Real Name: Zeus Thunderstriker (according to Homer)
Occupation: Supreme Monarch of the Olympian Gods, God of sky, thunder and lightning
Legal Status: Citizen of Olympus
Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of the existence of Zeus except as a figure of mythological origin. He was publicly known through the Greco-Roman Empire
Other Aliases: Jupiter, Jove (Roman names), Tin, Tinis (Etruscan names), Maju (Basque name), Taranis (Celtic Name), Tiu (German name), Deipytrus (Illyrian), Ammon (Egyptian name), Beelsamin (Phoenician name), Basileus (god of kings), Gamelious (god of marriage), Herkeios (guardian of the home), Ktesios (guardian of the storeroom), Mechaeneus (manager and contriver), Meilichos ("he who is easily placated"), Moiragetes (guide of the Moirae), Panhellenius (Father of the Greeks), Phyxios (guardian of escape), Soter (savior of man), Terminalis (protector of boundaries), Zeus Chthonius (god of earth and fertility), J. Peter Reason (mortal identity), et al.
Place of Birth: Mount Lycaeum, Arcadia (now part of modern Greece)
Marital Status: Married several times
Known Relatives: Ouranos (grandfather, deceased), Gaea (grandmother), Cronus (father), Rhea (mother), Hades, Poseidon (brothers), Hera (sister/wife), Hestia, Demeter (sister), Chiron (half-brother), Plute (half-sister), Apollo (son by Leto), Ares, Hephaestus (sons by Hera), Artemis (daughter by Leto), Athena (daughter by Metis), Dionysus (son by Semele), Hebe, Discord, Eileithyia (daughters by Hera), Persephone (daughter by Demeter), Helen of Troy (daughter by Leda), Hercules (son by Alcmene), Hermes (son by Maia), Aphrodite (daughter by Dione), The Muses (daughters by Mnemosyne), The Graces (daughters by Eurynome), Pandia (daughter by Selene), The Horae, The Moirae (daughters by Themis), Perseus (son by Danae, deceased), Asclepius, Eros, Janus, Deimos, Phobos, Pan (grandsons), Triton, Arion (nephews), Despoena (niece), Circe, Hecate, Helios, Eos, Selene, Prometheus, Eprimetheus, Atlas (cousins),
Group Affiliations: The Gods Of Olympus, The Council Elite
Base of Operations: Olympus, recently Olympia, Washington and New York City
First Appearance: (historical) "The Iliad" by Homer (8th Century BC), (modern) Venus #5, (recent) Thor I Annual 1
History: Zeus is the youngest son of Cronus, ruler of the superhuman extra dimensional race of Titans, and his wife, the Titaness Rhea. Cronus and Rhea were the offspring of the sky god Ouranus and the primeval Earth goddess Gaea. (Ouranus and Cronus are not to be confused with the Eternals Uranus and Chronos, the latter of whom is also known as Kronos). Cronus overthrew his father's rule by fatally wounding him. The dying Ouranus prophesied that Cronus would likewise be overthrown by one of his own children. As a result, upon the birth of each of his own children, Cronus had the infant imprisoned in Tartarus, the most dismal section of the extra dimensional underworld known as Hades. The offspring he sent there were Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia. (Later, legends erroneously claimed that Cronus had actually swallowed his children and that they remained alive inside him until Zeus released them.).
Appalled at the mistreatment of their children, Cronus's wife Rhea concealed her sixth pregnancy from him and secretly gave birth to Zeus on Mount Lycaeum in Arcadia, an area of the land now known as Greece. Rhea gave the infant Zeus to the safekeeping of Gaea, who hid the baby in the cave of Dicte on Aegean Hill on the isle of Crete, where various minor goddesses tended his needs. The Curetes, a mortal tribe native to Crete, drowned out the cries of the infant Zeus with their ritualistic clashing of spears and swordplay.
Although raised as mortal, Zeus grew to adulthood among the sheepherders of Mount Ida, Crete, and upon learning his true identity and destiny from Rhea, he began partaking on his plans for revenge on Cronus. He went down into Tartarus and freed his siblings, who had all now grown to adulthood. He also freed the three one-eyed giants called Cyclopes and the three hundred-handed giants called Hekatonchieroi, all six of whom Cronus had kept imprisoned there for fear they would help overthrow him. The grateful Cyclopes taught Zeus how to wield his energy-manipulating powers in battle. Zeus and his allies fought a ten-year war with the Titans, which ended with Zeus's victory. He imprisoned most of the male Titans in Tartarus and established himself from Mount Olympus in Thessaly as supreme ruler of the Olympian race. In later years, though, he relocated the realm of the Olympian gods to a separate plane of existence away from earth, but a portal to this dimension remained anchored near Mount Olympus on Earth.
Despite his role as a god, Zeus primarily shirked his godly duties to pursue romantic pursuits. Believing that mankind was outgrowing a need for gods, he desired an end to mortal dependence on religious icons, but several of the Olympians catered egotistically on the worship from the temples dedicated to them. He eventually realized that mortal men depended heavily on the Olympians for guidance, and staved off severing their dependence on the Olympians as gods.
