Hera (play /ˈhɛrə/; Greek Ἥρα, Hēra, equivalently Ἥρη, Hērē, in Ionic and Homer) was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of classical Greek Mythology. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. In Roman mythology, Juno was the equivalent mythical character. The cow, and later, the peacock were sacred to her. Hera's mother was Rhea and her father, Cronus.
Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos (a high cylindrical crown worn by several of the Great Goddesses), Hera may bear a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. A scholar of Greek mythology Walter Burkert 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. Paris offended her by choosing Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess, earning Hera's hatred.
"The name of Hera, the queen of the gods, admits a variety of mutually exclusive etymologies; one possibility is to connect it with hora (‘ωρα), season, and to interpret it as ripe for marriage." So begins the section on Hera in Walter Burkert's Greek Mythology. In a note, he records other scholars' arguments "for the meaning Mistress as a feminine to Heros, Master." John Chadwick, a decipherer of Linear B, remarks ""her name may be connected with hērōs (‘ηρως) '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 (boôpis, cow-eyed). E-ra appears in Mycenaean Linear B 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, 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 sculptors and architects was destroyed between 570- 60 BC. This was replaced by the Polycratean 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: the museum there contains figures of gods and suppliants and other votive offerings from Armenia, Babylon, Iran, Assyria, Egypt, 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 and two of the great fifth and sixth century temples of Paestum, the termagant of Homer and the myths is an "almost...comic figure" according to Burkert.
The Temple of Hera at Agrigento, Magna Graecia.
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 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, book iv) "are Argos, Sparta and Mycenae of the broad streets." There were also temples to Hera in Olympia, Corinth, Tiryns, Perachora and the sacred island of Delos. In Magna Graecia, two Doric temples to Hera were constructed at Paestum, 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 the festival of the Great Daedala, 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 in the Argolid, were the very earliest monumental Greek temples constructed, in the 8th century BC.
Hera's early importance
Both Hera and Demeter had many characteristic attributes of the former Great Goddess. The Minoan goddess represented in seals and other remains, whom Greeks called Potnia Thēron 'Mistress of Animals', many of whose attributes were later also absorbed by Artemis, 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 from going into labor with Artemis and Apollo, since the father was Zeus. The other goddesses present at the birthing on Delos sent Iris to bring her. As she stepped upon the island, the divine birth began. In the myth of the birth of Heracles, it is Hera herself who sits at the door instead, delaying the birth of Heracles until her protégé, Eurystheus, had been born first.
The Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo makes the monster Typhaon the offspring of archaic Hera in her Minoan form, produced out of herself, like a monstrous version of Hephaestus, and whelped in a cave in Cilicia. She gave the creature to Gaia to raise.
Roman copy of a Greek 5th century Hera of the "Barberini Hera" type, from the Museo Chiaramonti
In the Temple of Hera 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, in which she declares to Zeus, "I am Cronus' 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 nymphs seduced by her Consort, for Hera upheld all the old right rules of Hellene society and sorority.
There has been considerable scholarship, reaching back to Johann Jakob Bachofen 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 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.
It remains however 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, there was a sculpture of Hera seated as a bride by Callimachus, as well as the matronly standing Hera.
Hera was also worshipped as a virgin: there was a tradition in Stymphalia in Arcadia that there had been a triple shrine 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 near Argos was to Hera the Virgin. At the spring of Kanathos, 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 wagon was pulled by peacocks, birds not known to Greeks before the conquests of Alexander. Alexander's tutor, Aristotle, refers to it as "the Persian bird." The peacock motif was revived in the Renaissance 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, 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. On Cyprus, very early archaeological sites contain bull skulls that have been adapted for use as masks (see Bull (mythology)). Her familiar Homeric epithet 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 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, a maternal goddess associated with cattle.
The pomegranate, an ancient emblem of the Great Goddess, remained an emblem of Hera: many of the votive pomegranates and poppy capsules recovered at Samos are made of ivory, 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 and a veil.
Hera bore several epithets in the mythological tradition, including:
Αἰγοφάγος (Aigophágos) 'Goat-Eater' (among the Lacedaemonians)
Ἀκραῖα (Akráia) '(She) of the Heights'
Ἀργεία (Argéia) '(She) of Argos'
Βασίλεια (Basíleia) 'Queen'
Βουναία (Bounáia) '(She) of the Mound' (in Corinth)
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'
From: WikiHERA (Hêra or Hêrê), probably identical with kera, mistress, just as her husband, Zeus, was called erros in the Aeolian dialect (Hesych. s. v.). The derivation of the name has been attempted in a variety of ways, from Greek as well as oriental roots, though there is no reason for having recourse to the latter, as Hera is a purely Greek divinity, and one of the few who, according to Herodotus (ii. 50), were not introduced into Greece from Egypt.
