Who was Zeus?

old sculpture of man with naked torso

Zeus is the king of the gods in Greek mythology

Zeus is the king of the gods in Greek mythology. He’s also the father of all the gods and goddesses, as well as many mortals!

As you might guess, he’s one of the most important figures in Greek mythology—and with good reason. In addition to being its supreme ruler and commander-in-chief (or “Zeus”), he is also:

  • The god of sky and thunder;
  • The god of justice and law;
  • The god of heavens;

He’s married to Hera, but he also has affairs

Zeus is married to Hera, and they have many children together. However, Zeus also has many affairs with other gods (and even mortals). The children that he has with his lovers are called the Olympians. These include Ares (god of war), Aphrodite (goddess of love and beauty), Apollo (god of light and music), Artemis (huntress goddess), Athena (warrior goddess), Demeter (goddess of grain and harvest), Dionysus/”Bacchus” (“the divine little boy”), Poseidon (“lord of the sea”), Hades (“lord of the dead”), Hephaestus (“master craftsman”), Hestia (“goddess of hearth and home”), Hermes (“messenger god”), and Persephone (“queen of Springtime”).

Newsela - Myths and Legends: Zeus, supreme god of the ancient Greeks

His weapon is a thunderbolt

You’ve probably seen Zeus holding his thunderbolt in art. This weapon isn’t just a metaphor or symbol; it’s real. A thunderbolt is a weapon that was often used by the gods of ancient Greece to punish their enemies and heroes, as well as mortals who stood up against them.

Zeus is said to have thrown the first lightning bolt at his father, Cronus, who had swallowed all of his other children after they were born so that he could prevent them from overthrowing him like he had done to their father Ouranos (also known as Uranus). Zeus also used this weapon when he killed Prometheus for stealing fire from Mount Olympus and giving it to humans.

He is the leader of all of the other gods

Zeus is the leader of all of the other gods. He is also their ruler and father. Zeus rules over Mount Olympus, which is where he lives with his wife Hera, his sister Poseidon, and other family members. As leader of the gods, Zeus has ultimate authority over everything that happens on earth.

Zeus’ father was Cronus who was said to be a god in charge of time itself. His mother was Rhea who was also known as Cybele or Ops (or Ceres). Both of these parents were among the first generation of gods called Titans by some people while others called them Olympians due to their residence at Mount Olympus.

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