Greek Mythology: 20+ Majestic Facts about Hera, the Queen of Greek Gods
The following are some majestic facts about Hera, the goddess of married women, weddings and all other types of marital unions:
- Her fights and numerous domestic conflicts with her husband Zeus primarily stemmed from Zeus’ constant unfaithfulness. This drove Hera raging mad, jealous and vengeful.
- In a ploy to win the heart of Hera, Zeus, king of the gods, disguised himself as a wounded cuckoo bird. Hera took pity on the bird and nurtured it to full recovery.
- Hera was the patron goddess of the city of Argos.
- Hera’s typical aliases are: “goat-eater”, “cow-eyed”, or “white-armed”.
- After Hercules (Heracles) ascended to the heavens, she reconciled her differences with him. She even gave her blessing to the union between her daughter Hebe and Hercules.
- Irrespective of Zeus’ countless affairs, she always stayed faithful to Zeus.
- In ancient Greece, the name Heracles (Hercules) translates into the “glory of Hera”.
- Hera was not always an evil or wicked goddess that spent all her time going after Zeus’ consorts and illegitimate children. In some cases, Hera has been depicted as a very kind or generous goddess. The most famous good deeds of hers came when she blessed Jason handsomely. Jason helped Hera, who was disguised as an old woman, cross a very turbulent river.
- According to some ancient Greek texts, the name Hera can be interpreted as “someone who is mature for marriage”. In some texts from Plato, the name Hera was used to mean “beloved”. This fact about Hera is very interesting because it explains why Zeus married Hera in the first place.
- For a very long time, a great deal of ancient Greek philosophers frequently associated young cows to Hera.
- As at the time that it was constructed, the Heraion of Samos was one of the grandest temples in all of ancient Greece.
- Some myths claim that Eileithyia (the goddess of childbirth) was purposely held captive by Hera. She did this in order to prevent Leto (mother of Apollo and Artemis) from giving birth smoothly.
- She is the eldest daughter of the mad titan god Cronus.
- In many ancient Greek city-states, Hera was primarily revered as the matron goddess. She was in charge of all marriage related things and customs.
- Due to her immense hatred for infidelity in marriages, Hera was often seen as a deity that punished adulterers.
- In some places, Hera was venerated as a virgin goddess. This was probably during her youth. For example, the people of Stymphalia in Arcadia were known to have created three separate temples for Hera. They had places that were dedicated to: Hera the Girl; Hera the Full-grown Woman; and finally, Hera the Widow. This religious practice was not only limited to the Stymphalia people. A small section of people around Argos also took to having shrines dedicated to Hera the Girl or Hera the Virgin.
- Due to the hatred Hera had for Leto, Hera tasked Tityos to forcefully take Leto. Tityos failed miserably and was killed by Leto’s children, Apollo and Artemis.
- Hebe, the goddess of youth, was seen by Hesiod as an offspring of Hera that was birth after Hera ate large quantities of lettuce.
- Believe it or not, Hera raised Heracles (Hercules) for a brief period of time. It is believed that Zeus placed a magical spell on Hera. The spell made Hera breastfeed a starving Hercules. No sooner did the spell wane off than Hera pushed him away from her breast. The resultant spurt of milk that dropped to ground is what went on to form the Milky Way.
- Hera cursed Io, who had earlier been turned into a cow by Zeus, to always have a gadfly follow her for the rest of her life. In Egyptian mythology, Io becomes the goddess Isis.
- As the Trojan War raged on, Hera and Athena took the side of the Achaeans. In partnership with Aphrodite, Hera uses a magical girdle to keep Zeus’ attention away from the Trojan War.
- According to some accounts of Hera’s myth, Hera single-handedly gave birth to Hephaestus, the god of fire and craftsmen. She did this because she was jealous of Zeus’ affair with Leto.
- In ancient Roman mythology and stories, Hera is seen as the goddess Juno. The ancient Romans sought the intervention of Juno when it came to issues pertaining to family, childbirth, honor, and trust in relationships. However, the Romans did not so much portray her as the jealous and vindictive kind. Juno was considered one of the patron deities of ancient Rome. For example, the Roman festival Matronalia – a yearly festival— was organized in honor of Juno. Typically, the festival was held in the month of June. This period was also the time that many Romans chose to marry. They did so in order to receive the blessings of Juno.
- According to Etruscan, Hera’s equivalent is Uni, the Etruscan goddess of love and the mother goddess.
Hera in Greek Mythology
Goddess of: women, marriage, childbirth
Symbols: pomegranate, cuckoo, lily, peacock/peafowl, cow, lotus, peacock/peafowl
Association: Zeus, Athena
Roman name: Venus
Egyptian equivalent: Isis