Zeus: The Supreme God of Olympus

This painting represents Jupiter (Zeus) and Lycaon turned by the king of Olympus into wolf.
Jupiter (Zeus) and Lycaon by Jan Cossiers. “The Wolf is better! He is more honourable and stronger. You just want people to be an easier prey and dish!” “We were having so much fun together! Why are you turning into JC now?” – exclaimed the Wolf taking control over Lycaon’s body. But you always ate human meat! – he added shortly afterward. “In fact, the whole thing was about eating human meat peacefully, but you put my crimes into evidence and the heroes began to disturb my feast too much. – said Zeus. I cannot lose such an opportunity! Now I can enslave people even better by means of this new religion! And if the wolf’s principles of the Roman Empire disappear, the wolves and heroes won’t be a problem anymore. If the warrior’s philosophy is broken forever and beyond time, it’s even better!” – said Z, turning into the most famous JC.


Zeus is the god of the sky and thunder in Greek Mythology. He is depicted as a womanizer and severe, imposing deity, that punishes humans or for their benevolent wish of progress, or excessive expression of evil, being fond of human ordinariness, obedience and absolute compliance. As the father of great heroes, the supreme god of Olympus is never helpful in their lives. On the contrary, he is usually the origin of their long-lasting misadventures and perilous feats.

The Chain of Zeus

Zeus, the father of gods and men, immortals and mortals, reigns over the world and Olympus. He is the strongest of the gods. Thus none of the deities can match his power. According to Homer’s Iliad, if someone descended a strong gold chain from Olympus, giving one end in hands of Zeus, and the other one to all other gods, the Olympians would not be able not only to throw the supreme god down to Earth, but even to move him a little bit from his golden throne. But if Zeus had pulled the chain, he would have lifted all the gods on it, along with the earth and the sea. He would have wrapped the chain around the top of Olympus, leaving the world suspended among the expanse of heavens.

Isn’t that the expression of the power, that have human envy, vanity and human craving to kill a better neighbour? The longing for the death of winners and all the rebellious good?

The Aegis of Zeus

According to the Iliad, the Aegis is a powerful magic piece of clothing or shield, carried by Zeus and Athena. Sometimes the Greeks represented it as an animal skin or a shield, there the head of Medusa had been attached as a symbol of power. When Zeus shakes the aegis over the two armies converged in a battle, the sky shrouds by heavy clouds. Afterwards the flashes of lightning divide the sky and the thunder roars as a huge lion. The terror extends in the souls of one army and bravery fills up the hearts of another one. People say, that Zeus made the Aegis from the skin of his goat-nurse, Amalthea, when she had died.

Zeus and people

As the possessor of thunder and lightning, Zeus is the god who sends thunderstorm, therefore the Greeks called him Thunderer. With his thunderbolts he burns persons, who dare to violate the laws which set up the world. Otherwise, he behaves mercifully with all those people, who honor the gods and his absolute power.

The gods and men respect and acclaim Zeus every day. When he comes into his palace on Olympus, all gods and goddesses salute him respectfully. When Zeus speaks his will, his words sound clearly and undeniable.

Vessels of good and evil

Nearby the throne of Zeus there stand two big vessels. In one of them are placed the gifts of good and in the other one – the gifts of evil. The supreme god draws good and evil from the vessels and sends them down to people. If the Thunderer likes certain person, he receives only the gifts of good, enjoying happily and joyfully his mortal life.

However, the Greeks realized, that there is no life without sorrows. Therefore, the evil gifts of Zeus fall upon those who anger the thunderer. Different misfortunes and especially diseases, poverty and hunger hound people all around the world! There is no man or hero, that didn’t suffer the whims of Zeus. Everyone can be a puppet or toy in his arrogant hands of dictator.

Themis, the goddess of Law

The guardian of laws, Themis, daughter of Uranus and Gaea, helps Zeus in his daily labor. She observes that no one violates the laws neither on earth nor on Olympus.

The Greeks depicted Themis with scales and a sword in her hands, and sometimes blindfolded. The scales served to weigh the guilt of the accused, meanwhile the sword was supposed to punish their guilty. On the other hand, her eyes were blindfolded, because she needed to be impartial and fair.

