Who's Who Greek Myth: Zeus
The story that surrounds Zeus, supreme ruler of Olympus, and king of both gods and men, is a gory tale of intrigue and revenge that much resembles the story of the hero Agamemnon, immortalized in Greek tragedy.
Zeus's father was the Titan, Kronos, who had castrated the sky god Ouranos, thus seizing power over the heavens. Fearing that one of his own children would one day follow his example and unseat him, he swallowed each of them when they were born, but his wife Rhea tired of all this, and upon the birth of Zeus, gave her husband a rock to swallow instead, herself fleeing with the infant to a cave in Crete.
She hid the infant in the cave, and stationed warriors, known as Kouretes, outside the cave entrance, where the din made with their swords and shields drowned out the cries of the infant.
When Zeus grew up, he poisoned his father, who then vomited up all of his siblings, who, together with Zeus and the Cyclops, cast Kronos and the Titans from Olympus.
Zeus was given a thunderbolt by Cyclops for his battle weapon, which later became his emblem of awe-inspiring power, and connected with his role as deity of rain and weather. The eagle was also a symbol of Zeus.
He married his sister Hera, who gave birth to Ares, but spent much time chasing both goddesses (including his other sister, Demeter) and mortal women, fathering many children, the fully armed goddess Athena springing from his head, because he had feared usurpation at the hands of his offspring with Metis, and had swallowed her whole when she became pregnant (see Athena).