Hera (/ˈhɛrə, ˈhɪərə/; Greek: Ἥρᾱ, Hērā; Ἥρη, Hērē
in Ionic and Homeric Greek) is the goddess of women, marriage, family,
and childbirth in
Ancient Greek religion
Ancient Greek religion and myth, one of the Twelve
Olympians and the sister-wife of Zeus. She is the daughter of the
Cronus and Rhea.
Hera rules over
Mount Olympus as queen of the
gods. A matronly figure,
Hera served as both the patroness and
protectress of married women, presiding over weddings and blessing
marital unions. One of Hera's defining characteristics is her jealous
and vengeful nature against Zeus' numerous lovers and illegitimate
offspring, as well as the mortals who cross her.
Hera is commonly seen with the animals she considers sacred including
the cow, lion and the peacock. 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 hold a pomegranate in her
hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the
narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. 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."
Her Roman counterpart is Juno.
2.3 Origin and birth
4 Marriage to Zeus
5 Important stories involving Hera
Leto and the Twins:
Apollo and Artemis
5.3 Io and Argus
5.4 Judgment of Paris
5.5 The Iliad
6 Smaller stories involving Hera
8 Art and events
11 External links
The name of
Hera may have several of mutually exclusive etymologies;
one possibility is to connect it with Greek ὥρα hōra, season, and
to interpret it as ripe for marriage and according to Plato
ἐρατή eratē, "beloved" as
Zeus is said to have married her
for love. According to Plutarch,
Hera was an allegorical name and
an anagram of aēr (ἀήρ, "air"). So begins the section on Hera
in Walter Burkert's Greek Religion. 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, 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 βοῶπις (boōpis, "cow-eyed"). R. S. P. Beekes has
Pre-Greek origin. Her name is attested in Mycenaean
Greek written in the
Linear B syllabic script as 𐀁𐀨, e-ra,
appearing on tablets found in
Pylos and Thebes.
Hera may have been the first deity to whom the Greeks dedicated an
enclosed roofed temple sanctuary, at Samos about 800 BCE. It was
replaced later by the Heraion, one of the largest of all Greek temples
(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.
The temple created by the
Rhoecus sculptors and architects was
destroyed between 570–560 BCE. This was replaced by the Polycratean
temple 540–530 BCE. 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
Earlier sanctuaries, whose dedication to
Hera is less certain, were of
the Mycenaean type called "house sanctuaries". Samos excavations
have revealed votive offerings, many of them late 8th and 7th
centuries BCE, 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
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 BCE and about 450 BCE. One of
them, long called the Temple of
Poseidon was identified in the 1950s
as a second temple there of Hera.
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
Heraion of Samos and the Heraion of
Argos in the Argolid, were the very earliest monumental Greek temples
constructed, in the 8th century BCE.
According to Walter Burkert, both
Demeter have many
characteristic attributes of
Pre-Greek Great Goddesses.
According to the
Homeric Hymn III to Delian Apollo,
Eileithyia to prevent
Leto from going into labor with
Apollo, since the father was Zeus. The other goddesses present at the
Delos sent Iris to bring her. As she stepped upon the
island, the divine birth began. In the myth of the birth of Heracles,
Hera herself who sits at the door, delaying the birth of
Heracles until her protégé, Eurystheus, had been born first.
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 Python 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.
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.
However, it remains a controversial claim that primitive matriarchy
existed in Greece or elsewhere.
Origin and birth
Hera is the daughter of the youngest Titan
Cronus and his wife, and
Cronus was fated to be overthrown by one of his
children; to prevent this, he swallowed all of his newborn children
whole until Rhea tricked him into swallowing a stone instead of her
youngest child, Zeus.
Zeus grew up in secret and when he grew up he
tricked his father into regurgitating his siblings, including Hera.
Zeus then led the revolt against the Titans, banished them, and
divided the dominion over the world with his brothers
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
Arcadia that there had been a triple shrine to
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
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). The Female figure, showing her "Moon" over
the lake is also appropriate, as Hebe, Hera, and Hecate; new moon,
full moon, and old moon in that order and otherwise personified as the
Virgin of spring, The Mother of Summer, and the destroying Crone of
Hellenistic imagery, Hera's chariot 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
Juno, and which European painters focused on. A bird that had been
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". In this respect,
some resemblance to the Ancient Egyptian deity Hathor, a maternal
goddess associated with cattle.