Dike and Nemesis

This painting represents Justice and Divine Vengeance as two young women, holding a torch and sword while overflying and pursuing a criminal, who killed and robbed a man.
Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime by Pierre Paul Prud’hon

Themis had always overseen that everything was according to the law. Meanwhile her and Zeus’s daughter, called Dike – “Justice” – supervised that everything had occurred according to justice. She defended the truth and behaved like a fearsome enemy of deceit. The Greeks had often represented her, beating Adikia – the Greek spirit of Injustice.

The other deity of fairness was Nemesis – a formidable goddess of just retribution and avenger of crimes. She had a punishing sword in her hand as well. No criminal had ever escaped her harsh persecution. Even though the felony had been committed secretly, Nemesis was always finding the criminals. Full of hatred and strength she meted out their punishment without delay.

Zeus and the Moirai

According to the ancient Greeks, three inexorable goddesses – the sisters Moirai determine the fate of the gods and people. The first of them, named Clotho (“the spinner”) spins the yarn of human life.  If the yarn breaks, the life in question is over. Her sister Lachesis (“the allotter”) takes out a draw, which is destined for a person in life.

The third Fate, Atropos (“the inflexible”), cuts the yarn of life, spun by Clotho. Thus no one can avoid death, and nothing can avert its darkness, for that reason Atropos received such a name.

Harsh and inexorable are the Moirai, even Zeus himself is subject to them. As a result, nobody in the world can avoid the fate they had appointed as certain.

Zeus’s oracle at Dodona

As the supreme god of the world, who only surrenders to Fate, Zeus has power over the fates of men. Thus he knows the future of humans and if someone makes him a question, he can give an answer.

In the city of Dodona there stood a famous temple of Zeus with an impressive oracle. People used to go there in order to receive predictions. They obtained the answer from a rustling of leaves on the sacred oak of Zeus or through the pleasant murmur of a stream which flowed under this oak.

Zeus and the Olympic Games

Once in four years all the ancient Greeks gathered to honor Zeus in the city of Olympia. It was located in the south of Hellas and the Greeks dedicated it to the king of Olympus.

This painting represents Zeus and Hera receiving the drink of gods from Hebe, their daughter and the goddess of youth.
Jupiter (Zeus) and Juno (Hera) receiving the Nectar of Hebe by Gabriel Francois Doyen

The Olympic Games were the most famous of all ancient Greek festivals. For this reason, the Greeks celebrated them here. Meanwhile the Games had place, a sacred truce was declared all around Hellas. Thereafter the kings stopped the wars, and no one dared to hinder people, who went to Olympia.

Henceforth all the citizens stood under the protection of Zeus and the holiday lasted five days. Afterwards the winners in the Olympic competitions were obtaining the favor of Zeus himself. Their reward didn’t consist in any valuable things, but resulted to be a green olive wreath. Insofar as the Greeks considered it as the most honorable of all the awards.

Here, in Olympia, had also stood a magnificent statue of the supreme god. People throughout Hellas knew of its beauty and it was considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The great sculptor Phidias created this marvelous masterpiece and hereafter it was placed in the temple, dedicated to Zeus.

The god was depicted seating on a throne, decorated with gold, ivory, ebony and precious stones. In his right hand Zeus held an ivory statue of the goddess Nike. Meanwhile in his left hand he grasped a scepter, as a sign of his power. The god’s hair, clothes and shoes were made of gold and his body of ivory.

Zeus’s Meaning in Greek Mythology

Ancient Greeks asked themselves about the origins of human life and tried to explain the world, that surrounded them. The creation and meaning of humankind; its purpose on Earth and its ultimate destiny. Insofar as the Greeks had seen many hardships and injustices, they needed to blame someone for their misfortunes and implore someone else for help and shelter. On this account, the Greeks invented many different gods and goddesses. Meanwhile Zeus and Hera behaved despotically, there was always a deity, whom people in need could ask for assistance.

