Heracles and Perseus were two well-known sons of Zeus fathered by mortal women.

How many other male offspring did Zeus father by human women?

How many of these (sons of mortal mothers) specifically do not have alternate versions of their paternity given in the myths? Or in other words, which ones are only ever ascribed as sons of Zeus, and never occur as having a different father?


1 Answer 1


There is a list of offspring of Zeus on Wikipedia. To avoid simply repeating it, I've tried to add more detail. This list is not complete, as they are many "possible offspring", and many with confused or unclear heritage, which may be Zeus', but may not.

  • Perseus, son of Danae, who went on to behead Medusa and save Andromeda. Conceived when Zeus was in the form of "a shower of gold".
  • Heracles, son of Alcmene. Conceived while Zeus was disguised as Alcmene's husband
  • Dionysus, son of Semele. After Semele's death during her pregnancy, Zeus sewed Dionysus into his thigh, before releasing/"birthing" him several months later.
  • Amphion and Zethus, twin sons by Antiope. Conceived when Antiope was raped by Zeus in the form of a satyr.
  • Arcas, son of Callisto. Conceived while Zeus was disguised as Artemis, the only person Callisto would be with.
  • Tityos, a giant, son of Elara (who was not a giant - ouch). Zeus hid Elara from his jealous wife Hera beneath the Earth (it is assumed that Tityos' giant-ness was caused by this hiding, and Tityos is sometimes said to be a son of Gaia, Earth goddess).
  • Castor and Pollux, sons of Leda (conceived when Zeus was disguised as a swan)
  • Helen of Troy, daughter of Leda
  • Minos, son of Europa, and owner of that labyrinth
  • Myrmidon, son of Eurymedusa (said to have conceived when Zeus turned her into an ant before raping her)
  • Keroassa, daughter of Io, who later gave birth herself to a son by Poseidon who went on to found Byzantium
  • Tantalus, son of Plouto, a nymph. Known for his eternal punishment of standing in a pool with fruit hanging over him, but never quite within reach, and the water always receding before he could drink.
  • Pirithous, son of Dia (father could also be Ixion). Best friend of Theseus, and husband of Hippodamia, at whose wedding the Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs occurred.

Lesser-known offspring:

  • Rhadamanthus, son of Europa, a king somewhere in the Aegean islands, sometimes considered the husband of Ariadne.
  • Sarpedon, son of Europa, king of Lycia
  • Alagonia, daughter of Europa
  • Carnus, son of Europa, and a seer
  • Arcesius, king in Ithaca
  • Thebe, daughter of Iodame, who married Ogyges
  • Epaphus, son of Io, kind of Egypt (conceived by the touch of Zeus' hand)
  • Argus, son of Niobe
  • Opus, son of Protogenia, and a king of the Epeians
  • Lacedaemon, son of Taygete, a nymph. King of Laconia and husband of Sparta
  • Magnes (first king of Magnesia) and Makednos (ancestor of Macedonians), sons of Thyia
  • Carius, son of Torrhebia - he learned music from nymphs and later taught it to the Lydians
  • Solymus and Milye, son and daughter of Chaldene, who later married each other
  • Argus, son of Niobe. Later king of Argos.

Possible offspring: (aka those mentioned on the Wiki's list that I need to research more, will update when I do)

  • Dardanus, son of Electra
  • Iasion, son of Electra
  • Harmonia, daughter of Electra (according to one account - other sources call her the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite)
  • Aethlius, son of Protogenia
  • Sparaios, Kronios and Kytos, sons of Himalia, a nymph
  • Balius and Xanthus, two immortal horses
  • Aecus and Damocrateia, children of Aegina
  • Olenus, son of Anaxithea
  • Acragas, son of Asterope, an Oceanid
  • Britomartis, daughter of Carme, the Minoan goddess of mountains and hunting
  • Atymnius, son of Cassiopeia and beloved of Sarpedon (above)
  • Dodon, son of Europa
  • Cres, son of the nymph Idaea
  • Orchomenus, son of Isonoe
  • Achilleus and Herophile, sons of Lamia, who was cursed by Hera to eat children (legend varies on whether she devoured her own, or those of others)
  • Locrus, son of Maera. Said to have assisted Zethus and Amphion (above) in the building of Thebes
  • Pelasgus, son of Niobe, and ancestor of the Pelasgians
  • Meliteus, son of Othreis, a nymph. He was nurtured by bees after an incident involving Othreis' fear of Hera's wrath.
  • Graecus and Latinus, sons of Pandora II (Pandora's granddaughter)
  • Hellen, son of Pyrrha (father could be Deucalion), progenitor of the Hellenes

  • Taenarus, Calabrus and Geraestys, three brothers said to have sailed to Peloponnese and founded a sanctuary of Poseidon