Zeus: The man, the myth, the legend

Throughout the pantheon of Greek and Roman misconception lots of the gods are depicted in mere one, revered gaze. Zeus on the on the other hands is depicted as many things which include; the ruler of the other gods, a sibling, a warrior, a tyrant, a just ruler, a vengeful deity, an adulterer and a rapist. Zeus embodies what many identified to be perfect masculinity in antiquity. He was the mark of deception and revenge, mostly from his angered better half Hera, but he was the mark of several vengeful acts nonetheless. However the taking care of in Zeus' canon that is most significant in explaining why he was such an important shape in Mythology is the fact that he was depicted as a father, even in myths where he was portrayed in another light like a warrior or as a kid wanting to usurp his father's position, his patriarchal side always showed for some reason in many of the stories.

Zeus' name in Greek comes from a root expression meaning bright. It really is interesting to note that the earth Jupiter, which is the same name as Zeus in Roman is normally the brightest object in the night time sky, appears to be a fascinating etymological comparison. Zeus got control of the sky when the Olympian gods inherited control around the world while his brother's Hades and Poseidon were given control over the underworld and the Oceans, respectively. Typically Zeus is from the lightening bolt, his tool if choice, as well as the eagle, a majestic sign of nobility. The Oak tree is also tied to Zeus as it is a strong tree that expands for more than 100 years.

Zeus was the youngest of the first era Olympian gods which also included Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. When he was created Zeus was covered to grow up on the island of Crete in order to avoid his father, Cronus, from eating him just like he did to his old siblings. Rather than eating Zeus, Cronus was tricked into eating a rock which in turn made him regurgitate all of his devoured children only then to be slain by Zeus who was safeguarding his siblings. This can be juxtaposed to a father who protect his children. The Olympian gods ally alongside one another and fight all of the Titans from atop mount Olympus, this was known as the Titanomachy. This ten time war was aided not only by the Cyclopes, but the Hecatonchires as well. Once the Olympian gods finally triumphed in the Titans were then imprisoned in Tartarus.

Zeus engaged in lascivious acts with goddesses which provided birth to numerous children including; Aegipan, Persephone and Zargreus, Orion and Manes, Ares, Eileithyia, Eris, Hebe, Ersa and Carae, Limos, Apollo and Artimis, Hermes, Athena, The Muses Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania, Zagreus and Melinoe, Ersa, Nemean Lion and Pandia. There mother's were Aix, Anake, Demeter, Dione, Thalassa, Gaia, Hera, Eos, Eris, Leto, Maia, Metis, Mnemosyne, Persephone and Selene respectively. Themis who was the first partner of Zeus provided birth to Astraea, Nemisis, Horae, Auxo, Carpo, Thallo, Dike, Eirene, Eunomia, Pherusa, Euporie, Orthosie, and The fates Atropos Clotho and Lachesis (Wikipedia - Zeus).

In addition to having a great deal of children with goddesses Zeus also experienced children numerous mortals, these children include; Aeacus, Hercules, Amphion and Zethus, Arcas, Britomartis, Perseus, Tityas, Dardanus and Iasion. Minos, Rhadamanrhys and Sarpedon, Aglea, Euphrosyne and Thalia, Kronios, Spartaios and Kytos, Thebe, Epaphus and Keroessa, Sarpedon, Polydeuces, Castor and Helen of Troy, Lorcrus, Argus and Pelasgus, Alexander III of Macedon (Alexander the Great), Meliteus, Tantulus, Balius and Xanthus, Hellen, Dionysus, Lacedaemon, Palici, Litae, Tyche and Ate. The mortal mothers of the children of Zeus are; Aegina, Alcmene, Antipoe, Callisto, Carme, Danae, Elara, Electra, Europa, Eurynome, Himalia, Iodame, Io, Lamia, Laodamia, Leda, Maera, Niobe, Olympias, Othreis, Pluto, Podarge, Pyrrha, Semele Taygete and Thalia respectively (Wikipedia - Zeus).

