In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus (Ancient Greek: Ζεύς, Zeús; Modern Greek: Δίας, Días) is the "Father of Gods and men" (πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε, patḕr andrōn te theōn te) who rules the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father rules the family. He is the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and Etruscan counterpart is Tinia. His Hindu equivalent is Indra.
Zeus is the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. In most traditions he is married to Hera, although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort is Dione: according to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione. He is known for his erotic escapades. These resulted in many godly and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne); by Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.
As Walter Burkert points out in his book, Greek Religion, "Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, and all the gods rise in his presence." For the Greeks, he was the King of the Gods, who oversaw the universe. As Pausanias observed, "That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men". In Hesiod's Theogony Zeus assigns the various gods their roles. In the Homeric Hymns he is referred to as the chieftain of the gods.
His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical "cloud-gatherer" also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the Ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.
Read more about Zeus: Name, Roles and Epithets, Zeus and Foreign Gods, Zeus in Philosophy, In Modern Culture, Miscellany On Zeus, Genealogy of The Olympians in Greek Mythology, Argive Genealogy in Greek Mythology
Famous quotes containing the word zeus:
“And Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men too, when they, at their birth, have grey hair on their temples.”
—Hesiod (c. 8th century B.C.)
“Zeus is the air, Zeus the earth, Zeus all things and what transcends them all.”
—Aeschylus (525456 B.C.)
“The squabbles of philandering Zeus and shrewish Hera are the Greeks comment on married life.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)