The Three Zeuses are mighty deities of Ællînismόs (Hellênismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. They are Ploutôn (Plutô or Hades, Πλούτων), Poseidóhn (Poseidôn or Neptune, Ποσειδῶν), and Olympian Zefs (Ζεύς). These deities are brothers and members of the Kronídai (Cronidae, Κρονίδαι), since they are the sons of Krónos (Cronus, Κρόνος).

The Mythology

Mighty Krónos (Cronus, Κρόνος) received an oracle that one of his children would usurp him. To prevent this, he swallowed each child in turn as they were born to his wife Rhǽa (Rhea, Ῥέα). [1] But when Zefs came forth, the divine child was rushed into hiding, and Rhǽa deceived her husband by presenting him with a stone wrapped in swaddling cloth and declared it to be his newborn son. Krónos swallowed the stone causing all the children to be vomited up:

"Therefore Orcus (Πλούτων), coming forth first, descended, and occupies the lower, that is, the infernal regions. The second, being above him...he whom they call Neptune (Ποσειδῶν), is thrust forth upon the waters. The third (Ζεὺς Ὀλυμπικός), who survived by the artifice of his mother Rhea, she put upon a she-goat and sent into heaven.” (trans. Thomas Smith, 1886.) [2]

The Orphic Egg: the universe and the soul

Orphic theogony describes the Kozmic Egg from which the universe emerges. The soul of all sentient beings has the same form, for it is a microcosm of the Kozmic Egg of the Universe. The Three Zefs have governance over the three parts of the egg:

Ploutôn rules the center (the yolk, βουλή)

Poseidóhn rules the middle (the white of the egg, πάθος)

Olympian Zefs rules the cortex (the shell of the egg, νους).

The Earth, the Sea, and the Heavens

Our earthly system is also a microcosm of the Kozmic Egg with the component parts being:

Ploutôn rules the Earth, like the yolk of the egg.

Poseidóhn rules the Sea and the Middle Sky beneath the Moon, like the white of the egg.

Olympian Zefs rules the Heavens, like the shell of the egg.

The Three Zeuses have the same essence

The three brothers are three separate deities, yet they are of one essence. This is one of the great mysteries of our religion. Because they have the same essence, Zefs is known by the epithet trióphthalmos (triophthalmus, τριόφθαλμος): three-eyed, each eye representing one of the brothers, but all three eyes belonging to Olympian Zefs. [3]

In the mythology, this is told with the story of the casting of lots:

“...but they themselves cast lots for the sovereignty, and to Zeus was allotted the dominion of the sky, to Poseidon the dominion of the sea, and to Pluto the dominion in Hades.” (trans. J.G. Frazer, 1921) [4]

“For three brethren are we, begotten of Cronos, and born of Rhea,—Zeus, and myself, and the third is Hades, that is lord of the dead below. And in three-fold wise are all things divided, and unto each hath been apportioned his own domain. I verily, when the lots were shaken, won for my portion the grey sea to be my habitation for ever, and Hades won the murky darkness, while Zeus won the broad heaven amid the air and the clouds.” (trans. A. T. Murray, 1924) [5]

Kallímakhos (Callimachus, Καλλίμαχος), the Alexandrian poet, refers to this same mythology, but he points out that it is not by mere chance that these deities hold the positions which they do:

"Fairly didst thou wax, O heavenly Zeus, and fairly wert thou nurtured, and swiftly thou didst grow to manhood, and speedily came the down upon thy cheek. But, while yet a child, thou didst devise all the deeds of perfect stature. Wherefore thy kindred, though an earlier generation, grudged not that thou shouldst have heaven for thine appointed habitation. The ancient poets spake not altogether truly. For they said that the lot assigned to the sons of Cronus their three several abodes. But who would draw lots for Olympus and for Hades – save a very fool? for equal chances should one cast lots; but these are the wide world apart. When I speak fiction, be it such fiction as persuades the listener’s ear! Thou wert made sovereign of the Gods not by casting of lots but by the deeds of thy hands, thy might and that strength which thou hast set beside thy throne." (trans. A.W. Mair and G.R. Mair, 1921) [6]

The Neoplatonic philosopher Próklos explains their dominions in this way:

"He (Ζεὺς Ὀλυμπικός) is also the summit of the three, has the same name with the fontal (ed. fontal means fundamental source) Jupiter (Ζεὺς), is united to him, and is monadically called Jupiter. But the second is called dyadically, marine Jupiter, and Neptune (Ποσειδῶν). And the third is triadically denominated, terrestrial (χθόνιος) Jupiter, Pluto, and Hades (Ἅιδης-Πλούτων). The first of these also preserves, fabricates, and vivifies (ed. animates) summits, but the second, things of a second rank, and the third those of a third order. Hence this last is said to have ravished Proserpine (Περσεφόνη), that together with her he might animate the extremities of the universe." [7]

