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Religion: Ancient Greek pantheon
God of: God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, justice
Parents: Kronos and Rhea
Spouse: Metis (de facto divorced), then Hera (also his sister)
Children: Dozens, including Athena, Hermes, Dionysus, Perseus, and Hercules
Relatives: Poseidon (brother), numerous others
Turtledove Appearances:
POD: Set in the Future
Type of Appearance: Referenced
After the Downfall
Type of Appearance: Referenced
Ruled Britannia
POD: July-August, 1588
Type of Appearance: Referenced
POD: c 85,000,000 BCE;
Relevant POD: 1452
Appearance(s): Liberating Atlantis
Type of Appearance: Referenced
"Death in Vesunna"
Set in OTL
Type of Appearance: Referenced
Gunpowder Empire
POD: 12 BC
Type of Appearance: Referenced
"The Daimon"
POD: 415 BCE
Type of Appearance: Referenced
POD: Unknown

Type of Appearance: Referenced
"Miss Manners' Guide to Greek Missology"

Type of Appearance: Direct
Zeus was King of the Ancient Greek gods of Mount Olympus as well as the god of thunder and lightning. The Romans conflated Zeus with their own king of the gods Jove Pater (Jupiter). "Zeus" and "Jove" are both believed to be derived from the Proto-Indo-European name Dyauṣ.

According to tradition, Zeus was the youngest son of the Titans, Cronus (Kronos in old style) and Rhea. An oracle had foreseen that a son of Cronus would overthrow him. In response, Cronus swallowed all of his children seconds after their birth. Only Rhea's trickery saved Zeus, who grew up to defeat his father, liberate his swallowed siblings, and become King of the Gods.

Zeus was famous for his lechery. His dalliances produced many of the heroes of Greek myth, including Perseus and Hercules. However, he also expressed a strong fondness for Prince Ganymede of Troy, which may or may not have included a homosexual element.

Zeus in SupervolcanoEdit

When stranded in ash-cloud-heavy Lincoln, Nebraska, Bryce Miller made a tongue-in-cheek prayer to Jupiter Pluvius for rain. Marcus Wilson immediately recognized Jupiter Pluvius as the "Roman rain god known only to classics students and old-time baseball writers," and the two grad students bonded over this common interest.[1]

Zeus in After the DownfallEdit

In 1893 Herr Doctor Professor Maximilian Eugen von Heydekampf took the Omphalos from Zeus' temple in Delphi and brought it back to Berlin.

Zeus in "Death in Vesunna"Edit

Larcius Afer attributed the mysterious death of Clodius Eprius to the thunderbolts of Jupiter. Dr. Kleandros (who thought of the god as Zeus) considered this unlikely, as the deity had not intervened to slay wicked Roman Emperors of the past, such as Caligula and Nero.

Zeus in AtlantisEdit

Colonel Balthasar Sinapis had a distinctive mannerism which reminded Consul Jeremiah Stafford of Zeus as described in Homer's Iliad. Stafford's colleague Leland Newton shared this impression, perhaps at a subconscious level.

Zeus in Ruled BritanniaEdit

Christopher Marlowe defended his preference of "boy loving" by pointing out that the Ancient Greeks romanticised such behaviours. They even wrote of the love that their greatest god Jove had for Ganymede.

Zeus in Gunpowder EmpireEdit

By the late 21st century, the Roman Empire was tolerant of most religions. Nevertheless, Jupiter was the official state god with pride of place.

Zeus in "The Daimon"Edit

Zeus was called upon by many Greeks during their prayers. Even Alkibiades, who generally disdained worship, readily swore by Zeus when it suited his purposes.[2]

Zeus in "Miss Manners' Guide to Greek Missology"Edit

Zeus tasked Andromeda with vanquishing the Gorgons, three women whose beauty was causing great consternation to Mount Olympus. She later married his son Perseus. Zeus attended the wedding and lusted after the serving maids, and even the serving men whom he mistook for Ganymede.

Zeus in ThessalonicaEdit

After several centuries of Christianity as the dominant religion of Greece, Zeus apparently ceased to exist for want of worshipers - or possibly he was still there on top of Olympus but no longer daring to venture into the world. The Satyr Ampelus gloated that while the mighty Zeus was no longer having sexual adventures with human women, he - a mere Satyr - was still doing so at every opportunity. George the Shoemaker thought that the widespread reading of Homer might be enough to lend the old Olympian gods a kind of half life, even when nobody worshiped them any more - since even loyal Christians could not help believing in these gods while reading the vivid text of the Iliad and Odyssey. For the same reason, such clergymen as Bishop Eusebious would have liked to replace the reading of Homer with the Gospels. However, Homer was too deeply entrenched in the Greek and Roman culture to be dislodged by the Church.

Literary commentEdit

The question of Zeus' status (living or dead) is unanswered in this novel. However, in The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump which is probably set in the same universe, and takes place in the 1990s, his close relations Poseidon and Hermes survive. According to the rules of henotheism set forth in the novels, it would be unlikely for the lesser gods to survive their leader's death by any great span of time. In Case, narrator David Fisher fleetingly references Zeus as Jove, but does not make clear whether he is alive or dead at that time.

See alsoEdit


  1. Eruption, p. 259.
  2. See e.g.: Atlantis and Other Places, pg. 177, HC.

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