Despite his philandering, Zeus married and accepted the goddess Hera as his wife and Queen of the Olympian gods, but before her, he had had several other wives including Metis, Demeter, Leto, Eurynome and the Titanesses Dione, Themis and Mnemosyne. He eventually began engaging in many affairs out of wedlock with other goddesses and with mortal Earth women both before and during the Heroic Age of ancient Greece. Some of his children were gods; others were mortal human beings such as Perseus and Dardanus. A few of Zeus’s mortal children, Dionysus, Helen of Troy and Hercules were transformed into immortals toward the end of their mortal lives on Earth. Hera hated all of his extra-marital children believing they would overshadow her own children and often inflicted misfortunes upon them, primarily on Dionysus and Hercules.
Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter and Hestia, together with Zeus's children Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Hephaestus, Hermes and Aphrodite, comprised the membership of the high council of the Olympian gods known as the Pantheon. Hestia later resigned her seat in the council in favor of Zeus's son, Dionysus. Zeus's brother, Hades was not a member of the Pantheon, preferring to spend virtually all of his time within Tartarus, which he ruled.
In ancient times Zeus and his fellow Olympians successfully defeated challenges to their rule by the giants Otus and Ephialtes, by a small army of superhuman giants, and, most dangerously, by the monster Typhon, a Titan who has menaced the Olympians even into recent times.
The Greeks and Romans carried worship of the Olympian Gods throughout the Greek and Roman Empire and much of the Mediterranean and northward into parts of Gaul and Dacia. Poseidon also became the patron god of the water-breathing Atlanteans. Zeus learned that Greece's Mount Olympus, the location of the main inter dimensional nexus between the Olympian dimension and Earth, lay near Olympia, the principal city of the Eternals. Zeus and his daughter Athena, goddess of wisdom, held a meeting with Zuras, the leader of the Eternals, and his daughter Azura. Noticing the strong physical resemblance between Zeus and Zuras and between Azura and herself, Athena suggested that the Olympian gods and the Eternals form an alliance whereby the Eternals would act as the gods' representatives on Earth. The other three enthusiastically agreed, and Azura took her current name of Thena to signify the signing of the pact. However, over the years many ordinary human beings came to think of many Eternals not as the gods' representatives but as the gods themselves. This led to a growing resentment by the gods towards the Eternals, which recently erupted, into a brief war. However, today the Eternals and the Olympian gods are again at peace with each other.
Worship of the Olympian gods spread from Greece to Rome and throughout the Roman Empire and into Ancient Britain where they entered into an unstable rivalry with the Tuatha de Danaan, the gods of the Celts and Gaels. The gods intervened frequently in human matters at first, as in the Trojan War, but did so less as time passed. During the Roman Empire, Zeus became incensed that Romans were killing Christians in their name and finally decided to sever the worship of the Olympian gods in the Roman Empire . He manipulated prophecies into pass concerning the death of the Olympian Gods by Livia, the daughter of Xena, when in reality he had spells in effect to restore the gods to life after being physically killed. Afterward, as the restored gods sought out their worship rights once more, an alien race known as the Celestials threatened to sever the portals to earth if the Olympian gods did not cease their trafficking with mortals. Poseidon, however, was still allowed to watch over his Atlantean worshippers. While the Olympians were prohibited from guiding human destiny, they still took an interest in them and even masqueraded as mortals while incognito on Earth.
Millennia before, Zeus' son Hercules had met and encountered the Asgardian god Thor under amicable circumstances in Scandinavia, but later led a band of warriors to battle Norsemen who were under the protection of Thor. This conflict led to a brief war between the Asgardians and Olympians, which had repercussions in a few of the other pantheons of Earth. Zeus, however, secretly met with Odin, ruler of the Asgardians, and the two gods not only put an end to the war, but also formed an alliance to defend Earth from danger posed by the alien Celestials. Odin and Zeus met with the heads of the other races of gods who were or had been worshipped by Earth mortals to discuss the Celestials' possible threat to Earth, and then Odin, Zeus, and the Hindu god Vishnu went to confront the Third Host of the Celestials on behalf of all of Earth's pantheons. However, Odin and Zeus were forced to pledge not to interfere with the Celestials when the Celestials threatened to seal off the one-dimensional passageways connecting the gods' dimensions with Earth. As a result of this pledge, the Olympian gods decreased their contact with Earth, although Zeus's offspring Hercules, Apollo and Aphrodite have spent periods living among Earth human beings since before the Dark Ages. The Celestials' Fourth Host recently decided to spare Earth from destruction and has left the planet.
Since the worship of the Olympian gods had died out, Zeus forbade his brother Hades, ruler of Tartarus, the Olympian underworld, from collecting any more of the souls of the dead from Earth. For several years, Hades obeyed the edict resentfully. Finally, the bitter Hades convinced himself that Zeus had proven himself to be an incompetent leader by allowing the worship of the Olympians to come to an end. Zeus, noting Hades' increasingly ominous rebelliousness, warned him against attempting to overthrow him. Nonetheless, Hades has attempted unsuccessfully to overthrow Zeus, as has Zeus's own son, the war god Ares. Despite his selfish drives, Hades adapted a public persona behind the façade of Hayden Reason, a human parapsychologist who exorcised malevolent entities from Earth by exiling them to Tartarus where he could control them.