The Weapons of the Three Zeuses

The one-eyed Kýklopæs (Cyclopes, Κύκλωπες) constructed three magnificent gifts, one for each of the Three Zefs:

“And the Cyclopes then gave Zeus thunder and lightning and a thunderbolt, and on Pluto they bestowed a helmet and on Poseidon a trident.” (trans. Sir James George Frazer, 1921) [8]

For Zefs they forged the Kærafnós (Ceraunus, Κεραυνός), the awesome thunderbolt, as well as lightning, symbolic of his tremendous power and dominion over the vast heavens, indeed, symbolic of his dominion over all the Kózmos (Cosmos, Κόσμος). With this mighty weapon, he can deify souls, raise great storms and even flood the whole world.

For Poseidóhn the Kýklopæs crafted the Tríaina (Trident, Τρίαινα) by which he can split rocks, create earthquakes and springs of sea-water. It is said that with the Tríaina, Poseidóhn spontaneously created horses, symbolic of the vehicle of the soul.

And for Ploutôn they created the Áïdos kynǽîn (Aïdos kuneên, Ἄϊδος κυνέην), the dog-skin cap which renders the wearer invisible, symbolic of the power of the mighty God.


[1] Orphic frag. 56b Rufinus Recognitions of St. Clement (pseudo-Clement) 10.18 (Ed. Basil. 156, Migne PG 1, 1429):

sed de illis sex maribus unus, qui dicitur Saturnus, in coniugium accepit Rheam, et cum responso quodam commonitus esset, quod qui ex ea naceretur for | tior ipso futurus esset regnoque eum depelleret, omnes qui ei nascerentur filios devorare instituit. huic ergo primus nascitur filius, quem Aiden appellarunt, qui apud nos Orcus nominatur, quem pro causis quibus supra diximus assumptum devorat pater. post hunc secundum genuit, quem Neptunum dicunt, quemque simili modo devoravit. novissimum genuit eum, quem Iovem appellant, sed hunc mater miserans Rhea, per artem devoraturo subtrahit patri, et primo quidem ne vagitus pueri innotesceret, Corybandtas quosdam cymbala fecit ac tympana percutere, ut obstrepente sonitu vagitus non audiretur infantis.

"But of these six (Titanic) males, the one who is called Saturn (Κρόνος) received in marriage Rhea, and having been warned by a certain oracle that he who should be born of her should be more powerful than himself, and should drive him from his kingdom, he determined to devour all the sons that should be born to him. First, then, there is born to him a son called Aides, who amongst us is called Orcus (Ὅρκος); and him, for the reason we have just stated, he took and devoured. After him he begot a second son, called Neptune; and him he devoured in like manner. Last of all, he begot him whom they call Jupiter; but him his mother Rhea pitying, by stratagem withdrew from his father when he was about to devour him. And first, indeed, that the crying of the child might not be noticed, she made certain Corybantes strike cymbals and drums, that by the deafening sound the crying of the infant might not be heard.” (trans. Thomas Smith, 1886.)

[2] Orphic frag. 56b Rufinus' translation of Recognitiones (pseudo-Clement) 10.19 (Ed. Basil. 156, Migne PG 1, 1429):

Sed cum ex uteri imminutione intellexisset pater editum partum, expetebat ad devorandum; tune Rhea lapidem ei offerens magnum, huac genui, inquit. At ille accipiens absorbuit, et lapis devoratus eos quos primo absorbuerat filios, trusit et coegit exire. Primus ergo procedens descendit Orcus, et inferiora, hoc est inferna occupat loca. Secundus utpote illo superior super aquas detruditur, is quem Neptunum vocant. Tertius qui arte matris Rheae superfuit, ab ipsa caprae superpositus in coelum emissus est.

"But when he understood from the lessening of her belly that her child was born, he demanded it, that he might devour it; then Rhea presented him with a large stone, and told him that that was what she had brought forth. And he took it, and swallowed it; and the stone, when it was devoured, pushed and drove forth those sons whom he had formerly swallowed. Therefore Orcus (Hades, ᾍδης), coming forth first, descended, and occupies the lower, that is, the infernal regions. The second, being above him...he whom they call Neptune (Ποσειδῶν), is thrust forth upon the waters. The third (Ζεὺς), who survived by the artifice of his mother Rhea, she put upon a she-goat and sent into heaven.” (trans. Thomas Smith, 1886.)