Hera bore several epithets in the mythological tradition, including:
Ἀλέξανδρος (Alexandros) 'Protector of Men' (Alexandros)
(among the Sicyonians)
Αἰγοφάγος (Aigophágos) 'Goat-Eater' (among the
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'
Marriage to Zeus
Hera is known for her jealousy; even Zeus, who is known to fear
nothing, feared her tantrums.
Zeus fell in love with
Hera but she
refused his first marriage proposal.
Zeus then preyed on her empathy
for animals and other beings, created a thunderstorm and transformed
himself into a little cuckoo. As a cuckoo,
Zeus pretended to be in
distress outside her window. Hera, feeling pity towards the bird
brought it inside and held it to her breast to warm it.
transformed back into himself and took advantage of her. Hera, ashamed
of being exploited, agreed to marriage with Zeus. All of nature burst
into bloom for their wedding and many gifts were exchanged.
Zeus loved Hera, but he also loved Greece and often snuck down to
Earth in disguise to marry and bear children with the mortals. He
wanted many children to inherit his greatness and become great heroes
and rulers of Greece. Hera's jealousy towards all of Zeus' lovers and
children caused her to continuously torment them and
powerless to stop his wife.
Hera was always aware of Zeus' trickery
and kept very close watch over him and his excursions to Earth.
Hera "presided over the right arrangements of the marriage and is the
archetype of the union in the marriage bed."
An underworld goddess
Her story only survives in scholia on Theocritus' Idyll 2. She was
raised by nymphs. One day she stole Hera's anointments and gave them
away to Europe. To escape her mother's wrath, she tried to hide
Hera eventually ceased from prosecuting her, and
Cabeiroi to cleanse Angelos. They performed the purification rite
in the waters of the
Acherusia Lake in the Underworld. Consequently,
she received the world of the dead as her realm of influence, and was
assigned an epithet katachthonia ("she of the underworld").
God of war
According to Hesiod's Theogony, he was a son of
Zeus and Hera.
Goddess of childbirth
Theogony and other sources, she is described as a daughter of Hera
by Zeus. Although, the meticulously accurate mythographer Pindar
in Seventh Nemean
Hera as Eileithyia's mother but makes
no mention of Zeus.
A war goddess
She was responsible with the destruction of cities and an attendant of
Enyo with Eris.
Goddess of discord
She appears in Homer's
Iliad Book IV; equated with
Enyo as sister
Ares and so presumably daughter of
Zeus and Hera.
Goddess of youth
She was a daughter of
Zeus and Hera. In an alternative version,
Hera alone produced Hebe after being impregnated by a head of
God of fire and the forge
Attested by the Greek poet Hesiod,
Hera was jealous of Zeus' giving
Athena with Metis, so she gave birth to
union with Zeus, although in some stories, he is the son of her
Hera was then disgusted with Hephaestus' ugliness
and threw him from Mount Olympus. In a version of the
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 got him
drunk and took him back to Olympus on the back of a mule.
Hera after being given
Aphrodite as his wife.
Typhon is presented both as the son of
Hera (in Homer’s Pythian Hymn
to Apollo) and as the son of Gaia (in Hesiod’s Theogony).
According to the
Homeric Hymn to
Apollo (6th century BC),
was the parthenogenous child of Hera, whom she bore alone as a revenge
Zeus who had given birth to Athena.
Hera prayed to Gaia to give her
a son as strong as Zeus, then slapped the ground and became
Hera gave the infant
Typhon to the serpent Python to
Typhon grew up to become a great bane to mortals. The b
Iliad 2.783, however, has
Typhon born in
Cilicia as the
offspring of Cronus. Gaia, angry at the destruction of the Giants,
Zeus to Hera. So
Hera goes to
Cronus and he gives
eggs smeared with his own semen, telling her to bury them, and that
from them would be born one who would overthrow Zeus. Hera, angry at
Zeus, buries the eggs in
Cilicia "under Arimon", but when
born, Hera, now reconciled with Zeus, informs him.
