제우스의 아버지 크로노스는 자신의 자식이 자신의 왕권을 차지할 것이라는 예언 때문에 아내 레아로부터 자식이 태어나는 족족 삼켜버렸다. 제우스는 크로노스에게 삼켜지지 않고 장성한 후 크로노스를 폐위시키고 왕권을 차지하기 위해 도전하였다. 이 때 크로노스가 그 동안 삼켰던 자신의 자식들, 즉 제우스의 다섯 형제자매를 토해내는데, 구체적으로 어떻게 하여 토해내게 되었는가에 대해서는 최소한 2가지 버전의 이야기가 있다. 그 중에 하나는 메티스가 관련되어 있는데, 이 이야기에 따르면 메티스가 크로노스에게 구토를 일으키는 약을 먹여 그동안 삼켰던 제우스의 형제자매를 토해내게 만들었다.
한편, 헤시오도스의 《신들의 계보》에 따르면, 제우스는 메티스와 결혼한 뒤에 임신상태의 메티스를 가이아와 우라노스의 조언에 따라 "제우스 자신의 뱃속에 집어넣었는데(put her in his own belly)", 이는 메티스가 낳을 제우스의 자식이 매우 뛰어나서 제우스의 왕권에 도전할 것이라는 예언을 두려워 했기 때문이다. 그 에언은 메티스가 낳을 첫 아이는 빛나는 눈의 딸 아테나이며, 둘째는 아들로 그 아들은 제우스보다 더 뛰어나서 제우스 대신 왕이 될 것이라는 예언이었다. 이것을 막기 위하여 제우스는 메티스를 삼켰다.
하지만, 이미 메티스는 아테나를 임신하고 있는 상태였기 때문에 아테나는 제우스의 뱃속에서 태어나서 자라났고, 훗날 제우스가 두통으로 괴로워할 때 프로메테우스(다른 전승에서는 헤파이스토스)가 제우스의 이마를 도끼로 찍어 열자, 아테나가 이미 장성하여 무장을 한 채로 그 머리에서 튀어나왔다. 왕권을 차지하리라고 예언된 다른 아들은 어떻게 되었는가에 대해서는 《신들의 계보》를 비롯한 신화집에서 별다른 언급이 없다. 하지만, 현대의 그리스 신화 관련 자료들에서는 나름 합리적으로 추정하는데, 메티스가 제우스의 뱃속에 있으므로 메티스는 제우스와 성생활을 할 수 없고 그렇기 때문에 메티스와의 사이에는 더 이상의 아이를 가질 수 없으며 따라서 예언은 실현될 수 없었고 제우스는 왕권을 계속 유지할 수 있었다고 본다. 참고로, 그리스 신화에서 제우스가 왕권을 빼앗겼다는 이야기는 없다.
- (고대 그리스어) 헤시오도스 지음 (기원전 7세기). 《신들의 계보》. 페르세우스 프로젝트
- (영어) Hesiod 지음, Hugh G. Evelyn-White 영역 (1914). 《Theogony (신들의 계보)》. Loeb Classical Library Volume 57. London: William Heinemann
- (영어) Pseudo-Apollodorus 지음, James George Frazer 영역 (1921). 《The Library (비블리오테케)》. Loeb Classical Library Volumes 121 & 122. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd.
- Hesiod 지음, Hugh G. Evelyn-White 영역 (1914), 《Theogony》 334~370행. 오케아노스와 테티스의 자녀들 - 오케아니스.
"(ll. 334-345) And Tethys bare to Ocean eddying rivers, Nilus, and Alpheus, and deep-swirling Eridanus, Strymon, and Meander, and the fair stream of Ister, and Phasis, and Rhesus, and the silver eddies of Achelous, Nessus, and Rhodius, Haliacmon, and Heptaporus, Granicus, and Aesepus, and holy Simois, and Peneus, and Hermus, and Caicus fair stream, and great Sangarius, Ladon, Parthenius, Euenus, Ardescus, and divine Scamander.
(ll. 346-370) Also she brought forth a holy company of daughters15) who with the lord Apollo and the Rivers have youths in their keeping -- to this charge Zeus appointed them -- Peitho, and Admete, and Ianthe, and Electra, and Doris, and Prymno, and Urania divine in form, Hippo, Clymene, Rhodea, and Callirrhoe, Zeuxo and Clytie, and Idyia, and Pasithoe, Plexaura, and Galaxaura, and lovely Dione, Melobosis and Thoe and handsome Polydora, Cerceis lovely of form, and soft eyed Pluto, Perseis, Ianeira, Acaste, Xanthe, Petraea the fair, Menestho, and Europa, Metis, and Eurynome, and Telesto saffron-clad, Chryseis and Asia and charming Calypso, Eudora, and Tyche, Amphirho, and Ocyrrhoe, and Styx who is the chiefest of them all. These are the eldest daughters that sprang from Ocean and Tethys; but there are many besides. For there are three thousand neat-ankled daughters of Ocean who are dispersed far and wide, and in every place alike serve the earth and the deep waters, children who are glorious among goddesses. And as many other rivers are there, babbling as they flow, sons of Ocean, whom queenly Tethys bare, but their names it is hard for a mortal man to tell, but people know those by which they severally dwell."
- Hesiod 지음, Hugh G. Evelyn-White 영역 (1914), 《Theogony》 886~900행. 제우스의 첫 번째 아내 메티스와 그 자녀: 아테나 - 제우스가 메티스를 삼킴.
