What They Didn’t Tell You About Greek Mythology

The part you’ve heard is true.

Zeus got wind that any kid his baby mama Metis has would be more powerful than their dad. Simple solution? Don’t have kids with Metis, right?

Too late. She’s already pregnant. So what does he do? He swallows her whole.

Add cannibalism to the list of crimes and misdemeanors. And no, I’m not impressed that his jaw unhinged that far.

Okay, so problem sorted, right?

Not quite. Zeus gets a thunderous headache (get it?) and is going wild. So he calls his buddy Hephaestus who is the weapons guy, makes the axes and spears and whatnot, right? And Zeus says to him, “Dude, just knock me out.” So Hephaestus takes a double-headed axe and splits Zeus’s head open. (This is where the term “splitting headache” comes from. You’re welcome.)

Wouldn’t you know it, Athena bursts out of the guy’s head. Hephaestus is flabbergasted. She isn’t even a baby — she’s full grown and wearing a complete set of armor. She gives a battle cry and Hep — we’re calling him Hep now, I got tired of spelling the whole thing out — Hep has to convince her he isn’t picking a fight, which isn’t easy because he’s got a bloody axe in his hands and her father is passed out on the ground.

Now for the part you haven’t heard. It is also 100 percent true.

Athena demands Hep do something about the bloody gash in Zeus’s head. Well, Hep is a metallurgist, he makes weapons, he isn’t a doctor or even a nature-based healer. He’s basically the dealer for the anti-healers.

However, he knows a guy.

So he calls his buddy Midas, who is in the world of metal, but in a different kind of way. Midas looks at the gash in the god’s head and goes, “Sure, I can give it a shot.” He ignores the daggers coming from Athena’s eyeballs and puts his hands on Zeus’s head.  When he pulls his hands away, Zeus has a gold plate in his skull. The bleeding has stopped. Zeus opens his eyes.

So Athena is happy because she gets to meet her dad (give it a couple minutes), and Zeus is unhappy because the child of Metis is born after all. But his new built-in accessory looks rad, and Athena is already a warrior, so he doesn’t really want to have it out right this second.

Meanwhile Hep figures he’d better cover his bets. He runs to his forge, makes a crown out of a couple horseshoes laying around from the last time Pegasus stopped by, and holds it out to Midas. Midas takes it and then places the gold circlet on Athena’s head and bows deeply.

Athena is touched and tells Hep she’ll see him around. Since he’s the god of weapons and she’s the goddess of war, they’ll be seeing quite a bit of each other. Hep scratches his head, glances at Zeus, and agrees.