Zeus (/zjuːs/;Greek: Ζεύς, Zeús [zdeǔ̯s]) is the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who rules as king of the gods of Mount Olympus. His name is cognate with the first element of his Roman equivalent Jupiter. His mythologies and powers are similar, though not identical, to those of Indo-European deities such as Jupiter, Perkūnas, Perun, Indra and Thor.
Zeus is the child of Cronus and Rhea, the youngest of his siblings to be born, though sometimes reckoned the eldest as the others required disgorging from Cronus's stomach. In most traditions, he is married to Hera, by whom he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe, and Hephaestus. At the oracle of Dodona, his consort was said to be Dione, by whom the Iliad states that he fathered Aphrodite. Zeus was also infamous for his erotic escapades. These resulted in many divine and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses.
He was respected as an allfather who was chief of the gods and assigned the others to their roles: "Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, and all the gods rise in his presence." He was equated with many foreign weather gods, permitting Pausanias to observe "That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men". Zeus' symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical "cloud-gatherer" (Greek: Νεφεληγερέτα, Nephelēgereta) 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.
God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, and justice
|Symbol||Thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak|
|Consort||Hera and various others|
|Children||Aeacus, Agdistis, Angelos, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Dionysus, Eileithyia, Enyo, Epaphus Eris, Ersa, Hebe, Helen of Troy, Hephaestus, Heracles, Hermes, Lacedaemon Minos, Pandia, Persephone, Perseus, Rhadamanthus, the Graces, the Horae, the Litae, the Muses, the Moirai|
|Parents||Cronus and Rhea|
|Siblings||Hestia, Hades, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Chiron|
|Norse equivalent||Thor or Odin|
The god's name in the nominative is Ζεύς (Zeús). It is inflected as follows: vocative: Ζεῦ (Zeû); accusative: Δία (Día); genitive: Διός (Diós); dative: Διί (Dií). Diogenes Laërtius quotes Pherecydes of Syros as spelling the name, Ζάς.
Zeus is the Greek continuation of *Di̯ēus, the name of the Proto-Indo-European god of the daytime sky, also called *Dyeus ph2tēr ("Sky Father"). The god is known under this name in the Rigveda (Vedic Sanskrit Dyaus/Dyaus Pita), Latin (compare Jupiter, from Iuppiter, deriving from the Proto-Indo-European vocative *dyeu-ph2tēr), deriving from the root *dyeu- ("to shine", and in its many derivatives, "sky, heaven, god"). Zeus is the only deity in the Olympic pantheon whose name has such a transparent Indo-European etymology.
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." This etymology, along with Plato's entire method of deriving etymologies, is not supported by modern scholarship.
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.
Varying versions of the story exist:
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. In some versions, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the babies, or Zeus cut Cronus's stomach open. 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. Soon after taking the throne as king of the gods, Zeus had to fight some of Gaia's other children, the monsters Typhon and Echidna. He vanquished Typhon and trapped him under Mount Etna, but left Echidna and her children alive.
When Zeus was atop Mount Olympus he was appalled by human sacrifice and other signs of human decadence. He decided to wipe out mankind and flooded the world with the help of his brother Poseidon. After the flood, only Deucalion and Pyrrha remained. This flood narrative is a common motif in mythology.
Throughout history Zeus has been depicted as using violence to get his way and terrorize humans. As god of the sky he has the power to hurl lightning bolts as a weapon. 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.
The Iliad is a poem by Homer about the Trojan war and the battle over the City of Troy. As God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, justice, Zeus controlled ancient Greece and all of the mortals and immortals living there. The Iliad covers the Trojan War, in which Zeus plays a major part.
Zeus was brother and consort of Hera. By Hera, Zeus sired Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus, though some accounts say that Hera produced these offspring alone. 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. The conquests of Zeus among nymphs and the mythic mortal progenitors of Hellenic dynasties are famous. Olympian mythography even credits him with unions with Leto, Demeter, Metis, Themis, Eurynome and Mnemosyne. Other relationships with immortals included Dione and Maia. 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).
