Hera (Greek: Ἥρα) is the Greek Goddess of Marriage, Children, Familial Love, and Married Women.
Her most prominent sacred animals are the peacock and the cow, and her Roman name is Juno.
Years later, Rhea and Hera's youngest brother, Zeus, managed to trick Kronos into consuming a special drink of mustard, salt, and nectar that he (Kronos) believed would make him unstoppable. Instead, he vomited up all five of the children whom he had swallowed. Since they were immortal, they could not be digested even after his consumption of them, and therefore had grown to their maturity in his stomach.
For ten years, Hera and her siblings fought against Kronos and his Titans for revenge as well as for the right to rule the world, and eventually Zeus managed to chop Kronos into pieces with his own sickle, and threw him into Tartarus.
Due to her being one of the most beautiful Goddesses ever seen, Zeus came to fall in love with her and asked her to be his Queen, but she rejected him, for she knew of his numerous love affairs and had no desire to become one of his conquests.
Slyly, Zeus generated a thunderstorm and transformed himself into a disheveled cuckoo. Pretending to be in severe distress from the storm, it flew to Hera, who felt sorry for it and held it close to her to keep it warm. Zeus then resumed his true form and forced himself upon her, though some accounts state that he finally managed to seduce her by being in such close proximity to her. She agreed to marry him.
Hera presides over the right ordering of marriage. The legitimate offspring of her union with Zeus are: Ares (the God of War), Hebe (the Goddess of Youth), Eris (the Goddess of Discord), Eileithyia (the Goddess of Childbirth), Enyo (the Goddess of Battle), and perhaps Hephaistos (the God of Fire and Blacksmiths).
After Hera gave birth to Hephaestus, he was so ugly and lame that she threw him off of Olympus. He landed on an island and his legs were permanently damaged. He now has an awkward walk and his home is on the island that he landed on.
Hephaistos gained revenge against Hera for rejecting him by making her a magical throne which bound her and would not allow her to leave. At the bidding of Zeus, the other gods begged Hephaistos to let her go, but he repeatedly refused. Later Dionysos came to him and got him drunk and convinced him to release Hera from the thrown. After Hephaistos released Hera, Zeus gave him Aphrodite as his wife.
When Zeus and Io were having an affair, he tried to hide it from Hera by creating thick clouds over them, so that Hera couldn't see down to him. However, Hera knew that Zeus must be under the clouds, so she went down to earth and went under the clouds. Zeus, worrying about Hera's wrath, turned his lover, Io, into a stunning white heifer. Hera was not fooled. She knew this was one of Zeus' tricks but she pretended that she didn't know. She asked Zeus if she could keep the cow and Zeus, not wanting her to find out, allowed Hera to take the cow to their palace in Olympus. Hera tied Io to a tree and set Argos to watch over her.
Argos was a faithful companion of Hera who was the best guard that there ever was. This was because his body was completely covered in one hundred blue eyes. Also, Argos never closed more than half of his eyes at once, so he never missed anything.
When Zeus could no longer stand Io's distress, he sent Hermes, the sneakiest of gods, to set Io free. Hermes disguised himself as a shepherd and went to Argos, playing music on a pipe. Argos enjoyed the music and the company of another person as he was very bored watching a cow all day. After Hermes finished his tune he began to tell a very dull story. Eventually, fifty of Argos' eyes fell asleep and then one-by-one, his other fifty began to fall asleep as well. When all hundred were closed, Hermes touched each one with his wand, making them stay shut in eternal sleep. Hermes untied the cow and Io ran back to her father, who was a river god named Inachus. Inachus didn't recognize his daughter but when Io spelled out her name in the sand, her father understood. Inachus went to Zeus with extreme anger. Zeus killed Inachus with a thunderbolt, and ever since, the river bed of Inachus has been dry. Finally, when Hera saw Argos dead and Io gone, she became extremely angry. She sent a gadfly to chase the cow wherever she went and to continuously sting her. Io ran all over Greece, trying to get away from the fly. When Io arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians worshipped the beautiful cow and she became an Egyptian goddess. Hera told Zeus that he could turn Io back into a human if he promised to never look at her again.