Important stories involving Hera
Heracles strangling the snakes sent by Hera, Attic red-figured
stamnos, ca. 480–470 BCE. From Vulci, Etruria.
Hera is the stepmother and enemy of Heracles. The name
"Glory of Hera". There are three alternative stories about the birth
Heracles and Hera's role in preventing it. In Homer's Iliad, when
Alcmene was about to give birth to Heracles,
Zeus announced to all the
gods that on that day a child by
Zeus himself, would be born and rule
all those around him. Hera, after requesting
Zeus to swear an oath to
that effect, descended from Olympus to
Argos and made the wife of
Sthenelus (son of Perseus) give birth to
Eurystheus after only seven
months, while at the same time preventing
Alcmene from delivering
Heracles. This resulted in the fulfilment of Zeus's oath in that it
Eurystheus rather than Heracles. In an alternative version
mentioned in Ovid's Metamorphoses, when
Alcmene was pregnant with
Hera tried to prevent the birth from occurring by having
Eileithyia (the Greek equivalent of Lucina) tie Alcmene's legs in
knots. Her attempt was foiled when
Galanthis frightened Eileithyia
while she was tying Alcmene's legs and
Heracles was born.
Galanthis by turning her into a weasel. In Pausanias'
Hera sent witches (as they were called by the Thebans) to
hinder Alcmene's delivery of Heracles. The witches were successful in
preventing the birth until Historis, daughter of Tiresias, thought of
a trick to deceive the witches. Like Galanthis, Historis announced
Alcmene had delivered her child; having been deceived, the
witches went away, allowing
Alcmene to give birth.
Hera's wrath against Zeus' son continues and while
Heracles is still
Hera sends two serpents to kill him as he lay in his cot.
Heracles throttles the snakes with his bare hands and was found by his
nurse playing with their limp bodies as if they were a child's
The Origin of the
Milky Way by Jacopo Tintoretto.
One account of the origin of the
Milky Way 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 Etruscans 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.
Heracles reached adulthood,
Hera drove him mad, which led him to
murder his family and this later led to him undertaking his famous
Heracles to labour for King
Mycenae. She attempted to make almost each of Heracles' twelve labours
more difficult. When he fought the Lernaean Hydra, she sent a crab to
bite at his feet in the hopes of distracting him. Later
Amazons against him when he was on one of his quests. When
Heracles took the cattle of Geryon, he shot
Hera in the right breast
with a triple-barbed arrow: the wound was incurable and left her in
constant pain, as Dione tells
Aphrodite in the Iliad, Book V.
Hera sent a gadfly to bite the cattle, irritate them and
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, the cattle were sacrificed to
Eurystheus also wanted to sacrifice the
Cretan Bull to Hera. She
refused the sacrifice because it reflected glory on Heracles. The bull
was released and wandered to Marathon, becoming known as the
Some myths state that in the end,
Hera by saving
her from Porphyrion, a giant who tried to rape her during the
Gigantomachy, and that she even gave her daughter Hebe as his bride.
Whatever myth-making served to account for an archaic representation
Heracles as "Hera's man" it was thought suitable for the builders
of the Heraion at
Paestum to depict the exploits of
Hera (according to inscription); tondo of an Attic white-ground kylix
from Vulci, ca. 470 BC
Leto and the Twins:
Apollo and Artemis
Hera discovered that
Leto was pregnant and that
Zeus was the
father, she convinced the nature spirits to prevent
Leto from giving
birth on terra-firma, the mainland, any island at sea, or any place
under the sun.
Poseidon gave pity to
Leto and guided her to the
floating island of Delos, which was neither mainland nor a real island
Leto was able to give birth to her children. Afterwards,
Delos to the bottom of the ocean. 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 she finally gave in.
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
born one day before Apollo, on the island of
Ortygia and that she
Leto cross the sea to
Delos the next day to give birth to
Tityos attempted to rape
Leto at the behest of Hera. He was
Artemis and Apollo.
Io and Argus
Zeus by Giovanni Ambrogio Figino.
Hera saw a lone thundercloud and raced down in an attempt to catch
Zeus with a mistress.
