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Zeus and the Women Before Hera

MnemosyneBeing the King of the Gods certainly had many perks and Zeus was known for taking full advantage of his leadership role. Being the sky god, it was quite easy for him to make repeated visits to earth, where he put on disguises so that he could seduce the ladies that caught his eye. Most of the stories associated with Zeus make mention of him fighting with his wife Hera because of his philandering ways. Interestingly, most Greek myths identify Hera as his wife, but not many people realize that Zeus had other women in his life before her.

Metis

As a female Titan, Metis watched over all wisdom and knowledge. When Zeus seduced her, she became pregnant with Athena. As time went on, Zeus became preoccupied with prophecies that said her second child would take over his place. To avoid the prophecy coming true, he ate her. It is said that because of this, she is the source of all the wisdom associated with the god , still advising him from inside his stomach. During classical Greek times, it was the belief that children solely came from the sperm of the father. Women only served the role of carrying the child and giving it a place to grow.

Themis

With Zeus, the ancient Greek Titan of justice and order named Themis became the mother to the Fates and the Seasons. There is some controversy or theories surrounding the birth of the Fates, but it is the marriage between Zeus and Themis that is most connected to the existence of Atropos (the Inevitable), Clotho (the Weaver), and Lachesis (the Lot-caster).

Ancient Greeks describe Themis as “of good counsel”, serving as the embodiment of divine order, law, and custom. Even her name translates into “law of nature.” The Greeks viewed her has being the organizer of all the affairs of humans that involved the community, especially when large groups planned to assemble. When depicting Themis, she was shown wearing a blindfold in some cases, which was not necessary. She possessed the gift of prophecy and had no need to wear one.

Mnemosyne

Mnemosyne is known as the Titan of memory and the mother of Muses , who she had with Zeus. The nine Muses were the result of nine consecutive nights that Mnemosyne and the great god slept together. She is also known for presiding over a pool in Hades , the opposite of the river Lethe , the body of water that dead souls drink from as a way to forget past lives before they are reincarnated.

The One that Got Away , Demeter

Zeus desired the goddess of corn, grain, and the harvest (best known as Demeter) for his wife. She resisted his attempts, but they still produced Persephone, who is later kidnapped by Hades of the Underworld. Angered by the loss of her daughter, Demeter places a curse on the world that causes plants to shrink and die. The land becomes barren. Zeus is alarmed by this and attempts to get Persephone back. However, since she had eaten from the Underworld, Hades laid claim to her. Zeus states that Persephone will spend four months each year in the underworld. During this period of time, Demeter grieves which causes winter to set in. When her daughter returns, we have spring.