Hera Goddess

Hera was one of the prettiest goddeses

Hera was the daughter of Rhea and Chronus and elder sister of Zeus. She was amazingly pretty and this attracted Zeus’s attention who decided to get married to her. As the official wife of the King of the gods, she was said to protect the marriage and symbolized fertility. She had given birth to four children; Ares, the God of the War, Hephaestus, the God of the Fire, Phebe and Eilithia who where two deities. According to some writers Hera had gave birth only to Ares and Phebe while others believe that Hephaestus had been born by Hera but he was a very ugly baby disliked by both his parents. For this reason, Hera had given to the Nymphs to be raised. Hesiod believed that Hera had gave birth to Hephaestus on her own whithout coupling with Zeus.

Hera’s tempestuous marriage

Illegal mistresses, jealousy, tricks and fights…

It is said that Zeus had coupled with Hera before getting married to her. In particular, Ploutarch’s scripts say that Hera was in Evoia where she was brought by under her duenna’s surveillance when Zeus  kidnapped her and transferred her to Cithaeron mountain where he coupled with her on the grass. According to another version, Zeus transformed himself to a cuckoo that suffered from cold on a rainy day in order to decoy her. Hera felt sorry for the bird and placed it on her breast in order to heat it. Then Zeus appeared suddenly and tried to couple with her but Hera kept resisting until Zeus promised to get married to her.

Even though Hera was allaways young and beautiful, Zeus was unfaithful to her, causing her jealousy frequently. This led to endless fights between the couple some of which resulted in dramatic scenes. Hera had quit the palace several times but it was Zeus who convinced her to return. According to Pafsanias, Hera had once quit the palace and she moved to Evoia, at the place where her love affair with Zeus began but she intended to to return at Olympus ever. Zeus on his part was always passionate with Hera and invented a new trick to make her forgive him. The concept was to make her even more jealous. So, he went to Evoia where he planned a false wedding with a woman made of wood which he had dressed in a wedding dress. Mad of jealousy, Hera attacked her rival and torn the wedding dress. Once she discovered the trick, she laughed and released. It was the easy for Zeus to make her accept his love and return to their palace.

Zeus’s passion for Hera

Hera Zeus

Hera and Zeus

According to Homer (Iliad), Hera was the only woman ever loved by Zeus. The God didn’t even lie to his wife as far as his mistresses were concerned. He believed that there was no reason for her to be jealous because no woman made him feel as passionate as Hera did. He used to tell Hera that his affairs were of no importance and they should not affect their relationship at all. In Iliad’s passage Zeus invites Hera to get into love with him underlying that no woman mortal or immortal can replace her. He even refers to his mistresses noting that neither Ixion’s wife who gave birth to the brave Peirithos, nor Danae who gave birth to Perseus, the greatest human ever born, nor Alcmene, Hercules’s mother, nor Semele, Dionysus’s mother, not even Leto managed to make him the sentiments he had for Hera. However, Hera kept being jealous and revengeful towards Zeus and his mistresses as well as their children, mainly because she had not as many children as she wanted.

Hera and Hercules

Hera’s jealousy was amazingly vigorous towards Hercules who had been born by Zeus and Alcmene, the daughter of the King of Mycenae. She chased him every now and then sending troubles to him. Even when he was a newly born baby, she sent two snakes to his cradle yet Hercules, as a semi-god killed them. Moreover, it was due to Hera that Hercules was enslaved by Evrystheus, the King of Mycenae, who ordered Hercules to do twelve extremely difficult acts, known as the Twelve Labors, which in their majority, put in danger the life of the hero. Having suffered such a lot because of Hera’s jealousy and having managed to surpass all the deadly obstacles she had posed to him, Hercules became one of the most gloried heroes of the ancestry!  His name is a combination of Hera and glory as –cles derives from the ancient greek word “cleos” which means glory.

As the wife of Zeus thus the Queen of the Gods, Hera was considered an important and powerful goddess worshipped very often by the ancient Greeks. The most magnificent Temple of Hera was erected in Samos island, durng Polycrates’s Tyranny, 532-522 BC. It is an Ionic Order temple but nowadays only one of its columns keeps standing. According to Herodotes, this was the biggest temple of Greece and had had some similarities to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus which had been built earlier than that of Hera. Another temple of Hera had been erected in Olympia and it was known as Heraion while temples to Hera have also been found in Lesvos island, in Tyrins and in Sicily.

The ugly child of Hera

Despite being the symbol of fertility and the protector of the Marriage, Hera was amazingly harsh as a mother towards Hephaestus. When she realized that she had given birth to an ugly baby, she threw it in the sea where the sea nymphs “Okeanides” found him and took care of the baby. When Hephaestus grew up, he decided to take revenge of his mother who had quit him. He sent her a golden throne and when Hera sat in it, she was trapped by nets. Hephaestus obliged her to accept him as a God in order to set her free.