Despite the end of the worship of the Olympian gods, Zeus has retained affections and interest in the people of Earth primarily out of the recent Asgardian Twilight of the Gods. With his role as a retired god, he found he could still interact with mortal man under the human persona of J. Peter Reason, a philanthropist with ties to the other godheads posing as other businessmen and philanthropists in statuses of power. The family name, Reason, was derived from Zeus’s mother, Rhea, in order to purposely distance himself from his father, Cronus, currently presiding in anonymity somewhere in Northern Italy after several years imprisoned in Tartarus. Much of the Reason family wealth derived from the fortunes of their mortal descendants from the reigns of Agamemnon and Minos while Poseidon became self-sufficient from treasures off the ocean floor.
Today, Zeus remains the ruler of the Olympian gods and of Olympus itself,
mostly in function only, as well as a staunch ally of the Asgardians.
In recent years, following Mikaboshi's
devastation of Olympus, he was slain in battle, and his death resulted in a
Civil War between the remaining Olympian Gods. However, Zeus soon returned back
to life as a young boy and recently clashed once more with Typhon and alongside
Thor against Mikaboshi once more.
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 560 lbs.
Strength Level: Zeus possesses superhuman strength that surpasses most of the other Olympian gods except for that of his son Hercules; he can lift (press) 90 tons under optimal conditions without making use of any of his other powers.
Known Superhuman Powers: Zeus possesses the conventional physical attributes of an Olympian god. Like all Olympians he is immortal: he has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. He is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If Zeus were wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause Zeus physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of equal power, such as Odin, Ammon-Ra or for a number of Olympian gods working together to revive him. Zeus possesses superhuman strength and his Olympian metabolism gives him far greater than human endurance at all physical activities. (Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the Olympians' superhuman strength and weight.)
Zeus possesses vast energy powers of an unknown nature, which surpass the energy wielding powers of any other Olympian god. Magical in their apparent form and function, these powers can be employed for numerous purposes. Zeus's ability to generate tremendous amounts of electrical energy and to project them from his hands in the form of lightning bolts has become his trademark. He can control the weather such as when he causes rainstorms and thunder bursts. Zeus can generate and manipulate other forms of energy as well. Only a small number of the ways in which Zeus can utilize his superhuman abilities are as yet known. Among these are the augmentation of physical strength and endurance and the enchantment of living beings or of objects. Zeus can create inter-dimensional apertures through which he can transport himself and even the entire Olympian army. He can project his image, voice, and energy bolts from the Olympian dimension into that of Earth.
Zeus can change his shape into that of other humanoid beings (as when he impersonated Amphitryon, the husband of Hercules' mother Alcmene), of animals or even of objects. Zeus also has limited precognitive abilities, and in ancient times was the patron of an oracle at Dodona through which he delivered prophesies. (This ability enabled Zeus at the time of the Trojan War to "remember" the Asgard-Olympus war, which actually occurred centuries afterwards.)
Paraphernalia: Zeus wears an indestructible breastplate called an aegis. Constructed out of adamantine, it was impervious to harm and could not be shattered. Zeus sometimes shared it with Apollo and Athena. Athena has in turn shared in with mortal heroes such as Perseus, Odysseus and the modern hero Aegis.
Pets: Zeus is sometimes attended or accompanied by eagles made immortal by being fed ambrosia. These eagles have near human intelligence and sentience and often act as the eyes and ears of Zeus. Pegasus itself sometimes carried his thunderbolts for him into battle.
Comments: This bio basically describes Zeus as he has appeared in the Marvel Universe, Legendary Journeys and God Of The Dead series; he has also made several appearances in the DC Universe as well where he is one of the mentors of Wonder Woman and a contributor to the magic spell that changes William "Billy" Batson into Captain Marvel.
Zeus has made several appearances in the movies. He was been played by Sir Laurence Olivier (Clash Of The Titans-1981), Liam Neeson (Clash Of the Titans-2010), Roy Dotrice, Peter Vere-Jones and Anthony Quinn (Hercules, The Legendary Journeys-1995-2000), Sean Bean (Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief-2010), John Rhys-Davies (Goddess of Love-1988), Rip Torn (Hercules-1997), Angus MacFadyen (Jason and the Argonauts-2000), Niall MacGinnis (Jason and the Argonauts-1963) and Luke Evans (Immortals-2011).
Classical mythologian Edith Hamilton identifies Zeus's twelve wives as Metis (1), Themis (2), Eurynome (3), Mnemosyne (4), Hera (5), Demeter (6), Leto (7), Dione (8), Maia (9), Europa (10), Semele (11) and Danae (12). Alcmene (mother of Hercules) and Leda (mother of Helen) are often added to the list.
Clarifications: Zeus was often identified with but is not to be confused with:
He is not to be confused with:
Last updated: 01/14/13
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