Zeus is the father of all the gods and humans; he is the most senior of the Olympian gods Master of the Heavens and Lord of the Universe. He was a third generation god. His grandmother was Gaea the first mother and he was the youngest child of the first race of deities, his parents being Cronus and Rhea. He escaped the fate of his brothers and sisters of being swallowed by his father and was brought up in secret by the Nymph, Neda and the wives of the Corybands at Idaeon Andron of the mount Dictaie in Crete ,and Melliai who were assisted by Adrastea and the goat Amalthea. He led the younger generation of gods in the battles against the older race of Titans and afterwards the Giants and finally conquered the mighty serpent Typhon to win his position of King of all the Gods.
As king, Zeus created the world from scratch and after Prometheus’ attempt to help mankind, created a new race of humans that did not have the arrogance of the old human race but instead honoured their gods. He did this by sending a tremendous flood to the world with only Deucalion and Pyrrha surviving, and then allowing them to create new humans from the rocks that they threw behind them.
He was married to Hera although he is known for his erotic philandering, endless abductions and seductions of other women, appearing as either human or an animal to trick women to lay with him. He fathered many children, some godly but others heroic semi-gods. These included Athena, Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen (of Troy), Minos, the Muses, Ares, Hebe and and Hephaestus. By fathering a whole generation of gods and semi-divine heroes he usurped the power of procreation from the Mother Goddess, Gaea.
As guarantor for the order and harmony of the world he would avenge and exterminate any god that went against him and upset this harmony. He was, however, also a protector and a fair god, who judged the actions of both gods and mortals with compassion. He protected the states and defended cities during wars. He granted freedom to those who were under his protection, protected the homes of humans, their peace and safeguarded the institution of marriage and friendship. Besides caring for families he protected the poor, strangers and refugees. He also was responsible for the climate and the changes in weather, sending rain to make the fields fertile.
His symbols of the eagle and the thunderbolt were linked to his powers with the eagle being the sacred bird which flies higher in the sky than any other bird and faster than everything but lightening. As well as these two symbols the oak tree is sacred to Zeus and in Zeus’ oracle in Dodona, Epirus, an oak tree was in the centre of the temple and the priests would divine the god’s pronouncements by interpreting the rustling of its leaves. Finally, the bull is a sacred animal that symbolizes Zeus. The god took the form of a white bull when he seduced the mortal Europe and in his seduction of Io, changed her into a heifer to conceal her from his jealous wife Hera.
As the king of gods Zeus had easy access to the women of the world and took full advantage of it. Also, his power as a supreme god made him difficult to resist. Prior to his marriage to Hear he was married first to Métis, then Themes. He was interested in Demeter but she resisted him. His third wife was Mnemosyne. The list of his love affairs after his final marriage, to Hera, is considerable.