Hera
Overview
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 in the Olympian pantheon
Twelve Olympians
The Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon , in Greek mythology, were the principal deities of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, and Hades were siblings. Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Athena, Apollo, and Artemis were children of Zeus...

 of Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome
Religion in ancient Rome
Religion in ancient Rome encompassed the religious beliefs and cult practices regarded by the Romans as indigenous and central to their identity as a people, as well as the various and many cults imported from other peoples brought under Roman rule. Romans thus offered cult to innumerable deities...

 was Juno
Juno (mythology)
Juno is an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. Juno also looked after the women of Rome. Her Greek equivalent is Hera...

. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her. Hera's mother was Rhea
Rhea (mythology)
Rhea was the Titaness daughter of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth, in Greek mythology. She was known as "the mother of gods". In earlier traditions, she was strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, the Great Goddess, and was later seen by the classical Greeks as the mother of the Olympian...

 and her father Cronus
Cronus
In Greek mythology, Cronus or Kronos was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, divine descendants of Gaia, the earth, and Uranus, the sky...

.

Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos
Polos
Polos generally refers to a high cylindrical crown typically worn by mythological goddesses.Polos may also refer to:* The plural of polo* In music, the polos is one of the interlocking parts of Kotekan...

(a high cylindrical crown worn by several of the Great Goddess
Great Goddess
Great Goddess refers to the concept of an almighty goddess, or to the concept of a mother goddess, including:*Great Goddess, anglicized form of the Latin Magna Dea*Great Goddess, anglicized form of the Sanskrit Mahadevi, the Shakti sum of all goddesses...

es), Hera may bear a pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

 in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 poppy.
Encyclopedia
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 in the Olympian pantheon
Twelve Olympians
The Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon , in Greek mythology, were the principal deities of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, and Hades were siblings. Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Athena, Apollo, and Artemis were children of Zeus...

 of Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome
Religion in ancient Rome
Religion in ancient Rome encompassed the religious beliefs and cult practices regarded by the Romans as indigenous and central to their identity as a people, as well as the various and many cults imported from other peoples brought under Roman rule. Romans thus offered cult to innumerable deities...

 was Juno
Juno (mythology)
Juno is an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. Juno also looked after the women of Rome. Her Greek equivalent is Hera...

. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her. Hera's mother was Rhea
Rhea (mythology)
Rhea was the Titaness daughter of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth, in Greek mythology. She was known as "the mother of gods". In earlier traditions, she was strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, the Great Goddess, and was later seen by the classical Greeks as the mother of the Olympian...

 and her father Cronus
Cronus
In Greek mythology, Cronus or Kronos was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, divine descendants of Gaia, the earth, and Uranus, the sky...

.

Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos
Polos
Polos generally refers to a high cylindrical crown typically worn by mythological goddesses.Polos may also refer to:* The plural of polo* In music, the polos is one of the interlocking parts of Kotekan...

(a high cylindrical crown worn by several of the Great Goddess
Great Goddess
Great Goddess refers to the concept of an almighty goddess, or to the concept of a mother goddess, including:*Great Goddess, anglicized form of the Latin Magna Dea*Great Goddess, anglicized form of the Sanskrit Mahadevi, the Shakti sum of all goddesses...

es), Hera may bear a pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

 in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 poppy. A scholar of Greek mythology Walter Burkert
Walter Burkert
Walter Burkert is a German scholar of Greek mythology and cult.An emeritus professor of classics at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, he also has taught in the United Kingdom and the United States...

 writes in Greek Religion, "Nevertheless, there are memories of an earlier aniconic representation, as a pillar in Argos and as a plank in Samos."

Hera was known for her jealous and vengeful nature, most notably against Zeus's lovers and offspring, but also against mortals who crossed her, such as Pelias
Pelias
Pelias was king of Iolcus in Greek mythology, the son of Tyro and Poseidon. His wife is recorded as either Anaxibia, daughter of Bias, or Phylomache, daughter of Amphion. He was the father of Acastus, Pisidice, Alcestis, Pelopia, Hippothoe, Asteropia, and Antinoe.Tyro was married to Cretheus...

. Paris
Paris (mythology)
Paris , the son of Priam, king of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War...

 offended her by choosing Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 as the most beautiful goddess, earning Hera's hatred.

Etymology

The name of Hera, the queen of the gods, admits a variety of mutually exclusive etymologies; one possibility is to connect it with hōra (ὥρα), season, and to interpret it as ripe for marriage. So begins the section on Hera in Walter Burkert
Walter Burkert
Walter Burkert is a German scholar of Greek mythology and cult.An emeritus professor of classics at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, he also has taught in the United Kingdom and the United States...

's Greek Religion. In a note, he records other scholars' arguments "for the meaning Mistress as a feminine to Heros, Master." John Chadwick
John Chadwick
John Chadwick was an English linguist and classical scholar most famous for his role in deciphering Linear B, along with Michael Ventris.-Early life and education:...

, a decipherer of Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

, remarks ""her name may be connected with hērōs, ἥρως, 'hero', but that is no help, since it too is etymologically obscure." A.J. van Windekens, offers "young cow, heifer", which is consonant with Hera's common epithet βοώπις (boōpis, cow-eyed). E-ra appears in Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

an Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

 tablets.

The cult of Hera

Hera may have been the first to whom the Greeks dedicated an enclosed roofed temple sanctuary, at Samos about 800 BC. It was replaced later by the Heraion
Heraion
The Heraion of Samos was a large sanctuary to the goddess Hera, in the southern region of Samos, Greece, 6 km southwest of the ancient city, in a low, marshy river basin near the sea. The Late Archaic Heraion of Samos was the first of the gigantic free-standing Ionic temples, but its...

, one of the largest Greek temples anywhere (Greek altars were in front of the temples, under the open sky). There were many temples built on this site so evidence is somewhat confusing and archaeological dates are uncertain. We know that the temple created by the Rhoecus
Rhoecus
Rhoecus was a Samian sculptor of the 6th century BCE. He and his son Theodorus were especially noted for their work in bronze. Herodotus says that Rhoecus built the temple of Hera at Samos, which was destroyed by fire c. 530 BCE. In the temple of Artemis at Ephesus was a marble figure of night by...

 sculptors and architects was destroyed between 570- 60 BC. This was replaced by the Polycratean
Polycrates
Polycrates , son of Aeaces, was the tyrant of Samos from c. 538 BC to 522 BC.He took power during a festival of Hera with his brothers Pantagnotus and Syloson, but soon had Pantagnotus killed and exiled Syloson to take full control for himself. He then allied with Amasis II, pharaoh of Egypt, as...

  temple 540-530 BC. In one of these temples we see a forest of 155 columns. There is also no evidence of tiles on this temple suggesting either the temple was never finished or that the temple was open to the sky.