[3] Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις Παυσανίου, Book 2 Ἀργολίς 24.4

τρεῖς δὲ ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχειν ἐπὶ τῷδε ἄν τις τεκμαίροιτο αὐτόν. Δία γὰρ ἐν οὐρανῷ βασιλεύειν, οὗτος μὲν λόγος κοινὸς πάντων ἐστὶν ἀνθρώπων. ὃν δὲ ἄρχειν φασὶν ὑπὸ γῆς, ἔστιν ἔπος τῶν Ὁμήρου Δία ὀνομάζον καὶ τοῦτον:

“ ‘Ζεύς τε καταχθόνιος καὶ ἐπαινὴ Περσεφόνεια.’ (Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 2.9.457)

“Αἰσχύλος δὲ ὁ Εὐφορίωνος καλεῖ Δία καὶ τὸν ἐν θαλάσσῃ. τρισὶν οὖν ὁρῶντα ἐποίησεν ὀφθαλμοῖς ὅστις δὴ ἦν ὁ ποιήσας, ἅτε ἐν ταῖς τρισὶ ταῖς λεγομέναις λήξεσιν ἄρχοντα τὸν αὐτὸν τοῦτον θεόν.

“The reason for its three eyes (ed. a statue of Zefs originally from Troy) one might infer to be this. That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men. As for him who is said to rule under the earth, there is a verse of Homer which calls him, too, Zeus:—

“ ‘Zeus of the Underworld, and the august Persephonea.’ (Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 2.9.457)

“The God in the sea, also, is called Zeus by Aeschylus, the son of Euphorion. So whoever made the image made it with three eyes, as signifying that this same God rules in all the three “allotments” of the Universe, as they are called.” (trans. W. H. S. Jones, 1918)

[4] Βιβλιοθήκη Ἀπολλοδώρου I.2.1·

καὶ λαγχάνει Ζεὺς μὲν τὴν ἐν οὐρανῷ δυναστείαν, Ποσειδῶν δὲ τὴν ἐν θαλάσσῃ, Πλούτων δὲ τὴν ἐν Ἅιδου.

[5] Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 2.15.187·

τρεῖς γάρ τ᾽ ἐκ Κρόνου εἰμὲν ἀδελφεοὶ οὓς τέκετο Ῥέα

Ζεὺς καὶ ἐγώ, τρίτατος δ᾽ Ἀΐδης ἐνέροισιν ἀνάσσων.

τριχθὰ δὲ πάντα δέδασται, ἕκαστος δ᾽ ἔμμορε τιμῆς:

ἤτοι ἐγὼν ἔλαχον πολιὴν ἅλα ναιέμεν αἰεὶ

παλλομένων, Ἀΐδης δ᾽ ἔλαχε ζόφον ἠερόεντα,

Ζεὺς δ᾽ ἔλαχ᾽ οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἐν αἰθέρι καὶ νεφέλῃσι.

[6] εἰς Δία Καλλιμάχου 55-67, trans. A.W. Mair and G.R. Mair, 1921.

καλὰ μὲν ἠέξευ, καλὰ δ᾽ ἔτραφες, οὐράνιε Ζεῦ,

ὀξὺ δ᾽ ἀνήβησας, ταχινοὶ δέ τοι ἦλθον ἴουλοι.

ἀλλ᾽ ἔτι παιδνὸς ἐὼν ἐφράσσαο πάντα τέλεια:

τῶ τοι καὶ γνωτοὶ προτερηγενέες περ ἐόντες

οὐρανὸν οὐκ ἐμέγηραν ἔχειν ἐπιδαίσιον οἶκον.

δηναιοὶ δ᾽ οὐ πάμπαν ἀληθέες ἦσαν ἀοιδοί.

φάντο πάλον Κρονίδῃσι διάτριχα δώματα νεῖμαι:

τίς δέ κ᾽ ἐπ᾽ Οὐλύμπῳ τε καὶ Ἄιδι κλῆρον ἐρύσσαι,

ὃς μάλα μὴ νενίηλος; ἐπ᾽ ἰσαίῃ γὰρ ἔοικε

πήλασθαι: τὰ δὲ τόσσον ὅσον διὰ πλεῖστον ἔχουσι.

ψευδοίμην ἀίοντος ἅ κεν πεπίθοιεν ἀκουήν.

οὔ σε θεῶν ἐσσῆνα πάλοι θέσαν, ἔργα δὲ χειρῶν

σή τε βίη τό τε κάρτος, ὃ καὶ πέλας εἵσαο δίφρου.

[7] σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Κρατύλου Πλάτωνος, trans. Thomas Taylor, 1816.

[8] Βιβλιοθήκη Ἀπολλοδώρου Ι.2.1·

καὶ Κύκλωπες τότε Διὶ μὲν διδόασι βροντὴν καὶ ἀστραπὴν καὶ κεραυνόν, Πλούτωνι δὲ κυνέην, Ποσειδῶνι δὲ τρίαιναν.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.

Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.

How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.

This logo is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætîlía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology , the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.

Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages:

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

Transliteration of Ancient Greek

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

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