"Zeus," Museum of Olympia, Greece.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Corel Corporation.


In Greek mythology, Zeus (Jupiter in Roman mythology) was the king of heaven and Earth and of all the Olympian gods. He was also known as the god of justice. He was named king of the gods in the special meeting that followed his overthrow of the god Cronus (Saturn in Roman mythology) and the Titans. In the council of the gods that followed, Zeus was crowned Lord of Heaven and Earth and of all the gods. He granted Poseidon (Neptune in Roman mythology) dominion over the Sea, and his other brother Hades (Pluto in Roman mythology) dominion over the underworld.

Zeus's wife was Hera, who was very jealous of the attention that Zeus paid to other goddesses and women. Zeus would often disguise himself as a bird or animal in order to sleep with other women. Usually, when Hera found out about the affair, she would severely punish the woman. Although not often written about, Hera possessed great power. Those that made her angry paid the price.

For example, Zeus fell in love with the lovely Io. Zeus turned Io into a cow to protect her from Hera. However, when Hera found out about the affair she tied up the cow. When Io escaped, Hera sent a gadfly to constantly sting Io for eternity.

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Discover Jupiter

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. It is also one of the brighter objects in the night sky. No one knows for sure who discovered Jupiter, but we know the ancient Greeks named him after...more


Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and...more


According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera was the jealous wife of the sky god, Zeus....more


For the ancient Greeks, the Hyades were daughters of Pleione and Atlas, a giant who carried the heavens on his shoulders. The Hyades were sisters of the Pleiades and the Hesperides. They were very attached...more

The Nemean Lion

More than two thousand years ago, Greeks believed the god Zeus placed the figure of a gigantic lion in the sky with the rest of the stars. This lion lived in the city of Nemea. The people who lived in...more


Pegasus was a winged horse created by the sea god Poseidon and the Gorgon Medusa. The Gorgon Medusa was once a beautiful Lybian princess. Because she was seduced by the sea god Poseidon in the temple consecrated...more


Pandora is a small moon of Saturn. It was discovered by S. Collins and others in 1980 from photos taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Pandora's name comes from Greek mythology. Pandora was the first woman,...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA