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The Many Lovers of Zeus

Updated on May 28, 2015

Who was Zeus?

Zeus was the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. He overthrew his father, Cronus, and then drew lots with his brothers Poseidon and Hades, in order to decide who would succeed their father on the throne. Zeus won the draw and became the supreme ruler of the gods, as well as lord of the sky and rain. His weapon was a thunderbolt which he hurled at those who displeased or defied him, especially liars and oath breakers. Zeus, the presiding deity of the universe, ruler of the skies and the earth, was regarded by the Greeks as the god of all natural phenomena on the sky; the personification of the laws of nature; the ruler of the state; and finally, the father of gods and men. He was married to Hera but often tested her patience, as he was infamous for his many affairs.

Divine Lovers

Aphrodite

She is the Goddess of love, desire and beauty. Apart fro her natural beauty, she had a magical girdle that compelled people to desire her. Zeus’ jealous wife, Hera, found out about Aphrodite carrying Zeus’ baby and laid her hands of the belly of Aphrodite and cursed him with impotence, ugliness and foul-mindedness

Children with Zeus:

  • Priapos - God of fertility, vegetables, nature, livestock, fruit, beekeeping and gardens

Demeter

She is the Olympian Goddess of corn, grain and the harvest. It was believed that she made the crops grow each year; thus the first loaf of bread made from the annual harvest was offered to her. She is also Zeus’ sister.

Children with Zeus:

  • Persephone - Queen of the Underworld

Dione

She is the Titan Goddess and an Oceanid (sea nymph). She was an oracle and was worshipped alongside Zeus at the earliest oracle in Greece, located in Dodona. The priestesses and prophetesses at her shrine were called Peleiades (the doves), which were the sacred bird of her daughter.

Children with Zeus:

  • Aphrodite - Goddess of love, desire and beauty

Eurynome

She is a Titan Goddess and Oceanid that was worshipped at a sanctuary near the confluence of rivers called the Neda and the Lymax in classical Peloponnesus. She was Zeus’ third wife.

Children with Zeus:

  • Charites (Graces):
  1. Aglaea - Goddess of beauty, splendor, glory, magnificence and adornment
  2. Euphrosyne – Goddess of mirth
  3. Thalia – Goddess of good cheer

Gaia

She was the great mother of all: the primal Greek Mother Goddess; creator and giver of birth to the Earth and all the Universe; the heavenly gods, the Titans, and the Giants were born to her. The gods reigning over their classical pantheon were born from her union with Uranus (the sky), while the sea-gods were born from her union with Pontus (the sea).

Children with Zeus:

  • Manes - the eponymous first king of Maeonia and later came to be known as the first king in line of the primordial house of Lydia, the Atyad dynasty

Hera

She is the Queen of the Gods and Goddess of Marriage, Women, Childbirth, and Family. She is the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus. Due to Zeus’ numerous affairs, she has a turbulent relationship with him. His infidelities made her extremely jealous and led to many quarrels between them.

Children with Zeus:

  • Ares – God of war
  • Eileithyia – Goddess of childbirth
  • Eris – Goddess of discord
  • Hebe – Goddess of youth

Leto

She is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe and the sister of Asteria. Hera finds out Leto is carrying Zeus’ twins and in her jealousy caused all lands to shun Leto. Leto had to search for a place where she could give birth. Finally, she finds an island that isn't attached to the ocean floor so it isn't considered land and she can give birth.

Children with Zeus:

  • Apollo - God of music, poetry, art, oracles, archery, plague, medicine, sun, light and knowledge
  • Artemis - Goddess of the Hunt, Forests and Hills, the Moon, Archery

Metis

She is a Titan Goddess and, like several primordial figures, an Oceanid. She was the first wife of Zeus, and became the goddess of wisdom, prudence and deep thought.

Children with Zeus:

  • Athena - Goddess of Wisdom and Crafts

Mnemosyne

Zeus slept with Mnemosyne for nine consecutive days, eventually leading to the birth of the nine Muses. The kings and poets were inspired by Mnemosyne and the Muses, thus getting their extraordinary abilities in speech and using powerful words.