Zeus saw her coming and transformed his new
bride Io into a little snow-white cow. However,
Hera was not fooled
and demanded that
Zeus give her the heifer as a present.
not refuse his queen without drawing suspicion so he had to give her
the beautiful heifer.
Once Io was given to Hera, she tied her to a tree and sent her servant
Argus to keep Io separated from Zeus. Argus was a loyal servant to
Hera and he has immense strength and one hundred eyes all over his
body. It was not possible to go past Argus since he never closed more
than half his eyes at any time.
Zeus was afraid of Hera's wrath could
not personally intervene, so to save Io, he commanded
Hermes to kill
Argus, which he does by lulling all one hundred eyes into eternal
sleep. In Ovid's interpolation, when
Hera learned of Argus' death, she
took his eyes and placed them in the plumage of the peacock, her
favorite animal, accounting for the eye pattern in its tail and making
it the vainest of all animals. Hera, furious about Io being free
and the death of Argus, sent a gadfly (Greek oistros, compare oestrus)
to sting Io as she wandered the earth. Eventually Io made it to Egypt,
the Egyptians worshiped the snow-white heifer and named her the
Egyptian goddess Isis.
Zeus to change Io back into her
human form, under the condition that he never look at her again. Io,
the goddess-queen of Egypt, then bore Zeus' son as the next King.
Judgment of Paris
Main article: Judgement of Paris
This is one of the many works depicting the event.
Hera is the goddess
in the center, wearing the crown. Das Urteil des Paris by Anton
Raphael Mengs, ca. 1757
A prophecy stated that a son of the sea-nymph Thetis, with whom Zeus
fell in love after gazing upon her in the oceans off the Greek coast,
would become greater than his father. Possibly for this
Thetis was betrothed to an elderly human king,
of Aeacus, either upon Zeus' orders, or because she wished to
please Hera, who had raised her. All the gods and goddesses as
well as various mortals were invited to the marriage of
Thetis (the eventual parents of Achilles) and brought many gifts.
Only Eris, goddess of discord, was not invited and was stopped at the
door by Hermes, on Zeus' order. She was annoyed at this, so she threw
from the door a gift of her own: a golden apple inscribed with the
word καλλίστῃ (kallistēi, "To the fairest"). Aphrodite,
Athena all claimed to be the fairest, and thus the rightful
owner of the apple.
The goddesses quarreled bitterly over it, and none of the other gods
would venture an opinion favoring one, for fear of earning the enmity
of the other two. They chose to place the matter before Zeus, who, not
wanting to favor one of the goddesses, put the choice into the hands
of Paris, a Trojan prince. After bathing in the spring of Mount Ida
Troy was situated, they appeared before Paris to have him
choose. The goddesses undressed before him, either at his request or
for the sake of winning. Still, Paris could not decide, as all three
were ideally beautiful, so they resorted to bribes.
Hera offered Paris
political power and control of all of Asia, while
wisdom, fame, and glory in battle, and
Aphrodite offered 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 of Sparta. The other two goddesses
were enraged by this and through Helen's abduction by Paris they
brought about the Trojan War.
Hera plays a substantial role in The Iliad, appearing in a number of
books throughout the epic poem. In accordance with ancient Greek
mythology, Hera's hatred towards the Trojans, which was started by
Paris' decision that
Aphrodite was the most beautiful goddess, is seen
as through her support of the Greeks during the war. Throughout the
Hera makes many attempts to thwart the Trojan army. In books 1
Hera declares that the Trojans must be destroyed. Hera
Athena to aid the Achaeans in battle and she agrees to
assist with interfering on their behalf.
In book 5,
Athena plot to harm Ares, who had been seen by
Diomedes in assisting the Trojans.
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
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
Jupiter and Juno on
Mount Ida by James Barry, 1773 (City Art
In book 8,
Hera tries to persuade
Poseidon to disobey
Zeus and help
the Achaean army. He refuses, saying he doesn’t want to go against
Zeus. Determined to intervene in the war,
Athena head to the
battlefield. However, seeing the two flee,
Zeus sent Iris to intercept
them and make them return to
Mt. Olympus or face grave consequences.
