|“||The fact you actually need me to explain to you what 'King of the Gods' means truly baffle me? It is literally what it says on the tin, this specific god is the KING of all the other gods, save for possibly primordial ones unless the king is also one. In documents, they are known as the Skyfathers and are often paired with Earthmothers in a sacred symbolized union between heavens and earth. Most myths, however, portrayed the union between them as a battle for power, with the patriarchal forces led by the Skyfather overthrowing the matriarch culture of the Earthmothers and taken them into their legions, most predominantly as wives, but also as daughters and sisters. There are some instances where all three options are applied, ew!||„|
|— Matt Wright|
The King of the Gods, also known as Sky-Fathers or All-Fathers, is a supreme leader of a population of deities, each a mighty power on his/her own right. They are also regarded to be the parent of the ruling deities in their respective pantheon. This term can also apply to a level of power that is based mainly on showings by Odin or Zeus. It is unknown to what extent other Sky-Fathers share this level of power. Some pantheons may have ruler ship divided among several gods resulting in multiple chief gods.
As polytheistic systems evolve, there is a tendency for one deity, usually male, to achieve preeminence as king of the gods. This tendency can parallel the growth of hierarchical systems of political power in which a monarch eventually comes to assume ultimate authority for human affairs. Other gods come to serve in a Divine Council or pantheon – such subsidiary courtier-deities are usually linked by family ties from the union of a single husband or wife, or else from an androgynous divinity who is responsible for the creation.
Historically, subsequent social events, such as invasions or shifts in power structures, can cause the previous king of the gods to be displaced by a new divinity, who assumes the displaced god's attributes and functions. Frequently the king of the gods has at least one wife who is the queen of the gods.
Examples of this displacement of kings of the gods include:
- In the Mesopotamian Anunnaki, Enlil displaces Anu and is in turn replaced by Marduk.
- The Ancient Egyptian Ennead and Ogdoad, where the deity Osiris assumes pre-eminence, to be displaced by Set, who is in turn replaced by Horus, son to Osiris and Isis
- In the Canaanite pantheon, Hadad displaces El
- In the Hurrian/Hittite pantheon, Teshub displaces Kumarbi.
- In the Armenian Ar, later – Aramazd.
- In the Historical Vedic religion, the King of the Gods was originally Dyaus, later subsumed by Indra. Though Indra still retains the title of the King of the Gods and the Ruler of Heaven, the trinity of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu assume his protective functions as the Vedic religion evolved into Brahmanical Hinduism. Hindus often regard Indra as inferior to the Trinity.
- In the Ancient Greek system of Olympian Gods, Cronus displaces Ouranus, and Zeus in turn displaces Cronus
According to feminist theories of the replacement of original matriarchies by patriarchies, male sky-gods tend to supplant female earth-goddesses and achieve omnipotence.
There is also a tendency for kings of the gods to assume more and more importance, syncretistically assuming the attributes and functions of lesser divinities, who come to be seen as aspects of the single supreme deity. Examples of this include:
- Ancient Iranian Ahura Mazda of the Zoroastrians
- Hinduism where Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu are seen as comprising the essence of all other divinities, and are considered aspects of the same monist reality, an impersonal force called Brahman.
- Dravidian religions had supreme gods based on lands including Seyyon, Mayyon, Vendhan, and Kottravi.
The following are the characteristics shared by virtually all Kings of the gods:
- Creation: Most of these gods derive their power from the fact that they created the world, formulated its laws and/or created life forms notably humans. Ex: Ra, Odin.
- Dominion over the sky: Many such deities hold control over all aspects of the sky, such as weather, rain, thunderstorms, air, winds and celestial objects like stars. They also control some aspects of earth like harvest, fertility, plants or mountains. Ex: Zeus, Indra, Perun.
- Lightning bolts as personal weapons: Commonly seen with sky gods.
- Divine Wisdom: Some Kings of Gods possess superior wisdom and clairvoyance, compared to most beings. Ex: Ra, Odin.
- God of the Sun, Daylight or Celestial Fire: Some kings of gods are associated with the Sun, as it is life giving and is a powerful symbol of order. They are said to be in charge of celestial fire which are purifying by nature. Daylight is also an important phenomenon as most events take place under its presence. Ex: Ra, Dyeus, Pitr.
- Conquest, Law, Justice, Order, Time and Fate: Most kings of gods have the ability to control the events of battle and grant victory to those who deserve it. They are seen as paragons of law and promote order. They are seen as powerful manifestations of their respective civilizations. Some gods either possess great skill in war or tremendous physical strength. Some of them have some control over time and regulate it with seasons. Others have limited control over the fate of a human. Ex: Zeus, Odin, Ra, Indra.
- Divine authority over other gods: This may be because the concerned head of the pantheon is the father or creator of many gods and goddesses who swear allegiance to him. As a result, the king of the gods makes sure that all deities function properly, punish them for misdeeds, grant or take away immortality from lesser gods etc. Ex: Zeus, Odin.
- Divine rival: In some cases, there may be another god, who is equal in supernatural power and thinks he can do a better job than the current king. This often results in conflict, and in extreme cases, war. Ex: Ra and Apep; Osiris, Set and Horus; Perun and Veles; Indra and the Asuras; Zeus and Poseidon; Cronos and Ouranus; Typhon and Zeus etc.
Myths and Legends
List of rulers of pantheons
The leaders of the various pantheons include: