The Greek god Zeus

Zeus (Roman equivalent: Jupiter) was the king of the gods, dominating the sky and ruling over both his fellow immortals on Olympus and mankind, dispensing justice and settling disputes.

The father of Zeus was Cronos, who habitually swallowed his children so that none could usurp his power. Rhea, Zeus' mother, concealed the baby god in Crete, giving Cronos a stone to swallow in his place. Reaching maturity, Zeus forced Cronos to disgorge his other children. Zeus ruled the sky, his brothers Poseidon and Hades controlled the sea and the Underworld, and other deities had their particular roles. However, all acknowledged Zeus as supreme ruler.

Hera was the wife of Zeus, and suffered from his repeated infidelities. His amours with nymphs, goddesses and mortal women resulted in a series of offspring who populate many of the ancient Greek myths. Divine children included Athena, who sprang fully-armed from Zeus' head, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Eileithuia, Hebe, Hermes, Dionysos, the Seasons, the Fates, the Graces, the Muses and, according to some versions, Aphrodite and Persephone. Children of mortal women included Herakles, Argos, Minos, Rhadamanthys, Sarpedon, Perseus, Helen, Castor and Pollux.

Zeus was widely worshipped throughout Greece and is usually represented in art as a mature, bearded god. He is sometimes shown with an eagle, and often holds a thunderbolt, symbol of his control over the sky and the weather, and a sign of his invincible power.

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