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Hera
Ἥρα

1207: Hera Ludovisi. 5C BC. Antikmuseet, Lund.

Hera, who walks in golden sandals, is the Queen of Heaven, always a virgin, for she recovers her maidenhood every year by bathing in a spring called Canathus in Argolis. Hera is known for her jealousy, and because of it, she persecuted her husband's lovers and the children he had by them.

Creation of the Milky Way

According to some, the Milky Way (Via Lactea) was formed by the milk of Hera, which flowed when she realized that she had been giving milk to Hermes (or Heracles 1), and thrust him away. But it is also said that the Milky Way commemorates the milk of Hera with which she was to anoint and feed Dionysus 2 in order to heal his madness.

Semele and Dionysus 2

Semele, mother of Dionysus 2, is said to have died because of the jealousy of Hera. For Hera, having learned that Zeus had agreed to do for Semele whatever she asked, persuaded her to ask Zeus that he would come to her as he came to Hera. Zeus could not refuse, and so he came in all his glory, which, being a sight impossible for a mortal to survive, caused Semele's destruction. So, when Semele died, Zeus snatched the six-month old child Dionysus 2, and sewed it in his thigh. When the child Dionysus 2 was ready for life, Hermes entrusted him to King Athamas 1 of Boeotia first and then Thessaly, and Ino (the daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia 1), and persuaded them to rear him as a girl. But Hera (though some affirm Tisiphone 1, one of the ERINYES, following Hera's instructions) drove them mad, and Athamas 1 hunted his elder son Learchus as a deer and killed him.

Opposing Heracles 1

Hera sent all kind of difficulties to Heracles 1, son of Zeus and Alcmena, including serpents to his cradle. When Heracles 1 was about to be born, Zeus declared that the descendant of Perseus 1 then about to be born would reign over Mycenae, and Hera out of jealousy persuaded Ilithyia to retard Alcmena's delivery, contriving that Eurystheus, who was also a descendant of Perseus 1, should be born a seven-month child. That is how Heracles 1 lost the throne of Mycenae, which caused all kinds of feuds and wars until the return of the HERACLIDES many generations later. Hera is said to have nourished the Hydra of Lerna, who Heracles 1 destroyed, and to have brought up the Nemean Lion, which Heracles 1 captured. And when Heracles 1 was sailing from Troy, Hera sent terrible storms to destroy his ships. However, this angered Zeus so much that he hung her from Olympus with a couple of anvils hanging from her feet, and her hands lashed together with an unbreakable golden chain. And because Hephaestus came to her rescue, Zeus cast him out of Heaven, and he fell on the island of Lemnos, breaking his legs.

0307: Sabouroff-Maler. Hera, 470-460 v. Chr. Staatliches Antikensammlungen, München.

Enemies

Hera is said to have transformed Io into a cow, but Zeus consorted with her anyway, assuming the form of a bull. Then Hera sent a gadfly to torment the cow Io, who was compelled to wander through many countries. Others say, however, that it was Zeus who turned her into a cow to avoid Hera's anger (see Io). Leto too, because of having made love to Zeus, was hunted over the whole earth by Hera, until she came to Delos where she gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. When Paris judged the goddesses, Hera promised him the kingdom over all men, but he took the hand of Helen that Aphrodite had offered him. For this offence Hera desired the destruction of Troy and the Trojans, and she opposed all their military efforts. Later, when Trojan Aeneas left for Italy, after the sack of Troy, Hera, attempting to prevent him from fulfilling his fate, sent storms, having sought help from Aeolus 2, whom she promised a fair nymph (Deiopea 2) in marriage if he lashed fury into the winds against the ships of Aeneas.

Friends

For the sake of helping the Achaeans in the Trojan War, and wishing to keep Zeus from the battles, Hera requested and received Aphrodite's help in the form of her magic belt, and so she could distract him with the belt's and her own charms. Hera was a friend to the ARGONAUTS, because she expected them to return with Medea, who was fated to become the curse of King Pelias 1 of Iolcus. As a young man Pelias 1 killed his cruel stepmother Sidero, who had ill-treated his mother, in the precinct of Hera, thus outraging the goddess. Jason was the man, who going in quest of the Golden Fleece with the ARGONAUTS, was meant to bring Medea to Iolcus where she would kill King Pelias 1.

Other victims of Hera's wrath

It is said that Tiresias was blinded by Hera for saying that women enjoy the pleasures of love ten times more than men.
Hera cast Orion's wife Side 2 into Hades because, as they say, she rivalled her in beauty.
Hera curtailed Echo's speech, because she held the goddess in long talk, preventing her to catch the NYMPHS who had been in her husband's company.


Family 

Parentage

Mates

Offspring

Notes


Zeus


Ares

 


Hebe

Ilithyia

For Ilithyia see Other Deities.

no partner


Hephaestus

Hera, some say, gave birth to Hephaestus without a partner, because Zeus had, in the same way given birth to Athena, who came out of his head. Others say that Hephaestus was her child by Zeus.

no partner

Typhon

Typhon is also said to be the offspring either of Tartarus and Gaia, or of Tartarus and Tartara.


Dionysus 2

Pasithea 2

Pasithea 2 is the eldest of the CHARITES. She was promised by Hera to Hypnos as a bride if he would help her in making Zeus fall asleep. Others say that Pasithea 2 is the daughter of Zeus and Eurynome 3, or of Helius and Aegle 1.


Genealogical Charts

Names in this chart: Ares, Cronos, Dionysus 2, Gaia, Hebe, Hephaestus, Hera, Ilithyia, Pasithea 2, Rhea 1, Typhon, Uranus, Zeus.


Hera's Wrath

Contextual Charts

Names in this chart: Agenor 1, Alcmena, ARGONAUTS, Argus 1, Ate, Athamas 1, Athens, Belus 1, Cadmus, Callisto, Colchis, Delos, Dionysus 2, Egypt, Epaphus 1, Europa, Hera, Heracles 1, Ilithyia, Ino, Io, Jason, Leto, Libya, Medea, Mycenae, Nephele 2, Olympus, Pelias 1, Phrixus 1, Semele, Thebes, Zeus.


Hera


Related sections
Sources
Abbreviations

AO.363; Apd.1.3.1, 1.3.4; Cic.ND.2.66; Eur.Med.1285; Hes.The.454, 921; Hom.Apo.3.307; Hom.Il.8.383; Hyg.Ast.2.42.; Nonn.15.91, 31.186.

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