Many myths render Hera as jealous of his amorous conquests and a consistent enemy of Zeus's mistresses and their children by him. 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.
|Aegina||an eagle or a flame of fire|
|Asopis||a flame of fire|
|Danae||shower of gold|
|Leda||a swan and a star|
|Divine Lovers||Offspring||Divine Lovers||Offspring||Mortal Consort||Offspring|
|Aega or||• Aegipan||Themis||• Astraea||Alcmene||• Heracles|
|Aix or||• Nemesis||Anaxithea||• Olenus|
|Boetis||• Nymphs of Eridanos||Calyce||• Aethlius or|
|Ananke||• Moirai / Fates1||• Moirai / Fates1||• Endymion|
|1. Atropos||1. Atropos||Cassiopeia||• Anchinos|
|2. Clotho||2. Clotho||• Atymnius|
|3. Lachesis||3. Lachesis||Chaldene||• Milye|
|Aphrodite||• Tyche6 (possibly)||• Horae||• Solymus|
|Asteria||• Hecate||First Generation:||Chonia||• Lacon|
|• Heracles||1. Auxo||Chloris||• Mopsus|
|Asterope||• Acragas||2. Carpo||Cotonia||• Polymedes|
|Calliope||• Corybantes||3. Thallo||Danaë||• Perseus|
|Coryphe||• Coria (Athene)||Second Generation:||Dia||• Pirithous|
|Demeter||• Persephone||1. Dike||Elara or||• Tityos|
|• Dionysus||2. Eirene||Larissa|
|Dione||3. Eunomia||Europa||• Minos|
|• Aphrodite||Third Generation:||• Rhadamanthus|
|Eos||• Carae||1. Euporie||• Sarpedon|
|Eris||• Limos||2. Orthosie||• Alagonia|
|Euanthe or||• Charites/ Graces2||3. Pherusa||• Carnus|
|Eurydome or||1. Aglaea||• Athena||Euryodeia||• Arcesius|
|Eurymedusa or||2. Euphrosyne||Unknown mother||• Aletheia||Helen||• Musaeus|
|Eurynome||3. Thalia||Unknown mother||• Ate||Hermippe||• Orchomenus|
|• Asopus||Unknown mother||• Nysean ||Hippodamia||• Olenus|
|Europa||• Dodon||Unknown mother||• Caerus||Hippodamia||no known offspring|
|Gaia||• Agdistis||Unknown mother||• Eubuleus||Imandra||no known offspring|
|• Manes||Unknown mother||• Litae||Iodame||• Thebe|
|• Cyprian Centaurs||Unknown mother||• Nymphs||• Deucalion|
|Hera||• Angelos||Unknown mother||• Phasis||Isonoe (Isione)||• Orchomenus|
|• Ares3||Semi-divine Lovers||Offspring||Lamia||• Achilleus (Acheilus)|
|• Arge||Aegina||• Aeacus||Lamia||• Libyan Sibyl (Herophile)|
|• Eileithyia||• Damocrateia||Laodamia or||• Sarpedon|
|• Eleutheria||Antiope||• Amphion||Hippodamia|
|• Enyo||• Zethus||Leanida||• Coron|
|• Eris||Borysthenis||• Targitaus||Leda||• Helen of Troy5|
|• Hebe3||Callisto||• Arcas||• Pollux|
|• Hephaestus3||Callirrhoe||no known offspring||Libya||• Belus|
|• Curetes||Carme||• Britomartis||Lysithea||• Helenus|
|Hybris||• Pan||Chalcea||• Olympus||Lysithoe||• Heracles|
|Leto||• Apollo||Charidia||• Alchanus||Manthea||• Arctos|
|• Artemis||Chrysogenia||• Thissaeus||Maera||• Locrus|
|Maia||• Hermes||Electra||• Dardanus||Megaclite|
|Metis||• Athena4||• Emathion||• Thebe|
|Mnemosyne||• Muses (Original three)||• Iasion or Eetion||Niobe||• Argus|
|1. Aoide||• Harmonia||• Pelasgus|
|2. Melete||Eurymedousa||• Myrmidon||Pandora||• Graecus|
|3. Mneme||Eurynome||• Ogygias||• Latinus|
|• Muses (Later nine)||Himalia||• Cronius||• Melera|
|1. Calliope||• Spartaios||• Pandorus|
|2. Clio||• Cytus||Phthia||• Achaeus|
|3. Euterpe||Hora||• Colaxes||Protogeneia||• Aethlius|
|4. Erato||Idaea||• Asterion||• Aetolus|
|5. Melpomene||• Cres||• Dorus|
|6. Polyhymnia||Io||• Epaphus||• Opus|
|7. Terpsichore||• Keroessa||Pyrrha||• Hellen or|
|8. Thalia||Lardane||• Sarpedon||• Helmetheus|
|9. Urania||• Argus||Semele||• Dionysus|
|Nemesis||• Helen of Troy||Nymphe||• Saon||Thaicrucia||• Nympheus|
