Zeus was known throughout the ancient world as the father of the gods and the high king of Mount Olympus. Zeus was credited with many titles.
In conjunction with being the sovereign ruler over the Greek pantheon, he also was known as the god of the sky, thunder, law, order and justice.
Mortals trembled at the sounds of an approaching thunderstorm, for they believed this to be a sure sign of the god’s anger.
Zeus was known to readily strike down those who dared to provoke him by engaging the power of his mighty thunderbolts.
He is always portrayed as a robustly built man with long curly hair and a full beard which extended a good length down below his chin. He was fair and just in his decisions, although his rulings could sometimes be somewhat erratic and unpredictable.
When he was not being challenged or defamed, Zeus was known to be jovial and fun loving. According to Hesiod the god loved to laugh out loud and often filled the glorious halls of Mount Olympus with sounds of mirth and merriment.
Below please find a collection of stories which feature the many sides of Zeus’ capricious personality. I hope that you find them enjoyable.
During the time when the titan Cronus reigned as king, it was prophesied to him that like his father Uranus, he too would meet his demise at the hands of one of his children. In order to prevent the prophecy from coming true, Cronus took to swallowing each child as soon as it was born.
Growing tired of this, his heartbroken wife Rhea decided to outsmart her husband. After giving birth to their youngest son Zeus, the distraught mother hid the baby safely away on the island of Crete.
She then placed a child-sized stone in a tightly wrapped blanket and gave it to Cronus to swallow. Baby Zeus was then secretly whisked away to Mount Ida and placed into the care of the goat nymph Amalthea.
In order to drown out his cries, Amalthea engaged the help of a tribe of crested dancers known as the Cretan Curetes.
These five brothers danced wildly about the cave’s entrance, loudly stamping their feet and clashing together their heavy metal spears.
Because Cronus ruled supreme over the entire earth, sea and sky, the Curetes cleverly suspended Zeus’ cradle between the three, making it impossible for the titan to detect his presence.
Zeus quickly grew to manhood, and when he was fit and strong the young god bid Amalthea farewell and set out to conquer his father. In order to help Zeus achieve his goal, his aunt Metis prepared a magical potion and gave it to Cronus to drink.
The concoction was so bitter tasting that the titan instantly vomited up all of the children that were being held inside of his stomach; Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia. The newly freed siblings all joined forces with their brother Zeus, and together put an end to Cronus’ reign of tyranny.
It is said that after the death of Amalthea, Zeus honored her by placing her among the stars as the constellation Capra. According to some accounts he used her hide as a protective covering for his aegis.
There is another interesting story surrounding the goat nymph Amalthea. It seems that one day when Zeus was just a toddler, he accidently broke off one of his foster mother’s horns.
The horn was gifted with the ability to provide blessings of never ending sustenance. Known to us today as the cornucopia, its familiar image is commonly used to illustrate feelings of fruitfulness and abundance.
The Loves of Zeus
Despite the fact that Zeus was betrothed to his twin sister Hera, he often found himself involved in numerous love affairs which encompassed the affections of both divine goddesses and mortal women.
In order to disguise his extramarital activities, the impassioned god frequently took to transforming himself and his lovers into various forms and shapes. But in spite of all of his precautions, Hera usually proved to be one step ahead of her husband.
In the end, Zeus usually managed to get away unscathed, leaving his female companions to contend with the wrath of his jealous wife. Below are just a few examples of his most famous liaisons.