Sculpture of Hera by Unknown.
Symbols: Pomegranate, lily, cow, cuckoo, lutus, and peacock
Parents: Cronus and Rhea
Children: Ares, Eris, Hebe, Eileithyia, and Hephaestus
Spouse: Zeus (also her brother)
Abode: Mount Olympus
Roman name: Juno
Hera is a goddess in Greek mythology and one of the Twelve Olympians. As the wife of Zeus, Hera was considered the queen of Mount Olympus. She is most associated as the goddess of women, marriage, and childbirth.
How was Hera usually pictured?
Hera was usually pictured wearing flowing robes, a crown, and holding a lotus scepter. Sometimes she was shown sitting on a throne or riding a chariot drawn by peacocks.
What powers and skills did she have?
As the Queen of Olympus and a major goddess, Hera was considered very powerful. The women of Greece prayed to Hera for protection during childbirth, good health, and to aide them in their marriages. She also had power over the skies and could bless the people with clear skies or curse them with storms.
Birth of Hera
Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea, the king and queen of the Titans. After being born, Hera was swallowed by her father Cronus because he was scared that his children would someday overthrow him. Hera was eventually saved by her younger brother Zeus.
Queen of Mount Olympus
Hera was courted by her brother Zeus who was the leader of the gods on Mount Olympus. At first she was not interested, but Zeus tricked her into marrying him by disguising himself as a wounded cuckoo bird. Hera rescued the cuckoo bird and ended up marrying Zeus.
Revenge on Zeus
Hera was a very jealous and vengeful wife. She wanted Zeus all to herself, but Zeus cheated on her constantly with other goddesses and with mortal women. Hera often took out her revenge on the women who Zeus loved and the children they had with Zeus.
One example of Hera's revenge is the story of the hero Heracles who was Zeus's son by the mortal woman Alcmene. Hera first tried to kill Heracles as a baby by sending two serpents to his bed, but this failed when Heracles killed the serpents. She later caused Heracles to go mad and kill his wife and children. As punishment for killing his family, Heracles was forced to perform the Twelve Labors. Hera made these labors as difficult as possible, hoping that Heracles would be killed.
Interesting Facts About the Greek Goddess Hera
- Hera sided with the Greeks in the Trojan War after the Trojan Prince Paris chose Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess over her.
- She was the patron goddess of the city of Argos.
- In one story, Hera bans her own son Hephaestus from Mount Olympus because he is ugly and deformed.
- Other titles for Hera include "goat-eater", "cow-eyed", and "white-armed."
- She was one of the few Greek gods or goddesses that remained faithful to her spouse.
- Some of the women and goddesses that Hera exacted revenge on included Callisto, Semele, Io, and Lamia.
- A nymph named Echo was given the job of distracting Hera from Zeus's affairs. When Hera discovered what Echo was doing, she cursed Echo into only repeating the last few words that others said to her (this is where the modern word "echo" comes from).
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