Hera was, according to some accounts, the eldest daughter of Cronos and Rhea, and a sister of Zeus. (Hom. Il. xvi. 432; comp. iv. 58; Ov. Fast. vi. 29.) Apollodorus (i. 1, § 5), however, calls Hestia the eldest daughter of Cronos; and Lactantius (i. 14) calls her a twin-sister of Zeus. According to the Homeric poems (Il. xiv. 201, &c.), she was brought up by Oceanus and Thetys, as Zeus had usurped the throne of Cronos; and afterwards she became the wife of Zeus, without the knowledge of her parents. This simple account is variously modified in other traditions.
Being a daughter of Cronos, she, like his other children, was swallowed by her father, but afterwards released (Apollod. l. c.), and, according to an Arcadian tradition, she was brought up by Temenus, the son of Pelasgus. (Paus. viii. 22. § 2; August. de Civ. Dei, vi. 10.) The Argives, on the other hand, related that she had been brought up by Euboea, Prosymna, and Acraea, the three daughters of the river Asterion (Paus. ii. 7. § 1, &c.; Plut. Sympos. iii. 9); and according to Olen, the Horae were her nurses. (Paus. ii. 13. § 3.) Several parts of Greece also claimed the honour of being her birthplace; among them are two, Argos and Samos, which were the principal seats of her worship. (Strab. p. 413; Paus. vii. 4. § 7; Apollon. Rhod. i. 187.)
Her marriage with Zeus also offered ample scope for poetical invention (Theocrit. xvii. 131, &c.), and several places in Greece claimed the honour of having been the scene of the marriage, such as Euboea (Steph. Byz. s. v. Karustos), Samos (Lactant. de Fals. Relig. i. 17), Cnossus in Crete (Diod. v. 72), and Mount Thornax, in the south of Argolis. (Schol. ad Theocrit. xv. 64; Paus. ii. 17. § 4, 36. § 2.) This marriage acts a prominent part in the worship of Hera under the name of hieros gamos; on that occasion all the gods honoured the bride with presents, and Ge presented to her a tree with golden apples, which was watched by the Hesperides in the garden of Hera, at the foot of the Hyperborean Atlas. (Apollod. ii. 5. § 11; Serv. ad Aen. iv. 484.)
The Homeric poems know nothing of all this, and we only hear, that after the marriage with Zeus, she was treated by the Olympian gods with the same reverence as her husband. (Il. xv. 85, &c.; comp. i. 532, &c., iv. 60, &c.) Zeus himself, according to Homer, listened to her counsels, and communicated his secrets to her rather than to other gods (xvi. 458, i. 547). Hera also thinks herself justified in censuring Zeus when he consults others without her knowing it (i. 540, &c.); but she is, notwithstanding, far inferior to him in power; she must obey him unconditionally, and, like the other gods, she is chastised by him when she has offended him (iv. 56, viii. 427, 463). Hera therefore is not, like Zeus, the queen of gods and men, but simply the wife of the supreme god. The idea of her being the queen of heaven, with regal wealth and power, is of a much later date. (Hygin. Fab. 92; Ov. Fast. vi. 27, Heroid. xvi. 81; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 81.) There is only one point in which the Homeric poems represent Hera as possessed of similar power with Zeus, viz. she is able to confer the power of prophecy (xix. 407). But this idea is not further developed in later times. (Comp. Strab. p. 380; Apollon. Rhod. iii. 931.)
Her character, as described by Homer, is not of a very amiable kind, and its main features are jealousy, obstinacy, and a quarrelling disposition, which sometimes makes her own husband tremble (i. 522, 536, 561, v. 892.) Hence there arise frequent disputes between Hera and Zeus; and on one occasion Hera, in conjunction with Poseidon and Athena, contemplated putting Zeus into chains (viii. 408, i. 399). Zeus, in such cases, not only threatens, but beats her; and once he even hung her up in the clouds, her hands chained, and with two anvils suspended from her feet (viii. 400, &c., 477, xv. 17, &c.; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1003). Hence she is frightened by his threats, and gives way when he is angry; and when she is unable to gain her ends in any other way, she has recourse to cunning and intrigues (xix. 97). Thus she borrowed from Aphrodite the girdle, the giver of charm and fascination, to excite the love of Zeus (xiv. 215, &c.). By Zeus she was the mother of Ares, Hebe, and Hephaestus (v. 896, Od. xi. 604, Il. i. 585; Hes. Theog. 921, &c.; Apollod. i. 3. § 1.) Respecting the different traditions about the descent of these three divinities see the separate articles.
