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Classical Mythology

The Reign of Thunder and Lightning: Olympus Under Zeus

Having disposed of their father, the six children of Rhea and Cronus became the first of the Olympian gods. Unlike their predecessors, these Olympians would—despite some challenges—hold on to their power to rule the universe, governing the affairs of both gods and men for the rest of time.

At Gaia's urging, the gods of Olympus—supremely grateful to their little brother for freeing them from their father—implored Zeus, the greatest of the gods, to rule over them. The ambitious Zeus readily accepted this honor.

But how would they divide the spoils of their victory over the Titans? Who would rule the heavens? Who would rule the sea, the earth, and the Underworld? Zeus decided to cast lots to determine the dominion of each god. (The goddesses were excluded from this division of power.) The three brothers—Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades—placed their names in a helmet and drew them out to determine the lords of the sky, sea, and Underworld.

By chance, Zeus drew the sky; Poseidon, the sea; and Hades, the dark Underworld. The brothers agreed that both the earth and Mount Olympus—the home of the gods—would remain under their common jurisdiction, the realm of no one god.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Mythology © 2004 by Kevin Osborn and Dana L. Burgess, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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