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Illustrated Guide to Mythology

Zeus


Zeus is the king of the gods, as well as the god of the sky, thunder, and justice. He is represented by his lightning bolt and eagles.

Zeus
Zeus

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Zeus was the youngest son of Cronos and Rhea. Cronos was the youngest of the Titans, and he was paranoid that his children would overthrow them, so he ate them. Rhea was so distraught that he would eat their next baby, Zeus, when he was born that she disguised a rock as a baby and hid Zeus with a shepherd family until he was grown. Cronos ate the rock.

When Zeus was old enough, he returned to Olympus where he and Rhea gave his father a potion that made him ill until he eventually threw his children up: Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Hestia, and Demeter. Zeus also freed his fathers’ uncles: the Hecatonchires (three giants) and the Cyclopes (three one-eyed men) from where Cronos had imprisoned them in Tartarus. Together, the children and their uncles waged war against their father and other Titans, eventually overthrowing them and imprisoning them in Tartarus. Zeus married Hera and after throwing dice with his two brothers Poseidon and Hades and winning the sky, became king of the gods, the sky, thunder, and justice.

Zeus and Hera had three children together: Ares, Eris, and Hephaestus; however, Zeus was not faithful to Hera. He also bore children with several other women. The most well-known of these children include: Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Dionysus, Persephone, Perseus, Helen of Troy, Hermes, Heracles, Minos, and the Muses.

Zeus is most remembered for his aid of Odysseus and his role in the Greeks’ siege of Troy in Homer’s epic poems The Odyssey and The Iliad.

Zeus Quick Reference

Parents

Cronos and Rhea


Power / Domain

  • sky
  • thunder
  • justice
  • king of the gods

Symbols / Attributes

  • lightning bolt
  • eagle
  • oak tree

Notable Myths

  • Zeus' birth and overthrow of Cronos
  • Punishment of Prometheus
  • His many love affairs that ended in the birth of many gods and heroes

Be sure to look at our lesson plans on the 12 Olympian Gods!
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