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A Massive, Interactive Chart of All of Zeus' Offspring and Affairs

Illustration for article titled A Massive, Interactive Chart of All of Zeus Offspring and Affairs

In Greek mythology, the god Zeus is perhaps best known for his wandering...ahem...lightning rod and the multitudinous offspring it produced. This massive mythological genealogy chart tracks every Olympian, demigod, and hero the thunder god was said to have sired, along with each child's mother.

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What's especially great about this chart, created by Ilaria Pagin, Viviana Ferro, and Elisa Zamarian, is that it also includes the classical sources that link each child and mother to Zeus. And if you can't quite recall who each and every name on this chart, just click the name for a brief description of the figure and his or her backstory. It does not, however, include visual representations of whether Zeus came to his partners as a bull, a golden rain, or a three-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater.

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Zeus's Affairs [Visualising via Neatorama]

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DISCUSSION

phillipthorne
Phillip Thorne

We commonly speak of "Greek myth" as a single thing, which will inevitably cause confusion in, say, a tenth-grader in 1990 when compiling a divine family tree by comparing multiple hardcopy references (Hamilton, et al). Which is why this chart's colored annotation of each source (Ovid, Strabo, et al) is so important.

The conflicts are understandable when you remember how the myths were told: over centuries of time, via oral culture, in multiple city-states ("test tubes"), with changing political ascendance (with their preferred stories). The same thing happened with Egypt, over an even longer period, and with Japan. (As used in Studio Ghibli's "Spirited Away," where the blue-gelatin forest god was intended as part of a "forgotten pantheon" not acknowledged by the dominant Yamato clan.)

And the process continues today — just imagine future historians trying to identify the origin of "Robin, companion to Batman" from fragments of Wikipedia that have lost labels like "comic book 1950" and "TV 1990."