Zeus Essay Research Paper ZEUSZeus constantly

Zeus Essay, Research Paper


Zeus constantly battles with the godly virtues, while continuing to have all the

human qualities.

Zeus in Greek mythology was chief and father of all Gods and mortals.He

corresponds to the Roman god Jupiter.He lived atop Mt.Olympus, at the center of

the earth where all the gods lived and held court.Sometimes Olympus was

thought of as an actual mountain in Greece, but more often as a lofty reign in

the heavens.Zeus was pictured as a kingly, bearded figure who supposedly hurled

thunderbolts from the mountain to announce his anger.His bird was the eagle and

his tree the oak.He became the father of all who populated the heavens and

earth.His promiscuous behavior was legend.

Zeus was the youngest son of the Titan, Cronus and Rhea, who was

actually a sister to Cronus.They produced many offspring, but Cronus could not

allow his children to survive because it had been prophesied that he would be

dethroned by one of his children.He swallowed each of them following their birth,

except for Zeus, who was saved his mother Rhea.She gave Cronus a stone

wrapped in swaddling clothes for him swallow instead of Zeus.He grew to

manhood, attended by nymphs on the island of Crete.Cronus was growing old, so

Zeus gave him an emetic causing him to vomit up his brothers and sisters, five

gods and goddesses, along with the stone that Rhea had given him. They where

alive and unhurt.Cronus was dethroned and the legend has it that Zeus struck him

with a thunderbolt and killed him, becoming the leader in his place.

Zeus’ triumph was far from serene the Titans rebelled, and for ten years

the fighting lasted, neither the Gods or the Titans could secure a victory.Zeus

went and released the Cyclops and with their power and weapons were able to

finally defeat the Titans.There were still attempts to defeat Zeus and the other

Olympians.It required all the power of the other Gods and Monsters to subdue and

kill their enemies.These enemies were the Titans, the dragon with a hundred heads

and the giants.

There was one more attempt to defeat Zeus and the other Olympians by

the Giant’s.They laid siege to Olympus by piling mountain upon mountain to get

there.It required the assistance of other gods and Hercules to defeat them.

Zeus ruled over the sky and his brother Poseidon and Hades were given

power over the sea and underworld.The earth was ruled by all three.Posedion was

a wrathful, moody God. He traveled with sea nymphs and monsters of the

deep.His Latin name was Neptune.Hades was lord of the underworld, the reign of

the deep.He was described as stern and dark, his kingdom gray and lifeless.His

Latin name was Des and Pluto.

With the writings of Homer, Zeus is pictured in two different ways, as the

God of justice and mercy, the protector of the world and also the punisher of

the wicked.Despite his awesome power, he had a weakness for mortal women and

well as Goddesses, and frequently descended to earth to couple with them.He had

numerous affairs with both.He used many guises and tricks to fool them into

having an affair with him.He could change his form at will.

Zeus was married to his sister Hera, she was supposedly his real wife.In

order to trick her into marrying he disguised himself as a cuckoo bird during a

rain storm and hide in her clothing, when she held him he resumed his true form

and ravished her.She married him to hide her shame.It was said that the marriage

night lasted three hundred years.Due to his many affairs their marriage was not a

happy one.Zeus used all kinds of tricks to hide his infidelity from her.Hera was

very jealous and punished him by avenging her self on the females with whom he

dallied.Thier marriage produced four children, Hebe was the goddess of youth and

acted as a cupbearer of the Gods.Ares, God of war, Ilithyia goddess of child

bearing and Hephaestus, the craftsman of the gods.In order to punish Zeus, she

said he was virgin born.

The offspring of Zeus from other affairs were too numerous to count.He

had other wives before Hera, the first was Metis whom he swallowed before she

gave birth to Athena.He knew his second child would dethrone him.In order for

Athena to live he had Hephaestus to split his forehead open to free her. She came

out alive and fully armed as she was warrior goddess.She took part in the war

against the giants and the Trojans.He had many other wives as well as numerous

affairs.Some of his children were great heroes such as, Hercules who was able to

perform super human feats.Zeus had arranged that one day he would become a

god.He was honored thoughout Greece, and was a powerful athlete, instituting the

Olympian games.Another was Apollo, a deity of light to help ripen crops,

destroying pest, and heal illnesses.He could also be deadly as he shot his terrible

arrows and created plagues.He was also the shepherd god and protected flocks of

sheep.He had twin sister Artemis, who was a huntress and goddess of forest

creatures.Another was Aphrodite, goddess of love and protector of marriage.She

had a magic girdle which made her irristable to gods and mortals alike.Persephone

was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, she was goddess of spring time.She

became queen of the underworld after being abducted by Hades.Dionysus, was a

fertility god, and god of the vine.He freed the emotions and inspired joy in

men.From him we get the tragic theater.He was also known as Baccus, god of

drukenness.Zeus was also the father of nine muses,Cleo goddess of history,

Melpomene of tragedy, Urania of astronomy, Thalia of comedy, Terpsichore of

dance, Callrope of epic poetry, Erto of love verse, Euterpe of lyric poems and

Polyhymnia of sacred songs.Zeus was the father of many other gods and

goddesses, among them was the famous Helen of Troy.Zeus had thirty-two mortal

children, most of them were leaders of the Greek nations.He had thirty-eight

immortal children.Only five of them were from his legal wives.

