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Monday, March 2, 2015

M3 Love God: Zeus

            Zeus, while not a love god, engages in more love making than any other of the Greek gods. And the main problem with Zeus is that he has no respect for the concept of no. Ever. While there is no direct evidence that all of Zeus’s encounters were non-consensual, there are a disturbing number of them that couldn’t be interpreted in any other way. Zeus is relentless and very creative in his sexual encounters. With the powers of a god able to transform himself—not to mention his raw strength and power—he fully takes advantage of his gifts in securing women.
            He starts early on, too, even raping his mother and his wife-to-be Hera. He actually devours Metis, the goddess of thought, in what could only be described as homage to his father. He has children by most of his sisters and a few titans as well.
            Interestingly, Zeus opts more for manipulation when it comes to mortals and nymphs. He transformed himself into liquid gold to reach Danae (who mothered the hero Perseus), masqueraded as Amphitryon to sleep with Alcmene (mother of Hercules [sorry, Disney fans]), and on and on. He even went so far as to transform himself into a nymph to masquerade as the handmaiden of his daughter Artemis and instigated a lesbian relationship with another of the maids, Callisto (Callisto gave birth to Arcas, and it’s best not to dwell on the mechanics of how Zeus, transformed into a nymph, managed to impregnate Callisto).
            Zeus’s influence on the lives of Greek deities and mortals is immeasurable. He fathered more children than anyone else, and had no prohibitions as to whom he slept with, except for three of his children, Artemis, Athena, and Aphrodite. The first two asked for eternal virginity. So that’s understandable, but the question of relations between Zeus and Aphrodite, we’ll get into another time.
            To graphically understand the full impact of the number of partners Zeus had, and the children produced from them, check out this wonderful interactive chart. Zeus wraps up the love gods and goddesses for Valentine’s, but this is not the last time we will see these deities. The myths are too rich and complex for such a short treatment.

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