Father of the gods and their leader in the war with the Giants (known as a Gigantomachy). Especially revered by the Greeks as the upholder of justice and the sanctity of oath-giving. His weapon is the thunderbolt, and he is often shown with sceptre and eagle. His divine consort was Hera, but he also had many mortal lovers, for example Alkmene who bore him Herakles, Semele who bore Dionysos. He visited some lovers in changed form: Leda, as a swan; Ganymede, as an eagle; Europa, as a bull; Danae as golden rain.
Above left: Detail from an Athenian red-figure clay vase, about 490 BC. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 1988.40 (ex. Castle Ashby). © Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Licence Plate 11 UK 1007 206
Above right: Zeus and Typhon. Detail from Chalcidian black-figure hydria c. 540-530 BC. Munich, Antikensammlungen 596 © Antikensammlungen, Munich