Insomuch as the supreme god created humans, but forced them to suffer, the Greeks didn’t consider him as benevolent anymore. They wanted to find a way to overcome the reality, vanquishing its evils and woe. Thereupon, Athena, Hermes and the great ancient heroes played the role of the force, destined to overthrow the king of Olympus.

In fact, Athena, Hermes, Hephaestus, Artemis, Apollo and Ares had displaced Zeus and attributed him the sordidest role in Greek mythology. Thereupon the supreme god of the Greeks turned into unnecessary and disturbing. In essence, he became a kind of tyrant, that summed up the squalidest human qualities.

Zeus lived like the great Lothario, that used and deceived women. He never cared about his own progeny and ruined the childhood and life of many heroes. He was condemning and destroying humanity, when it was about to improve and abandon its awful misery.

On the other side, Zeus detested the hard-working people and the honorable heroes. He was fond of human ordinariness, absolute obedience and despair. As a matter of fact, ingenuity, freedom and justice meant nothing but a bother for his faultlessly autocratic lordship. The king of Olympus became the evil, iniquitous god, who condemned and tortured mankind.

Hereafter, the man wished to be independent. He knew that his mastery, intelligence and craft grasped the master key. For that reason, he had chosen Athena and Hermes as the main patrons of freedom and humankind.

The meaning of Zeus by Greek philosophers

After many years of splendorous culture, the blossoming of philosophy, science and art, ancient sages, poets and storytellers had given a special meaning to the supreme god of Olympus. He didn’t personify only a deity but this indestructible and harsh nature of civically accepted evils:

This painting represents Jupiter (Zeus) as an athletic bearded man in red robes in company of an eagle, sitting in the middle of the sky.
Heinrich Friedrich Füger Jupiter Enthroned. An average simple man having absolute power and mistreating his eagle. Zeus always abhored and disrespected the warriors and the heroes, personified by the eagle in this painting.

Zeus possessed and symbolized the wicked evil essence, which stopped and doomed the humankind throughout centuries.

To be always the winner, above everything else in the world. To mark the birth and frustrate the life of heroes, who can overshadow my glory. Thus to frustrate and hinder their path, because of envy, hate and arrogance.

To destroy humanity, when it pretends to be free and prosperous. To abuse all the women and hold an absolute right over everyone on earth, by the use of laws and archons such as Hera. That being the case, Zeus had finally symbolized the origin of adversities and human tribulation. He did not behave openly as a violent enemy, but disguised his evil nature with traditions, religions, customs and laws. Disinformation and human envy had been his main pillars of power.

To summarize in one simple phrase and as a basic evil quintessence of the humankind: To be the winner, above everyone in the world. To ruin and destroy the winners and heroes, which could overshadow my cowardice or my ideal of nothing. Consequently, to abuse everyone so much as possible. Envious sociopathy – the way of a simple man.

Athena vs Zeus

That being so, the ancient Greeks believed in someone, who could dethrone Zeus and his absolute power in the world. They had extoled Athena as the goddess of wisdom and Hermes as the god of trade. Afterwards they had spoken about Prometheus, Hephaestus and Poseidon. In fact, they invented and told many myths about greater and better persons, whom they called heroes.

Thereupon Perseus, Theseus and Odysseus symbolized the might of a good man, his capability of progress and glory. The honor, strength and ingenuity of the Greek heroes wasn’t the single ideal of the legends.

The man needed to search perfection on his way of life and the hero was a clear point of reference. Even though the social responsibility and kindness are necessary and useful in politics; the man needs to understand the vile human nature and fight against it.

That is to say, Greek Mythology is a wide road to the conception of the overman, defined as a better sort of human being. The man that built himself by virtue of philosophy, art, science, sport and justice. A nation of people without diseases, suffering, hunger and other type of archons.

In essence, the Ideal state of healthy good people without mortality, elder age or the limits of human evil.

The man has its boundaries, but he is enough to reach great victory by himself. He only needs to admire and respect his main patroness and Maecenas – the splendid goddess Athena, amazing and fabulous king of chess.

She is the personification of science, art and philosophy, whom is concerned the wonderful role of saving the humankind and its long-living prosperity.