Properly speaking, Hera was the only really married goddess among the Olympians, for the marriage of Aphrodite with Ares can scarcely be taken into consideration; and hence she is the goddess of marriage and of the birth of children. Several epithets and surnames, such as Eileithuia, Gamêlia, Zugia, Teleia, &c., contain allusions to this character of the goddess, and the Eileithyiae are described as her daughters. (Hom. Il. xi. 271, xix. 118.) Her attire is described in the Iliad (xiv. 170, &c.); she rode in a chariot drawn by two horses, in the harnessing and unharnessing of which she was assisted by Hebe and the Horae (iv. 27, v. 720, &c., viii. 382, 433). Her favourite places on earth were Argos, Sparta, and Mycenae (iv. 51).
Owing to the judgment of Paris, she was hostile towards the Trojans, and in the Trojan war she accordingly sided with the Greeks (ii. 15, iv. 21, &c., xxiv. 519, &c.). Hence she prevailed on Helius to sink down into the waves of Oceanus on the day on which Patroclus fell (xviii. 239). In the Iliad she appears as an enemy of Heracles, but is wounded by his arrows (v. 392, xviii. 118), and in the Odyssey she is described as the supporter of Jason. It is impossible here to enumerate all the events of mythical story in which Hera acts a more or less prominent part; and the reader must refer to the particular deities or heroes with whose story she is connected.
Hera had sanctuaries, and was worshipped in many parts of Greece, often in common with Zeus. Her worship there may be traced to the very earliest times: thus we find Hera, surnamed Pelasgis, worshipped at Iolcos. But the principal place of her worship was Argos, hence called the dôma Hêras. (Pind. Nem. x. imt.; comp. Aeschyl. Suppl. 297.) According to tradition, Hera had disputed the possession of Argos with Poseidon, but the river-gods of the country adjudicated it to her. (Paus. ii. 15. § 5.) Her most celebrated sanctuary was situated between Argos and Mycenae, at the foot of Mount Euboea. The vestibule of the temple contained ancient statues of the Charites, the bed of Hera, and a shield which Menelaus had taken at Troy from Euphorbus. The sitting colossal statue of Hera in this temple, made of gold and ivory, was the work of Polycletus. She wore a crown on her head, adorned with the Charites and Horae; in the one hand she held a pomegranate, and in the other a sceptre headed with a cuckoo. (Paus. ii. 17, 22; Strab. p. 373; Stat. Theb. i. 383.) Respecting the great quinquennial festival celebrated to her at Argos, see Dict. of Ant. s. v. Hêraia. Her worship was very ancient also at Corinth (Paus. ii. 24, 1, &c.; Apollod. i. 9. § 28), Sparta (iii. 13. § 6, 15. § 7), in Samos (Herod. iii. 60; Paus. vii. 4. § 4; Strab. p. 637), at Sicyon (Paus. ii. 11. § 2), Olympia (v. 15. § 7, &c.), Epidaurus (Thuc. v. 75; Paus. ii. 29. § 1), Heraea in Arcadia (Paus. viii. 26. § 2), and many other places.
Respecting the real significance of Hera, the ancients themselves offer several interpretations: some regarded her as the personification of the atmosphere (Serv. ad Aen. i. 51), others as the queen of heaven or the goddess of the stars (Eurip. Helen. 1097), or as the goddess of the moon (Plut. Quaest. Rom. 74), and she is even confounded with Ceres, Diana, and Proserpina. (Serv. ad Virg. Georg. i. 5). According to modern views, Hera is the great goddess of nature, who was every where worshipped from the earliest times. The Romans identified their goddess Juno with the Greek Hera
We still possess several representations of Hera. The noblest image, and which was afterwards looked upon as the ideal of the goddess, was the statue by Polycletus. She was usually represented as a majestic woman at a mature age, with a beautiful forehead, large and widely opened eyes, and with a grave expression commanding reverence. Her hair was adorned with a crown or a diadem. A veil frequently hangs down the back of her head, to characterise her as the bride of Zeus, and, in fact, the diadem, veil, sceptre, and peacock are her ordinary attributes. A number of statues and heads of Hera still exist.
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
From: TheoiHomeric Hymn 12 to Hera (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"I sing of golden-throned Hera whom Rhea bare. Queen of the Immortals is she, surpassing all in beauty : she is the sister and wife of loud-thundering Zeus,--the glorious one whom all the blessed throughout high Olympos reverence and honour even as Zeus who delights in thunder."Orphic Hymn 16 to Hera (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"O royal Hera, of majestic mien, aerial-formed, divine, Zeus’ blessed queen, throned in the bosom of cerulean air, the race of mortals is thy constant care. The cooling gales they power alone inspires, which nourish life, which every life desires. Mother of showers and winds, from thee alone, producing all things, mortal life is known: all natures share thy temperament divine, and universal sway alone is thine, with sounding blasts of wind, the swelling sea and rolling rivers roar when shook by thee. Come, blessed Goddess, famed almighty queen, with aspect kind, rejoicing and serene."HERA was the Queen of the gods, the goddess of the sky, women and marriage. She had numerous shrines and temples in the ancient world, with her primary cult centres being the Heraion near Mykenai in Argos, Olympia where woman-only Games were celebrated in her honour, and the island of Samos, who reputed birth-place.
In classical sculpture she was portrayed as a proud, regal figure, crowned and holding a royal sceptre. Her portrait was that of a beautiful, young woman.
CULT TERMS & TITLES OF HERA
Hera had a large number of cult titles. The first of these described her as a goddess of women in general in her various stages of live, from Girl (Pais), to Bride (Nympheuomene), Adult (Teleia), Marital Love and Sex (Aphrodite), and Widow (Khera):--
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Παις Pais Pais Girl
Νυμφευομενη Nympheuomenê Nympheuomene Bethrothed Bride
Τελεια Teleia Telea Adult Woman
Χηρα Khêra Chera Widow
Αφροδιτη Aphroditê Aphrodite Of Aphrodite
Γαμηλια Gamêlia Gamelia Of Marriage
Ατυαρωτη Autorôtê Ataurote Unbulled (i.e. virgin)
Ζυγια Zygia Zygia Yoked (i.e. married)
Suidas s.v. Ataurote (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Ataurote (Unbulled) : Meaning a 'pure' [woman] and one who 'has not had intercourse' : for tauros (bull) is the genitals of a man. And because of this [there is the word] ataurote, she who is pure or not yoked in marriage, and Azuges (unyoked). And Hera [is called] Boopis (cow-eyed) and Zugia (yoking goddess) and Gamelia (marriage goddess)."
The second set were derived from the locations of important cult centres:--
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Αργεια Argeia Argia Of Argos (in Argolis)
Σαμια Samia Samia Of Samos
Ολυμπια Olympia Olympia Of Olympia (in Elis)
Φαρυγαια Pharygaia Pharygaea Of Pharygaia (Lokris)
The third set of titles were cult specific, and mainly referred to divine functions and patronage:--
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Ἡνιοχη Hêniokhê Henioche Of the Chariot
Ανθεια Antheia Anthea Of the Flowers
Ὑπερχειρια Hyperkheiria Hypercheiria Whose Hand is Above
Αργωια Argôia Argoea Of the ship Argo
The last set of titles were descriptive of a particular temple or shrine such as Akraia (of the Heights), (because the temple was on a hill, and Bounaia, Lakinia and Prodromia, after the founders of specific temples:--
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Ακραιη Akraiê Acraea Of the Heights
Προδρομια Prodromia Prodromia Of the Pioneer
Αιγοφαγος Aigophagos Aegophagus Goat-Eater
Βουναια Bounaia Bunaea Of Bounos (hero)
Λακινια Lakinia Lacinia Of Lakinios (hero)
Finally, some general cult terms include:--
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Ἡραιον Hêraion Heraeon Temple of Hera
Ἡραια Hêraia Heraea Festival of Hera
Δαιδαλα Daidala Daedala (A Festival of Hera)
ENCYCLOPEDIA HERA TITLES
ACRAEA (Akraia). Acraea and Acraeus are also attributes given to various goddesses and gods whose temples were situated upon hills, such as Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Pallas, Artemis, and others. (Paus. i. 1. § 3, ii. 24. § 1; Apollod. i. 9. § 28; Vitruv. i. 7; Spanheim, ad Callim. Hymn in Jov. 82.)
AEGO′PHAGUS (Aigophagos), the goat-eater, a surname of Hera, under which she was worshipped by the Lacedaemonians. (Paus. iii. 15. § 7 ; Hesych. and Etym. M. s. v.)
ALEXANDER (Alexandros), the defender of men, a surname of Hera under which she was worshipped at Sicyon. A temple had been built there to Hera Alexandros by Adrastus after his flight from Argos. (Schol. ad Pind. Nem. ix. 30 ; comp. Apollod. iii. 12. § 5.)
AMMO′NIA (Ammônia), a surname of Hera, under which she was worshipped in Elis. The inhabitants of Elis had from the earliest times been in the habit of consulting the oracle of Zeus Ammon in Libya. (Paus. v. 15. § 7.)
ANTHEIA (Antheia), the blooming, or the friend of flowers, a surname of Hera, under which she had a temple at Argos. Before this temple was the mound under which the women were buried who had come with Dionysus from the Aegean islands, and had fallen in a contest with the Argives and Perseus. (Paus. ii. 22. § 1.) Antheia was used at Cnossus as a surname of Aphrodite. (Hesych. s. v.)
ARGEIA (Argeia). A surname of Hera derived from Argos, the principal seat of her worship. (Paus. iii. 13. § 6.)