Children with Zeus:

  • Nine muses:
  1. Calliope - presides over eloquence and epic poetry
  2. Clio - muse of history and lyre playing
  3. Euterpe - muse of music and called the "Giver of delight"
  4. Erato - muse of lyric poetry, especially romantic and erotic poetry
  5. Melpomene – muse of singing
  6. Polyhymnia - muse of sacred poetry, sacred hymn, dance, and eloquence as well as agriculture and pantomime
  7. Terpsichore - muse and goddess of dance and chorus
  8. Thalia - presides over comedy and idyllic poetry
  9. Urania - muse of astronomy

Nemesis

She is the Goddess of divine retribution and revenge, who would show her wrath to any human being that would commit hubris, i.e. arrogance before the gods. She was considered a remorseless goddess. Although a respected goddess, Nemesis had brought much sorrow to mortals such as Echo and Narcissus. Narcissus was a very beautiful and arrogant hunter who disdained the ones who loved him. She lured him to a pool where he saw his own reflection and fell in love with it; not realizing it was only an image. He was unable to leave the beauty of his reflection and he eventually died. Nemesis believed that no one should ever have too much good, and she had always cursed those who were blessed with countless gifts.

Children with Zeus:

  • Helen of Sparta

Persephone

She is the Goddess of the Underworld, springtime, vegetation, and maidenhood. Hades, the god-king of the underworld, abducted her. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation. She was also Zeus’ daughter.

Children with Zeus:

  • Zagreus - the God of the Orphic Mysteries
  • Melinoe – Goddess of ghosts

Selene

She is the goddess of the moon. Like her brother Helios, the Sun god, who drives his chariot across the sky each day, Selene is also said to drive across the heavens.

Children with Zeus:

  • Ersa - Goddess of the plant-nourishing dew
  • The Nemean lion - a vicious monster that lived at Nemea
  • Pandia - meaning "all brightness" and is the Greek personification of the moon

Themis

She is a Titan Goddess and is described as "of good counsel", and is the personification of divine order, law, natural law and custom (the traditional rules of conduct first established by the gods). She was also a prophetic goddess who presided over the most ancient oracles, including Delphoi.

Children with Zeus:

  • The three Horai
  1. Diké - goddess of moral justice
  2. Eunomia - goddess of law and legislation
  3. Eirene - personification of peace and wealth
  • The three Moirai
  1. Clotho - spun the thread of life from her Distaff onto her Spindle
  2. Lachesis - measured the thread of life allotted to each person with her measuring rod
  3. Atropos - cutter of the thread of life

Source

Semi-divine

Aegina

She is the daughter of the river god Asopus and the nymph Metope and is a Naiad nymph. Zeus carried her off in the guise of an eagle to the island of Aegina, which was named after her.

Children with Zeus:

  • Aeacus - king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf

Carme

She is a female Cretan spirit who assisted the grain harvest of Demeter's Cretan predecessor. According to stories of the Olympian gods, she was the mother, by Zeus, of the virginal huntress Britomartis, also called Diktynna, whom she bore at Kaino.

Children with Zeus:

  • Britomartis - Minoan goddess of mountains and hunting

Electra

A Pleiad Nymphe of the island of Samothrake (in the Greek Aegean). She was the daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. She was the sister of Iphigenia and Chrysothemis, as well as Orestes, with whom they planned the murder of their mother and her lover Aegisthus, seeking revenge for the murder of their father.

Children with Zeus:

  • Dardanus - founder of the city of Dardanus at the foot of Mount Ida in the Troad
  • Iasion - founded the mystic rites on the island of Samothrace
  • Harmonia - immortal Goddess of harmony and concord

Himalia

She is a nymph of the eastern end of the island of Rhodes. Zeus seduced her when he came to the island to vanquish the Gigantes.

Children with Zeus:

  • Kronios
  • Spartaios
  • Kytos

Io

She is a Naiad nymph of the Argive River Inakhos. She was seduced by Zeus, who changed her into a heifer to escape detection from his jealous wife, Hera.

Children with Zeus:

  • Epaphus - meaning, "touch", shows the way he was born - that is, by Zeus' touch.
  • Keroessa - heroine of the foundational myth of Byzantium

Plouto

She is a nymph of Mount Sipylos in Lydia (western Anatolia) and her parents were Oceanus and Tethys (thus making Plouto one of the 3000 Oceanids).

Children with Zeus:

  • Tantalus - most famous for his eternal punishment in Tartarus

Taygete

She is a Naias Nymphe of the Argolis (in Southern Greece) who was abducted to Assyria (in Asia Minor) by Zeus. He promised her the fulfillment of a wish, and she declared "I wish to remain a virgin".

Children with Zeus:

  • Lacedaemon - mythical king of Laconia

Mortal Lovers

Alcmene

She was the wife of Amphitryon and mother, by Zeus, of Heracles. She was also the mother by Amphitryon of Iphicles and Laonome.