|Persephone||• Melinoe||Othreis||• Meliteus||Thebe||• Aegyptus|
|• Zagreus||Phoenissa||• Endymion||• Heracles|
|Selene||• Dionysus||Plouto||• Tantalus||Thyia||• Magnes|
|• Ersa||Podarge||• Balius||• Makednos|
|• Nemea||• Xanthus||Unknown mother||• Calabrus|
|• Nemean Lion||Salamis||• Saracon||• Geraestus|
|• Pandia||Taygete||• Lacedaemon||• Taenarus|
|Styx||• Persephone||Themisto||• Archas||Unknown mother||• Corinthus|
|Thalassa||• Aphrodite||Torrhebia||• Carius||Unknown mother||• Crinacus|
|Thalia||• Palici||Nymph African||• Iarbas||No mother||• Orion|
|Nymph Sithnid||• Megarus|
2The Charites/Graces were usually considered the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome but they were also said to be daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite or of Helios and the naiad Aegle.
3Some accounts say that Ares, Hebe, and Hephaestus were born parthenogenetically.
4According to one version, Athena is said to be born parthenogenetically.
5Helen was either the daughter of Leda or Nemesis.
6Tyche is usually considered a daughter of Aphrodite and Hermes.
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:
Additional names and epithets for Zeus are also:
The major center where all Greeks converged to pay honor to their chief god was Olympia. Their quadrennial festival featured the famous Games. There was also an altar to Zeus made not of stone, but of ash, from the accumulated remains of many centuries' worth of animals sacrificed there.
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: sacrificing a white animal over a raised altar, for instance.
With one exception, Greeks were unanimous in recognizing the birthplace of Zeus as Crete. Minoan culture contributed many essentials of ancient Greek religion: "by a hundred channels the old civilization emptied itself into the new", Will Durant observed, and Cretan Zeus retained his youthful Minoan features. 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 Crete, Zeus was worshipped at a number of caves at Knossos, Ida and Palaikastro. 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: a youth sits among the branches of a tree, with a cockerel on his knees. On other Cretan coins Velchanos is represented as an eagle and in association with a goddess celebrating a mystic marriage. Inscriptions at Gortyn and Lyttos record a Velchania festival, showing that Velchanios was still widely venerated in Hellenistic Crete.
The stories of Minos and Epimenides suggest that these caves were once used for incubatory divination by kings and priests. The dramatic setting of Plato's Laws is along the pilgrimage-route to one such site, emphasizing archaic Cretan knowledge. 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". Ivory statuettes of the "Divine Boy" were unearthed near the Labyrinth at Knossos by Sir Arthur Evans. With the Kouretes, a band of ecstatic armed dancers, he presided over the rigorous military-athletic training and secret rites of the Cretan paideia.
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 Hellenistic writer Euhemerus apparently proposed a theory that Zeus had actually been a great king of Crete and that posthumously, his glory had slowly turned him into a deity. 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. Near the ancient ash-heap where the sacrifices took place was a forbidden precinct in which, allegedly, no shadows were ever cast.