BOO′PIS (Boôpis), an epithet commonly given to Hera in the Homeric poems. It has been said, that the goddess was thus designated in allusion to her having metamorphosed Io into a cow; but this opinion is contradicted by the fact, that other divinities too, such as Euryphaëssa (Hom. Hymn. in Sol. 2) and Pluto (Hesiod. Theog. 355), are mentioned with the same epithet; and from this circumstance it must be inferred, that the poets meant to express by it nothing but the sublime and majestic character of those divinities.
BUNAEA (Bounaia), a surname of Hera, deived from Bunus, the son of Hermes and Alcidameia, who is said to have built a sanctuary to Hera on the road which led up to Acrocorinthus. (Paus. ii. 4. § 7, 3. § 8.)
CHERA (Chêra), a surname of Hera, which was believed to have been given her by Temenus, the son of Pelasgus. He had brought up Hera, and erected to her at Old Stymphalus three sanctuaries under three different names. To Hera, as a maiden previous to her marriage, he dedicated one in which she was called pais; to her as the wife of Zeus, a second in which she bore the name of teleia; and a third in which she was worshipped as the chêra, the widow, alluding to her separation from Zeus. (Paus. viii. 22. § 2.)
GAME′LII (Gamêlioi theoi), that is, the divinities protecting and presiding over marriage. (Pollux, i. 24; Maxim. Tyr. xxvi. 6.) Plutarch (Quaest. Rom. 2) says, that those who married required (the protection of) five divinities, viz. Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Peitho, and Artemis. (Comp. Dion Chrys. Orat. vii. p. 568.) But these are not all, for the Moerae too are called theai gamêliai (Spanheim ad Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 23, in Del. 292, 297), and, in fact, nearly all the gods might be regarded as the protectors of marriage, though the five mentioned by Plutarch perhaps more particularly than others. The Athenians called their month of Gamelion after these divinities. Respecting the festival of the Gamelia see Dict. of Ant. s. v.
HI′PPIA and HI′PPIUS (Hippia and Hippios, or Hippeios), in Latin Equester and Equestris, occur as surnames of several divinities, as of Hera (Paus. v. 15. § 4); of Athena at Athens, Tegea and Olympia (i. 30. § 4, 31. § 3, v. 15. § 4, viii. 47. § ); of Poseidon (vi. 20. § 8, i. 30. § 4; Liv. i. 9); of Ares (Paus. v. 15. § 4); and at Rome also of Fortuna and Venus. (Liv. xl. 40, xlii. 3; Serv. ad Aen. i. 724.)
HYPERCHEI′RIA (Hupercheipia,) the goddess who holds her protecting hand over a thing, a surname under which Hera had a sanctuary at Sparta, which had been erected to her at the command of an oracle, when the country was inundated by the river Eurotas. (Paus. iii. 13. § 6.)
IMBRA′IA (Imbrasia), a surname of Artemis (Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 228), and of Hera, was derived front the river Imbrasus, in Samos, on which the goddess was believed to have been born. (Apollon. Rhod. i. 187; Paus. vii. 4. § 4.)
LACI′NIA (Lakinia), a surname of Juno [Hera], under which she was worshipped in the neighbourhood of Croton, where she had a rich and famous sanctuary. (Strab. vi. p. 261, &c., 281; Liv. xxiv. 3.) The name is derived by some from the Italian hero Lacinius, or from the Lacinian promontory on the eastern coast of Bruttium, which Thetis was said to have given to Juno as a present. (Serv. ad Aen. iii. 552.) It deserves to be noticed that Hannibal dedicated in the temple of Juno Lacinia a bilingual inscription (in Punic and Greek), which recorded the history of his campaigns, and of which Polybius made use in writing the history of the Hannibalian war. (Polyb. iii. 33; comp. Liv. xxviii. 46.)
PARTHE′NIA (Parthenia). That is, "the maiden," a surname of Artemis and Hera, who, however, is said to have derived it from the river Parthenius. (Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 110; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 187.)
PELASGA or PELASGIS (Pelasgis), i. e. the Pelasgian (woman or goddess), occurs as a surname of the Thessalian Hera (Apollon. Rhod. i. 14, with the Schol.; Propert. ii. 28. 11), and of Demeter, who, under this name, had a temple at Argos. (Paus. ii. 22. § 2.)
PHARYGAEA (Pharngaia), a surname of Hera, derived from the town of Pharygae, in Locris, where she had a temple. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Pharugai ; comp. Strab. ix. p. 426.)
SA′MIA (Samia), Samia also occurs as a surname of Hera, which is derived from her temple and worship in the island of Samos. (Herod. iii. 60; Paus. vii. 4. § 4 ; Tacit. Ann. iv. 14.) There was also a tradition that Hera was born or at least brought up in Samos. (Paus. l. c. ; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 187.)
