The Lovers of Zeus
The names of the Lovers of Zeus included Antiope, Callisto, Danae, Europa, Electra, Leda, Leto, Taygete, Niobe, Io, Semele, Themis, Mnemosyne, Demeter and Alcmene. Some of the lovers of Zeus bore him children. His liaisons with many mortals resulted in offspring who are described as Demigods. the famous children of the lovers of Zeus include:
Leto who was the mother of Apollo and Artemis
Semele who was the mother of Dionysus
Maia who was the mother of Hermes
Dione who was the mother of Aphrodite
Hera, the wife of Zeus was the mother of Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus
Demeter, the sister and lover of Zeus, was the mother of Persephone
The Lovers of Zeus - The Demigods
The Demigods, the offspring of a deity and mortal, were half-gods invariably renown for their courage and great strength. The Demigods were fabulous famous heroes such as Achilles, Hercules, Theseus and Perseus who has extraordinary powers and a special destiny. Many of the ancient gods, like Zeus, had children as a result of their romantic involvement with mortals producing the Demigods who often featured in the mythology of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The lovers of Zeus who produced offspring known as Heroes or Demigods included Danae who was the mother of Perseus, Leda the mother of Helen of Troy and Castor and Pollux and Alceme the mother of Hercules by Zeus.
Zeus & the Power of Transformation
According to ancient Greek Mythology Zeus had the power of transformation and would appear to women in the guise of various creatures and then seduce them. The myths surrounding the King of the gods detail the nature of Zeus, his role as a great lover and his fertility and illustrates his powers of transformation. The Lovers of Zeus who were seduced by his powers of transformation included his seduction of Leda in the form of a swan, his seduction of Europa in the form of a bull and his seduction of Antiope as a satyr. The stories, myths and legends surrounding these romantic liaisons and the mythology of his other lovers are detailed below.
Lovers of Zeus in Greek Mythology - Leda and the Swan
In Greek mythology, Leda was the wife of the King Tyndareus of Sparta. Leda was admired by Lovers of Zeus, who seduced her in the guise of a swan. As a swan, Lovers of Zeus sought protection from Leda from a pursuing eagle. On the same night Leda lay with her husband King Tyndareus. The liaisons with both Lovers of Zeus and her husband resulted in two eggs being produced by Leda. From one came Helen (who later became known as Helen of Troy) and her brother Pollux. Clytemnestra and Castor emerged from the other egg.
Lovers of Zeus in Greek Mythology - Antiope
According to ancient Greek mythology Antiope was the daughter of Nicteus, king of Thebes, to whom Zeus appeared under the form of a satyr and took her by force. Antiope gave birth to the twins Amphion and Zethus, of whom Amphion was the son of Zeus and Zethus the son of Epopeus. Antiope was, for many years, held captive by her uncle Lycus, and compelled to suffer the utmost cruelty at the hands of his wife Dirce. The twins were left to be brought up by herdsmen. The punishment of Dirce at the hands of Amphion and Zethus forms the subject of the world-renowned marble group in the museum at Naples, known by the name of the Farnese Bull.
Lovers of Zeus in Greek Mythology - Europa
According to ancient Greek mythology Europa was the beautiful daughter of Agenor, the king of Phoenicia, or some say, the primordial gods Oceanus and Tethys. She was one day gathering flowers with her companions in a meadow near the sea-shore, when Zeus, charmed with her great beauty, and wishing to win her love, transformed himself into a beautiful white bull, and trotted quietly up to the princess, so as not to alarm her. Surprised at the gentleness of the animal, and admiring its beauty, as it lay placidly on the grass, she caressed it, crowned it with flowers, and, at last, playfully seated herself on its back. The disguised god bounded away with his lovely burden, and swam across the sea with her to the island of Crete. Zeus later re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, which is now known as the constellation Taurus. Europa was the mother of Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanthus by Zeus. Minos, along with his brothers, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon, was raised by king Asterion of Crete. Minos, who became king of Crete, was celebrated for his justice and moderation, and after death he was created one of the judges of the Underworld, which office he held in conjunction with his brothers.
Lovers of Zeus in Greek Mythology - Callisto
According to ancient Greek mythology Callisto was the daughter of Lycaon, king of Arcadia. Callisto was a huntress in the retinue of Artemis, devoted to the pleasures of the chase, who had made a vow never to marry. However, Zeus, under the form of the huntress-goddess, succeeded in obtaining her affections. Hera, being extremely jealous of her, changed her into a bear, and caused Artemis (who failed to recognize her attendant under this form) to hunt her in the chase, and put an end to her existence. After her death she was placed by Zeus among the stars as a constellation, under the name of the bear.
Lovers of Zeus in Greek Mythology - Alceme
According to ancient Greek mythology Alceme was the daughter of Electryon, king of Mycenae, was betrothed to her cousin Amphytrion; but, during his absence on a perilous undertaking, Zeus assumed his form, and obtained her affections. Heracles, or Hercules, whose world-renowned exploits will be related among the legends, was the son of Alcmene and Zeus refer to the Myth of Hercules.
Lovers of Zeus in Greek Mythology - Semele
According to ancient Greek mythology Semele was a beautiful princess, the daughter of Cadmus, who became the mother of Dionysus by Zeus. Semele was hated by Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus. Hera tricked Semele in asking Zeus to swear by the Styx (which was to the gods an irrevocable oath) to accede to her request whatsoever it might be. Semele, begged Zeus to appear to her in all the glory of his divine power and majesty. As he had sworn to grant whatever she asked of him, he was compelled to comply with her wish and revealed himself as the mighty lord of the universe, accompanied by thunder and lightning and she was instantly consumed in the flames.
Lovers of Zeus in Greek Mythology - Io
According to ancient Greek mythology Io was the daughter of Inachus, king of Argos, and was a priestess of Hera. Io was very beautiful, and Zeus transformed her into a white cow, in order to defeat the jealous intrigues of Hera. Hera placed Io in the guise of the white cow under the watchful care of a man called Argus Panoptes, who fastened her to an olive-tree in the grove of Hera. Argus Panoptes had a hundred eyes, of which, when asleep, he never closed more than two at a time; being thus always on the watch making him useful in keeping guard over Io. Hermes, however, by the command of Zeus, succeeded in putting all his eyes to sleep with the sound of his magic lyre, and then, taking advantage of his helpless condition, killed him. In commemoration of the services which Argus had rendered her, Hera placed his eyes on the tail of a peacock, as a lasting memorial of her gratitude.
Lovers of Zeus in Greek Mythology - Danae
According to ancient Greek mythology Zeus appeared to Danae in the form of a shower of gold. Her father was Acrisius, the King of Argos, who was told by an oracle that he would be killed by his grandson. So he locked his daughter Danae in a tower to prevent her from ever meeting a man or having children. However, Zeus transformed into a shower of gold in order to enter the tower and have his way with an unsuspecting Danae. She bore him a son, the Demigod and hero Perseus. King Acrisius sets Danae and her son Perseus adrift on the sea in a wooden casket, but Zeus protected them and brought them to an island, where Perseus grew up before he started his quest told in the Myth of Perseus and Medusa.