"Now Zeus, king of the gods, made Metis his wife first, and she was wisest among gods and mortal men. But when she was about to bring forth the goddess bright-eyed Athene, Zeus craftily deceived her with cunning words and put her in his own belly, as Earth and starry Heaven advised. For they advised him so, to the end that no other should hold royal sway over the eternal gods in place of Zeus; for very wise children were destined to be born of her, first the maiden bright-eyed Tritogeneia, equal to her father in strength and in wise understanding; but afterwards she was to bear a son of overbearing spirit, king of gods and men. But Zeus put her into his own belly first, that the goddess might devise for him both good and evil."
- Pseudo-Apollodorus 지음, James George Frazer 영역 (1921), 《The Library》 1.2.1절. 제우스의 성장과 티타노마키아.
"[1.2.1] But when Zeus was full-grown, he took Metis, daughter of Ocean, to help him, and she gave Cronus a drug to swallow,12) which forced him to disgorge first the stone and then the children whom he had swallowed, and with their aid Zeus waged the war against Cronus and the Titans.13) They fought for ten years, and Earth prophesied victory14) to Zeus if he should have as allies those who had been hurled down to Tartarus. So he slew their jailoress Campe, and loosed their bonds. And the Cyclopes then gave Zeus thunder and lightning and a thunderbolt,15) and on Pluto they bestowed a helmet and on Poseidon a trident. Armed with these weapons the gods overcame the Titans, shut them up in Tartarus, and appointed the Hundred-handers their guards16); but they themselves cast lots for the sovereignty, and to Zeus was allotted the dominion of the sky, to Poseidon the dominion of the sea, and to Pluto the dominion in Hades.17)
12) As to the disgorging of his offspring by Cronus, see Hes. Th. 493ff., who, however, says nothing about the agency of Metis in administering an emetic, but attributes the stratagem to Earth (Gaia).
13) As to the war of Zeus on the Titans, see Hes. Th. 617ff.; Hor. Carm. 3.4.42ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 118.
14) The most ancient oracle at Delphi was said to be that of Earth; in her office of prophetess the goddess was there succeeded by Themis, who was afterwards displaced by Apollo. See Aesch. Eum. 1ff.; Paus. 10.5.5ff. It is said that of old there was an oracle of Earth at Olympia, but it no longer existed in the second century of our era. See Paus. 5.14.10. At Aegira in Achaia the oracles of Earth were delivered in a subterranean cave by a priestess, who had previously drunk bull's blood as a means of inspiration. See Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxviii.147; compare Paus. 7.25.13. In the later days of antiquity the oracle of Earth at Delphi was explained by some philosophers on rationalistic principles: they supposed that the priestess was thrown into the prophetic trance by natural exhalations from the ground, and they explained the decadence of the oracle in their own time by the gradual cessation of the exhalations. The theory is scouted by Cicero. See Plut. De defectu oraculorum 40ff.; Cicero, De divinatione i.19.38, i.36.79, ii.57.117. A similar theory is still held by wizards in Loango, on the west coast of Africa; hence in order to receive the inspiration they descend into an artificial pit or natural hollow and remain there for some time, absorbing the blessed influence, just as the Greek priestesses for a similar purpose descended into the oracular caverns at Aegira and Delphi. See Die Loango Expedition, iii.2, von Dr. E. Pechuel Loesche (Stuttgart, 1907), p. 441. As to the oracular cavern at Delphi and the inspiring exhalations which were supposed to emanate from it, see Diod. 16.26; Strabo 9.3.5; Paus. 10.5.7; Justin xxiv.6.6-9. That the Pythian priestess descended into the cavern to give the oracles appears from an expression of Plutarch (De defectu oraculorum, 51, katebê men eis to manteion). As to the oracles of Earth in antiquity, see A. Bouche-Leclercq, Histoire de la Divination dans l'Antiquité, ii.251ff.; L. R. Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, iii.8ff.
15) Compare Hes. Th. 501-506ff.
16) Compare Hes. Th. 717ff.
17) Compare Hom. Il. 15.187ff.; Plat. Gorg. 523a."
- Hesiod 지음, Hugh G. Evelyn-White 영역 (1914), 《Theogony》 924~929t행. 아테나의 탄생: 제우스의 머리에서 출생.
"(ll. 924-929) But Zeus himself gave birth from his own head to bright-eyed Tritogeneia29), the awful, the strife-stirring, the host-leader, the unwearying, the queen, who delights in tumults and wars and battles. But Hera without union with Zeus -- for she was very angry and quarrelled with her mate -- bare famous Hephaestus, who is skilled in crafts more than all the sons of Heaven.
(ll. 929a-929t)30) But Hera was very angry and quarrelled with her mate. And because of this strife she bare without union with Zeus who holds the aegis a glorious son, Hephaestus, who excelled all the sons of Heaven in crafts. But Zeus lay with the fair- cheeked daughter of Ocean and Tethys apart from Hera.... ((LACUNA)) ....deceiving Metis (Thought) although she was full wise. But he seized her with his hands and put her in his belly, for fear that she might bring forth something stronger than his thunderbolt: therefore did Zeus, who sits on high and dwells in the aether, swallow her down suddenly. But she straightway conceived Pallas Athene: and the father of men and gods gave her birth by way of his head on the banks of the river Trito. And she remained hidden beneath the inward parts of Zeus, even Metis, Athena's mother, worker of righteousness, who was wiser than gods and mortal men. There the goddess (Athena) received that31) whereby she excelled in strength all the deathless ones who dwell in Olympus, she who made the host-scaring weapon of Athena. And with it (Zeus) gave her birth, arrayed in arms of war. 29) i.e. Athena, who was born 'on the banks of the river Trito' (cp. l. 929l)
30) Restored by Peppmuller. The nineteen following lines from another recension of lines 889-900, 924-9 are quoted by Chrysippus (in Galen).
31) sc. the aegis. Line 929s is probably spurious, since it disagrees with l. 929q and contains a suspicious reference to Athens"
그리스 신화의 신들