The love affairs of Zeus were truly innumerable. The father of gods and men loved many goddesses, who presented him with fine children such as Artemis and Apollo and Hermes.

Nine successive nights

With Mnemosyne, the daughter of Uranus and Ge, Zeus slept for nine successive nights. When the time came for Mnemosyne to give birth, she produced the nine Muses, the patrons of letters and the arts. At festivals on Olympus, the Muses would accompany the cithara of Apollo with their diine song, under the proud gaze of their father.

The three Fates were the results of Zeus’ liaison with the Titan Themis, goddess of justice. There names were Clotho, who wove the thread of the life of each human being, Lachesis, who determined what fate would fall to his lot, and Atropos, who cut the thread of life. Their sisters were the three Hours, Eunomia, Dike, and Eirene, kindly divinities who opened and closed the gates of the heavens. Since it was they who made time roll on, they also brought man the fruits of his labours.

Olympieion, or the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

Desire of the king of Gods

The mortals were the object of the desire of the king of Gods. Among them were Alcmene, who gave him a son – Heracles. Danae, mother of Perseus, and Aegina, mother of Aeacus. This intense erotic activity on the part of Zeus had a rational explanation. The nobles of the Archaic era claimed to be descended from Zeus, so they took care to have at the beginning of their family tree some mortal girl of noble birth whose beauty had prompted the god to want to make her his own. This was the real reason why Zeus was reported to have so many mortal mistresses. In order to win the girls whom he desired, Zeus employed a variety of devices. In the case of Europa, the ravishing daughter of Agenor, King of Phoenicia, he changed himself into a bull and made his appearance in the meadow where the girl was playing with her friends. As soon as she saw him, she was struck by his beauty and began to stroke him. She then climbed on his back, whereupon the bull galloped off across the sea and took her to Crete, where he made love to her. Europa was to bear Zeus three sons – Minos, Sarpedon, and Rhadamanthus – and to give her name to an entire continent.

 

She called herself Europa, and wandered the world from girlhood till death. She believed only in her life and in her dreams. She called herself Europa, and her god was Beauty.

― Roman Payne