Zeus hurling a thunderbolt, bronze statuette from Dodona, Greece, early 5th century BC; in the …—Courtesy of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Antikenabteilung

In Greek religion, the chief deity of the pantheon, a sky and weather god. His Roman counterpart was Jupiter. Zeus was regarded as the bearer of thunder and lightning, rain, and winds, and his traditional weapon was the thunderbolt. The son of Cronus and Rhea, he was fated to dethrone his father. He divided dominion over the world with his brothers Poseidon and Hades. As ruler of heaven, Zeus led the gods to victory against the Titans. From his home atop Mount Olympus, he dispensed justice and served as protector. Known for his amorousness—a source of perpetual discord with his wife, Hera—he had many love affairs with mortal and immortal women, giving rise to numerous offspring, including Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Dionysus, Helen, Hephaestus, and Persephone. In art he was represented as a bearded, dignified, and mature man.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Zeus, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Zeus? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.