The Most Messed Up Things Zeus Ever Did

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Vote up the times Zeus took it too far.

Zeus, the king of the gods in Greek mythology, is famously wicked. He lies and cheats, especially when it comes to tricking women into infidelity. Zeus consistently doles out harsh punishments to those who act against his will - regardless of their merit. And although some characters from Greek mythology arguably deserve to be put in their place, most of Zeus's punishments are way out of line.

The messed up things Zeus has done usually involve extreme circumstances, and humans are not his only prey. The deity is responsible for some of the most over-the-top punishments in Greek mythology. 


  • He Turned His First Wife Into A Fly And Ate Her
    Photo: Peter Paul Rubens / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    2,507 VOTES

    He Turned His First Wife Into A Fly And Ate Her

    Before marrying Hera, Zeus was in a union with a Titan named Metis. Things were going well until a prophecy was spoken to Zeus that said he'd be overpowered by one of the two children he'd have with Metis - the same way he overtook Chronus. 

    To keep from having children with Metis, Zeus convinced her to turn into a fly and then he ate her. At the time, Metis was pregnant with Athena, and when the girl was born, she had to be split out of Zeus's head by Hephaestus. Metis, however, was never heard from again. 

    2,507 votes
  • He Chained Prometheus To A Rock So An Eagle Could Eat His Liver
    Photo: Carl Rahl / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    2,357 VOTES

    He Chained Prometheus To A Rock So An Eagle Could Eat His Liver

    Prometheus took fire from the gods and gave humans the gift of heat and light. Zeus wasn't pleased with Prometheus for his act of pilfering, but more than anything, the god was angry that someone would defy his will. To punish Prometheus, Zeus chained him to the side of Mount Caucasus.

    But Zeus didn't just chain Prometheus - the king of the gods added a little twist to his retribution. Zeus ordered an eagle to peck out Prometheus's liver every night. Then, his liver would revive itself, and the eagle would come back and start the whole thing over again. 

    2,357 votes
  • He Was Consistently Unfaithful To His Wife, Hera
    Photo: Giovanni Ambrogio Figino / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    1,815 VOTES

    He Was Consistently Unfaithful To His Wife, Hera

    While in an immortal union with the goddess Hera, Zeus stepped out on her many times, usually in creative ways to conceal his infidelity. Zeus turned into a bull to sleep with Europa, he impregnated Semele with the god Dionysus, and he turned into a swan to get with Leda, an Aetolian princess.

    While all of those transformations are odd, perhaps the strangest was when he turned into a shower of gold so he could be with Danaë. 

    1,815 votes
  • He Tricked Pandora Into Being A Burden On Humanity 
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    2,051 VOTES

    He Tricked Pandora Into Being A Burden On Humanity 

    Zeus designed Pandora to be a burden on humanity. After she was created by the gods, Hera gifted Pandora with a thirst for knowledge, and then Zeus gave her a box and made her promise never to open it - something he knew she couldn't do. 

    Unable to curb her curiosity, Pandora opened the box and unleashed everything evil into the world. 

    2,051 votes
  • He Turned Into A Cloud To Seduce Io
    Photo: David Teniers the Elder / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    1,700 VOTES

    He Turned Into A Cloud To Seduce Io

    Io, the princess of Argos, was a beautiful young woman that Zeus tried to woo in a multitude of ways, but she never accepted his advances. Rather than move on, Zeus turned himself into a cloud and got intimate with to her. 

    When Hera found out about the interaction, she turned Io into a cow and sent a stinging gadfly to follow her everywhere she went to drive her mad. Io ended up fixed to a tree, guarded by the hundred-eyed dog Argus. After Io wandered to Egypt, Zeus turned her back into a human. 

    1,700 votes
  • 6
    1,623 VOTES

    Humankind Annoyed Him, So He Decided To Wipe Them Out

    When Zeus got frustrated with the decadence of humanity, he decided to wipe everyone out with a great flood. With the help of Poseidon, he raised the oceans so high that everyone except for Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha lost their lives. 

    Deucalion and Pyrrha rode out the flood in an ark. The waters only receded after they offered a sacrifice to Zeus, and following their penance, they were told to toss stones over their shoulders to repopulate the Earth. 

    1,623 votes