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King of the Gods
God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, justice
Member of the Twelve Olympians
Jupiter Smyrna Louvre Ma13.jpg
Zeus de Smyrne, discovered in Smyrna in 1680[1]
AbodeMount Olympus
SymbolThunderbolt, eagle, bull, oak
DayThursday (hēmérā Diós)
Personal information
ParentsCronus and Rhea
SiblingsHestia, Hades, Hera, Poseidon and Demeter; Chiron
ConsortHera, various others
ChildrenAeacus, Agdistis, Angelos, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Britomartis, Dionysus, Eileithyia, Enyo, Epaphus Eris, Ersa, Hebe, Helen of Troy, Hephaestus, Heracles, Hermes, Lacedaemon, Melinoë, Minos, Pandia, Persephone, Perseus, Rhadamanthus, Zagreus, the Graces, the Horae, the Litae, the Muses, the Moirai
Roman equivalentJupiter[2]
Norse equivalentThor[3]
Slavic equivalentPerun[citation needed]
Hinduism equivalentIndra[4][5][6][7]

Zeus[a] is the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who rules as king of the gods of Mount Olympus. His name is cognate with the first element of his Roman equivalent Jupiter. His mythology and powers are similar, though not identical, to those of Indo-European deities such as Jupiter, Perkūnas, Perun, Indra, Dyaus and Thor.[4][5][6][7]

Zeus is the child of Cronus and Rhea, the youngest of his siblings to be born, though sometimes reckoned the eldest as the others required disgorging from Cronus's stomach. In most traditions, he is married to Hera, by whom he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe, and Hephaestus.[10] At the oracle of Dodona, his consort was said to be Dione, by whom the Iliad states that he fathered Aphrodite.[13] Zeus was also infamous for his erotic escapades. These resulted in many divine and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses.[10]

He was respected as an allfather who was chief of the gods[14] and assigned roles to the others:[15] "Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, and all the gods rise in his presence."[16][17] He was equated with many foreign weather gods, permitting Pausanias to observe "That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men".[18] Zeus' symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical "cloud-gatherer" (Greek: Νεφεληγερέτα, Nephelēgereta)[19] also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.


The god's name in the nominative is Ζεύς (Zeús). It is inflected as follows: vocative: Ζεῦ (Zeû); accusative: Δία (Día); genitive: Διός (Diós); dative: Διί (Dií). Diogenes Laërtius quotes Pherecydes of Syros as spelling the name Ζάς.[20]

Zeus is the Greek continuation of *Di̯ēus, the name of the Proto-Indo-European god of the daytime sky, also called *Dyeus ph2tēr ("Sky Father").[21][22] The god is known under this name in the Rigveda (Vedic Sanskrit Dyaus/Dyaus Pita), Latin (compare Jupiter, from Iuppiter, deriving from the Proto-Indo-European vocative *dyeu-ph2tēr),[23] deriving from the root *dyeu- ("to shine", and in its many derivatives, "sky, heaven, god").[21] Zeus is the only deity in the Olympic pantheon whose name has such a transparent Indo-European etymology.[24]

The earliest attested forms of the name are the Mycenaean Greek