Earlier sanctuaries, whose dedication to Hera is less secure, were of the Mycenaean type called "house sanctuaries". Samos excavations have revealed votive offerings, many of them late 8th and 7th centuries BC, which show that Hera at Samos was not merely a local Greek goddess of the Aegean
Aegean civilization
Aegean civilization is a general term for the Bronze Age civilizations of Greece around the Aegean Sea. There are three distinct but communicating and interacting geographic regions covered by this term: Crete, the Cyclades and the Greek mainland. Crete is associated with the Minoan civilization...

: the museum there contains figures of gods and suppliants and other votive offerings from Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, testimony to the reputation which this sanctuary of Hera enjoyed and to the large influx of pilgrims. Compared to this mighty goddess, who also possessed the earliest temple at Olympia
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

 and two of the great fifth and sixth century temples of Paestum
Paestum
Paestum is the classical Roman name of a major Graeco-Roman city in the Campania region of Italy. It is located in the north of Cilento, near the coast about 85 km SE of Naples in the province of Salerno, and belongs to the commune of Capaccio, officially also named...

, the termagant
Termagant
In Medieval Europe, Termagant was the name given to a god that the Europeans believed Muslims worshipped.-Origin of the concept:European literature from the Middle Ages often referred to Muslims as pagans, with sobriquets such as the paynim foe...

 of Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 and the myths is an "almost...comic figure" according to Burkert.
Though greatest and earliest free-standing temple to Hera was the Heraion of Samos, in the Greek mainland Hera was especially worshipped as "Argive Hera" (Hera Argeia) at her sanctuary that stood between the former Mycenaean city-states of Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

 and Mycenae, where the festivals in her honor called Heraia were celebrated. "The three cities I love best," the ox-eyed Queen of Heaven declares (Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

, book iv) "are Argos, Sparta and Mycenae of the broad streets." There were also temples to Hera in Olympia
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

, Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

, Tiryns
Tiryns
Tiryns is a Mycenaean archaeological site in the prefecture of Argolis in the Peloponnese, some kilometres north of Nauplion.-General information:...

, Perachora
Perachora
Perachora, also Perahora or Perakhora is an inland settlement in the Loutraki-Perachoras municipality of the Corinthia prefecture in the periphery of Peloponnese in Greece. It is located about 7 km NW of the town of Loutraki in a hilly environment surrounded by higher elevation of the Geraneia...

  and the sacred island of Delos
Delos
The island of Delos , isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece...

. In Magna Graecia
Magna Graecia
Magna Græcia is the name of the coastal areas of Southern Italy on the Tarentine Gulf that were extensively colonized by Greek settlers; particularly the Achaean colonies of Tarentum, Crotone, and Sybaris, but also, more loosely, the cities of Cumae and Neapolis to the north...

, two Doric temples to Hera were constructed at Paestum
Paestum
Paestum is the classical Roman name of a major Graeco-Roman city in the Campania region of Italy. It is located in the north of Cilento, near the coast about 85 km SE of Naples in the province of Salerno, and belongs to the commune of Capaccio, officially also named...

, about 550 BC and about 450 BC. One of them, long called the Temple of Poseidon was identified in the 1950s as a second temple there of Hera.

In Euboea
Euboea
Euboea is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about long, and varies in breadth from to...

 the festival of the Great Daedala
Daedalus
In Greek mythology, Daedalus was a skillful craftsman and artisan.-Family:...

, sacred to Hera, was celebrated on a sixty-year cycle.

Hera's importance in the early archaic period is attested by the large building projects undertaken in her honor. The temples of Hera in the two main centers of her cult, the Heraion of Samos and the Heraion of Argos
Heraion of Argos
The Heraion of Argos was the temple in the greatest sanctuary in the Argolid, dedicated to Hera, whose epithet "Argive Hera" , is familiar to readers of Homer. Hera herself claims to be the protector of Argos in Iliad IV, 50–52): "The three towns I love best are Argos, Sparta and Mycenae of...

 in the Argolid, were the very earliest monumental Greek temple
Greek temple
Greek temples were structures built to house deity statues within Greek sanctuaries in Greek paganism. The temples themselves did usually not directly serve a cult purpose, since the sacrifices and rituals dedicated to the respective deity took place outside them...

s constructed, in the 8th century BC.

Hera's early importance

Both Hera and Demeter had many characteristic attributes of the former Great Goddess
Great Goddess
Great Goddess refers to the concept of an almighty goddess, or to the concept of a mother goddess, including:*Great Goddess, anglicized form of the Latin Magna Dea*Great Goddess, anglicized form of the Sanskrit Mahadevi, the Shakti sum of all goddesses...

. The Minoan
Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans...

 goddess represented in seals and other remains, whom Greeks called Potnia Thēron
Potnia Theron
Potnia Theron is a term first used by Homer and often used to describe female divinities associated with animals...

'Mistress of Animals', many of whose attributes were later also absorbed by Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

, seems to have been a mother goddess type, for in some representations she suckles the animals that she holds. Sometimes this devolved role is as clear as a simple substitution can make it. According to the Homeric Hymn III to Delian Apollo, Hera detained Eileithyia to already prevent Leto
Leto
In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus...

 from going into labor with Artemis and Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, since the father was Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

. The other goddesses present at the birthing on Delos
Delos
The island of Delos , isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece...

 sent Iris
Iris (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Iris is the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. As the sun unites Earth and heaven, Iris links the gods to humanity...

 to bring her. As she stepped upon the island, the divine birth began. In the myth of the birth of Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

, it is Hera herself who sits at the door instead, delaying the birth of Heracles until her protégé, Eurystheus
Eurystheus
In Greek mythology, Eurystheus was king of Tiryns, one of three Mycenaean strongholds in the Argolid, although other authors including Homer and Euripides cast him as ruler of Argos: Sthenelus was his father and the "victorious horsewoman" Nicippe his mother, and he was a grandson of the hero...