After prolonged fighting,
Poseidon aiding the Greeks and
giving them motivation to keep fighting.
In book 14
Hera devises a plan to deceive Zeus.
Zeus set a decree that
the gods were not allowed to interfere in the mortal war.
Hera is on
the side of the Achaeans, so she plans a Deception of
Zeus where she
seduces him, with help from Aphrodite, and tricks him into a deep
sleep, with the help of Hypnos, so that the Gods could interfere
without the fear of Zeus.
In book 21,
Hera continues her interference with the battle as she
Hephaestus to prevent the river from harming Achilles.
Hephaestus sets the battlefield ablaze, causing the river to plead
with Hera, promising her he will not help the Trojans if Hephaestus
stops his attack.
Hephaestus stops his assault and
Hera returns to the
battlefield where the gods begin to fight amongst themselves.
Smaller stories involving Hera
According to the urbane retelling of myth in Ovid's Metamorphoses,
for a long time, a nymph named Echo had the job of distracting Hera
from Zeus' 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").
Semele and Dionysus
Hera learned that Semele, daughter of
Cadmus King of Thebes, 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, having sworn by
his thunder and lightning destroyed Semele.
Zeus took Semele's unborn
Dionysus and completed its gestation sewn into his own thigh.
In another version,
Dionysus was originally the son of
Zeus by either
Demeter or Persephone.
Hera sent her Titans to rip the baby apart,
from which he was called
Zagreus ("Torn in Pieces").
Zeus rescued the
heart; or, the heart was saved, variously, by Athena, Rhea, or
Zeus used the heart to recreate
Dionysus and implant him
in the womb of Semele—hence
Dionysus became known as "the
twice-born". Certain versions imply that
Semele the heart to
eat to impregnate her.
Semele into asking
Zeus to reveal
his true form, which killed her.
Dionysus later managed to rescue his
mother from the underworld and have her live on Mount Olympus.
See also Dionysus' birth for other variations.
Lamia was a queen of Libya, whom
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 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
Hera and Prometheus, tondo of a 5th-century BCE cup from Vulci,
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 the entire way (45
stadia, 8 kilometers).
Cydippe was impressed with their devotion to
Hera so asked
Hera to give her children the best gift a god
could give a person.
Hera ordained that the brothers would die in
This honor bestowed upon the children was later used by Solon, as a
proof while trying to convince
Croesus that it is impossible to judge
a person's happiness until they have died a fruitful death after a
Tiresias 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. After seven years as a woman, Tiresias
again found mating snakes; depending on the myth, either she made sure
to leave the snakes alone this time, or, according to Hyginus,
trampled on them and became a man once more.
As a result of his experiences,
Hera asked him to settle the
question of which sex, male or female, experienced more pleasure
Zeus claimed it was women;
Hera claimed it was
Tiresias sided with Zeus,
Hera struck him blind.
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 after he stumbled onto her bathing
naked. His mother, Chariclo, begged her to undo her curse, but Athena
could not; she gave him prophecy instead.
At the marriage of
Zeus and Hera, a nymph named Chelone was
disrespectful or refused to attend.
Zeus thus, turned her into a
The Golden Fleece
Pelias because he had killed Sidero, his step-grandmother,
in one of the goddess's temples. She later convinced
Jason and Medea
to kill Pelias. The
Golden Fleece was the item that
Jason needed to
get his mother freed.
Zeus turned King
Queen Rhodope into
mountains, the Balkan (
Haemus Mons) and Rhodope Mountains
respectively, for their hubris in comparing themselves to the gods.
Zeus had pity on
Ixion and brought him to Olympus and introduced
him to the gods, instead of being grateful,
Ixion grew lustful for
Zeus found out about his intentions and made a cloud in the
shape of Hera, who was later named Nephele, and tricked
coupling with it and from their union came Centaurus. So
expelled from Olympus and
Hermes to bind
Ixion to a
winged fiery wheel that was always spinning. Therefore,
bound to a burning solar wheel for all eternity, at first spinning
across the heavens, but in later myth transferred to Tartarus.
