Humanities › History & Culture Profile of the Roman God Jupiter King of Gods Share Flipboard Email Print Bobisbob/Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Mythology & Religion Figures & Events Ancient Languages Greece Egypt Asia Rome American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated February 01, 2018 Jupiter, also known as Jove, is the god of sky and thunder, as well as the king of gods in Ancient Roman Mythology. Jupiter is the top god of the Roman pantheon. Jupiter was considered the chief deity of Roman state religion during the Republican and Imperial eras until Christianity became the dominant religion. Zeus is Jupiter’s equivalent in Greek Mythology. The two share the same features and characteristics. Due to Jupiter’s popularity, the Romans named the largest planet in the solar system after him. Attributes Jupiter is depicted with a beard and long hair. His other attributes include scepter, eagle, cornucopia, aegis, ram, and lion. Jupiter, the Planet The ancient Babylonians were the first known people to record their sightings of the planet Jupiter. The Babylonians’ recordings date back to the seventh century BC. It was initially named after Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods. To the Greeks, the planet represented Zeus, their god of thunder, while the Mesopotamians saw Jupiter as their god, Marduk. Zeus Jupiter and Zeus are equivalents in ancient mythology. They share the same traits and characteristics. The Greek god Zeus was the top Olympian god in the Greek pantheon. After he took credit for rescuing his brothers and sisters from their father Cronus, Zeus became king of heaven and gave his brothers, Poseidon and Hades, the sea and the underworld, respectively, for their domains. Zeus was the husband of Hera, but he had many affairs with other goddesses, mortal women, and female animals. Zeus mated with, among others, Aegina, Alcmena, Calliope, Cassiopeia, Demeter, Dione, Europa, Io, Leda, Leto, Mnemosyne, Niobe, and Semele. He is king on Mount Olympus, the home of the Greek gods. He is also credited as the father of Greek heroes and the ancestor of many other Greeks. Zeus mated with many mortals and goddesses but is married to his sister Hera (Juno). Zeus is the son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. He is the brother of his wife Hera, his other sisters Demeter and Hestia, and his brothers Hades, Poseidon. Etymology of Zeus and Jupiter The root of both "Zeus" and "Jupiter" is in a proto-Indo-European word for the often personified concepts of "day/light/sky". Zeus Abducts Mortals There are many myths about Zeus. Some involve demanding acceptable conduct of others, whether human or divine. Zeus was enraged with the behavior of Prometheus. The titan had tricked Zeus into taking the non-meat portion of the original sacrifice so that mankind could enjoy the food. In response, the king of the gods deprived mankind of the use of fire so they wouldn't be able to enjoy the book they'd been granted, but Prometheus found a way around this, and stole some of the gods' fire by hiding it in a stalk of fennel and then giving it to mankind. Zeus punished Prometheus with having his liver pecked out every day. But Zeus himself misbehaves—at least according to human standards. It is tempting to say that his primary occupation is that of a seducer. In order to seduce, he sometimes changed his shape into that of an animal or bird. When he impregnated Leda, he appeared as a swan [see Leda and the Swan]. When he abducted Ganymede, he appeared as an eagle in order to take Ganymede to the home of the gods where he would replace Hebe as cupbearer; and when Zeus carried off Europa, he appeared as a tempting white bull—although why the Mediterranean women were so enamored of bulls is beyond the imaginative capacities of this urban-dweller—setting in motion the quest of Cadmus and the settling of Thebes. The hunt for Europa provides one mythological version of the introduction of letters to Greece. The Olympic Games were initially held to honor Zeus.