, had been born first.

The Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo  makes the monster Typhaon
Typhon
Typhon , also Typhoeus , Typhaon or Typhos was the last son of Gaia, fathered by Tartarus, and the most deadly monster of Greek mythology. He was known as the "Father of all monsters"; his wife Echidna was likewise the "Mother of All Monsters."Typhon was described in pseudo-Apollodorus,...

 the offspring of archaic Hera in her Minoa
Minoa
Minoa is the name of several bronze-age settlements in the Aegean coasts, in Corfu and in Sicily. The original meaning of the word remains unknown, but it seems that there is a strong connection with the mythic king of Crete Minos, during the bronze-age Minoan civilization which flourished in Crete...

n form, produced out of herself, like a monstrous version of Hephaestus
Hephaestus
Hephaestus was a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods - or else, according to some accounts, of Hera alone. He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes...

, and whelped in a cave in Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

. She gave the creature to Gaia
Gaia (mythology)
Gaia was the primordial Earth-goddess in ancient Greek religion. Gaia was the great mother of all: the heavenly gods and Titans were descended from her union with Uranus , the sea-gods from her union with Pontus , the Giants from her mating with Tartarus and mortal creatures were sprung or born...

 to raise.

In the Temple of Hera
Temple of Hera (Olympia)
The Temple of Hera is an ancient Doric Greek temple at Olympia, Greece. The Temple of Hera was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 4th century AD, and never rebuilt...

 at Olympia, Hera's seated cult figure was older than the warrior figure of Zeus that accompanied it. Homer expressed her relationship with Zeus delicately in the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

, in which she declares to Zeus, "I am Cronus
Cronus
In Greek mythology, Cronus or Kronos was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, divine descendants of Gaia, the earth, and Uranus, the sky...

' eldest daughter, and am honourable not on this ground only, but also because I am your wife, and you are king of the gods." Though Zeus is often called Zeus Heraios 'Zeus, (consort) of Hera', Homer's treatment of Hera is less than respectful, and in late anecdotal versions of the myths (see below) she appeared to spend most of her time plotting revenge on the nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

s seduced by her Consort, for Hera upheld all the old right rules of Hellene society and sorority.

Matriarchy

There has been considerable scholarship, reaching back to Johann Jakob Bachofen
Johann Jakob Bachofen
Johann Jakob Bachofen was a Swiss antiquarian, jurist and anthropologist, professor for Roman law at the University of Basel from 1841 to 1845....

 in the mid-nineteenth century, about the possibility that Hera, whose early importance in Greek religion is firmly established, was originally the goddess of a matriarchal people, presumably inhabiting Greece before the Hellenes. In this view, her activity as goddess
Goddess
A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

 of marriage established the patriarchal bond of her own subordination: her resistance to the conquests of Zeus is rendered as Hera's "jealousy", the main theme of literary anecdotes that undercut her ancient cult.

However, it remains a controversial claim that primitive matriarchy existed in Greece or elsewhere.

The young Hera

Hera was most known as the matron goddess, Hera Teleia; but she presided over weddings as well. In myth and cult, fragmentary references and archaic practices remain of the sacred marriage of Hera and Zeus, and at Plataea
Plataea
Plataea or Plataeae was an ancient city, located in Greece in southeastern Boeotia, south of Thebes. It was the location of the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC, in which an alliance of Greek city-states defeated the Persians....

, there was a sculpture of Hera seated as a bride by Callimachus
Callimachus
Callimachus was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya. He was a noted poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the patronage of the Egyptian–Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes...

, as well as the matronly standing Hera.

Hera was also worshipped as a virgin: there was a tradition in Stymphalia in Arcadia
Arcadia
Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan...

 that there had been a triple shrine
Triple Goddess
The Triple Goddess is the subject of much of the writing of Robert Graves, and has been adopted by some neopagans as one of their primary deities. The term triple goddess is sometimes used outside of Neopaganism to refer to historical goddess triads and single goddesses of three forms or aspects...

 to Hera the Girl (Παις [Pais]), the Adult Woman (Τελεια [Teleia]), and the Separated (Χήρη [Chḗrē] 'Widowed' or 'Divorced'). In the region around Argos, the temple of Hera in Hermione
Ermioni
Ermioni is a small town and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Ermionida, of which it is a municipal unit. It is a popular tourist resort. It is on a very small out-cropping of the land facing the island of...

 near Argos was to Hera the Virgin. At the spring of Kanathos
Kanathos
In ancient Greek religion, Kanathos in the Argolid was the spring at Nauplia, where Hera annually renewed her virginity. There, Pausanias noted, was "a spring called Kanathos where, so say the Argives, Hera bathes every year and, by so doing, becomes a maiden; it is this story which is of the...

, close to Nauplia, Hera renewed her virginity annually, in rites that were not to be spoken of (arrheton).

Emblems of the presence of Hera

In Hellenistic imagery, Hera's chariot was pulled by peacocks, birds not known to Greeks before the conquests of Alexander. Alexander's tutor, Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, refers to it as "the Persian bird." The peacock motif was revived in the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 iconography that unified Hera and Juno, and which European painters focused on. A bird that had been associated with Hera on an archaic level, where most of the Aegean goddesses were associated with "their" bird, was the cuckoo
Cuckoo
The cuckoos are a family, Cuculidae, of near passerine birds. The order Cuculiformes, in addition to the cuckoos, also includes the turacos . Some zoologists and taxonomists have also included the unique Hoatzin in the Cuculiformes, but its taxonomy remains in dispute...

, which appears in mythic fragments concerning the first wooing of a virginal Hera by Zeus.

Her archaic association was primarily with cattle, as a Cow Goddess, who was especially venerated in "cattle-rich" Euboea
Euboea
Euboea is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about long, and varies in breadth from to...

. On Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, very early archaeological sites contain bull skulls that have been adapted for use as masks (see Bull (mythology)
Bull (mythology)
The worship of the Sacred Bull throughout the ancient world is most familiar to the Western world in the biblical episode of the idol of the Golden Calf. The Golden Calf after being made by the Hebrew people in the wilderness of Sinai, were rejected and destroyed by Moses and his tribe after his...