Zeus and Hera had distinct personalities, and a family situation that was

real, the things they did were understandable.Hera’s jealousy and Zeus’ need to

satisfy his lust and to have his desires appeased were human nature.Gods were

supposed to be devine, but many of the qualities that Zeus had were very low

moral character.

The Greeks had a passion for order and they continually tried to rationalize

their myths trying to make them more believable.In trying to make the gods more

human, they actually made them trivial, depriving them of their original power and

mystery.Pride, greed, lust and trickery were outstanding features of Zeus and other

Greek gods.Once their character had been defined they become like stereotypes

and the people ceased to believe in them.One feature that was common in all the

legends was the idea of mankind?s frailty, sometimes they bring calamity upon

themselves, other times it may the result of events or which they have no control.

According to myths the gods created men.The first race of men lived in

harmony.This was the Golden Age where there was no pain, toil or old age.Dying

was as easy as falling asleep.They enjoyed the fruits of the earth and after death

they remained as spirits to protect men from evil.

Next the gods created the Silver Age this was inferior to the Golden

Age.They remained children for a hundred years and were dominated by there

mothers.In this age they had to work and the year was divided into seasons.Then

men knew cold and heat.Crime began in this period and Zeus was displeased and

put an end to this age.

Zeus then created the Bronze Age out of ash spears.These men were

strong and violent warriors, who worked in metal and created some tools of

civilization.they finally destroyed themselves with their warfare.

The next period was the Heroic Age, many heroes and mighty deeds were

proformed.Heracles, Jason, Theseus and the heroes of the Trojan war existed.Zeus

tribute to them established Elysiam Fields as a resting place for them after their


Zeus then created the Iron Age, the worst race of men to ever appear on

the earth.The things that now exist were the same as then.Hard work, trouble,

pain and weariness were their lot.They were evil and vicious causing the gods to

abandon them.

At this time Zeus was disgusted with man and his evil and decided to

destroy him with a flood.Some of the people were warned and prepared for it by

getting into a chest with provisions.After ten days the flood subsided and the

chest rested on a mountain.The couple came out and offered a sacrifice to Zeus

and asked him to restore the human race.According to legend the human race

was restored.

The tale of the five ages of man shows that there was a negative attitude

by the gods about each age, while the gods improved with each age, man

degenerated from age to age.This does not match with our belief that each age

has improved.We started as primitive man and with the ages man progressed to

his present state.The story of Zeus’ flood has a biblical comparison to the flood of

Noah?s generation.

Zeus as one of the greatest of the Greek gods had many feast an

celebrations, one of the greatest was the Olympian Games.They took place every

four years in Olympia, even if there was a war between the city states of Greece,

they stopped the war to take part in the games.Our present day Olympics is

patterned from those games.

There were many shrines of Zeus, the principal one was at Dadona, where

his temple was an oracle, like the on Applo had.In Arkadia he was worshipped

on the mountain Lykeo and it was believed by some that sacrifices with human

victims were taking place.One of his most famous temples outside Greece is the

one in the Livic Desert.

The myths were for the most part absurd and unbelievable.While they had

human qualities their behavior left much to be desired.Zeus was such a loose

moral god, it is so hard to even consider him as an honorable person.While the

Greeks and others considered these legends to be true .Most of them were so wild

people would have to be very ignorant to believe them.They had such trust in the

gods that they would believe anything they were told.

The heroes fight beast, monsters, and even their own families in the most

cruel way.Some of the books written about this era makes interesting reading and

could tell us much about the culture of that day.One example is “The Odyssey”

by Homer.

Greek legends and myths provide some of the richest stories in western

culture, not including the Bible.They wanted fame and accomplished that with

great deeds.They believed in honor and were sensitive about anything that would

lessen it.Myths became acceptable as fact, through repetition they became to have

many variations.Both good and evil came from the gods, and the riligous theme

was a struggle between the powers of light and darkness.

Berger,Edna Dictionary of Mythology, Rev.1991

Encarta CD-ROM, ?Zeus?

Ereslin,Bernard,Heroes,Gods and Monsters of Greek Myths pp.4-6

Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia(1994)?Zeus?

Hillegass,Cliff Intro. to MythologyRev.1991 pp.56-60

Internet Characters of Greek Myhology

Hamilton,Edith, Mythology (1969)pp.24-39


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