Hera's family tree 
Art and events
Greek mythology portal
Barberini Hera - a Roman sculpture of Hera/Juno
Hera Borghese - sculpture related to Hera
Hera Farnese - sculpture of Hera's head
Heraea Games - games dedicated to Hera—the first sanctioned (and
recorded) women's athletic competition to be held in the stadium at
^ Ruck, Carl A.P., and Danny Staples, The World of Classical Myth,
^ Walter Burkert, Greek Religion, (Harvard University Press) 1985, p.
^ Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopedia, The Book People, Haydock,
1995, p. 215.
^ ἐρατός at LSJ
^ Plato, Cratylus, 404c
Isis and Osiris, 32
^ Burkert, p. 131.
^ Chadwick, The Mycenaean World (Cambridge University Press) 1976:87.
^ Windekens, in Glotta 36 (1958), pp. 309-11.
^ R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p.
Linear B word e-ra". Palaeolexicon. Word study tool of Ancient
languages. Raymoure, K.A. "e-ra". Minoan Linear A &
Mycenaean Linear B. Deaditerranean.
^ Martin Persson Nilsson, The Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and Its
Survival in Greek Religion (Lund) 1950 pt. I.ii "House Sanctuaries",
pp 77-116; H. W. Catling, "A Late Bronze Age House- or Sanctuary-Model
from the Menelaion, Sparta," BSA 84 (1989) 171-175.
^ Burkert, p. 132, including quote; Burkert: Orientalizing Revolution.
^ Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.13.6
^ Her name appears, with
Zeus and Hermes, in a
Linear B inscription
(Tn 316) at Mycenean
Pylos (John Chadwick, The Mycenaean World
[Cambridge University Press] 1976:89).
^ P.C. Sestieri, Paestum, the City, the Prehistoric Acropolis in
Contrada Gaudo, and the Heraion at the Mouth of the Sele (Rome 1960),
p. 11 etc. "It is odd that there was no temple dedicated to Poseidon
in a city named for him (
Paestum was originally called Poseidonia).
Perhaps there was one at Sele, the settlement that preceded Paestum,"
Sarantis Symeonoglou suggested (Symeonoglou, "The Doric Temples of
Paestum" Journal of Aesthetic Education, 19.1,
Special Issue: Paestum
and Classical Culture: Past and Present [Spring 1985:49-66] p. 50.
^ O'Brien, Joan V. (1993). The Transformation of Hera: A Study of
Ritual, Hero, and the
Goddess in the Iliad. Rowman & Littlefield.
^ "The goddesses of Greek polytheism, so different and complementary";
Greek mythology scholar
Walter Burkert has observed, in Homo Necans
(1972) 1983:79f, "are nonetheless, consistently similar at an earlier
stage, with one or the other simply becoming dominant in a sanctuary
or city. Each is the Great
Goddess presiding over a male society; each
is depicted in her attire as Mistress of the Beasts, and Mistress of
the Sacrifice, even
Hera and Demeter."
^ a b Homer,
^ Iliad, ii. 781-783)
Homer - Project Gutenberg
^ Bachofen, Mutterrecht 1861, as Mother Right: An Investigation of the
Religious and Juridical Character of Matriarchy in the Ancient World.
Bachofen was seminal in the writings of
Jane Ellen Harrison
Jane Ellen Harrison and other
students of Greek myth.
^ Slater 1968.
^ Steven Goldberg, The Inevitability of Patriarchy, (William Morrow
& Company, 1973); Joan Bamberger,'The Myth of Matriarchy: Why Men
Rule in Primitive Society', in M Rosaldo and L Lamphere, Women,
Culture, and Society, (Stanford, California: Stanford University
Press, 1974), pp. 263-280; Donald E. Brown, Human Universals
(Philadelphia: Temple University Press), 1991; Steven Goldberg, Why
Men Rule, (Chicago, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company, 1993);
Cynthia Eller, The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented
Past Won't Give Women a Future, (Boston: Beacon Press, 2001); Jonathan
Marks, 'Essay 8: Primate Behavior', in The Un-Textbook of Biological
Anthropology, (Unpublished, 2007), p. 11; Encyclopædia Britannica
describes this view as "consensus", listing matriarchy as a
hypothetical social system. 'Matriarchy' Encyclopædia Britannica,
Cronus Greek god". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved
^ Farnell, I 191,
^ Pausanias, 9.2.7- 9.3.3 Archived 2015-11-06 at the Wayback Machine.;
Pausanias explains this by telling the myth of the Daedala.
