Mythology Monday: Attendants of Zeus

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All the gods served Zeus to some degree, but there were many who pretty much only existed in Greek mythology to serve Zeus. Since none of them have enough associated myths to merit their own blog post, I thought I’d group them together.

Zeus’s Winged Attendants

Zeus had four winged attendants who stood at his throne and acted as his enforcers. Their position was awarded to four children of Pallus and Styx because they assisted Zeus during the Titanomachy.

Bia– The personification of force and raw energy.

Cratus (Kratos)– The personification of strength, might, power and sovereign rule.

Zelos (Zelus/Invidia)–  The personification  of rivalry, emulation, jealousy, envy and zeal. He may have been a facet of Agon, the spirit of contest. He was also sometimes equated with Phthonos the god of romantic jealousy and was closely connected with the Eris. His Roman name, Invidia, meant to look against in a hostile manner, and his Greek name is where we get the word Zeal. His Roman persona is sometimes grouped in with the seven deadly sins.

Nike-  The goddess of victory. Any victory, not just war but also friendly competitions. Nike was also Zeus’s personal charioteer. Most of the time, Nike was worshipped as a singular goddess, but in some tellings she’s a facet of Athena or she’s a host of goddesses know as the Victories. Now she’s most famous for the shoes named after her.

Zeus’s other attendants: 

Ganymede- A super hot Trojan prince that Zeus abducted while he was in eagle form and brought to Olympus to be his cupbearer (taking Hebe’s place)/plaything. But it was totally okay because Zeus gave his father horses. The prince was transformed into an immortal being and is often considered the god homosexual love. Ganymede is associated with Eros and Hymenaeus. He’s also one of the stars in the Aquarius constellation.

Themis- The Titan goddess of the divine law, order, custom and tradition established by the first gods. She was also a prophetic goddess who presided over the oracles of Delphi (so she was also present at the birth of Apollo and Artemis). She introduced law, order, and themis (divine law) to mankind. the leader of the assembly, and the personal councillor of Zeus. In some myths she was married to him. She is closely associated to Demeter, Gaia, and Nemesis who often delivered her justice. She was the mother of The Hours, The Fates, and she might have been the mother of a nature goddess of the forest called Natura, Dike, and Prometheus. Themis was just but never wrathful. She didn’t tend to get involved with schemes of petty revenge.

Litae– A group of elderly goddesses of who delivered the prayers to Olympus. They were either daughters of Zeus or maidens who just so happened to serve Zeus. Their opposites were the Ate, the spirits of delusion and folly. Ate (Folly) may have also been a singular daughter of Zeus that the Litae could not keep up with no matter how hard they tried. If people respected them, they were rewarded, if not, Zeus would send Ate to terrorize the disrespectful mortals.

FAQ Friday: Joel

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

So this is a spoilerific post. If you haven’t read Daughter of Earth and Sky, continue at your own risk.

I’ve seen several emails from readers praising all things Hades and wondering why she was ever remotely tempted by Joel. The answer to this is actually fairly messed up.

Charm.

Well applied charm works by rationalizing the foreign thoughts and impulses into something the victim wants to do. Several times during Daughter of Earth and Sky Persephone had thought patterns like this.

“I could do my run at three instead,” he suggested. “We could run together.”

“Do you have time for that? With college about to start and everything?” I didn’t want to sound too reluctant, but I really enjoyed the solitude my runs provided.

“For you, I’ll make time.” He gave me an easy grin. “Just not right now. I should head out. Do you need help getting to your car? Or can you drive? I could take you home . . . ”

I laughed at his hesitation. I lived a bit outside of town, and gas wasn’t cheap. “I’m fine. I’m meeting someone later, so I should stick around.”

“Great.” He sounded relieved. He met my eyes. “Are we on for tomorrow?”

“Sure!” I needed to practice being human before school started, and Joel was about as normal as a human could get.

And just like that she’s running with Joel daily. Here’s another example.

 

“Sorry, Joel.” I brushed the grass off my legs. “I should probably be going.”

