Zeus’ Family Tree
In Greek Myth, Zeus (or Jupiter in Roman Myth), is the God of the Sky, Thunder, and King of the Gods. The stories claim that Zeus became King by overthrowing his father, Cronus, and castrating him. In turn, Zeus’ father Cronus had overthrown his father, Uranus, to become King earlier on. Zeus was the head of the 12 Olympian Gods during their battle with the Titans, or lesser Gods.
Perhaps one of the thunder God’s most famous claims to fame was his many lovers. Even after he married Hera (the Goddess of Childbirth), Zeus had many affairs on the side, and Hera made sure his other lovers suffered. Some of Zeus’ lovers include:
- The Titaness Leto, with whom Zeus fathered Apollo and Artemis.
- Semele, with whom he birthed Dionysus, God of Wine and revelry.
- Maia, whose child with Zeus was Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods.
- Hera, his wife and sister. Zeus fathered the God of War Ares; the God of the Forge Hephaestus; and Hebe, the Goddess of Youth, by Hera. Hera also mothered Eris (Goddess of Discord) and Ileythia (Goddess of Childbirth) through Zeus.
- Demeter, Zeus’ lover and sister. Goddess of the Grain and harvest. Also mother to Persephone, the Goddess of Death.
Zeus also had affairs with mortal women, including Danube. Hera sent plagues such as scorpions to plague Zeus’ lovers, and once even kidnapped Illeythia to keep Leto from giving birth. After the Gods intervened, however, the Goddess was released by Hera, and Leto still gave birth.
Much like the other Gods and Goddesses, Zeus did not have an ordinary birth. His father, Cronus, had swallowed Zeus’ siblings due to a prophecy that one of his children would usurp his throne. However, Zeus’ mother Rhea hid him in a cave on the isle of Crete, thus sparing him. Athena and Zeus’ other siblings were said to have burst through Cronus’ head and fought their way to freedom.
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