Zeus: The God of Lightning


(Image via The Collector)

Lily Pliske, Writer

When Zeus was young he walked the top of a mountain ridge and gazed over the highest peak. His grandmother, Gaia Mother of Earth, was there with him. She told him that he was strong enough to face his father, Cronus. Cronus had swallowed his brothers and sisters. Zeus escaped only because his mother, Rhea, had fooled his dad into eating a rock and not their child. 

After years Zeus had grown strong and now, he had to go face his father for the first time. As Zeus journeyed, Gaia reached out to Cronus and crooned over him. This was too much for Cronus and the stone along with all his children within him spewed out. At that very moment, Zuse arrived to find his brothers and sisters waiting for him. Hestia, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, and Hera aligned themselves with their brother to fight against their father. This was great for Zeus because his Army was growing, but Cronus had brothers and sisters too. Cronus called upon his Titan siblings to fight with him. 

War began. For ten years war plagued the earth with smokey skies, sullied water. One day Gaia told Zeus he could win this war if he saved the other children that Cronus had cast away into Tartarus, the Underworld. With this information Zeus didn’t waste a minute, he freed the three brothers with fifty heads and one hundred hands each. He freed the three Cyclopes. In gratitude for being freed, the Cyclopes gave Zeus the lighting bolt and deafening thunder.

They gave his brothers gifts too. To Poseidon, they gifted the Trident, with which he could control the ocean. To Hades, they gave a helmet of invisibility to disappear. With his new Army’s new members, they fought against the Titans. No more were they simply throwing rockets and spears at the Titans, they used their gifts from the Cyclopes and hurled blots of lighting. Poseidon shook the Earth with rivers that crashed through the Titans, whisking them away. Hades reached invisible among the Titans, stabbing and maiming them. 

By the end of the war, the gods fought from mountaintops and Mount Olympus. The titans fought from Mount Othrys. After the war was won, Zeus sealed the Titans in Tartarus and placed the hundred hand men as the guards Gaia was confused and mad that Zeus would lock away the Titans like that, so she gave birth to her last child, Typhon. From his shoulder sprang hundreds of serpentine heads. As everyone fled with terror, Zeus used his lighting to burn off Typhon’s heads and banished him to become wild winds the cursed that sailors at sea.

The Olympian brothers divided up rulership of the universe. Poseidon took the seas; Hades the underworld; Zeus, took everything else in the universe. 

The division was not equal as you might have noticed and the sisters were left out entirely, but that was typical of Zeus. He was brought up to believe he was entitled and better than everyone else, and nothing changed in his mind. 

More Information: Treasury of Greek Mythology by Donna Jo Napoli