ZYGIA and ZYGIUS (Zugia and Zugios), are surnames of Hera and Zeus, describing them as presiding over marriage. (Hesych. s. v..)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. C19th Classics Encyclopedia.
QUEEN OF HEAVEN
Patron of: the Air; Clear skies; Rain; Storms; the Constellations
Favour: Clear skies; Rain-showers; Cool-breezes
GODDESS OF KINGS & EMPIRES
Patron of: Kings; Kingdoms; Empires; Royal dynasties; Politics
GODDESS OF MARRIAGE
Patron of: Maidens of marriageable age; Maiden virginity; Betrothals;
Bride-price (dowry); Weddings; Marriage; Wives; Fidelity; Widows
Favour: Good betrothal; Marital harmony
Curse: Marital discord; Punishment of adulterers
Patron of: Menstruation; Women's fertility
GODDESS OF CHILDBIRTH
Patron of: Childbirth (the mother) (NB As goddesses of childbirth, Hera was protector of the mother, Artemis of the birthing infant)
Favour: Successful birth
Curse: Protracted labour; Death in childbirth
GODDESS OF HEIRS
Patron of: Heirs; Dynasties; Fidelity (legitimate heir & not the product of adultery); Inheritance
Favour: Birth of a male heir
Crown; Lotus-staff and Cuckoo
Lotus-staff; Crown; Cuckoo; Peacock; Pomegranate
Drawn by peacocks
SACRED PLANTS / FLOWERS
Pomegranate (Greek "rhoa", "rhoie" or "side"); Willow (Greek "itea");
Lotus / waterlily (Greek "lotos")
Heifer / young cow (Greek "damalis" or "portis"); Lion (Greek "leon")
Cuckoo (Greek "kokkux"); Peacock (Greek "taos");
Wide-winged hawk (Greek "?"); Crane (Greek "geranos")
PLANET OF HERA
Venus (named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love identified with Aphrodite). The Greeks called the planet "Aster Aphroditas" (Star of Aphrodite) or "Aster Heras" (Star of Hera), for the women's star was shared between the two goddesses.
DAY OF HERA
PATRON OF REGIONS
Argos in Greece; Samos, Greek Island
Argos in the Argolis, Greece (where she was raised);
Samos, Greek Island (where she was born)
Temples throughout Greece; Major temple and Games held at Olympia in Elis, Greece
ASPECTS OF HERA
Khaos-Aer (the Air); Hemera (Day); Nyx (Night); Titanis Rheia (Flow);
Titanis Selene (the Moon); Titanis Eos (Dawn); Mother of Typhon (Typhoon, Smoke)
Juno (Roman goddess); Isis (Egyptian goddess)
From: hereQueen of heaven. Daughter of the titans, Cronus and Rhea, she was known as the Roman goddess, Juno. She was the goddess of women, marriage and childbirth.
She was sister of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter and Hestia. She was one of the children swallowed by her father Cronus, to prevent the younger gods from overthrowing him. During the war between the Titans and her brothers, Hera stayed with her uncle, Oceanus, who took no part in the war.
After Zeus' marriages with Metis and Themis, he decided to marry his sister, but Hera repulsed him. Zeus finally deceived her by changing himself into a cuckoo. When she allowed the bird to nest between her bosoms, Zeus returned to his own form and ravished her. Later she agreed to marry her brother. She bore Zeus three children, Ares, Hebe and Eileithyia.
Some say that Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera. But usually the tradition says that when Zeus fathered Athena without a mother, the angry goddess decided to have a child of her own without a husband. She bore Hephaestus. However, Hephaestus was ugly and crippled. Some say that Hera threw her son out of Olympus, while others say that it was Zeus who threw Hephaestus out of heaven, when Hephaestus tried to protect Hera from Zeus' attack. Hephaestus, who was an artisan of the gods and master craftsman, got his revenge by binding his mother to a golden throne. He only released her when the gods promised to marry him to the love goddess, Aphrodite.
Other possible children of Zeus and Hera were Tyche and Enyo, since Enyo often accompanied "her brother" Ares to war.
Hera's marriage was never a happy one, because of Zeus' numerous love affairs with both immortal goddesses and mortal women. Hera was renowned for her jealousy and temper. She persecuted Zeus' many offspring as well as his mistresses. Some of her famous victims included the goddess and Titaness, Leto; Callisto, whom she changed into a bear, and her son; Io, daughter of the river-god, Inachus; Semele and her son Dionysus, god of wine.
Hera also persecuted Heracles throughout his life, afflicting him with madness. One of the most devastating events in Heracles' life was when she had driven him mad to the point where Heracles had murdered his own sons. But her persecution also set Heracles on the path of glory and everlasting fame. In the end, she not only reconciled with Heracles, when the hero became a god and lived in Olympus; Hera also allowed Heracles to marry her own daughter, Hebe, goddess of youth.