). Her familiar Homeric epithet
Epithets in Homer
A characteristic of Homer's style is the use of epithets, as in "rosy-fingered" dawn or "swift-footed" Achilles. Epithets are used because of the constraints of the dactylic hexameter and because of the oral transmission of the poems; they are mnemonic aids to the poet and the audience...

 Boôpis, is always translated "cow-eyed", for, like the Greeks of Classical times, its other natural translation "cow-faced" or at least "of cow aspect" is rejected. A cow-headed Hera, like a Minotaur
Minotaur
In Greek mythology, the Minotaur , as the Greeks imagined him, was a creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man or, as described by Roman poet Ovid, "part man and part bull"...

 would be at odds with the maternal image of the later classical period. In this respect, Hera bears some resemblance to the Ancient Egyptian deity Hathor
Hathor
Hathor , is an Ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles of love, beauty, music, motherhood and joy. She was one of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt...

, a maternal goddess associated with cattle.

The pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

, an ancient emblem of the Great Goddess, remained an emblem of Hera: many of the votive pomegranates and poppy capsule
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

s recovered at Samos are made of ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

, which survived burial better than the wooden ones that must have been more common. Like all goddesses, images of Hera might show her wearing a diadem
Diadem (personal wear)
A diadem is a type of crown, specifically an ornamental headband worn by Eastern monarchs and others as a badge of royalty. The word derives from the Greek "διάδημα" , "band" or "fillet", from "διαδέω" , "I bind round", or "I fasten"....

 and a veil.

Epithets

Hera bore several epithets in the mythological tradition, including:
  • Αἰγοφάγος (Aigophágos) 'Goat-Eater' (among the Lacedaemonians)
  • Ἀκραῖα (Akráia
    Acraea
    Acraea was a name that had several uses in Greek and Roman mythology.*Acraea was a daughter of the river-god Asterion near Mycenae, who together with her sisters Euboea and Prosymna acted as nurses to Hera...

    ) '(She) of the Heights' (Ammonia
    Hera Ammonia
    Ammonia was an epithet of the Greek goddess Hera, under which she was worshiped in Elis. The inhabitants of that city had from the earliest times been in the habit of consulting the oracle in Libya of Zeus Ammon--the aspect of the god the Greeks identified with the Egyptian Amun....

    )
  • Ἀργεία (Argéia) '(She) of Argos
    Argos
    Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

    '
  • Βασίλεια (Basíleia) 'Queen'
  • Βουναία (Bounáia) '(She) of the Mound' (in Corinth
    Ancient Corinth
    Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

    )
  • Βοῶπις (Boṓpis) 'Cow-Eyed' or 'Cow-Faced'
  • Λευκώλενος (Leukṓlenos) 'White-Armed'
  • Παῖς (Pais) 'Child' (in her role as virgin)
  • Παρθένος (Parthénos) 'Virgin'
  • Τελεία (Teléia) (as goddess of marriage)
  • Χήρη (Chḗrē) 'Widowed'

Hera, her children and the affairs of Zeus

Hera presides over the right arrangements of the marriage and is the archetype of the union in the marriage bed, but she is not notable as a mother. The legitimate offspring of her union with Zeus are Ares
Ares
Ares is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and...

 (the god of war), Hebe
Hebe (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Hēbē is the goddess of youth . She is the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Hebe was the cupbearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving their nectar and ambrosia, until she was married to Heracles ; her successor was the young Trojan prince Ganymede...

 (the goddess of youth), Eris
Eris (mythology)
Eris is the Greek goddess of strife and discord, her name being translated into Latin as Discordia. Her Greek opposite is Harmonia, whose Latin counterpart is Concordia. Homer equated her with the war-goddess Enyo, whose Roman counterpart is Bellona...

 (the goddess of discord) and Eileithyia (goddess of childbirth). Enyo
Enyo
Enyo , was an ancient goddess of war, acting as a counterpart and companion to the war god Ares. She is also identified as his sister, and daughter of Zeus and Hera, in a role closely resembling that of Eris; with Homer representing the two as the same goddess...

, a war goddess responsible with the destruction of cities and attendant of Ares, is also mentioned as a daughter of Zeus and Hera, though Homer equates her with Eris. Hera was jealous of Zeus' giving birth to Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

 without recourse to her (actually with Metis
Metis (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Metis was of the Titan generation and, like several primordial figures, an Oceanid, in the sense that Metis was born of Oceanus and Tethys, of an earlier age than Zeus and his siblings...

), so she gave birth to Hephaestus
Hephaestus
Hephaestus was a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods - or else, according to some accounts, of Hera alone. He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes...

 without him. Hera was then disgusted with Hephaestus' ugliness and threw him from Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece, located on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, about 100 kilometres away from Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city. Mount Olympus has 52 peaks. The highest peak Mytikas, meaning "nose", rises to 2,917 metres...

. In an alternate version, Hera alone produced Hebe after being impregnated by a head of lettuce or by beating her hand on the Earth, a solemnizing action for the Greeks.

Hephaestus gained revenge against Hera for rejecting him by making her a magical throne which, when she sat on, did not allow her to leave. The other gods begged Hephaestus to return to Olympus to let her go, but he repeatedly refused. Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 got him drunk and took him back to Olympus on the back of a mule. Hephaestus released Hera after being given Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 as his wife.

Hera, the enemy of Heracles

Hera was the stepmother and enemy of Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

, who was named "Hera-famous" in her honor; Heracles is the hero who, more than even Perseus
Perseus
Perseus ,Perseos and Perseas are not used in English. the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans there, was the first of the mythic heroes of Greek mythology whose exploits in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths of the Twelve Olympians...

, Cadmus
Cadmus
Cadmus or Kadmos , in Greek mythology was a Phoenician prince, the son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa. He was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores...

 or Theseus
Theseus
For other uses, see Theseus Theseus was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were...

