Zeus's Childhood

Zeus was left in the care of Gaia. The Curetes (minor gods) and the Nymphs (nature goddesses) helped care for the infant. The Curetes would mimic the rituals of the Cretan youths by performing dances and clashing their weapons together. Their racket hid the cries of the baby Zeus so his father would not discover him.

Like any other baby, Zeus needed nourishment. The nymph Amalthea was responsible for feeding Zeus and suckled him through his infancy. Some myths say that Amalthea was a she-goat and that Zeus was extremely grateful to her. When Amalthea died, Zeus showed his appreciation by turning Amalthea into the constellation known as Capricorn (the goat). He also used her skin to create a shield that he carried into battle.

Zeus was well cared for as he grew into adulthood. A strong, healthy young man, Zeus prepared to fulfill the prophecy and overthrow his father. He left Crete and visited his cousin, Metis, an Oceanid who was the daughter of Tethys and Oceanus. Metis, well known for her wisdom, agreed to help Zeus. She advised him to become a servant of Cronus and, in that position, to place a potion in his drink. Zeus did as he was told. The potion caused Cronus to vomit — and out came Zeus's brothers and sisters, whole and unharmed.

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