According to the Greek geographer Pausanias, Hera had at one time stormed out of her marriage to Zeus, and stayed on the island of Euboea. Zeus failed to win her back with persuasion, so he resorted to trickery. Zeus gained advice from a wise king in Plataea. At Mount Cithaeron, Zeus created a wooden statue of woman, which he clothed with the richest gown. Zeus placed the statue in his ox-wagon, pretending that this woman would be his new bride and consort. Hera thought that her new rival was the daughter of Asopus, named Plataea. Outraged that her husband would remarry, she raced onto the scene and ripped the veil off the statue. Instead of being angry about this ruse, Hera was actually delighted with her husband's ingenuity in winning her back, so the great goddess was reconciled with Zeus.
A festival of reconciliation was held in honour of Hera, at Plataea, every seven years. This involved a procession with a wagon that bore a wooden image of a woman (daidala) from Cithaeron to Plataea, where the image was later burned in a fire.
The Heraean Games were established in honour of Hera, and were held every four years in Olympia. Historically, the Heraean Games were actually the oldest Panhellenic Games, even older than the Olympaid, which was also held in Olympia. Here, girls and young women participated, and each victor was awarded with a crown of olive.
She played a vital role in the downfall of Pelias. Pelias had defiled her temple, when the king had murdered his stepmother Sidero before her altar. She supported Jason and the Argonauts in their quest. After their adventure, Jason brought back Medea, a sorceress, who tricked Pelias' daughters into killing their own father. The whole reason behind the quest was for the goddess to exact her revenge.
Throughout the Trojan War, she sided with Greeks against Paris, a Trojan prince. Paris had awarded the golden apple, inscribed with "To the Fairest", to Aphrodite, instead of herself. Even after the fall of Troy, she persecuted Aeneas and the Trojan followers, as they searched for a new home in Italy. She stirred up a war between Aeneas and the Latin tribes.
The Judgement of Paris was not the only time that she was angry with a mortal, because of her looks. The great hunter Orion was first married to Side. Side had boasted that her beauty surpassed Hera, so the goddess threw the foolish woman into Hades.
Her epithet was Argeia - "Argive Hera". Her places of worship were Argos, Euboea, Samos and Stymphalus. In Argos, she contested against Poseidon for recognition as a patron deity of Argos. The contest was judged and decided by three river-gods of Argolis. They awarded Argos to Hera. Angry that he lost the city to his sister, Poseidon caused the water to dry up in one season, and to flood Argos in another.
The peacock was her sacred bird, and she also seemed partial to the cuckoo. Her sacred fruits were apples and pomegranates.
Hera, Here, Ἥρα – "Protectress" (Greek).
From: hereHera's Appearance: A young beautiful woman, said to be the most beautiful of all goddesses, even beating out Aphrodite.
Hera's Symbol or Attribute:The peacock.
Hera's Strengths: Determined defender of the sanctity of marriage and monogamy.
Hera's Weaknesses:Determined defender of the sanctity of marriage and monogamy - but married Zeus.
Birthplace:Said to be born on the island of Samos or at Argos.
Parents:Born of the Titans Rhea and Kronos.
Siblings Zeus, Hestia, Demeter, Hades, and Poseidon. What a family!
Spouse: Zeus, King of the Gods.
Hera's Children: With Zeus, Ares.
Hephaestus, usually said to be by Zeus, but sometimes by Hera alone. Her daughters were Hebe, goddess of health, and Eileithyia, the Cretan goddess of childbirth. Also, by herself, Typhon, the serpent of Delphi.
Some Major Temple Sites: The island of Samos was said to be where Zeus and Hera spent the first secret three hundred years of their marriage, making this the longest honeymoon on record.
Basic Story:Zeus was the brother of Hera, who fell in love with him from the first moment she saw him, and eventually got a love charm from Aphrodite to seal the deal. She is very relationship-oriented and spends much of her time driving off Zeus's innumerable nymphs, mistresses, and other dalliances. She also sometimes torments the offspring of those unions, especially Hercules. To her credit, she's gorgeous and kept Zeus busy on his honeymoon for three hundred years, so she rightfully wonders why on earth he needs to go anywhere else. When she's really fed up, she wanders off by herself, always hoping Zeus will miss her and seek her, usually eventually relenting and returning without being so sought.
Interesting Fact:Hera is said to restore her virginity each year by bathing in Kanathos, a sacred spring. One tale suggests Hera used magic to force Zeus into marrying her in a secret ceremony. Given some of Zeus's later behavior, perhaps it was a secret even from him. Other tales have Zeus seducing her, in the form of a damp cuckoo bird seeking refuge in her lap during a storm.
