Hebe (mythology)

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For other uses, see Hebe (disambiguation).
Cupbearer to the gods
Goddess of eternal youth
Canova-Hebe 30 degree view.jpg
Abode Mount Olympus
Symbol Chalice, Lettuce, Ivy, Fountain of Youth
Consort Heracles
Parents Zeus and Hera
Siblings Eileithyia, Eris, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Dionysus, Hermes, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Hephaestus, Perseus, Minos, the Muses, the Graces
Children Alexiares and Anicetus
Roman equivalent Juventus

In Greek mythology, Hēbē (/ˈhbi/; Greek: Ἥβη)[1] is the goddess of youth[2] (Roman equivalent: Juventus).[3] She is the daughter of Zeus and Hera.[4] Hebe was the cupbearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving their nectar and ambrosia, until she was married to Heracles (Roman equivalent: Hercules); her successor was Zeus' lover Ganymede. Another title of hers, for this reason, is Ganymeda. She also drew baths for Ares and helped Hera enter her chariot.[5]

Ancient literature[edit]

In Euripides' play Heracleidae, Hebe granted Iolaus' wish to become young again in order to fight Eurystheus. Hebe had two children with Heracles: Alexiares and Anicetus.[6]

The name Hebe comes from Greek word meaning "youth" or "prime of life". Juventus likewise means "youth", as can be seen in such derivatives as juvenile. In art, Hebe is usually depicted wearing a sleeveless dress. The Phliasians, who lived near Sicyon, honored Hebe (whom they called Dia) by pardoning suppliants. Hebe was also worshipped as a goddess of pardons or forgiveness; freed prisoners would hang their chains in the sacred grove of her sanctuary at Phlius.

Hebe was believed to have the power to restore youth. When the elderly Iolaus (Heracles' former charioteer) was about to fight against Eurystheus, he prayed to Hebe to be young again for one day, and this the goddess granted to him.[citation needed]

Modern fountains and other art[edit]

Robert Thomas' statue
Hebe by Franz Machtl, 1893 - Rosenberg Fountain - Grant Park Chicago

The figure of Hebe was popular in the 19th century and early 20th century for garden fountains and temperance fountains, and was widely available in cast stone. Tarentum, Pennsylvania, United States displays two such cast stone statues of Hebe.[7] The mold for these statues was donated to the borough by the Tarentum Book Club on 6 June 1912. In Vicksburg, Mississippi, the Bloom Fountain installed in 1927 near the municipal rose garden, thanks to a bequest of $6,500 in the will of Louis Bloom, features a Hebe of cast zinc. At Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Hebe fountain in Fountain Square follows Canova's model, in patinated cast iron, purchased in 1881 from the J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York, at a cost of $1500.[8] Similar Hebe fountains, probably also from Mott, are located in Court Square, Memphis, Tennessee and in Montgomery, Alabama, and one with bronze patination was formerly the Starkweather Fountain in Ypsilanti, Michigan, installed in 1889.[9]

There is a bronze statue of Hebe, by Robert Thomas; (1966), in Birmingham city centre, England.[10] Antonio Canova also sculpted four different statues of Hebe: one of them is in the Museum of Forlì, Italy.

Genealogy of the Olympians in Greek mythology[edit]

Genealogy of the Olympians in Greek Mythology
Uranus Gaia
Oceanus Hyperion Coeus Crius Iapetus Mnemosyne
Cronus Rhea Tethys Theia Phoebe Themis
Zeus Hera Hestia Demeter Hades Poseidon
Ares Enyo Hephaestus Hebe Eileithyia Eris
Metis Maia Leto Semele
Aphrodite Athena Hermes Apollo Artemis Dionysus

See also[edit]


  1. ^ From Proto-Indo-European *(H)iēgw-eh2-, "youth, vigour" (see R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p. 507).
  2. ^ "Hebe's name... means 'Flower of Youth'. She was another version of her mother in the latter's quality of Hera Pais, "Hera the young maiden," observes Karl Kerenyi, The Gods of the Greeks 1951:98.
  3. ^ Ovid does not detect a unity of Hera (Juno) and Hebe (Juventus): he opens Fasti vi with a dispute between Juno and Juventus claiming patronage of the month of June (on-line text).
  4. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 921; Homer, Odyssey 11. 601; Pindar, Fourth Isthmian Ode; Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 1.13, and later authors.
  5. ^ Iliad, v. 722.
  6. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke, ii.7.7.
  7. ^ They are located at 40°35′59″N 79°45′09″W / 40.59977°N 79.752621°W / 40.59977; -79.752621 and 40°36′06″N 79°45′26″W / 40.601603°N 79.757264°W / 40.601603; -79.757264).
  8. ^ "The City of Bowling Green, Ky: Fountain Square"
  9. ^ Ypsilanti Historical Society: "Lost Ypsilanti: The Starkweather Fountain"; the single figure of Hebe cost $750. Other cast zinc Hebe fountains by Mott and other manufacturers are documented by Carol A. Grissom, Zinc sculpture in America, 1850–1950 2009:301ff.
  10. ^ Located at 52°29′04″N 1°53′32″W / 52.484438°N 1.892175°W / 52.484438; -1.892175).

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Wives of Heracles Succeeded by