According to Plato, a particular clan would gather on the mountain to make a sacrifice every nine years to Zeus Lykaios, and a single morsel of human entrails would be intermingled with the animal's. 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.
There is, however, the crucial detail that Lykaios or Lykeios (epithets of Zeus and Apollo) may derive from Proto-Greek *λύκη, "light", a noun still attested in compounds such as ἀμφιλύκη, "twilight", λυκάβας, "year" (lit. "light's course") etc. This, Cook argues, brings indeed much new 'light' to the matter as Achaeus, the contemporary tragedian of Sophocles, spoke of Zeus Lykaios as "starry-eyed", and this Zeus Lykaios may just be the Arcadian Zeus, son of Aether, described by Cicero. Again under this new signification may be seen Pausanias' descriptions of Lykosoura being 'the first city that ever the sun beheld', and of the altar of Zeus, at the summit of Mount Lykaion, before which stood two columns bearing gilded eagles and 'facing the sun-rise'. Further Cook sees only the tale of Zeus' sacred precinct at Mount Lykaion allowing no shadows referring to Zeus as 'god of light' (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. The hero Amphiaraus was honored as Zeus Amphiaraus at Oropus outside of Thebes, and the Spartans even had a shrine to Zeus Agamemnon. 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. Other examples are listed below. As Zeus Aeneius or Zeus Aenesius, he was worshiped in the island of Cephalonia, where he had a temple on Mount Aenos.
Although most oracle sites were usually dedicated to Apollo, the heroes, or various goddesses like Themis, a few oracular sites were dedicated to Zeus. In addition, some foreign oracles, such as Baʿal's at Heliopolis, were associated with Zeus in Greek or Jupiter in Latin.
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 750 BC), divination was done there by barefoot priests called Selloi, who lay on the ground and observed the rustling of the leaves and branches. By the time Herodotus wrote about Dodona, female priestesses called peleiades ("doves") had replaced the male priests.
Zeus's consort at Dodona was not Hera, but the goddess Dione — whose name is a feminine form of "Zeus". 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.
The oracle of Ammon at the Siwa Oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt did not lie within the bounds of the Greek world before Alexander's day, but it already loomed large in the Greek mind during the archaic era: 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 Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes erected a statue of Zeus Olympios in the Judean Temple in Jerusalem. Hellenizing Jews referred to this statue as Baal Shamen (in English, Lord of Heaven).
Zeus is occasionally conflated with the Hellenic sun god, Helios, who is sometimes either directly referred to as Zeus' eye, or clearly implied as such. Hesiod, for instance, describes Zeus's eye as effectively the sun. This perception is possibly derived from earlier Proto-Indo-European religion, in which the sun is occasionally envisioned as the eye of *Dyḗus Pḥatḗr (see Hvare-khshaeta).
In Neoplatonism, Zeus's relation to the gods familiar from mythology is taught as the Demiurge or Divine Mind. Specifically within Plotinus's work the Enneads and the Platonic Theology of Proclus.
Zeus is mentioned in the New Testament twice, first in Acts 14:8–13: When the people living in Lystra saw the Apostle Paul heal a lame man, they considered Paul and his partner Barnabas to be gods, identifying Paul with Hermes and Barnabas with Zeus, even trying to offer them sacrifices with the crowd. Two ancient inscriptions discovered in 1909 near Lystra testify to the worship of these two gods in that city. One of the inscriptions refers to the "priests of Zeus", and the other mentions "Hermes Most Great"" and "Zeus the sun-god".
The deuterocanonical book of 2 Maccabees 6:1, 2 talks of King Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), who in his attempt to stamp out the Jewish religion, directed that the temple at Jerusalem be profaned and rededicated to Zeus (Jupiter Olympius).
Depictions of Zeus as a bull, the form he took when abducting Europa, are found on the Greek 2-euro coin and on the United Kingdom identity card for visa holders. Mary Beard, professor of Classics at Cambridge University, has criticised this for its apparent celebration of rape.