The Gigantomachy was the challenge of the Olympian gods contrary to the giants. The Giants, who were born of the bloodstream of Uranus spilling onto the Earth were half real human and 50 % serpentine creatures. This misconception depicts Zeus in the warrior light since it was Zeus who fought the leader of the Giants Thyphoeus. Typhoeus was beaten by Zeus and therefore so were the giants. They were imprisoned in Globe which to Greeks provided reason as to why volcanoes are spread along the Earth's surface.

The proven fact that he fought Typhoeus together exemplifies what lots of the Greeks and Romans thought were how a warrior should behave, that and if he didn't do so he would lose the stigma that he was the epitome of masculinity.

The common myths of Zeus are so extensively varied and his habit within the misconceptions are equally varied that some have postulated that Zeus is the conglomeration of many trivial gods who over time were blurred into one supreme being. In addition the many bizarre functions of Zeus can be a method for many visitors to justify their obscure patterns.

Zeus experienced relations not only with mortal females, but also mortal men. One of the most notable tales of the is that of Zeus and Ganymede. Ganymede was a slave boy who Zeus became infatuated with, 1 day Zeus directed eagles down to Earth to get Ganymede and bring him to Olympus there he became a cup-bearer. This way he was always around when Zeus needed him to be. That is a good example of how Zeus sometimes abused his power to get whatever he desired. This story also shows how Roman world viewed homosexuality and accepted it just how they do.

In Ovid's Metamorphoses the tale of the fantastic overflow is another fine exemplory case of Zeus wearing just one more hat. This myth Deals with ruler of Arcadia Lycaon and his tyrannical patterns. Lycaon thought he'd serve Zeus one of his children as a sacrifice. As you would expect Zeus found this repulsive and made a decision to not only punish Lycaon, however the rest of mankind as well. He first changed Lycaon into a wolf, it suited his personality. This was the typical design of most transformations in Ovid's works. Zeus then made a decision to wipe the planet earth clean of the human race and begin fresh, thus the great flood much like the story of Noah's Ark. In the Greek version, there were however two survivors Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha. In order to repopulate the Earth they were instructed to toss the 'bone fragments' of these mom over their shoulder to repopulate the planet earth, these instructions from the oracle had to be interpreted in order for the oracle to maintain that it was never wrong. They Thought that the 'bone fragments' were actually stones from mother Earth, this was the right interpretation and the Earth was populated once more. When it comes to Zeus this account once again shows his parental side due to the way he reacted to Lycaon's transgression.

The misconception of Zeus and his romance with Callisto is the one that shows how he is able to, when confronted with urgency, can react for the betterment of others not only himself. The story goes that after Callisto was found to truly have a child with Zeus she was converted into a bear, after her son Arcas was raised he was in the woods and was confronted by her mom in keep form, he was going to get rid of her when Zeus stepped in and transformed then into constellations, these constellations were Ursa Major and Ursa Slight.

The story of Zeus and Demeter shows Zeus as a just and understanding ruler. The story deals with Hades being given permission for taking Persephone to the Underworld to be his wife, the majority of the story deals with Demeter sulking and racking your brains on who kidnapped her little princess. Also in her anger she brings famine and drought upon the entire world. After reading all individuals crying out in hope due to hunger Zeus steps in and sends Hermes to get Persephone, but she possessed already had consumed food in the underworld if that occurs it is stated that no-one can leave. So in the end Persephone must spend a portion of annually with Hades in the underworld. This misconception shows how Zeus is an understanding individual and exactly how he does indeed his best for the betterment of most under his all mighty rule.

You will find many other misconceptions associated with Zeus such as him punishing Prometheus to presenting his liver eaten out of him regularly. Or the Zeus and his abuse for Tantalus and his blasphemous act of compromising his some to the gods.

Works Referenced

  • "Hesiod's Theogony, translated by Evelyn-White. " Old / Classical Record - Ancient Greece & Rome & Classics Research Guide. Web. 09 Oct. 2009. .
  • "The Internet Classics Archive | Metamorphoses by Ovid. " The Internet Classics Archive: 441 searchable works of classical literature. Web. 09 Oct. 2009. .
  • Morford, Make P. O. , and Robert J. Lenardon. Classical Mythology. New York: Oxford UP, USA, 2006. Print out.
  • "Zeus -. " Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web. 09 Oct. 2009. .
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