Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes

home | greek | gods | olympians | Zeus

Zeus at a Glance

name | Zeus (ZeuV)

role | god of the sky; ruler of Olympus

symbols | thunderbolt, eagle, oak

Zeus in Greek Mythology
As the ruler of the Olympian gods, Zeus wielded enormous power and almost absolute authority. He appears in Homer's Iliad in the role of imperious leader, a grandiose father figure to a pantheon of bickering deities. And although he is often portrayed as an omniscient, omnipotent being, even the mighty Zeus could be tricked (or, to put it more gently, distracted). This is indeed the case in the Iliad, in that wonderful scene where he is seduced by his wife Hera and consequently led to ignore the events taking place on the battlefield of Troy.

There are certainly other instances where Zeus is deceived (the incident with Prometheus being but one more good example). These examples only demonstrate that although he was the god who ruled Olympus and its divine denizens, he was subject to the laws of Fate and was not in fact all-powerful. And just as the other deities had their own personal foibles, Zeus too had a weakness - he was passionately fond of female charms. Many stories about Zeus recount his insatiable lust and notorious wandering eye, an eye that fell upon goddess and mortal woman alike.

Some of the paramours of Zeus are:

Alcmene | mother of Herakles

Danae | mother of Perseus

Europa | mother of Minos, Rhadamanthys, & Sarpedon

Io | mother of Epaphus

Leda | mother of Helen

Leto | mother of Apollo and Artemis

Maia | mother of Hermes

Metis | mother of Athena

Mnemosyne | mother of the Muses

Semele | mother of Dionysos

In Roman mythology, Zeus was identified with the god Jupiter.

Zeus in Art History
Gallery | For pictures and information about Zeus in art, visit the Mythography gallery!

Do you have a specific question about Greek mythology? Then try the Mythography forum!

I shall sing of Zeus, the best and the greatest of gods, far-seeing, mighty, fulfiller of designs who confides his tight-knit schemes to Themis as she sits leaning upon him.

- Homeric Hymn to Zeus

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend. And there is a good entry on Zeus.