, introduced the Olympian ways in Greece. When Alcmene
Alcmene
In Greek mythology, Alcmene or Alcmena was the mother of Heracles.-Background:Alcmene was born to Electryon, the son of Perseus and Andromeda, and king of Tiryns and Mycenae or Medea in Argolis. Her mother was Anaxo, daughter of Alcaeus and Astydamia, daughter of Pelops and Hippodameia...

 was pregnant with Heracles, Hera tried to prevent the birth from occurring by tying Alcmene's legs in knots. She was foiled by Galanthis
Galanthis
In Greek mythology, Galanthis , daughter of Proetus, was the red-gold haired servant and playmate of Alcmene, who assisted her during the birth of Heracles. When Alcmene was in labor, she was having difficulty giving birth to a child so large. After seven days she called for assistance from Lucina,...

, her servant, who told Hera that she had already delivered the baby. Hera punished Galanthis by turning her into an animal.

While Heracles was still an infant, Hera sent two serpents
Serpent (symbolism)
Serpent in Latin means: Rory Collins :&, in turn, from the Biblical Hebrew word of: "saraf" with root letters of: which refers to something burning-as, the pain of poisonous snake's bite was likened to internal burning.This word is commonly used in a specifically mythic or religious context,...

 to kill him as he lay in his cot. Heracles throttled a single snake in each hand and was found by his nurse playing with their limp bodies as if they were a child's toys. The anecdote is built upon a representation of the hero gripping a serpent in each hand, precisely as the familiar Minoan snake-handling goddesses had once done. "The picture of a divine child between two serpents may have been long familiar to the Thebans, who worshiped the Cabeiri
Cabeiri
In Greek mythology, the Cabeiri, were a group of enigmatic chthonic deities. They were worshiped in a mystery cult closely associated with that of Hephaestus, centered in the north Aegean islands of Lemnos and possibly Samothrace —at the Samothrace temple complex— and at Thebes...

, although not represented as a first exploit of a hero".

Later she stirred up the Amazons against him when he was on one of his quests.

One account of the origin of the Milky Way
Milky Way
The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains the Solar System. This name derives from its appearance as a dim un-resolved "milky" glowing band arching across the night sky...

 is that Zeus had tricked Hera into nursing the infant Heracles: discovering who he was, she pulled him from her breast, and a spurt of her milk formed the smear across the sky that can be seen to this day. Unlike any Greeks, the Etruscan
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

s instead pictured a full-grown bearded Heracles at Hera's breast: this may refer to his adoption by her when he became an Immortal. He had previously wounded her severely in the breast.

Hera assigned Heracles to labor for King Eurystheus
Eurystheus
In Greek mythology, Eurystheus was king of Tiryns, one of three Mycenaean strongholds in the Argolid, although other authors including Homer and Euripides cast him as ruler of Argos: Sthenelus was his father and the "victorious horsewoman" Nicippe his mother, and he was a grandson of the hero...

 at Mycenae. She attempted to make almost each of Heracles' twelve labors more difficult.

When he fought the Lernaean Hydra
Lernaean Hydra
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was an ancient nameless serpent-like chthonic water beast, with reptilian traits, that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath so virulent even...

, she sent a crab to bite at his feet in the hopes of distracting him. When Heracles took the cattle of Geryon
Geryon
In Greek mythology, Geryon , son of Chrysaor and Callirrhoe and grandson of Medusa, was a fearsome giant who dwelt on the island Erytheia of the mythic Hesperides in the far west of the Mediterranean. A more literal-minded later generation of Greeks associated the region with Tartessos in southern...

, he shot Hera in the right breast with a triple-barbed arrow: the wound was incurable and left her in constant pain, as Dione
Dione (mythology)
Dione was a Greek goddess primarily known as the mother of Aphrodite in Book V of Homer's Iliad. Aphrodite journeys to Dione's side after she has been wounded in battle protecting her favorite son Aeneas. In this episode, Dione seems to be the equivalent of the earth goddess Gaia, whom Homer also...

 tells Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 in the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

, Book V. Afterwards, Hera sent a gadfly
Gadfly (mythology)
The gadfly, a type of fly plaguing cattle, typically ones belonging to either the family Tabanidae or the family Oestridae , appears in Greek mythology as a tormenter to Io, the heifer maiden. Zeus lusts after Io and eventually turns her into a white heifer to hide her from his jealous wife, Hera....

 to bite the cattle, irritate them and scatter them. Hera then sent a flood which raised the water level of a river so much that Heracles could not ford the river with the cattle. He piled stones into the river to make the water shallower. When he finally reached the court of Eurystheus
Eurystheus
In Greek mythology, Eurystheus was king of Tiryns, one of three Mycenaean strongholds in the Argolid, although other authors including Homer and Euripides cast him as ruler of Argos: Sthenelus was his father and the "victorious horsewoman" Nicippe his mother, and he was a grandson of the hero...

, the cattle were sacrificed to Hera.

Eurystheus also wanted to sacrifice the Cretan Bull
Cretan Bull
In Greek mythology, the Cretan Bull was either the bull that carried away Europa or the bull Pasiphaë fell in love with, giving birth to the Minotaur.- Origin :...

 to Hera. She refused the sacrifice because it reflected glory on Heracles. The bull was released and wandered to Marathon, becoming known as the Marathonian Bull.

Some myths state that in the end, Hera befriended Heracles for saving her from Porphyrion
Porphyrion
In Greek mythology, Porphyrion was a giant, one of the sons of Uranus and Gaia. After the Olympian gods imprisoned the Titans in Tartarus, Porphyrion was one of twenty-four anguipede giants who made war on Olympus....

, a giant who tried to rape her during the Gigantomachy
Gigantomachy
In Greek mythology, Gigantomachy was the symbolic struggle between the cosmic order of the Olympians led by Zeus and the nether forces of Chaos led by the giant Alcyoneus...

, and that she even gave her daughter Hebe
Hebe (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Hēbē is the goddess of youth . She is the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Hebe was the cupbearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving their nectar and ambrosia, until she was married to Heracles ; her successor was the young Trojan prince Ganymede...

 as his bride. Whatever myth-making served to account for an archaic representation of Heracles as "Hera's man" it was thought suitable
Decorum
Decorum was a principle of classical rhetoric, poetry and theatrical theory that was about the fitness or otherwise of a style to a theatrical subject...

 for the builders of the Heraion at Paestum
Paestum
Paestum is the classical Roman name of a major Graeco-Roman city in the Campania region of Italy. It is located in the north of Cilento, near the coast about 85 km SE of Naples in the province of Salerno, and belongs to the commune of Capaccio, officially also named...

 to depict the exploits of Heracles in bas-reliefs.

