|Hera, Queen of the Gods and the second Wife of Zeus|
|Rules Over:||Childbirth, Women, Home life, Royalty, Marriage and the heavens|
|Title:||Queen of Olympus|
|Symbols:||Pomegranate, Diadem, Lotus-Tipped Staff|
|Sacred Animals:||Heifer, Peacock, Lion, Cuckoo, Panther, Crow, Hawk|
|Items:||Replica of Zeus' Pelt|
|Parents:||Cronus and Rhea|
|Children||Hebe, Eileithyia, Ares, Enyo, and Hephaistos|
Hera (Greek: Ἥρα) is the Greek goddess of marriage, children, familial love and married women. She is the daughter of Kronos and Rhea, and the sister and final wife of Zeus, and thus the Queen of Olympus. The cow and the peacock are sacred to her.
Her Roman name is Juno.
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 (goddess of childbirth), Enyo. Enyo, a war goddess responsible with the destruction (goddess of battle), and perhaps Hephaistos (god of fire and blacksmiths). It is said she gave birth to Hephaistos without Zeus, because she was jealous of his love toward Athena. When Hephaistos was born she saw his ugliness and cast him from Olympus.
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.
Hera was born to Kronos and Rhea. Kronos had made it a practice of eating his children once they are born. Years later, Hera's brother, Zeus had given Rhea a mustard, wine, and herb mixture to give to Kronos. He thought it would make him unstoppable, but instead he vomited up his now full grown children. As they were immortal, they were growing inside his stomach. Eventually Zeus had chopped Kronos into pieces with his own sickle, and threw him into Tartarus.
Zeus had asked her to be his queen, but she knew of his many other wives and denied his requests. Slyly, Zeus made a thunderstorm and turned into a disheveled cuckoo. Hera felt sorry for it, so she held it to keep it warm. Zeus then forced himself upon her. She married him to cover her shame.
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.
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)
Depiction and Personality
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. 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 is a very jealous goddess. She is easily angered and can be offended easily. Her throne, chariot, and sandals are all made of gold. She gets mad and turns peoples' hair into serpents when ever they boast about their hair being more beautiful than Hera's.
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
|v • e||Olympian Gods|
|Olympians :||Aphrodite • Apollo • Ares • Artemis • Athena • Demeter • Dionysos • Hades • Hephaistos • Hera • Hermes • Hestia • Poseidon • Zeus|
|Related Articles :||Mount Olympus • Protogenoi • Titans • Gigantes • Demigods|