The ancient Greek religion recognizes Zeus as the most powerful god. He reigned in the sky and controlled everything that came with it – the weather, thunder, lightning, you name it. Zeus is an equivalent of the Roman’s Jupiter. He presents himself as the leader of men and other fellow gods.

Zeus’ rise to immortality was filled with obstacles. He endured pain, quashed attacks towards him, and transformed as he deemed necessary for survival. Here are some interesting facts about Zeus that might be unheard of:

1. Zeus Survived Early Death

Over time, the Greeks adopted the Cretan myth, which placed Cronus as the initial king of the Titans. However, Cronus caught wind that one of his children would dethrone him. Not knowing who it was, Cronus took no chances, so he ate his children upon their birth.

When Rhea, Cronus’ wife, realized what her husband was trying to do, she devised a plan to save Zeus. Rather than wrap the newborn in clothes for Cronus to swallow, as was his norm, Rhea replaced the infant with a stone. Cronus swallowed the stone, thinking he had eaten his latest child; the rest is history.

2. Zeus Was Both the First and the Last Born

Zeus was the youngest child of 6. However, when the other 5 siblings were swallowed by Cronus, he survived. Interestingly, the swallowed siblings didn’t die, and Zeus discovered this over time. To save his siblings, he disguised himself as a cupbearer and poisoned Cronus.

All the five siblings, including the stone swallowed instead of Zeus, were disgorged from the dead Cronus. Even though the previously eaten siblings were technically older than Zeus, they all fell behind, and Zeus was now the firstborn.

3. Zeus Handed Cruel Punishments

According to the Greek myth, Zeus was the most powerful god. He was also very intelligent. He could see an uprising against him before it even started. This allowed him to quash any attempts to dethrone him in advance. He administered cruel punishments to offenders to ensure that no one else tried anything.

For instance, Zeus banned the people he governed from using fire. As you would expect, Prometheus went against this rule and supplied others with fire stolen from the god’s homestead. To make an example of him, Zeus hanged Prometheus strategically such that an eagle would easily eat his liver daily.

Zeus saw to it that Prometheus’ liver grew back every night for the eagle to feed on the next day, punishing him forever. Even though Heracles managed to save Prometheus from his agony, imagine what Zeus would do to someone who tried to dethrone him.

4. The Most Powerful God Was Afraid of a Woman

You would imagine that Zeus being the most intelligent and powerful ruler, nothing or no one would faze him. It turns out this is not true, as he was afraid of another goddess named Nyx. She was older than Zeus and was believed to be more powerful.

To prove these sentiments, Hera, Zeus’ wife, once wanted to get back at her husband for angering her. She hatched a plan with Hypnos to help her attain her mission. The script entailed Hypnos putting Zeus into a deep sleep then Hera would come in and do whatever she wanted to.

However, given that Zeus was mighty, Hypnos couldn’t put him to sleep. Upon realizing what Hypnos was up to, Zeus chased after him until Hypnos ran into his mother’s (Nyx’s) cave. Zeus caved from entering the cave, stating that he didn’t want to upset Nyx.

5. Zeus Bore His Favorite Child from His Forehead

Swallowing a child that you thought would dethrone you seems to be a thing in ancient Greek mythology. Just as Cronus, Zeus’ father, had swallowed some of his kids, Zeus went a step further and ate his pregnant wife. He thought the child to be born was a risk to his throne.

However, when the time for the swallowed pregnant wife, Metis, came to deliver, the child, Athena, came out from Zeus’ forehead. Turns out she wasn’t that a threat after all. If anything, Athena grew to be Zeus’ favorite child and even shared the eagle and thunderbolt representations.

6. Athena Might Have Been the Favorite, But Apollo Was the Most Powerful

Athena was undoubtedly Zeus’ favorite, but among the many children that the god had, Apollo was the most powerful and famous. Conceived of an unwanted affair between Zeus and Leto, Apollo grew to conquer many battles. He was also a twin to Artemis.

Apollo’s areas of expertise included music, poetry, sun, light, healing, and agriculture. Known for his framework and athletic build, it was easy for him to turn out just like Zeus in almost all aspects, including a string of love affairs.

7. Some People Still Worship Zeus Today

Many things have changed in the modern era, including how and who people worship. However, there are still thousands of people who still glorify Zeus and other ancient Greek gods. Their reasons vary from cultural to nostalgia and simply wanting to stick to their traditions.

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Last Update: July 4, 2023