He caught my eye. “Aw come on, how long does it take to drink a smoothie?”

I found myself smiling. “Fine.”

And here’s another example.

I felt a pang of guilt flash through me when I saw Joel waiting for me at the bridge. Melissa was right. I was leading him on. I wasn’t sure how it had happened. We’d progressed from our daily jog, to a daily jog and smoothie. Then to a daily jog, smoothie, and occasional dinner. Now it was a daily jog, smoothie, occasional dinner, and occasional movie. We weren’t going out, and I had no interest in dating anyone other than Hades, but every time Joel suggested something and looked at me with those big blue eyes, I found myself agreeing. It was just so easy to be normal around him. For those short bits of time, I could forget about Hades and Thanatos and the Underworld.

“I gotta say, I liked your other outfit better.” Joel motioned to my Disney princess running shirt and pink shorts.

I laughed nervously. I hadn’t switched into different running clothes because Hades had made that comment, but because the way Joel looked at me sometimes made me want to wear a shapeless sweat suit. But this was Georgia. Sweating to death was a distinct possibility.

Joel grinned at me, and I forgot all about that. He was too nice to lead on. I needed to end this.

“You ready?” Joel asked, eyes searching mine.

“Yup!” We could talk after the run.

I ran faster than I ever had, beating Joel and my goal. I collapsed on the grass when I finished my third mile, grinning like an idiot.

“You’re in a good mood,” he noted.

I pushed myself up on my hands. “Hanging out with Aphrodite, running with you, it’s weird, but . . . ” I struggled to explain it. “I feel like I get to be me again, for just a few minutes. It’s really nice.”

“Who else have you been?” He sat beside me, eyes lingering appreciatively on my legs. He caught my reproachful look and gave me an impish smile. “You can tell me anything you know. I won’t tell anyone.”

And suddenly I wanted to tell him. Not everything, but Joel was so easy to talk to, I bet he’d understand what I was going through better than most of the gods.

And one more…

He met my eyes, leaned closer, and I knew he was going to kiss me. I thought of stopping him. I shouldn’t have led him on this long. But . . .

I let him kiss me, releasing him from the charm that would compel him to forget this conversation. His lips on mine were warm and eager. Completely different from a kiss from Hades. Hades was always fighting a battle with himself, trying to hold back. Joel had no such reservations.

My stomach turned at the thought of Hades, and I pushed Joel away. This was wrong. I didn’t want to do this. Why was I doing this? I knew it was just kissing, but I didn’t want to kiss anyone else. I just wanted Hades.

“What’s wrong?” Joel’s bright blue eyes searched my face.

I stared at him wondering that myself. What was wrong? Joel was a perfectly nice guy, and I liked him before. 

See. Aside from a passing mention in the first book, Persephone didn’t willingly give Joel the time of day a single time during the entire book. He spent the entire book slowly forcing her trust, forcing a relationship, and working with Thanatos and Aphrodite to isolate her from everyone else she could turn to. It’s pretty messed up.

 

FAQ Friday: Why Joel?

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

A reader asked why Persephone would have ever bothered with Joel when she had Hades. 

Spoilers ahead.

She was charmed. If you go back and read Daughter of Earth and Sky a second time, keeping an eye out for charm, you’ll notice Persephone’s thoughts shift every time she meets either Joel’s or Aphrodite’s eyes. It’s subtle, but well-crafted charm is supposed to feel like it’s your idea. The problem is, up until this book, we don’t see charm applied with expertise. We see charm used through brute force, which works but is obvious, even to the person being charmed. Zeus and Aphrodite are good at charm.

Here’s an example:

“I could do my run at three instead,” he (Joel) suggested. “We could run together.”

“Do you have time for that? With college about to start and everything?” I didn’t want to sound too reluctant, but I really enjoyed the solitude my runs provided.

“For you, I’ll make time.” He gave me an easy grin. “Just not right now. I should head out. Do you need help getting to your car? Or can you drive? I could take you home . . . ”

I laughed at his hesitation. I lived a bit outside of town, and gas wasn’t cheap. “I’m fine. I’m meeting someone later, so I should stick around.”

