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Zeus Essay

Zeus is the supreme god and ruler of Olympus. He is known by many titles: Lord of the Sky, the Cloud-gatherer, the Rain-god and Zeus the Thunderer, all of which show which force of nature was considered tobe the most important in Ancient Greece – rain. In most other mythologies the “ruler-god” was usually associated with the sun, but in Greece, the climate is hot and dry making rain the scarce, life-giving force. Zeus was the sixth child born to Croons and Rhea, Because Croons, ruler of the Titans and the supreme god at the time, was afraid that one of his children would overthrow him, just like he overthrew his father, Uranus, he swallowed his first five children – Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter and Hestia. This, of course, infuriated Rhea and when Zeus was born she tricked Cronus into swallowing a rock wrapped in blankets. Zeus is more powerful than any other god or even all the other gods combined. But, unlike many gods in other religions, he was neither omnipotent nor omniscient. In other words, he wasn’t all-powerful or all-seeing. He could be, and in fact was, opposed, deceived and tricked by gods and men alike. His power, although great, was not boundless; Zeus had no control over The Fates and Destiny.

Like all Greek divinities, Zeus was subject to leisure, pain, grief, and anger, but he was most susceptible to the power of Eros – love, which often got the objects of his desire in a lot of trouble with his wife, Hera. The representation of Zeus was a noblest one – mighty, glorious, awesome and wise, although he did show a certain degree of surprising foolishness and naiveness when it came to hiding his love affairs. Some historians attribute this less than noble behaviour of the “noblest one of all” to the fact that Zeus was most likely a compilation of many “supreme gods” from different areas. When his worship spread to an area that already worshipped another god, some of that god s qualities as well as his wife or lover were transferred to Zeus. Aside from the endless affairs, Zeus was different from other gods in that he did not participate in the arguments and the resulting petty scheming that made up the daily activities of other gods. Being this wise ruler, he also demanded just and righteous action from men. Zeus was however vengeful, as can be seen in the creation of man by Prometheus, but only rightly so.

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For stealing fire from Olympus and giving it to mortals, Zeus sentence Prometheus to be forever tied to a rock and an eagle would come daily and feast on his liver. Zeus had two special attendants, Nike (Victoria), the goddess of victory, and his cupbearer, Hebe, who was one of his numerous daughters. After Hebe married Heracles, Ganymede replaced her as the cupbearer for Zeus. In Roman Mythology, Zeus’ counterpart, Jupiter, was also attended by Fama (fame) and Fortuna (luck and chance, Tychein Greek) Zeus was the guardian of political order and peace. The aegis is his shield and breastplate – so glorious and at the same time awful to behold that no human could see Zeus in all his magnificence and survive. His favourite daughter Athena eventually was given the Aegisby Zeus. His weapon is, of course, the thunderbolt which he hurled at whoever displeased him. The thunderbolts were fashioned for him by the three Cyclopes who also were the deciding power in the battle with the titans. His bird is the Eagle, his tree the Oak. Dodona was his oracle. His will was revealed by the rustling of oak leaves which was interpreted by his priests.

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