Zeus has been portrayed by Axel Ringvall in Jupiter på jorden, the first known film adaption to feature Zeus; Niall MacGinnis in Jason and the Argonauts and Angus MacFadyen in the 2000 remake; Laurence Olivier in the original Clash of the Titans, and Liam Neeson in the 2010 remake, along with the 2012 sequel Wrath of the Titans; Anthony Quinn in the 1990s TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys; Rip Torn in the Disney animated feature Hercules; Corey Burton in Hercules, God of War II, God of War III, God of War: Ascension, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and Kingdom Hearts 3; and Sean Bean in Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010).
Athena or Athene, often given the epithet Pallas, is an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, handicraft, and warfare, who was later syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva. Athena was regarded as the patron and protectress of various cities across Greece, particularly the city of Athens, from which she most likely received her name. She is usually shown in art wearing a helmet and holding a spear. Her major symbols include owls, olive trees, snakes, and the Gorgoneion.
From her origin as an Aegean palace goddess, Athena was closely associated with the city. She was known as Polias and Poliouchos (both derived from polis, meaning "city-state"), and her temples were usually located atop the fortified acropolis in the central part of the city. The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis is dedicated to her, along with numerous other temples and monuments. As the patron of craft and weaving, Athena was known as Ergane. She was also a warrior goddess, and was believed to lead soldiers into battle as Athena Promachos. Her main festival in Athens was the Panathenaia, which was celebrated during the month of Hekatombaion in midsummer and was the most important festival on the Athenian calendar.
In Greek mythology, Athena was believed to have been born from the head of her father Zeus. In the founding myth of Athens, Athena bested Poseidon in a competition over patronage of the city by creating the first olive tree. She was known as Athena Parthenos ("Athena the Virgin"), but, in one archaic Attic myth, the god Hephaestus tried and failed to rape her, resulting in Gaia giving birth to Erichthonius, an important Athenian founding hero. Athena was the patron goddess of heroic endeavor; she was believed to have also aided the heroes Perseus, Heracles, Bellerophon, and Jason. Along with Aphrodite and Hera, Athena was one of the three goddesses whose feud resulted in the beginning of the Trojan War. She plays an active role in the Iliad, in which she assists the Achaeans and, in the Odyssey, she is the divine counselor to Odysseus.
In the later writings of the Roman poet Ovid, Athena was said to have competed against the mortal Arachne in a weaving competition, afterwards transforming Arachne into the first spider; Ovid also describes how she transformed Medusa into a Gorgon after witnessing her being raped by Poseidon in her temple. Since the Renaissance, Athena has become an international symbol of wisdom, the arts, and classical learning. Western artists and allegorists have often used Athena as a symbol of freedom and democracy.Cronus
In Greek mythology, Cronus, Cronos, or Kronos ( or , US: , from Greek: Κρόνος, Krónos), was the leader and youngest of the first generation of Titans, the divine descendants of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth. He overthrew his father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own son Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus. According to Plato, however, the deities Phorcys, Cronus, and Rhea were the eldest children of Oceanus and Tethys.Cronus was usually depicted with a harpe, scythe or a sickle, which was the instrument he used to castrate and depose Uranus, his father. In Athens, on the twelfth day of the Attic month of Hekatombaion, a festival called Kronia was held in honour of Cronus to celebrate the harvest, suggesting that, as a result of his association with the virtuous Golden Age, Cronus continued to preside as a patron of the harvest. Cronus was also identified in classical antiquity with the Roman deity Saturn.Dionysus
Dionysus (; Greek: Διόνυσος Dionysos) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth.He is also known as Bacchus ( or ; Greek: Βάκχος, Bakkhos), the name adopted by the Romans and the frenzy he induces is bakkheia. His thyrsus, sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. As Eleutherios ("the liberator"), his wine, music and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful. Those who partake of his mysteries are possessed and empowered by the god himself.Dionysus is generally depicted in myth as the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, although in the Orphic tradition, he was identified as the son of Zeus and Persephone. In the Eleusinian Mysteries he was identified with Iacchus, the son (or, alternately, husband) of Demeter.