“Great.” He sounded relieved. He met my eyes. “Are we on for tomorrow?”

“Sure!” I needed to practice being human before school started, and Joel was about as normal as a human could get.

See how she shifts from not wanting to give up her private runs to actively looking forward to running with him? That’s how charm is supposed to work. And that’s why “Joel” stood a chance. Mind control.

FAQ Friday: Why not teleport?

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

 

A reader asked why Persephone didn’t teleport away from danger during Daughter of Earth and Sky.

Without getting into spoilerific details, 90% of the time Persephone was in danger, someone had a firm grip on her. She can’t teleport in the living realm with anyone born outside Demeter’s realm and she can’t teleport with anyone in the Underworld that doesn’t read as a native. As for the other 10…

With the Reapers it wouldn’t have done any good. The have rights to teleport in both realms, so they would have just gone with her, and then what? She couldn’t explain what was going on to Hades, and if she stuck to the living realm, they’d already shown a willingness to retaliate with random humans.

With that last thing that happened, there was a shield in place to prevent teleportation, which is also why Hades could not interfere.

Mythology Monday: Melinoe

Melinoe, Greek mythology, goddess of ghosts and madness, retellings, Persephone, Hades, zeus, young adult greek mythology retelling, Daughters of Zeus

 

“Persephone?” I reached out to caress her cheek.

She flinched. “Don’t.” Her green eyes searched my face. “I should be able to tell.” Her voice broke. Persephone tried to pull back, but I held her fast.

My arms dropped, and I stepped away for good measure. There was no telling what she had gone through, so if she needed space, I was happy to oblige. “Tell what?” I wanted to reach out to her, to demand to know what Zeus had done and how I could fix it, but I didn’t dare. “Persephone.” It was a fight to keep my voice calm. “Tell me where to find you.”

She looked away and I jerked toward her, almost unable to restrain myself from reaching for her. Persephone flinched.

“Hey, it’s okay. Wherever you are, I’m going to find you and bring you home, okay? But I need you to point me in the right direction.”

“Stop.” She took a deep, shuddering breath, sliding her air plant pendant back and forth on the chain of her necklace. “I should be able to tell him from you. If you’re not him, if you’ve taken that from me, if you’ve broken us that badly . . . ” Iron glinted in her eyes, hard and unfeeling. “Then you won’t have to find me. I haven’t come into my powers yet, but I will. I’d be afraid of that day if I were you.”

Comprehension bubbled up within me like bile. I was going to make a way to kill him. Then I’d drag him down to hell and spend the rest of eternity making him suffer.

It wouldn’t be enough. It would never be enough. Zeus looked like me. The bastard had looked like me when he’d hurt her. “It’s me.”

She didn’t look convinced, and I didn’t blame her. I didn’t sound like myself. There was no getting past this. Even if I found a way to get her back, even if everything worked out, she would look at me now and see him.

“Everyone is ‘me.’” Persephone put the word in air quotes. “Be more specific.”

~@~

Melinoe (dark minded) was the moon goddess of ghosts and the bringer of nightmares and madness. Every night she wandered the earth, trailed by a group of wailing ghosts, waiting to strike fear int he hearts of men. One half of her body was black as pitch, the other corpse pale, a testament to her duel nature. She was born on the mouth of the Cocytus River. 

Sometimes Melinoe is described as a daughter of Persephone via Zeus pretending to be Hades. When either Hades or Persephone (myths vary, but personality wise post-abduction this sounds more like a Persephone punishment than a Hades one) discovered what happened, and enraged, rent the daughter resulting from the union, discoloring her flesh.

In my books, I split the difference. Zeus does take on Hades’s likeness in Iron Queen as a trick to drive Persephone to the madness Melinoe represents, but I don’t go physical with that because frankly, I didn’t want to write that story. Plus the whole Zeus as Hades thing is tricky because there are interpretations in Greek Mythology that Zeus and Hades were the same god, just different titles. Or Hades and Dionysus, or Melinoe is actually another title for Hekate or Persephone and the whole origin story is moot. When you mix the religions of a bunch of different regions and try to combine them into one Pantheon, things get messy.