After Io had been turned back, she became the goddess-queen of Egypt and her son with Zeus became the king after her.
When Hera found out that Zeus had impregnated Leto with a set of twins, she made all lands shun Leto so that she wouldn't be able to find a place to have her babies. However, Hera's brother, Poseidon, had recently created a piece of land that wasn't yet attached to the Earth, so it wasn't yet land. Leto went to this island and laid under a palm tree to give birth.
After Hera discovered that Zeus had impregnated Semele, a mortal princess, she went to Semele in the guise of an old woman and asked why the baby's father wasn't with her. Semele claimed that the father was the mighty Lord of the Sky, Zeus. Hera, still disguised as the old woman, asked Semele how she could be sure that her husband really was the Lord of the Sky as so many men claimed to be him. Hera told Semele that to be sure, she should ask Zeus to see him in all his true form.
When Zeus returned, Semele made him promise on the River Styx to grant her one wish. He did so but was shocked when she asked him to show her his true form. He begged her to change her wish but she refused. He did as she pleased and she was instantly incinerated. However, Zeus rushed down to Hades and took his son from Semele.
Zeus then gave their son, Dionysos, to Hermes to take him to a valley called Nysa that was located in faraway lands to hide him from Hera. Hermes did so and left him with the Maenads where he was raised with them, as well as tigers and leopards.
Punishment of Ixion
Ixion tried to have an affair with Hera. Zeus molded a cloud shaped like Hera, and when he showered it with affection, Zeus sent him away on a fired wheel.
Judgement of Italy
At the wedding of Thetis and Peleus, everyone was invited, except for the goddess of discord, Eris. She was angered by this and threw a golden apple of discord into the party that said "To The Fairest". Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite all took claim to this apple. Not being able to decide who it was for, they turned to Zeus, who sent them to Paris, a mortal shepherd. Each goddess offered him something but Paris took Aphrodite's offer of having Helen for his bride.
- Cronus (Father)
- Rhea (Mother)
Spouse & Lovers
- Zeus (Husband)
Children (Fathered by Zeus)
Hera is usually depicted as a tall and stately figure who is either crowned with a diadem or wearing a wreath, and carrying a specter. Her throne, chariot, and sandals were all made completely of pure gold.
She was also said to be supremely beautiful, though her beauty is very different from that of Aphrodite's. Homer described her as "ox-eyed" and "white-armed", which meant that she had large, soft brown eyes that one could become lost in, as well as a clear, pure, and unblemished complexion that was as white as ivory. In fact, Zeus (who was a connoisseur of beautiful women) once confessed in a moment of pure passion that he considered Hera to be the most beautiful of all his lovers, and the only person who could truly inflame his sexual desires to their extremes.
Hera was notorious in Greek mythology for her jealousy and her vast capacity for vengeance.
Sacred Symbols and Animals
Her symbols include;
- Pomegranate - Pomegranates are wedding symbols.
- Diadem - Queens typically wear crowns or diadems.
- Lotus-Tipped Staff - People of great power are typically shown with a staff.
Her animals include;
- Heifer - Because cows are some of the most motherly animals. She chose this as her animal.
- Peacock - Because she could see the eyes of Argus in that animal.
- Cow - Because of one of Zeus' infidelities: Io
- Hera's name is the anagram of her mother's name, Rhea.
- Hera often has grudges against Zeus' other lovers and his children that are not with her. She often tries to kill his other children like Herakles or Dionysos.
- Her Roman name is Juno.
- The month of June is named after Hera's Roman name: Juno. Because of Hera's status as the Goddess of Marriage, June is the month that is viewed as the best for weddings.
Gallery of Symbols of Hera & Things Sacred to Hera
Gallery of Images of Hera
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|Related Articles :||Mount Olympus • Protogenoi • Titans • Gigantes • Demigods|