Echo

According to the urbane retelling of myth in Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

's Metamorphoses, for a long time, a nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

 named Echo
Echo (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Ekho , "echo", itself from ἦχος , "sound") was an Oread who loved her own voice. Zeus loved consorting with beautiful nymphs and visited them on Earth often. Eventually, Zeus's wife, Hera, became suspicious, and came from Mt...

 had the job of distracting Hera from Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

' affairs by leading her away and flattering her. When Hera discovered the deception, she cursed Echo to only repeat the words of others (hence our modern word "echo
Echo (phenomenon)
In audio signal processing and acoustics, an echo is a reflection of sound, arriving at the listener some time after the direct sound. Typical examples are the echo produced by the bottom of a well, by a building, or by the walls of an enclosed room and an empty room. A true echo is a single...

").

Leto and Artemis/Apollo

When Hera discovered that Leto
Leto
In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus...

 was pregnant and that Zeus was the father, she banned Leto from giving birth on terra-firma, or the mainland, or any island at sea. Poseidon gave pity to Leto and guided her to the floating island of Delos
Delos
The island of Delos , isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece...

, which was neither mainland nor a real island and Leto was able to give birth to her children on the island. As a gesture of gratitude, Delos was secured with four pillars. The island later became sacred to Apollo. Alternatively, Hera kidnapped Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, to prevent Leto from going into labor. The other gods bribed Hera with a beautiful necklace nobody could resist and then finally gave in. Either way, Artemis was born first and then assisted with the birth of Apollo. Some versions say Artemis helped her mother give birth to Apollo for nine days. Another variation states that Artemis was born one day before Apollo, on the island of Ortygia
Ortygia
Ortygia is a little island and it is the historical centre of the city of Syracuse, Sicily. The island, also known as Città Vecchia , contains many historical landmarks...

 and that she helped Leto cross the sea to Delos the next day to give birth to Apollo.

Semele and Dionysus

When Hera learned that Semele
Semele
Semele , in Greek mythology, daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia, was the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths. In another version of his mythic origin, he is the son of Persephone...

, daughter of Cadmus
Cadmus
Cadmus or Kadmos , in Greek mythology was a Phoenician prince, the son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa. He was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores...

 King of Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

, was pregnant by Zeus, she disguised herself as Semele's nurse and persuaded the princess to insist that Zeus show himself to her in his true form. When he was compelled to do so, his thunder and lightning blasted her. Zeus took the child and completed its gestation sewn into his own thigh. Another variation is when Hera persuades Semele to force Zeus to show himself in his real form. Unfortunately, he must do what the princess wants, having sworn by Styx
Styx
In Greek mythology the Styx is the river that forms the boundary between the underworld and the world of the living, as well as a goddess and a nymph that represents the river.Styx may also refer to:-Popular culture:...

. In another version, Dionysus was originally the son of Zeus by either Demeter or Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

. Hera sent her Titans to rip the baby apart, from which he was called Zagreus ("Torn in Pieces"). Zeus rescued the heart and gave it to Semele
Semele
Semele , in Greek mythology, daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia, was the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths. In another version of his mythic origin, he is the son of Persephone...

 to impregnate her; or, the heart was saved, variously, by Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

, Rhea
Rhea (mythology)
Rhea was the Titaness daughter of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth, in Greek mythology. She was known as "the mother of gods". In earlier traditions, she was strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, the Great Goddess, and was later seen by the classical Greeks as the mother of the Olympian...

, or Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

. Zeus used the heart to recreate Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 and implant him in the womb of Semele—hence Dionysus became known as "the twice-born". Certain versions imply that Zeus gave Semele the heart to eat to impregnate her. Hera tricked Semele into asking Zeus to show his true form, which killed her. But Dionysus managed to rescue her from the underworld and have her live on Mount Olympus.

See also Dionysus' birth for other variations.

Io

Hera almost caught Zeus with a mistress named Io
Io (mythology)
Io was, in Greek mythology, a priestess of Hera in Argos, a nymph who was seduced by Zeus, who changed her into a heifer to escape detection. His wife Hera set ever-watchful Argus Panoptes to guard her, but Hermes was sent to distract the guardian and slay him...

, a fate avoided by Zeus turning Io into a beautiful white heifer. However, Hera was not completely fooled and demanded that Zeus give her the heifer as a present.

Once Io was given to Hera, she placed her in the charge of Argus
Argus Panoptes
In Greek mythology, Argus Panoptes or Argos, guardian of the heifer-nymph Io and son of Arestor, was a primordial giant whose epithet "Panoptes", "all-seeing", led to his being described with multiple, often one hundred, eyes. The epithet Panoptes was applied to the Titan of the Sun, Helios, and...

 to keep her separated from Zeus. Zeus then commanded Hermes
Hermes
Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Kyllini in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and...

 to kill Argus, which he did by lulling all one hundred eyes to sleep. In Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

's interpolation, when Hera learned of Argus' death, she took his eyes and placed them in the plumage of the peacock, accounting for the eye pattern in its tail. Hera then sent a gadfly (Greek oistros, compare oestrus)) to sting Io as she wandered the earth. Eventually Io settled in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, where according to Ovid she became the Egyptian goddess Isis
Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

.

Lamia

Lamia
Lamia (mythology)
In ancient Greek mythology, Lamia was a beautiful queen of Libya who became a child-eating daemon. Aristophanes claimed her name derived from the Greek word for gullet , referring to her habit of devouring children....

 was a queen of Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, whom Zeus loved. Hera turned her into a monster and murdered their children. Or, alternatively, she killed Lamia's children and the grief turned her into a monster. Lamia was cursed with the inability to close her eyes so that she would always obsess over the image of her dead children. Zeus gave her the gift to be able to take her eyes out to rest, and then put them back in. Lamia was envious of other mothers and ate their children.

Gerana

Gerana
Gerana
Gerana was a queen of the Pygmy folk in Greek mythology. She boasted to be more beautiful than the goddess Hera and was transformed by the angry goddess into a crane. The bird descendants of Gerana waged an eternal war on the Pygmies during their winter migration to the shores of the river Oceanus....

 was a queen of the Pygmies who boasted she was more beautiful than Hera. The wrathful goddess turned her into a crane and proclaimed that her bird descendants should wage eternal war on the Pygmy folk.

