the Lykaia, removed in the fourth century to the first urbanization of Arcadia, Megalopolis ; there the major temple was dedicated to Zeus Lykaios.
Although etymology indicates that Zeus was originally a sky god, many Greek cities honored a local Zeus who lived underground.
Athenians and Sicilians honored Zeus Meilichios "kindly" or "honeyed" while other cities had Zeus Chthonios "earthy" , Zeus Katachthonios "under-the-earth" and Zeus Plousios "wealth-bringing".
These deities might be represented as snakes or in human form in visual art, or, for emphasis as both together in one image.
They also received offerings of black animal victims sacrificed into sunken pits, as did chthonic deities like Persephone and Demeter , and also the heroes at their tombs.
Olympian gods, by contrast, usually received white victims sacrificed upon raised altars. In some cases, cities were not entirely sure whether the daimon to whom they sacrificed was a hero or an underground Zeus.
Thus the shrine at Lebadaea in Boeotia might belong to the hero Trophonius or to Zeus Trephonius "the nurturing" , depending on whether you believe Pausanias , or Strabo.
Ancient Molossian kings sacrificed to Zeus Areius. Strabo mention that at Tralles there was the Zeus Larisaeus. In addition to the Panhellenic titles and conceptions listed above, local cults maintained their own idiosyncratic ideas about the king of gods and men.
With the epithet Zeus Aetnaeus he was worshiped on Mount Aetna , where there was a statue of him, and a local festival called the Aetnaea in his honor.
Although most oracle sites were usually dedicated to Apollo , the heroes, or various goddesses like Themis , a few oracular sites were dedicated to Zeus.
The cult of Zeus at Dodona in Epirus , where there is evidence of religious activity from the second millennium BC onward, centered on a sacred oak.
When the Odyssey was composed circa BC , divination was done there by barefoot priests called Selloi , who lay on the ground and observed the rustling of the leaves and branches.
Her status as a titaness suggests to some that she may have been a more powerful pre-Hellenic deity, and perhaps the original occupant of the oracle.
Herodotus mentions consultations with Zeus Ammon in his account of the Persian War. Zeus Ammon was especially favored at Sparta , where a temple to him existed by the time of the Peloponnesian War.
After Alexander made a trek into the desert to consult the oracle at Siwa, the figure arose in the Hellenistic imagination of a Libyan Sibyl.
Zeus was identified with the Roman god Jupiter and associated in the syncretic classical imagination see interpretatio graeca with various other deities, such as the Egyptian Ammon and the Etruscan Tinia.
He, along with Dionysus , absorbed the role of the chief Phrygian god Sabazios in the syncretic deity known in Rome as Sabazius. The Cretan Zeus Tallaios had solar elements to his cult.
Another war followed — the Gigantomachy — but the Olympians prevailed once again. This enraged Gaia even more, so she gave birth to Typhoeus , a giant fire-blowing serpentine monster, so mighty that even Zeus needed some help from Hermes and Pan to defeat him after a cataclysmic battle.
As a young ruler, Zeus was apparently too prideful and petulant. So, Hera , Poseidon and Apollo — and, maybe, everyone else but Hestia — decided to teach him a lesson.
While he was sleeping, they stole his thunderbolt and bound him with hundred-knotted cords. Zeus was powerless, but the Nereid Thetis acted quickly and called Briareus, the Hecatoncheir, who used his hundred arms to untie him in a second.
Zeus brutally punished the three leaders of the rebellion especially Hera , and they swore to never challenge him again. Prometheus , however, did — first by stealing the divine fire and giving it to the mortals , and then by keeping away from Zeus the identity of a mortal woman whose future son was prophesized to become greater than his father.
Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock and tormented him for ages, but Prometheus stubbornly refused to reveal to him the secret.
The son born out of this marriage became a celebrated Greek hero - in fact, possibly the greatest among them all: According to Hesiod, Zeus had the very same problem with his first wife, Metis.
Warned that their child may be a threat to him, Zeus decided to swallow his pregnant wife. Nevertheless, the child, fully grown and armored, was eventually born — but from the forehead of Zeus.
It was none other than Athena , the goddess of wisdom herself. Afterward, Zeus married Themis , who bore him the Horae and the Fates. His third wife was Eurynome , who brought the Charites to the world.
His sister Demeter followed; she gave birth to Persephone. With his fifth wife, Mnemosyne , Zeus begot the Muses.
Knowing her sympathy for animals, he wooed her as a virgin by transforming himself into a distressed little cuckoo, which Hera took in her arms to warm it.
At that moment, Zeus turned back into himself and slept with her. Ashamed, Hera agreed to marry him. However, theirs would prove to be a bittersweet marriage, because Zeus , to say the least, was a promiscuous god.
Bearing the shape of many different animals, he had numerous love affairs with many nymphs and mortals , which made Hera jealous; some say that, when she scolded him for this, disguised as a serpent, he even slept with his mother, Rhea.
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