He also persuaded Hades to part with Persephone for part of each year and so end the terrible drought her mother Demeter had caused for the human race in protest at being held captive in the Underworld.
For mere mortals, Zeus was at least fair-minded. At his feet Zeus had the jars of Fate - one full of bad things, another full of good things and he dispensed both with justice.
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Zeus had an oracle, the oldest in fact, at Dodona in northern Greece where ascetic priests served an oracle which interpreted the sounds from the wind in the branches of the sacred oak trees and the babbling of water from the holy spring. Another great sanctuary dedicated to Zeus was at Olympia where every four years from BCE the Olympic Games drew crowds from all parts of the Greek world to honour the father of the gods and where oxen were sacrificed to Zeus at the end of each Games.
Also at Olympia, the massive 5th century BCE temple of Zeus housed the gigantic gold and ivory statue of the god by Pheidias which was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Other important sacred sites for the god were on Mt. There were surprisingly few festivals in honour of Zeus, one was the Diasia of Athens.
Samuel L. Jackson: Zeus Carver
Generally, though, Zeus, as head of the Greek pantheon , was omnipresent and so made no particular attachments to specific cities. Zeus was, however, worshipped in most family homes where an altar was often dedicated to him in each courtyard, for as Zeus Herkeios, he protected the family hearth and property in general. He was also Zeus Xenios, the god of hospitality, Zeus Polieus, protector of cities, Zeus Horkios guardian of oaths and Zeus Soter, the protector and general benefactor to all.
In Greek art Zeus is almost always bearded and carries either a lightning bolt or sceptre. He was also strongly associated with bulls, oak trees and eagles, one of the latter sometimes appears at his side when he does not have his lightning bolt or sceptre. Zeus is a central figure in the east pediment of the Parthenon but without doubt the most majestic representation of the god is the bronze statue from Artemesium BCE where he confidently stands, feet wide apart, about to launch a thunderbolt.
Some scholars believe the figure is Poseidon but the art historian J.
Boardman presents the convincing argument that the stance is much more familiar to representations of Zeus in Greek art see the Dodona statue and if the figure held a trident much longer than a thunderbolt it would obscure the face, an undesirable aesthetic consequence for Greek sculpture. Greek pottery is another rich source of the myths involving Zeus, in particular scenes representing his many metamorphoses and Zeus also appeared on many coins, notably those of Elis. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.
We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers. Become a Member. Cartwright, M. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cartwright, Mark. Last modified May 25, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 25 May This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms.
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Remove Ads Advertisement. About the Author Mark Cartwright. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common.
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TarcherPerigee 05 March Broadway Books 13 September University of Cincinnati Press 15 October Routledge 15 January University of California Press 30 April Bibliography Ananiades, D. Toubis, Athens, Boardman, J. Greek Sculpture. Carabatea, M.
Greek Mythology. Pergamos, Peania, Carpenter, T. Zeus a Greek god is depicted here throwing lightning. However, the Romans would assume this was a depiction of Jupiter, the king of gods. The Greek mythology names of the gods and goddesses varied from the Roman names, although each culture ascribed to deities with comparable powers and spheres of influence. The following table shows those areas and the names of the important deities in each mythology:. Besides the gods and goddesses named here there were many other gods and immortals in Greek mythology.
Zeus actually was a third-generation god. So, who were the first- and second-generation gods? Glad you asked. Gaia was the first goddess, also known as Mother Earth, and gave birth with her son Uranus being the father to the second-generation Titans.
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The Titans were led by Cronos or Saturn, and he seized power from Uranus. Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades are the sons of Cronos, and Zeus was considered primarily responsible for overthrowing his father. Zeus, Hera, and the other third-generation gods of Ancient Greece were Olympians; that is, they lived at the top of Mount Olympus, the highest peak in Ancient Greece, or a heaven in the skies.
Sometimes, these gods intermingled with mortals, even falling in love and bearing children with mortal men and women. Although modern man views these Greek gods and goddesses as creatures of mythology, remember that to the ancient Greeks, they were no less real than current beliefs in God or Buddha.
Ancient Greece for Kids: Zeus
With the passage of time, modern society has come to view the stories of the gods as metaphors for teaching lessons about behaviors and actions, although the gods and goddesses in Greek and Roman mythology exhibited many of the weaknesses and pettiness that modern man would never associate with deities. One lesson that the Greek myths loved to teach was the lesson of hubris, or pride. Whenever a mortal or god exhibited hubris, thinking he or she was better than the gods, they inevitably would also experience a resulting tragedy.
If one of the lesser gods started thinking he was more powerful than Zeus, then he, too, would be knocked down a peg or two. This type of metaphorical lesson continues in the stories of the Bible, Shakespearian tragedies, and even into modern literature and art.