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Thursday, April 29, 2021

A To Z Blogging Challenge - Z Is For Zeus

Zeus. Public Domain

 What we know most about Zeus is all those women he seduced or raped. It’s hard to see how he found time to run the universe in between all those amorous adventures(not all of them even in human shape), but he did. 

In the opening episode of the TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, he appears, holding his newborn son and, smiling, assuring him that one day he will learn the pleasures of women and have a great time. That role was played by Anthony Quinn, not the majestic Zeus we usually imagine, but certainly getting across Zeus the womaniser.

A number of other actors have played the role in films, of course. Liam Neeson played the role in the 2010 Clash Of The Titans, with Laurence Olivier in the Ray Harryhausen film. Sean Bean played the role in Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief. Even Rip Torn got to play Zeus, in the animated Hercules film.

Usually he is presented as a dignified figure, with a long white beard and long hair - think Laurence Olivier. I believe that the later images of Jesus are based on the image of Zeus; the Byzantine Jesus is very different. 

To be honest, though, I don’t see him as remotely dignified. He is always at it, with chasing women, and having to make sure nobody can overthrow him, for which I don’t blame him, as he overthrew his own father, Cronos, who had done nasty things to Uranus, his father.

In Offenbach’s Orpheus In The Underworld, the gods of Olympus laugh at Jupiter(Zeus) for all his affairs, after he has taken Pluton(Hades) to task for his.

After escaping being swallowed by Cronos and being nursed and cared for by some nymphs(one of them a goat, whose horn became the Horn of Plenty), Zeus grows up on Mount Ida, among the shepherds. Armed by his mother, Rhea, with the appropriate emetic, he makes Cronos vomit up his siblings and leads them in revolt, before taking up his position as king of the gods on Olympus. 

Zeus in his chariot. Public Domain

After that, it’s one woman after another, with Hera pursuing her rivals to make their lives miserable. Pretty much every myth I can think of about him, after that rebellion, involves a woman(or, in some cases, a boy). A randy god indeed! Thinking about it, it’s surprising the world isn’t filled with demigods! 

Someone said that a lot of us are related to Genghis Khan; if the Greek myths are true, we can probably add Zeus as a relative.

What do you think? Would you like to be a Zeus descendant? 

And here we will end, except tomorrow’s summary of this year’s A to Z. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it.



Debra She Who Seeks said...

I've enjoyed your series immensely, Sue! But is Zeus the greatest of all time? I don't know about that -- check this out!

Epic Rap Battles of History: Zeus vs Thor --

AJ Blythe said...

Yay, you got to the end. I've really enjoyed this series and it seems fitting to finish with Zeus. You know, when you mention his womanising I am aware of it, but it isn't what comes to mind when I hear his name.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

When we played the Scion RPG (basically a Percy Jackson role-playing game for adults), we had a guy who played a son of Zeus. His name was Storm Houston, and he was a quarterback for the Chargers... :D :D

The Multicolored Diary

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Thank you for the fun theme this year! I really enjoyed your posts. Especially the book recommendations!

The Multicolored Diary

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Congratulations on completing the A to Z Challenge!

You had a great theme this year and I enjoyed your posts a lot.

Iain Kelly said...

Not sure I would like to be related to Zeus, but he seems an appropriate place to end the A-Z, being the greatest of all Greek Gods and all! Well done on finishing the challenge Sue, your posts have been great fun and very informative.

TWW said...

I have really enjoyed reading your posts, and learned so much from them. Thank you for taking part this year, and congrats on completing the challenge.

Deborah Weber said...

Fun series. Somehow I manage to like Zeus better in his guise as Jupiter - who seems much more jovial and magnanimous. I confess I laughed out loud with your comment wondering why the world isn't overrun with demigods.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Debra! Thanks, I’ll look up that video later. Glad you enjoyed.

Hi Anita! I’m intrigued as to what you do think of when you hear the name! 😉

Hi Zalka! Glad you enjoyed, I have enjoyed your posts too. Was Storm the name of the character or the player?

Thanks, Stuart! I guess divorce isn’t a thing among gods, so easier to bully the victim.

So pleased you enjoyed, Tim! You did some great posts too.

Thanks, TWW! Was it your blog that did writing themed posts? I must visit again.

Hi Deborah! I think Gustav Holst would agree with you; in his Planets Suite, Jupiter is the Bringer of Jollity!

AJ Blythe said...

A god hurling lightening bolts :)

Jayashree (pagesfromjayashree) said...

In Indian mythology in the heavens, the king of Gods is Indra. There are quite a few similarities between them. Both are responsible for rain and thunder... Indra s weapon is the vajrayudham resembling thunder and so is Zeus thunderbolt

I found a paper when I googled it, sharing link below

My Z post

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Ha ha, you're right. If Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code were right, pretty much anyone with European ancestry would be a Holy Grail, and it looks probably that we'd all be descended from Zeus, too -- except that so many of those Greek noble families come to terrible ends and all murder and sacrifice (and eat) each other, so maybe the divine lines all died out?
Congratulations on completing the challenge! I enjoyed your series once again.
Black and White: Z for Zerzura

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Anita! Yes, lightning bolts are about right, and he even has a horse to lug them around for him, Pegasus!

Hi, Jayashree! Yes, Indra does sound rather like Zeus, even to the carrying on. 😉 I am not surprised to learn that the chief god carries the lightning, it seems to be a thing among chief gods elsewhere, although in Norse mythology the thunder and lightning god is not Odin, but Thor, who drives a cart pulled by goats(which are also handy for dinner because he can bring them back to life next day), and I think the sound of his rumbling wheels is the thunder.

Hi Anne! I read The Da Vinci Code many years ago. All I can remember of it is that the whole thing went over 24 hours in which time nobody ate, slept or visited the bathroom, and were still able to fight at the end! 🙄 Still. It sold very well and became a movie. 😉 I do have to agree that I wouldn’t want to have been a member of on3 of those families.

Guillaume said...

For me, Zeus will always be Laurence Olivier. And I agree that Jesus' appearance is based on Zeus. And I hated Hercules the Legendary Journey. Can't stand Kevin Sorbo, a Christian fundamentalist and a poor man's Schwarzenneger, who's as believable as a Greek demigod as he was as an atheist academic in God's Not Dead.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Guillaume! I suspect Laurence Olivier is most people’s Zeus! Yes, Kevin Sorbo has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. But so has Joss Whedon, author and producer of the wonderful Buffy, and others. To be honest, I have only seen the Hercules series once, but I enjoyed it, thought it was good fun. Apart from Kevin, there was the glorious New Zealand landscape and at least one actor who went on to do Lord Of The Rings and Star Trek(in which he played such a good Bones McCoy, I bet the original McCoy, DeForrest Kelley, would have been delighted).