Children with Zeus:

  • Heracles - divine hero in Greek mythology

Antiope

She was the daughter of the Boeotian river god Asopus, according to Homer; in later sourcesshe is called the daughter of the "nocturnal" king Nycteus of Thebes or, in the Cypria, of Lycurgus, but for Homer her site is purely Boeotian.

Children with Zeus:

  • Twins:
  1. Amphion
  2. Zethus - Together they are famous for building Thebes

Callisto

She was a nymph of Lycaon. Transformed into a bear and set among the stars, she was the bear-mother of the Arcadians, through her son Arcas.

Children with Zeus:

  • Arcas

Cassiopeia

She the queen of Aethiopia, was the wife of King Cepheus, daughter of Coronus and Zeuxo. Very beautiful and vain, she committed hubris by saying that she and her daughter Andromedawere more beautiful that the daughters of the sea god Nereus, called the Nereids.

Children with Zeus:

  • Atymnius

Lamia

She was a beautiful queen of Libya who became a child-eating daemon. Aristophanes claimed her name derived from the Greek word for gullet, referring to her habit of devouring children.

Children with Zeus:

  • Achilleus - most notable feat during the Trojan War was the slaying of the Trojan hero Hector outside the gates of Troy
  • Herophile (The Delphic Sibyl) - legendary figure who gave prophecies in the sacred precinct of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus

Laodamia

She was the daughter of Bellerophon and Philonoe, sister of Hippolochus and Isander. She was shot by Artemis, that is, died a sudden, instant death, one day when she was weaving.Diodorus Siculus makes her the wife of Evander, who was a son of Sarpedon the elder and by her father of Sarpedon the younger.

Children with Zeus:

  • Sarpedon - king of Lycia

Niobe

She was a daughter of Phoroneus. She is not to be confused with the more famous Niobe, who was punished for boasting that she had more children that Leto.

Children with Zeus:

  • Argus - king and eponym of Argos
  • Pelasgus

Pandora

She was a daughter of King Deucalion and Pyrrha who was named after her maternal grandmother, the more famous Pandora.

Children with Zeus:

  • Graecus
  • Latinus

Protogeneia

She was a daughter of Deucalion and Pyrrha, progenitors in Greek mythology. She was married to Locrus, but had no children; Zeus, however, who carried her off, became by her, on mount Maenalus in Arcadia, the father of Opus, Aethlius and Aetolus. According to others she was not the mother, but a daughter of Opus. Endymion also is called a son of Protogeneia.

Children with Zeus:

  • Aethlius - first king of Elis
  • Opus - king of the Epeians and father of Cambyse or Protogeneia

Pyrrha

She was the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora (Pandora’s box) and wife of Deucalion. When Zeus decided to end the Bronze Age with the great deluge, Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, were the only survivors. Even though he was imprisoned, Prometheus who could see the future and had foreseen the coming of this flood told his son, Deucalion, to build an ark and, thus, they survived. During the flood, they landed on Mount Parnassus, the only place spared by the flood.

Children with Zeus:

  • Hellen

Semele

She was the daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia, was the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths.

Children with Zeus:

  • Dionysus - god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy

Thyia

She was the name of a female figure associated with cults of several major gods. "Thyia" was derived from the Ancient Greek verb θύωmeaning "to sacrifice". The name was applied to a type of fragrant tree called a Thuja.

Children with Zeus:

  • Magnes
  • Makedon

Ganymedes

Ganymedes is the only known male lover of Zeus. He was a handsome, young Trojan prince who was carried off to heaven by Zeus, or his eagle, to be the god's lover and cup-bearer of the gods. Ganymedes also received a place amongst the stars as the constellation Aquarius, his ambrosial mixing cup became the Krater, and the eagle Aquila. Ganymedes was frequently represented as the god of homosexual love, and as such appears as a playmate of the love-gods Eros (Love) and Hymenaios (Marital Love).

Comments

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    • profile image

      JT 

      2 years ago

      Your first picture isn't of Zeus it's of moses. You can tell by the rays of light emanating from his head - there was an issue with a translation of the bible in antiquity resulting in confusion between a word that could be translated [incorrectly] as 'horns' or [correctly] as 'rays' [of light].

    • DabbleYou profile image

      DabbleYou 

      3 years ago

      Interesting info about the different lovers of Zeus. Will be coming back for future reference.

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