Who Makes Zeus’ Lightning Bolts?

Christian Frausto Bernal/CC-BY-2.0

According to ancient Greek historian Hesiod, Zeus’ lighting bolts were made by Brontes, Steropes and Arges, the three Cyclopes sons of Uranus and Gaia. These one-eyed craftsmen also created Poseidon’s trident and Hades’ helm of darkness.

The three primordial giants were imprisoned in Tartarus by their father Uranus, who feared their strength. Zeus freed them, and in thanks, they forged his lightning bolts. The bolts were given the qualities of all three of the Cyclopes’ names. Arges gave brightness, Brontes provided the thunder and Steropes created lightning itself.

Some scholars believe that the origin of the Cyclopes myth came from observing blacksmiths. In ancient times, smiths working a forge wore an eyepatch, protecting at least one eye from the sparks at all times.