His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South. Some scholars believe that Dionysus is a syncretism of a local Greek nature deity and a more powerful god from Thrace or Phrygia such as Sabazios or Zalmoxis. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", and his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, becoming increasingly important over time, and included in some lists of the twelve Olympians, as the last of their number, and the only god born from a mortal mother. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre.
Wine played an important role in Greek culture, and the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus for its unrestrained consumption. His worship became firmly established in the seventh century BC. He may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenaean Greeks; traces of Dionysian-type cult have also been found in ancient Minoan Crete.The cult of Dionysus is also a "cult of the souls"; his maenads feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead. He is sometimes categorised as a dying-and-rising god.Europa (consort of Zeus)
In Greek mythology, Europa (; Ancient Greek: Εὐρώπη, Eurṓpē, Attic Greek pronunciation: [eu̯.rɔ̌ː.pɛː]) was the mother of King Minos of Crete, a woman of Phoenician origin, after whom the continent Europe is named. The story of her abduction by Zeus in the form of a bull was a Cretan story; as classicist Károly Kerényi points out, "most of the love-stories concerning Zeus originated from more ancient tales describing his marriages with goddesses. This can especially be said of the story of Europa."Europa's earliest literary reference is in the Iliad, which is commonly dated to the 8th century BC. Another early reference to her is in a fragment of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, discovered at Oxyrhynchus. The earliest vase-painting securely identifiable as Europa dates from mid-7th century BC.Hades
Hades (; Greek: ᾍδης Hádēs; Ἅιδης Háidēs), in the ancient Greek religion and myth, is the god of the dead and the king of the underworld, with which his name became synonymous. Hades was the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, although the last son regurgitated by his father. He and his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, defeated their father's generation of gods, the Titans, and claimed rulership over the cosmos. Hades received the underworld, Zeus the sky, and Poseidon the sea, with the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, available to all three concurrently. Hades was often portrayed with his three-headed guard dog Cerberus.
The Etruscan god Aita and the Roman gods Dis Pater and Orcus were eventually taken as equivalent to Hades and merged into Pluto, a Latinization of Plouton (Greek: Πλούτων, Ploútōn), itself a euphemistic title often given to Hades.Hera
Hera (; Greek: Ἥρᾱ, Hērā; Ἥρη, Hērē in Ionic and Homeric Greek) is the goddess of women, marriage, family, and childbirth in ancient Greek religion and myth, one of the Twelve Olympians and the sister-wife of Zeus. She is the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Hera rules over Mount Olympus as queen of the gods. A matronly figure, Hera served as both the patroness and protectress of married women, presiding over weddings and blessing marital unions. One of Hera's defining characteristics is her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus' numerous lovers and illegitimate offspring, as well as the mortals who cross her.
Hera is commonly seen with the animals she considers sacred including the cow, lion and the peacock. Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos (a high cylindrical crown worn by several of the Great Goddesses), Hera may hold a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. Scholar of Greek mythology Walter Burkert writes in Greek Religion, "Nevertheless, there are memories of an earlier aniconic representation, as a pillar in Argos and as a plank in Samos."Her Roman counterpart is Juno.List of Greek mythological figures
The following is a list of gods, goddesses and many other divine and semi-divine figures from Ancient Greek mythology and Ancient Greek religion. (The list does not include creatures; for these, see List of Greek mythological creatures.)List of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes
SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television series created by marine biologist and animator, Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. The series is set in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom, and centers on the adventures and endeavors of SpongeBob SquarePants, an over-optimistic sea sponge that annoys other characters. Many of the ideas for the show originated in an unpublished, educational comic book titled The Intertidal Zone, which Hillenburg created in the mid-1980s. He began developing SpongeBob SquarePants into a television series in 1996 after the cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life, another Nickelodeon television series that Hillenburg previously directed.Since its debut on May 1, 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has broadcast 244 episodes, and its twelfth season premiered on November 11, 2018. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters on November 19, 2004 and grossed over US$140 million worldwide. Atlantis SquarePantis, a television film guest starring David Bowie, debuted as part of the fifth season. In 2009, Nickelodeon celebrated the show's tenth anniversary with Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants and SpongeBob's Truth or Square. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, a stand-alone sequel, was released in theaters on February 6, 2015 and grossed over US$324 million worldwide.Episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants have been nominated for a variety of different awards, including 17 Annie Awards (with six wins), 17 Golden Reel Awards (with eight wins), 15 Emmy Awards (with one win), 16 Kids' Choice Awards (with 15 wins), and four BAFTA Children's Awards (with two wins). Several compilation DVDs have been released. In addition, the first nine seasons have been released on DVD, and are available for Regions 1, 2 and 4 as of October 10, 2017.Moirai
In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the Moirai or Moerae (; Ancient Greek: Μοῖραι, "apportioners"), often known in English as the Fates (Latin: Fata), were the white-robed incarnations of destiny; their Roman equivalent was the Parcae (euphemistically the "sparing ones"), there are other equivalents in cultures that descend from the proto-Indo-European culture. Their number became fixed at three: Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (allotter) and Atropos ('unturnable', a metaphor for death).
