Meet the ruler of the Olympian gods, also the god of the sky and rain. With a thunderbolt as his weapon of choice clutched tight in his hand, anyone who dared to displease felt his electrifying wrath.
It’s been said Zeus was married to Hera, though, he was well-known for not only testing her patience, but also having numerous affairs. Some claim the number totals to seventy women, with six previous marriages.
Yet, when he wasn’t stirring up personal drama, he could be found unleashing storms, thunder and darkness upon the skies.
It’s true he commanded lightning and havoc, however, Zeus also presented life-giving water to rejuvenate the Earth by opening up the skies. With the change of weather marked by the seasons and the end of days and nights, many also viewed him as owning the grand laws of unchanging and harmonious order.
With kingly power, Zeus became known as the protector of the people too. As father of the gods with a constant eye on the community, he dealt out punishments, acted as a counselor, and rewarded truth, charity and fairness with his friendship.
Interestingly enough, this ancient Greek god acted nobly wise and merciful towards the poor. No matter the social class of a man, Zeus would be waiting readily to avenge any wrong doing. Which meant if you were exposed lying or breaking an oath, often you’d be bound to make a statue in tribute of Zeus at the sanctuary of Olympia. The same was true for things like dishonest businessmen.
Now, while the word Zeus itself might mean simply bright or sky in translation, the meaning behind this design comes with a lot of complex symbolism when it comes to tattoos. For some men Zeus represents a protector or guardian. Others view the design as being related to things like honesty and honor. Of course, you could even be a fan of erotic escapades, no judgment here.
Regardless, the story of Zeus holds considerable interesting meanings, each of which you’ll find presented in these top 71 best Zeus tattoos. From manly full sleeves to small men’s chest tattoos, the skies have been opened with storm of ideas brewing below!
Black and Gray Statue Tattoos With The Face of Zeus
Zeus’ face. Richly defined brows, patrician nose, and prominent, masculine brow all framed by windswept locks of head and beard. That inimitable likeness carved into marble for all eternity. Or at least the last couple of thousand years. Strength radiates from this image. Is there any more dignified likeness one could choose for a piece of body art? I doubt it.
Zeus’ face is an absolute cracking option for black and gray tattoo. Because the hair is more of a series of waves it makes an excellent framework for shading. The paler the skin type, the more suitable this black and gray shading application is going to be. Some artists black out the surrounds and help utilize as much negative space as possible to fill out the facial features, creating more depth in the appearance of the tattoo and contributing to a well balanced, top quality finished product.
2. Color Zeus Tattoos
The rarest of the rare when it comes to Zeus tattoos, color applications can do a marvellous job of separating your Zeus tattoo from its’ Greco classical peers. While it is a break with tradition, there’s you no need to approach the total opposite aesthetic like new school or watercolor.
Giving Zeus blue eyes or adding a splash of yellow from the sun’s rays will enhance the already pronounced shadows in a black and gray portrait tattoo. You’ll get the vivid pop of color while remaining tasteful, and elementally true to Zeus tattoo traditions.
Although he hasn’t reached the highs of Norse God Thor in modern comic book and popular culture, Zeus is still a character in the Marvel universe. A comic style representation with bulging muscles and impossibly powerful proportions is going to look at its best in full color depiction.
3. Hands of Zeus Tattoos
The hand here stands for both placement and subject. The hand of Zeus is a powerful symbol in its own right, usually represented as an enormous hand reaching down from the clouds, lightning extruding from an outstretched index finger. This is certainly an interesting alternative method for representing Zeus, adding extra layers to your concept and delivery.
Regarding placement, a hand tattoo is a high risk, high reward endeavor. The risk: that by displaying your artwork so publicly you may put off some members of the public (especially when job hunting). The reward: you get to sport an in your face piece of Greek God ink 24/7, naysayers be damned. A Zeus portrait across the back of the hand is as attention grabbing as a hand tattoo can get.
4. Full length Portrait Zeus Tattoos
The face of Zeus, while stunning in its glory doesn’t have to be the beginning, middle and end. A full length portrait really opens the door to showing off Zeus’ impressive physique and powerful bearing. A full length portrait also allows you to choose a scene, a background or make it a multi part piece.
A particularly sophisticated choice is Zeus depicted in the style of a marble statue. He could be sitting on his throne, eagle staff in hand, Hera kneeling by his side. Or perhaps displayed as an action shot of Zeus zooming through the sky on a cloud, toga rippling in the wind, armor across his shoulders.
5. Large Zeus Tattoos
If you want a big tattoo you could do worse than Zeus as your central theme. The King of the Gods has a beautiful, broad, symmetrical face. His head alone can be used as the centerpiece in a Greek god or mythology themed piece, framed left and right by mythical beasts. He also makes a great standalone large piece as his whole body can be represented in a scene. Imagine Zeus on his cloud wielding his lightning bolts and razing whatever army stands before him. No matter which direction you go Zeus is a great option for a larger piece of body art.
6. Portrait/Realism Zeus Tattoos
As we know by now the face of Zeus is a likely focal point of any Zeus tattoo. But that doesn’t mean you have to go with the crowd and get the usual stylized portrait. True realism beckons and is one of the most demanding skills for any tattoo artist to master.
Without a live subject to work off you’ll need a skilled tattoo artist to create a realistic looking portrait of Zeus’ face. The time and effort will be worth it however. When the King of the Gods’ face is rendered in a realistic art style it is truly magnificent to behold.
7. Lightning Zeus Tattoos
Though Zeus is famously NOT the God of lightning it’s a little hard to represent thunder through a purely visual medium. Although I suppose we could start calling lightning ‘thunderbolts’. It’s not an issue either way as Zeus looks absolutely boss wielding a lightning bolt like a spear, eyes a brilliant white, face filled with fiery intensity.
The iconic vengeful god. There is scope for variety here though. I particularly like the image of a giant hand in the sky, index finger extended, pointing vengeful lightning at an enemy fleet.
8. Zeus Sleeve Tattoos
Zeus is a clever starting theme for a sleeve. First, it’s easy to cast him into a dramatic scene. Think rolling storm clouds or a turbulent ocean framing the God himself flying above Mt Olympus. Zeus was the god of both thunder and the sky and sleeves convert well into a sky background. There’s also an enormous amount of ancient Greek imagery on hand to flesh out the scene. Pegasus is a classic, as is the jewel in the crown of ancient Greek monuments, The Parthenon.
The Parthenon is easily recognizable by its tall cylindrical columns and rectangular shape. It’s a sight to behold when restored to its former glory by a skilled tattoo artist. Your sleeve will be a sight to behold when sporting it.
Zeus Tattoos FAQs
What does a Zeus tattoo symbolize?
Zeus. Just his name is powerful. One word, one syllable and all the power of the King of the Gods is in your mind. He’s inextricably linked with the Ancient Greek religion whose tales of flawed mythological figures are as widespread now as they were then. From Hercules to Aphrodite they all bowed before the King, Zeus.
Getting a Zeus tattoo symbolizes power first and foremost. Zeus’ symbols were the lightning bolt, the eagle, the bull and the oak tree. All symbols of strength. Zeus lived on Mount Olympus where he ruled the world and imposed his will onto God and man alike.
Zeus tattoos can also symbolize a connection to Ancient Greek mythology or Greek ancestry in general. If your forefathers hailed from that part of the world a Zeus tattoo can symbolize an honoring of that ancestry, a love of that country and an ode to its history.
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