Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Zeus

The supreme God of the Greek Pantheon, ruler of Olympus, called Jupiter or Jove by the Romans. This last name links him phonetically with the Judeo-Christian All-Father. Percy Bysshe Shelley preferred to use "Jupiter" as the name of the tyrant god in Prometheus Unbound (1820), while Benjamin Disraeli used "Jove" in the political Allegory "Ixion in Heaven" (1847). Zeus was the parent of many demigods as well as many gods, frequently assuming exotic disguises for the purpose of seducing human women; his consequent reputation as a determined lecher is treated with humorous contempt in several comic fantasies, of which the most profound is John Erskine's Venus the Lonely Goddess (1949). He is also an absurd comic figure in Olympian Nights (1902) by John Kendrick Bangs. His symbolic presence is highly significant – in an assortment of ways – in The Miniature (1926) by Eden Phillpotts, Mistress of Mistresses (1935) and its prequels by E R Eddison and the series by Ronald Fraser which includes Jupiter in the Chair (1958). Time has mellowed him considerably in Mr Kronion (1949) by Susan Alice Kerby, but his life-story is respectfully reinterpreted in The Memoirs of Zeus (1963) by Maurice Druon (1918-2009). [BS]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.