Cydippe

Cydippe
Cydippe
The name Cydippe is attributed to four individuals in Greek mythology.*Cydippe was the mother of Cleobis and Biton. Cydippe, a priestess of Hera, was on her way to a festival in the goddess' honor. The oxen which were to pull her cart were overdue and her sons, Biton and Cleobis pulled the cart...

, a priestess of Hera, was on her way to a festival in the goddess' honor. The oxen which were to pull her cart were overdue and her sons, Biton and Cleobis, pulled the cart the entire way (45 stadia
Stadia
Stadium or stadion has the plural stadia in both Latin and Greek. The anglicized term is stade in the singular.Stadium may refer to:* Stadium, a building type...

, 8 kilometers). Cydippe was impressed with their devotion to her and her goddess and asked Hera to give her children the best gift a god could give a person. Hera ordained that the brothers would die in their sleep.

This honor bestowed upon the children was later used by Solon
Solon
Solon was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in archaic Athens...

, as a proof while trying to convince Croesus
Croesus
Croesus was the king of Lydia from 560 to 547 BC until his defeat by the Persians. The fall of Croesus made a profound impact on the Hellenes, providing a fixed point in their calendar. "By the fifth century at least," J.A.S...

  that it is impossible to judge a person's happiness until they have died a fruitful death after a joyous life.

Tiresias

Tiresias
Tiresias
In Greek mythology, Tiresias was a blind prophet of Thebes, famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years. He was the son of the shepherd Everes and the nymph Chariclo; Tiresias participated fully in seven generations at Thebes, beginning as advisor to Cadmus...

 was a priest of Zeus, and as a young man he encountered two snakes mating and hit them with a stick. He was then transformed into a woman. As a woman, Tiresias became a priestess of Hera, married and had children, including Manto
Manto (mythology)
There are several distinct figures in Greek mythology named Manto, the most prominent being the daughter of Tiresias. The name Manto derives from Ancient Greek Mantis, "seer, prophet" .-Daughter of Tiresias:...

. After seven years as a woman, Tiresias again found mating snakes, struck them with her staff, and became a man once more. As a result of his experiences, Zeus and Hera asked him to settle the question of which sex, male or female, experienced more pleasure during intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

. Zeus claimed it was women; Hera claimed it was men. When Tiresias sided with Zeus, Hera struck him blind. Since Zeus could not undo what she had done, he gave him the gift of prophecy. An alternative and less commonly told story has it that Tiresias was blinded by Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

 after he stumbled onto her bathing naked. His mother, Chariclo
Chariclo
Chariclo is the name of two nymphs in Greek mythology.Chariclo, daughter of Cychreus and Stilbe married Chiron and became the mother of Hippe, Endeis, Ocyrhoe, and Carystus....

, begged her to undo her curse, but Athena could not; she gave him prophecy instead.

Chelone

At the marriage of Zeus and Hera, a nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

 named Chelone
Chelone (Greek mythology)
Chelone , an Oread nymph of Arcadia in Greek mythology, invented to provide an etiological myth for the tortoise: in one of Aesop's Fables, she refused to attend or was very naughty and disrespectful at the marriage of Zeus and Hera, and as a result she was transformed into a tortoise, condemning...

 was disrespectful or refused to attend. Zeus condemned her by turning her into a turtle
Turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

.

The Iliad

According to the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

, during the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

, Diomedes
Diomedes
Diomedes or Diomed is a hero in Greek mythology, known for his participation in the Trojan War.He was born to Tydeus and Deipyle and later became King of Argos, succeeding his maternal grandfather, Adrastus. In Homer's Iliad Diomedes is regarded alongside Ajax as one of the best warriors of all...

 fought Hector
Hector
In Greek mythology, Hectōr , or Hektōr, is a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War. As the first-born son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, a descendant of Dardanus, who lived under Mount Ida, and of Tros, the founder of Troy, he was a prince of the royal house and the...

 and saw Ares
Ares
Ares is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and...

 fighting on the Trojans' side. Diomedes called for his soldiers to fall back slowly. Hera, Ares' mother, saw Ares' interference and asked Zeus, Ares' father, for permission to drive Ares away from the battlefield. Hera encouraged Diomedes to attack Ares and he threw his spear at the god. Athena drove the spear into Ares' body, and he bellowed in pain and fled to Mt. Olympus, forcing the Trojans to fall back.

The Golden Fleece

Hera hated Pelias
Pelias
Pelias was king of Iolcus in Greek mythology, the son of Tyro and Poseidon. His wife is recorded as either Anaxibia, daughter of Bias, or Phylomache, daughter of Amphion. He was the father of Acastus, Pisidice, Alcestis, Pelopia, Hippothoe, Asteropia, and Antinoe.Tyro was married to Cretheus...

 because he had killed Sidero
Sidero
In Greek mythology, Sidero was the second wife of Salmoneus and stepmother of Tyro. Sidero mistreated Tyro. When Pelias and Neleus, Tyro's twin sons, reached adulthood they sought revenge. Although Sidero fled from them into Hera's district, Pelias nevertheless murdered her atop the altar to Hera....

, his step-grandmother, in one of the goddess's temples. She later convinced Jason
Jason
Jason was a late ancient Greek mythological hero from the late 10th Century BC, famous as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus...

 and Medea
Medea
Medea is a woman in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king of...

 to kill Pelias.
Golden Fleece was the item that Jason needed to get his mother freed.

The Metamorphoses

In Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

, Hera and Zeus turned King Haemus
Haemus
In Greek mythology, King Haemus of Thrace was the son of Boreas. He was vain and haughty and compared himself and his wife, Queen Rhodope, to Zeus and Hera. The gods changed him and his wife into mountains...

 and Queen Rhodope
Queen Rhodope
In Greek mythology, Queen Rhodope of Thrace was the wife of Haemus. Haemus was vain and haughty and compared himself and Rhodope to Zeus and Hera, who were offended and changed the couple into mountains . The story is mentioned by the Roman poet Ovid at Metamorphoses 6.87-89....

 into mountains, the Balkan (Haemus Mons
Haemus Mons
In earlier times the Balkan mountains were known as the Haemus Mons. It is believed that the name is derived from a Thracian word *saimon, 'mountain ridge', which is unattested but conjectured as the original Thracian form of Greek Haimos....