From: hereHera, the wife of Zeus, was the last of his divine companions. She was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Her mother entrusted her to Tethys, who brought her up on the very edge of the world in a place called Oceanus while Zeus was struggling with the Titans. This is one legend, but it also is held that Zeus and his sister had a long betrothal, which dates back to the time when Cronus still ruled the world. There are numerous stories relating to the union of Zeus and Hera. One version by Pausanias tells how young Hera found a cuckoo stiff and cold on a wintry day and held it to her breast to warm it. The bird was none other than Zeus, who had disguised himself as such to overcome his sister's refusal to satisfy his desire for her. But Hera did not yield to him until he promised to make her his legal wife. Also, is told the story of how each year the goddess bathes in the sacred stream at Nauplia, and thus recovered her virginity.
At the time, the marriage of Zeus and Hera was of great religious significance because it amounted to an act of worship on which the fertility of the world depended. Homer, in Book XIV of the Iliad, describes a very human version of this union between the god and goddess, but almost everywhere in Greek rites persisted a commemoration (or the provocation by magic) of their marriage. Usually on the occasions a statue of the goddess was decked in the apparel of a young bride and carried though the city to a sanctuary to where a marriage bed was proffered. Different cities had various versions of the ceremony. Poets usually set the marriage in the garden of Hephaetus in the far west. Others had the golden apples ripening in the garden be wedding a present from Gaea to the goddess, who thought they were so beautiful that she planted them in her garden by the sea.
Three children came from this divine marriage, Ares, Eileithyia, and Hebe; as for Hera's fourth child, Hephaestus, Zeus usually is not credited as the father. Hera, the goddess protecting wives and legal marriages, was jealous of Zeus, whose innumerable infidelities she found hard to forgive, and she was particularly ardent in her hatred and pursuit of the illegitimate children fathered by her husband. This was particularly true of Hercules who she forced into the service of Eurystheus. At times Zeus punished Hera for her acts of violence. For example, when returning to Greece after taking the city of Troy the goddess raised a terrible storm at sea to wreck the ship of Hercules. This angered Zeus who literally suspended the goddess from Olympus by attaching an anvil to both of Hera's feet. But once Hercules was deified, Hera was totally reconciled with him and gave him the hand of Hebe.
When Zeus bore Athena by himself, Hera gave birth to Typhaon without him. This terrible creature resembled neither the gods nor men. He was reminiscent of the monster Typhon that battled Zeus on behalf of the original earth goddess Gaia.
Hera was one of the three goddesses who entered the contest of beauty on Mount Ida in Phrygia. Zeus appointed the shepherd Paris to judge it, and he chose Aphrodite, which angered Hera and caused her bitter resentment against Troy. In the course of the Trojan War Hera favored the Achaeans, protecting Achilles (whose mother, Thetis, was said to have been brought up by Hera), and conferring immortality on Menelaus.
Hera was the principal goddess of the city of Argos where she had a famous temple. The peacock was her emblem, and its plumage was considered to the image of the hundred eyes of Argos, the watcher that she had set to watch Io. The goddess was often portrayed with a pomegranate in her hand, the symbol of fertility.
From: hereAlso see:Hera is the Greek Goddess of the Sky and Queen of the Gods, and one of the twelve Olympians. Her name is said to derive from a root meaning "sky". She was originally a powerful goddess in Her own right, and was only joined with Zeus when invaders brought His worship into Greece.
She is a goddess of Women, and of marriage and childbirth. She is decribed as very beautiful and queenly, virtuous and faithful to Her husband. Her worship was widespread, with many temples and festivals dedicated to Her.
Hera was the oldest daughter of Cronos and Rhea, and sister and wife (i.e. the equal) of Zeus. She was seduced by Her brother, who pursued Her unsuccessfully for some time. Finally He came to Her as a little cuckoo, nearly frozen with cold, and taking pity on it She held it to Her. He then resumed His usual shape and attempted to ravish Her; She resisted, until He promised to marry Her. Such beginnings did not bode well, and married life did nothing to slow Zeus's numerous affairs.
Their marriage was notoriously unhappy and Hera vented Her rage by punishing Her husband's paramours. Zeus was known to beat Hera and on one occasion suspended Her from the sky and hung anvils from Her ankles, as punishment for leading a plot to overthrow him.
Her children by Zeus were Ares, Hephaestos and Hebe. Other children were Eilithyia, goddess of childbirth, and the she-dragon Python, who guarded the oracular shrine at Delphi, and the monster Typhon (though some say Gaea was Typhon's mother).
Alternate spellings: Here
Ephithets: Prodomia ("Guide"), Anthea ("Flowery"), Hyperkheiria ("Protectress"), Ox-eyed, White-armed.
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