They controlled the mother thread of life of every mortal from birth to death. They were independent, at the helm of necessity, directed fate, and watched that the fate assigned to every being by eternal laws might take its course without obstruction. Both gods and men had to submit to them, although Zeus's relationship with them is a matter of debate: some sources say he can command them (the Zeus Moiragetes), while others suggest he was also bound to the Moirai's dictates.In the Homeric poems Moira or Aisa are related to the limit and end of life, and Zeus appears as the guider of destiny. In the Theogony of Hesiod, the three Moirai are personified, daughters of Nyx and are acting over the gods. Later they are daughters of Zeus and Themis, who was the embodiment of divine order and law. In Plato's Republic the Three Fates are daughters of Ananke (necessity).It seems that Moira is related with Tekmor (proof, ordinance) and with Ananke (destiny, necessity), who were primeval goddesses in mythical cosmogonies. The ancient Greek writers might call this power Moira or Ananke, and even the gods could not alter what was ordained:
"To the Moirai (Moirae, Fates) the might of Zeus must bow; and by the Immortals' purpose all these things had come to pass, or by the Moirai's ordinance."The concept of a universal principle of natural order has been compared to similar concepts in other cultures like the Vedic Rta, the Avestan Asha (Arta) and the Egyptian Maat.
In earliest Greek philosophy, the cosmogony of Anaximander is based on these mythical beliefs. The goddess Dike (justice, divine retribution), keeps the order and sets a limit to any actions.Nemesis
In ancient Greek religion, Nemesis (; Ancient Greek: Νέμεσις), also called Rhamnousia or Rhamnusia ("the goddess of Rhamnous"), is the goddess who enacts retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods). Another name is Adrasteia (or Adrestia), meaning "the inescapable".Pegasus
Pegasus (Greek: Πήγασος, Pḗgasos; Latin: Pegasus, Pegasos) is a mythical winged divine stallion, and one of the most recognized creatures in Greek mythology. Usually depicted as pure white, Pegasus is a child of the Olympian god Poseidon. He was foaled by the Gorgon Medusa upon her death, when the hero Perseus decapitated her. Pegasus is the brother of Chrysaor and the uncle of Geryon.
Greco-Roman poets wrote about the ascent of Pegasus to heaven after his birth, and his subsequent obeisance to Zeus, king of the gods, who instructed him to bring lightning and thunder from Olympus. Friend of the Muses, Pegasus created Hippocrene, the fountain on Mt. Helicon.
Pegasus was caught by the Greek hero Bellerophon, near the fountain Peirene, with the help of Athena and Poseidon. Pegasus allowed Bellerophon to ride him in order to defeat the monstrous Chimera, which led to many other exploits. Bellerophon later fell from the winged horse's back while trying to reach Mount Olympus. Afterwards, Zeus transformed Pegasus into the eponymous constellation.