^ Farnell, I 194, citing Pausanias 8.22.2 Archived 2015-11-06 at the
Pindar refers to the "praises of
Hera Parthenia [the
Maidenly]" Olympian ode 6.88 Archived 2015-11-06 at the Wayback
^ S. Casson: "
Kanathos and the Ludovisi Throne" The Journal of
Hellenic Studies 40.2 (1920), pp. 137-142, citing Stephanus of
Byzantium sub Ernaion.
^ Pausanias, 2.38.2-3 Archived 2015-11-06 at the Wayback Machine..
Robert Graves (1955), The Greek Myths.
Barbara G. Walker (1983), The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and
Secrets, p.392 ISBN 0-06-250925-X
^ Seznec, Jean, The Survival of the Pagan Gods : Mythological
Renaissance Humanism and Art, 1953
^ Pausanias, iii. 15. § 7
^ James Joseph Clauss, Sarah Iles Johnston. Medea: Essays on
myth, literature, philosophy, and art, 1997. p.46
^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon
^ Heinrich Schliemann. Ilios: The city and country of the Trojans,
^ a b Homeric Hymns
^ a b c d e D'Aulaire, Ingri; D'Aulaire, Edgar Parin (1992).
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. Delacorte Books for Young Readers.
^ See, Sally (2014-12-25). The Greek Myths. S&T.
Scholia on Theocritus, Idyll 2. 12 referring to Sophron
^ a b
Theogony 921–922; Homer,
Odyssey 11. 604–605; Pindar,
Isthmian 4.59–60; Apollodorus, 1.3.1, and later authors.
^ a b Detienne, Marcel (2002-11-25). The Writing of Orpheus: Greek
Myth in Cultural Context. JHU Press. ISBN 9780801869549.
^ In Homer,
Odyssey viii. 312
Hephaestus addresses "Father Zeus"; cf.
Iliad i. 578 (some scholars, such as Gantz, Early Greek Myth,
p. 74, note that Hephaestus' reference to
Zeus as 'father' here may be
a general title), xiv. 338, xviii. 396, xxi. 332. See also Cicero, De
Natura Deorum 3.22.
^ a b Deris, Sara (2013-06-06). "Examining the
Hephaestus Myth through
a Disability Studies Perspective". Prandium: The Journal of Historical
Studies at U of T Mississauga. 2 (1).
^ Guy Hedreen (2004) The Return of Hephaistos, Dionysiac Processional
Ritual and the Creation of a Visual Narrative. The Journal of Hellenic
Studies, 124 (2004:38–64) p. 38 and note.
^ a b
Karl Kerenyi (1951) The Gods of the Greeks, pp 156–158.
^ The return of
Hephaestus on muleback to Olympus accompanied by
Dionysus was a theme of the Attic vase-painters, whose wares were
favored by Etruscans. The return of
Hephaestus was painted on the
Etruscan tomb at the "Grotta Campana" near Veii (identified by
Peterson; the "well-known subject" was doubted in this instance by A.
M. Harmon, "The Paintings of the Grotta Campana", American Journal of
Archaeology 16.1 (January - March 1912):1-10); for further examples,
see Hephaestus#Return to Olympus.
^ Slater 1968, pp. 199–200.
^ Decker, Jessica Elbert (2016-11-16). "Hail Hera, Mother of Monsters!
Monstrosity as Emblem of Sexual Sovereignty". Women's Studies. 45 (8):
Homeric Hymn to
Apollo 306–348. Stesichorus, Fragment 239
(Campbell, pp. 166–167) also has
Typhon alone to "spite
^ Gantz, p. 49, remarks on the strangeness of such a description for
one who would challenge the gods.
^ Kirk, Raven, and Schofield. pp. 59–60 no. 52; Ogden 2013b, pp.
36–38; Gantz, pp. 50–51, Ogden 2013a, p. 76 n. 46.
