Myths and Legends: Zeus, supreme god of the ancient Greeks
390 word count
Greek mythology evolved thousands of years ago. There was a need to explain natural events, disasters and events in history. Myths were created about gods and goddesses that had supernatural powers, human traits and human emotions.
Watching Over People
The ancient Greeks believed Zeus is the most important god. He is the ruler of heaven and Earth.
With his power, he can change the weather. He can make it rain or storm.
Zeus is also the father of the other gods. He makes sure that they do their jobs. For each one, he is a helper and friend.
Zeus looks after every city in the land. He watches over people and keeps them safe. When people are kind and tell the truth, he rewards them. When they are mean and unfair, he punishes them.
Mount Olympus Is Home
Zeus lives on Mount Olympus. This is the tallest mountain in Greece. The top of the mountain is hidden by clouds. Zeus lives there with his wife. They have a beautiful palace.
The Greeks worshipped Zeus. They made statues of him. The statues show Zeus as an important man. He has long hair and a beard. In one hand he carries thunderbolts. He often wears a crown made of leaves.
Visits To Earth
Sometimes Zeus turns into a man. This is so he can visit Earth. On Earth, he rewards good people and punishes bad people.
One time, Zeus went on a trip to Earth. He went to a place called Phrygia. None of the people there would help him. Then Zeus reached the home of an old man and his wife. They gave Zeus some food. Zeus wanted to thank them. He asked them what they wanted most in the world.
They said they wanted to serve the gods. They also wanted to end their lives at the same time. After they died, Zeus turned them into two trees. They stayed side by side forever.
King Learns A Lesson
Another time, Zeus went to a place called Arcadia. The people there knew him. They honored him as the king of heaven. Their own king was Lycaon. He did not honor Zeus. He said he would kill Zeus.
To stop him, Zeus turned Lycaon into a wolf.
From "The Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome" by E.M. Berens.