 

**Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that Love and War is still on sale for .99 cents! Click here to buy it today. 

Mythology Monday: Zeus

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I legitimately cannot believe I haven’t written a mythology Monday on Zeus yet.

Wow, where to even start. Okay, first you’ll need some background on creation and the Titanomachy. 

Zeus’s father, Cronus, was terrified that his children were going to be the death of him. So he would eat his children as soon as his wife, Rhea gave birth. Why continue to have children then? In my world, I had a hard time imagining that the gods themselves couldn’t control whether or not they became pregnant, at least when it came to hooking up with each other, so I built in a different explanation.

The gods had to pass on bits of their powers when their powers became too much for them. Zeus didn’t just have a ton of kids because he loved sleeping around (though that did factor in), he had an obscene amount of worship fueling his power. I’m sure the god king before him did as well.

But Rhea was not a fan of her husband eating her children. Rather than putting her foot down and just saying no, she put the fate of her previously eaten children in the hands of an infant. When Chaos got ready to eat Zeus, Rhea tricked him into eating a rock instead. (It is revealed in Aphrodite that Rhea was the first god to use charm).

Zeus was given to the last unicorn Amalthea the goat or possibly nymph depending on the version of the myth you ascribe to,  to raise on Mt. Dikte, but there are a lot of variations on how he was kept out of Cronus’s awareness. Some versions of the myth say he was hung, suspended from a tree, neither touching the earth nor sky. His cries were covered by the warrior Curetes, banging his shield in a dance.

Upon coming of age, Zeus created a shield from Amalthea’s hide and a magical horn of plenty from her horn. He also enlisted the aid of a Titan named Metis to force Cronus to throw up his older siblings, enlisted those siblings with his far, freed the six giant-sons of Heaven from the pit of Tartaros, and enlisted the aid of the Cyclopes (who armed him with lightning-bolts)  and the Hekatonkheires (Hundred-Handed) who aided him in his assault on the Titanes with volleys of thrown boulders (theoi.com). The Titans were locked into Tartarus and the Olympian siblings divided up the cosmos. Some Titans did side with the Olympians in the war, which is why they pop up in later myths, and the alliance with the monsters didn’t last long (see Gigantomachy).

The gods created man, and Zeus went on to have many children and take an active role in almost every other myth in the mythos for Greek Mythology. As far as children went, there were some changes I made in my story. Athena’s mother is in fact Metis (remember her from a few paragraphs ago?) whom Zeus ate when he discovered she was pregnant, because he also feared his children would destroy him. In some versions of the myth, Ares was created solely by Hera when she touched a flower provided by Flora. Neither one of those was mentioned in my books because A. Ares has to have charm, the plot demands it ((which in that case means I’m just choosing a different interpretation of the myth), and B. Athena is a minor character, and none of the POV characters who ever interact with her would know the whole story of her birth. (Hades was in the Underworld, Persephone wasn’t born, and Aphrodite only knows what the gods passed on through the bloodlines, and I can totally see Hera leaving that out.) Athena plays things pretty close to the vest and is unlikely to ever bring up anything irrelevant to the conversation.

Powers wise, Zeus has lightning bolts (in mythology, these were crafted and given to him by either the cyclopses or Heph, but in my version, he’s just got control over storms because sometimes the myths threw that in). He was Lord of the skies, and in my version, he has charm. Charm is entirely made up by me in this context, but mythologically it fixes a ton of plot holes for Zeus to have mind control powers, so it fits really well.

In my story, Zeus went on to rule much as he did in mythology until the fall of Olympus, at which point he went underground and started plotting. I’ll do a master post on Zeus’s children at some point in the coming weeks. But that’s Zeus in a nutshell.

Friendly reminder! Aphrodite is on sale for .99 cents!