The symbolism of Pegasus varies with time. Symbolic of wisdom and fame from the Middle Ages until the Renaissance, Pegasus became associated with poetry around the 19th century, as the fountainhead of sources from which the poets gained their inspiration. Pegasus is the subject of a very rich iconography, especially throughout ancient Greek pottery and paintings and sculptures of the Renaissance. Hypotheses have been proposed regarding the relationship between Pegasus and the Muses, the gods Athena, Poseidon, Zeus, Apollo, and the hero Perseus.Perseus
In Greek mythology, Perseus (; Greek: Περσεύς) is the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty. He beheaded the Gorgon Medusa for Polydectes and saved Andromeda from the sea monster Cetus. He was the son of Zeus and the mortal Danaë, as well as the half-brother and great-grandfather of Heracles.Semele
Semele (; Greek: Σεμέλη Semelē), in Greek mythology, was the youngest daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia, and the mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths.
Certain elements of the cult of Dionysus and Semele came from the Phrygians. These were modified, expanded and elaborated by the Ionian Greek invaders and colonists. Herodotus, who gives the account of Cadmus, estimates that Semele lived sixteen hundred years before his time, or around 2000 BCE. In Rome, the goddess Stimula was identified as Semele.Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was a giant seated figure, about 13 m (43 ft) tall, made by the Greek sculptor Phidias around 435 BC at the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, and erected in the Temple of Zeus there.
A chryselephantine sculpture of ivory plates and gold panels on a wooden framework, it represented the god Zeus on a cedarwood throne ornamented with ebony, ivory, gold and precious stones.
One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the statue was lost and destroyed during the 5th century AD; details of its form are known only from ancient Greek descriptions and representations on coins.Temple of Zeus, Olympia
The Temple of Zeus at Olympia was an ancient Greek temple in Olympia, Greece, dedicated to the god Zeus. The temple, built in the second quarter of the fifth century BCE, was the very model of the fully developed classical Greek temple of the Doric order.Themis
Themis (; Ancient Greek: Θέμις) is an ancient Greek Titaness. She is described as "[the Lady] of good counsel", and is the personification of divine order, fairness, law, natural law, and custom. Her symbols are the Scales of Justice, tools used to remain balanced and pragmatic. Themis means "divine law" rather than human ordinance, literally "that which is put in place", from the Greek verb títhēmi (τίθημι), meaning "to put".
To the ancient Greeks she was originally the organizer of the "communal affairs of humans, particularly assemblies". Moses Finley remarked of themis, as the word was used by Homer in the 8th century BCE, to evoke the social order of the 10th- and 9th-century Greek Dark Ages:
Themis is untranslatable. A gift of the gods and a mark of civilized existence, sometimes it means right custom, proper procedure, social order, and sometimes merely the will of the gods (as revealed by an omen, for example) with little of the idea of right.
Finley adds, "There was themis—custom, tradition, folk-ways, mores, whatever we may call it, the enormous power of 'it is (or is not) done'. The world of Odysseus had a highly developed sense of what was fitting and proper."Tom Lister Jr.
Thomas "Tiny" Lister Jr. (born June 24, 1958) is an American character actor and occasional professional wrestler known for his roles as the neighborhood bully Deebo in the film Friday and its first sequel and as President Lindberg in The Fifth Element. He had two short professional wrestling stints, wrestling Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) after appearing as Zeus in the 1989 movie No Holds Barred and resuming the feud as Z-Gangsta in 1996 for World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He is blind in his right eye.Twelve Olympians
In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus. They were called Olympians because, according to tradition, they resided on Mount Olympus.
Although Hades was a major ancient Greek god, and was the brother of the first generation of Olympians (Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia), he resided in the underworld, far from Olympus, and thus was not usually considered to be one of the Olympians.
Besides the twelve Olympians, there were many other cultic groupings of twelve gods.Zeus (Marvel Comics)
Zeus, full name Zeus Panhellenios, is a fictional character, a god appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.
|Olympians' family tree |
|Classical religious forms|
and sacred mysteries
|Rites and practices|
|Modern offshoot religions|
|Modern popular culture|
Ancient Greek deities by affiliation
Greek deities series