Because of his cheating ways, Zeus fathered a great number of children , many of which would become some of the most well known of gods and goddesses in Greek mythology. In this article, you will learn the background of such notables, including Ares, Athena, and the twins.
While Ares was born to Zeus and Hera, he was not a well-liked child by both parents. While he was the god of war, he was also known as a coward , despite his reputation for causing murder, mayhem, and the shedding of blood. He is also known for committing adultery against his brother, Hephaestus, when he takes Aphrodite as his own. Other associations of Ares include the vulture and the dog.
Zeus is the father of Athena (also referred to as the ‘virgin goddess’), who is said to have sprung full-grown in armor from out of his forehead , making her a motherless child. Characteristics often attributed to the goddesses include fierceness and bravery in battle, but only engages in wars that will define the state of affairs from outside enemies. Not only is she respected as the goddess of the city, handicrafts, and agriculture, she is also known for inventing the bridle, which greatly helped the humans. Because she is Zeus’ favorite offspring, she was permitted to use his weapons, including his infamous thunderbolt. Other associations include the olive tree, owl, and the city of Athens.
Apollo and Artemis , the Twins
Leto gave Zeus twins: one boy and one girl. Apollo became the god of music, and mastered the golden lyre as his instrument of choice. Known as the archer, he has the ability to shoot his silver bow quite far. As the god of healing, he shared his knowledge of medicine with man. As the god of truth, he tells no lies. Without Apollo, days would stay dark. It is his daily task to harness a chariot with four horses that drive the Sun across the sky.
As for Artemis (twin sister to Apollo), she is seen as one of the oldest goddesses in Greek mythology. Serving as the Hellenic goddess of forests and hills, childbirth, virginity, fertility, the hunt, it is no wonder that she is often seen taking on the position of a huntress with bow and arrows in hand. Other associations of Artemis (a virgin goddess) include being the protector of the young, goddess of chastity, cypress trees, and wild animals, especially the deer.
In Part 2 of ” Significant Children of Zeus,” you will learn more about the fastest out of all the gods, the most beautiful of all the gods (to Hera’s dismay), and a son born out of jealousy and spite.