Amazing Greek Mythology Facts: 5 Olympian Relationships – from Best to Worst

Given Zeus’ constant sexual appetite we’ve previously written about, it’s really not that surprising that most of the affairs on this list involve him. This article is a list of the Olympian affairs ranging from somewhat “normal” to downright mindboggling.

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#5 Hades and Persephone

Hades abducting Persephone.

Hades abducting Persephone. Source: Wikimedia

Strangely enough, a relationship that started with insta-love, an abduction planned by Hades and Zeus and the Earth literally splitting in two is the healthiest one on this list. After a somewhat of a rocky start, Persephone has fallen in love with Hades and they were probably only two Greek gods who never cheated on one another. They had an arrangement which involved Persephone living above ground for six months and in the Underworld for the rest of the year. While they were apart, Hades and Persephone stayed faithful to one another at all times.

#4 Ares and Aphrodite

Ares and Aphrodite.

Ares and Aphrodite. Source: Wikimedia

Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus, but unsurprisingly, the gruff blacksmith wasn’t good enough for her. She had countless extra-marital affairs, most tumultuous of which was with Ares. In The Odyssey, Hephaestus finds them one night, but instead of divorcing, he gets Poseidon and Hermes to fall in love with the naked goddess too. Make love AND war indeed. Ares and Aphrodite together had four sons and a daughter.

#3 Zeus and Metis

The birth of Athena.

The birth of Athena. Source: Wikimedia

Metis was the goddess of wisdom and thought, so it’s rather baffling that she fell for Zeus – literally the least smart choice possible. He loved her for a while until he found out about the prophecy that said that her children were destined to be stronger than him and eventually take over. He was so scared that he swallowed Metis whole. Unfortunately he didn’t take into account that she was pregnant with Athena at the time. Zeus was in terrible pain after he swallowed her so he got Ares to crack his head open and out came Athena in her battle armour.

#2 Zeus and Leda

Leda and the swan

Leda and the swan. Source: Wikimedia

Not only did Zeus swallow one of his girlfriends, he also raped another in the form of a swan while she was spending her wedding night with her new husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. It is said that Leda had two children fathered by Zeus and two others were fathered by Tyndareus. Helen of Troy was in fact one of the children of Zeus and Leda. The affair was a popular subject amongst artists throughout the years, and some artists claim that Pan – the god of nature – was actually watching at the time. If that’s the case, I shudder to think what the patron of satyrs and nymphs believed to be “unnatural”.

#1 Zeus and Hera

Zeus and Hera by Rubens.

Zeus and Hera by Rubens. Source: Flickr

Finally, we make it to perhaps the worst relationship in Greek mythology. First of all, Hera was Zeus’ sister before she was his wife. Second of all, she rejected him initially, so he appealed to her maternal instincts by turning himself into an injured cuckoo. When she tried to take care of him, he raped her, thus shaming her into marrying him. Their wedding night lasted for 300 years, but it wasn’t enough for Zeus. Hera, however, gave as good as she got by destroying or killing Zeus’ conquests. The goddess of marriage and childbirth ironically had the worst marriage amongst the Olympians.

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