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Mortal hubris, it begs to my ears as if to ask to be struck-down. What sort of god would I be to ignore such a prayer?
~ Zeus in Bellerophon.

Zeus was the chief deity of the Olympian pantheon and master of the universe according to the ancient Greeks, as such he was by no means a full-on malevolent character. However, there is no denying the fact that he and his fellow Olympians often engaged in petty acts of cruelty and vengeance on mortals as well as other gods.

In particular, Zeus was infamous for his lust, which transcended gender and even species. His many affairs always left a very positive mark on the mortals he slept with, which enraged his sister-wife Hera to no end. Because she could do nothing to him, on rare occasions, she would take out her anger on the mortals he slept with.

Personality

Zeus had a cruel side to him, like all gods. A prime example was his punishment towards Prometheus for stealing fire from Olympus by having him strapped to a rock while an eagle ate his liver daily, only for the liver to regrow so as to repeat the torture for all of eternity. Such extreme retribution is seen as petty and unnecessarily harsh, even by the standards of the time. Another trait he shares with other gods were bullying mortals into siding with him, usually offering an amazing gift if they follow or side with him in arguments, or punishing them if their side causes him to lose.

Of course, Zeus was also the upholder of the universal order. He was in charge of punishing oath-breakers, liars, and violators of sacred hospitalit and enforced harsh punishments upon humans to keep them in line. Though he usually allowed his fellow gods to do whatever they wanted to mortals, he would sometimes intervene to mitigate the damage they caused when they went too far. For example, he saved Heracles (whom Zeus would later claim as his favorite child besides Athena) when Hera attempted to drown him in a storm and punished her as a result.

Powers and Abilities

  • Atmokinesis: As the king of the cosmos, Zeus had omnipotent control over the weather.
    • Electrokinesis: As the god of thunder, Zeus had omnipotent control over lightning. Thunderbolts were his weapons and was one of the main reasons why he was so powerful.
    • Aerokinesis: As the god of sky, Zeus was the god of air.
  • Semi-Omniscience: Zeus could see the world below him, but not in a complete detail. It was like "seeing the forest but not the trees in particular". Like his father Kronos and his son Hermes, Zeus used a lot of cunning and deceit to win support.
  • Shapeshifting: Many women were seduced by Zeus using shapeshifting.
  • Massive Strength: Zeus was stronger than all the lesser gods combined.

Weapons

  • Aegis: Zeus's shield and breastplate set. It was created from the impregnable skin of the divine goat Amaltheia, who had nursed him since birth. Athena covered it in bronze and set the image of Medusa. which terrified the holder's enemies. The Aegis was so tough, it was the only defense against Zeus' thunderbolts. When Zeus shook the shield, it created thunderstorms.

Antagonistic Acts Committed By Zeus

(IMPORTANT NOTE: Many of Zeus' acts listed below are punishments for transgression. Since he was considered the God of Justice, he can be viewed as an anti-villain in a sense his actions, while cruel, were designed to enforce order rather than create chaos.)

  • Out of fear that Zeus' first wife Metis would have a son who would overthrow him, hate her, only to bear a daughter named Athena out of his head.
  • At the marriage of Zeus and Hera, a nymph named Chelone refused to attend. Zeus transformed her into a tortoise (Chelone in Greek). Some stories state this was Hermes.
  • When Hera gave birth to Hephaestus, Zeus threw him off the top of Mount Olympus because of his repulsive appearance. Some stories, however, state this was Hera.
  • Condemned Prometheus to have his liver eaten by a giant eagle every day for giving the Flames of Olympus to the mortals (i.e., giving mortals the ability to evolve and learn). This was punishment for defying Zeus's authority.
  • If any temples or virgin priestess to Zeus's eldest sister Hestia were violated, he would curse the city until the defiler was burned alive in the temple to purify it. If the defiler was never caught or punished, Zeus would go so far as to destroy the entire city.
  • Killed Salmoneus with a thunderbolt for attempting to impersonate him, riding around in a bronze chariot and loudly imitating thunder.
  • Zeus, with Hera, turned King Haemus and Queen Rhodope into mountains (the Balkan Mountains, or Stara Planina, and Rhodope mountains, respectively) for their vanity.
  • Condemned Ixion to be tied to a fiery wheel for eternity as punishment for attempting to violate Hera.
  • Sank the Telchines beneath the sea for practicing black magic.
  • Blinded the seer Phineus and sent the Harpies to plague him as punishment for revealing the secrets of the gods.
  • Sold his daughter Persephone to Hades without her mother Demeter's knowledge or permission and then feigned ignorance when Demeter inquired about her disappearance.
  • Slew Iasion with a thunderbolt after discovering that he had sex with Demeter.
  • Seduced and sometimes raped many mortal women (and some goddesses) and did little to protect them from the vengeance of his wife, Hera.
  • Struck Hera when she blinded Tiresias as revenge for siding with Zeus in an argument, and rewarded Tiresias with foresight and 7 lives.
  • Turned Cassiopeia into a constellation when she said she was more beautiful than the gods.
  • Hung Hera upside down in the sky after she attempted to drown Heracles.
  • Struck Anchises in the foot after he bragged about an affair with Aphrodite, rending him lame in that foot for the rest of his days.
  • Forced Apollo and Poseidon to serve a mortal Trojan king and the time he chained up Hera for attempting to overthrow him.
  • At the battle of Troy, Zeus had the gods themselves manifest in the world as warriors to let off-steam by killing, pillaging, and egging-on the mortals involved.
  • Turned Pandareus to stone for stealing the golden dog, which had guarded him as an infant in the holy Dictaeon Cave of Crete.

External Links

  • Zeus on the Heroes Wiki.

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See Also
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