^ a b c Evslin, Bernard (2012-10-30). Gods, Demigods and Demons: An
Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology. Open Road Media.
^ Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.11.3
^ "The Origin of the
Milky Way in the National Gallery on JSTOR"
(PDF). www.jstor.org. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
^ Kerenyi, p 131
^ Gaius Julius Hyginus,
^ Hammond. Oxford Classical Dictionary. 597-598.
^ Freese 1911, p. 184.
^ a b "
Pindar on the Birth of
Apollo on JSTOR" (PDF). www.jstor.org.
^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 1.4.1; Antoninus Liberalis,
Metamorphoses, 35, giving as his sources Menecrates of Xanthos (4th
century BCE) and Nicander of Colophon; Ovid,
provides another late literary source.
Metamorphoses I.624ff and II.531. The peacock (Greek taos),
not native to Greece or Western Asia, was unknown to
the time of Alexander the Great.
^ Scholiast on Homer’s Iliad; Hyginus,
Fabulae 54; Ovid,
^ Apollodorus, Library 3.168.
^ Pindar, Nemean 5 ep2; Pindar, Isthmian 8 str3–str5.
Catalogue of Women
Catalogue of Women fr. 57;
Cypria fr. 4.
^ Photius, Myrobiblion 190.
^ Apollodorus Epitome E.3.2
^ a b c Homer. The Iliad.
^ Homer. Iliad, Book 14, Lines 153-353.
^ Metamorphoses, iii.341-401.
^ Hamilton, Edith (1969). "Mythology".
^ Seyffert Dictionary
Metamorphoses 6.89 - 91
^ Herodotus' History, Book I
^ Hygini, Fabulae, LXXV
^ Kerenyi 1951, p.160
^ This chart is based upon Hesiod's Theogony, unless otherwise noted.
^ According to Homer,
Iliad 1.570–579, 14.338,
Hephaestus was apparently the son of
Hera and Zeus, see Gantz, p. 74.
^ According to Hesiod,
Hephaestus was produced by
Hera alone, with no father, see Gantz, p. 74.
^ According to Hesiod,
Theogony 886–890, of Zeus' children by his
Athena was the first to be conceived, but the last to be
Zeus impregnated Metis then swallowed her, later
gave birth to
Athena "from his head", see Gantz, pp. 51–52, 83–84.
^ According to Hesiod,
Aphrodite was born from
Uranus' severed genitals, see Gantz, pp. 99–100.
^ According to Homer,
Aphrodite was the daughter of
Odyssey 8.308, 320) and Dione (
Iliad 5.370–71), see Gantz,
Burkert, Walter, 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.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Freese, John Henry (1911). "Apollo". In
Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge
University Press. pp. 184–186.
Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic
Sources, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, Two volumes:
ISBN 978-0-8018-5360-9 (Vol. 1), ISBN 978-0-8018-5362-3
The Greek Myths
The Greek Myths 1955. Use with caution.
Hesiod, Theogony, in The
Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English
Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, MA., Harvard
University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Online version
Perseus Digital Library.
Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in
two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William
Heinemann, Ltd. 1924. Online version at the
Perseus Digital Library.
Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, PH.D.
in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London,
William Heinemann, Ltd. 1919. Online version at the
Kerenyi, Carl, The Gods of the Greeks 1951 (paperback 1980)
Kerenyi, Karl, 1959. The Heroes of the Greeks Especially Heracles.
Kirk, G. S., J. E. Raven, M. Schofield, The Presocratic Philosophers:
A Critical History with a Selcetion of Texts, Cambridge University
Press, Dec 29, 1983. ISBN 9780521274555.
Ogden, Daniel (2013a), Drakon: Dragon Myth and Serpent Cult in the
Greek and Roman Worlds, Oxford University Press, 2013.
Ogden, Daniel (2013b), Dragons, Serpents, and Slayers in the Classical
and early Christian Worlds: A sourcebook, Oxford University Press.
Ruck, Carl A.P., and Danny Staples, The World of Classical Myth 1994
Seyffert, Oskar. Dictionary of Classical Antiquities 1894. (On-line
Seznec, Jean, The Survival of the Pagan Gods : Mythological
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; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology,
London (1873). "Gali'nthias"
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