) and Rhodope mountain chains respectively, for their hubris
Hubris
Hubris , also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power....

 in comparing themselves to the gods.

The Judgment of Paris

All the gods and goddesses as well as various mortals were invited to the marriage of Peleus and Thetis (the eventual parents of Achilles). Only Eris, goddess of discord, was not invited. She was annoyed at this, so she arrived with a golden apple inscribed with the word καλλίστῃ (kallistēi, "for the fairest one"), which she threw among the goddesses. Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

, Hera, and Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

 all claimed to be the fairest, and thus the rightful owner of the apple.

The goddesses chose to place the matter before Zeus, who, not wanting to favor one of the goddesses, put the choice into the hands of Paris
Paris (mythology)
Paris , the son of Priam, king of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War...

, a Trojan
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

 prince. After bathing in the spring of Mount Ida
Mount Ida
In Greek mythology, two sacred mountains are called Mount Ida, the "Mountain of the Goddess": Mount Ida in Crete; and Mount Ida in the ancient Troad region of western Anatolia which was also known as the Phrygian Ida in classical antiquity and is the mountain that is mentioned in the Iliad of...

 (where Troy was situated), the goddesses appeared to Paris naked, but Paris couldn't decide, so they resorted to bribes. Hera tried to bribe Paris with control over all Asia and Europe, while Athena offered wisdom, fame and glory in battle, but Aphrodite came forth and whispered to Paris that if he were to choose her as the fairest he would have the most beautiful mortal woman in the world as a wife, and he accordingly chose her. This woman was Helen, who was, unfortunately for Paris, already married to King Menelaus
Menelaus
Menelaus may refer to;*Menelaus, one of the two most known Atrides, a king of Sparta and son of Atreus and Aerope*Menelaus on the Moon, named after Menelaus of Alexandria.*Menelaus , brother of Ptolemy I Soter...

 of Sparta. The other two goddesses were enraged by this and through Helen's abduction by Paris they brought about the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

.

In Popular Media

Hera was featured in the video game God of War 3, she was seen as an evil, ungrateful drunk, and was eventually killed by the series protagonist Kratos, by him snapping her neck/spine.

See also

  • Deception of Zeus
    Deception of Zeus
    The section of the Iliad that ancient editors called the Dios apate stands apart from the remainder of Book XIV. In this episode, Hera makes an excuse to leave her divine husband Zeus; in her deception speech she declares that she wishes to go to Oceanus, "origin of the gods", and Tethys the...

  • Barberini Hera
    Barberini Hera
    The Barberini Hera or Barberini Juno is a type of sculpture of Hera or Juno, standing, wearing a crown and peplos and holding a sceptre in her right hand and a patera in her left. It is named after the owners of its archetype, the Barberini...

  • Hera Borghese
    Hera Borghese
    The Hera Borghese is a type of sculpture of Hera named after the owners of its archetype, the Borghese. One example is in the National Museum of Rome, whilst others are in the Palatine Antiquarium and at the at Baiae...

  • Hera Farnese
    Hera Farnese
    The Hera Farnese is a type of sculpture of Hera.Its main example is a 63 cm high Roman marble copy of the 1st century AD of a Greek original of the second half of the 5th century BC, now in the Naples National Archaeological Museum. It was part of a colossal acrolithic statue, and shows the...

  • Heraea Games
    Heraea Games
    The ancient Heraean Games, dedicated to the goddess Hera were the first sanctioned women's athletic competition to be held in the stadium at Olympia, possibly in the Olympic year, prior to the men's events. It is dated as early as the 6th century BC. Some texts, including Pausanias's...



Sources

  • Burkert, Walter
    Walter Burkert
    Walter Burkert is a German scholar of Greek mythology and cult.An emeritus professor of classics at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, he also has taught in the United Kingdom and the United States...

    , Greek Religion 1985.
  • Burkert, Walter, The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age, 1998
  • Farnell, Lewis Richard, The cults of the Greek states I: Zeus, Hera Athena Oxford, 1896.
  • Graves, Robert
    Robert Graves
    Robert von Ranke Graves 24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985 was an English poet, translator and novelist. During his long life he produced more than 140 works...

    , The Greek Myths
    The Greek Myths
    The Greek Myths is a mythography, a compendium of Greek mythology, by the poet and writer Robert Graves, normally published in two volumes....

    1955. Use with caution.
  • Kerenyi, Carl
    Karl Kerényi
    Károly Kerényi was a Hungarian scholar in classical philology, one of the founders of modern studies in Greek mythology.- Hungary 1897–1943 :...

    , The Gods of the Greeks 1951 (paperback 1980)
  • Kerenyi, Karl, 1959. The Heroes of the Greeks Especially Heracles.
  • Ruck, Carl A.P., and Danny Staples, The World of Classical Myth 1994
  • Seyffert, Oskar. Dictionary of Classical Antiquities 1894. (On-line text)
  • Seznec, Jean
    Jean Seznec
    Jean Seznec was a historian and mythographer whose most influential book, for English-speaking readers, has been La Survivance des dieux antiques, 1940, translated as The Survival of the Pagan Gods: Mythological Tradition in Renaissance Humanism and Art,, 1953...

    , The Survival of the Pagan Gods : Mythological Tradition in Renaissance Humanism and Art, 1953
  • Slater, Philip E. The Glory of Hera : Greek Mythology and the Greek Family (Boston: Beacon Press) 1968 (Princeton University 1992 ISBN 0-691-00222-3 ) Concentrating on family structure in 5th-century Athens; some of the crude usage of myth and drama for psychological interpreting of "neuroses" is dated.
  • Smith, William
    William Smith (lexicographer)
    Sir William Smith Kt. was a noted English lexicographer.-Early life:Born at Enfield in 1813 of Nonconformist parents, he was originally destined for a theological career, but instead was articled to a solicitor. In his spare time he taught himself classics, and when he entered University College...

    ; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
    Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
    The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology is an encyclopedia/biographical dictionary.- Characteristic :...

    , London (1873). "Gali'nthias"

External links

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