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  • Queen of the Gods
  • Goddess of marriage, women, marital harmony, and the protector of women during childbirth
Member of the Twelve Olympians
The Campana Hera, a Roman copy of a Hellenistic original, from the Louvre
Major cult centerArgos, Mycenae, Samos
AbodeMount Olympus
AnimalsCow, cuckoo, peacock
SymbolPomegranate, sceptre, crown (polos or diadem)
ParentsCronus and Rhea
SiblingsPoseidon, Hades, Demeter, Hestia, Zeus
ChildrenAngelos, Arge, Ares, the Charites, Eileithyia, Eleutheria, Eris, Hebe, Hephaestus
Roman equivalentJuno
Iris (on the left), Zeus and Hera. Part of the central section-East frieze of Parthenon, Elgin Marbles-British Museum

In ancient Greek religion, Hera (/ˈhɛrə, ˈhɪərə/; Greek: Ἥρα, translit. Hḗrā; Ἥρη, Hḗrē in Ionic and Homeric Greek) is the goddess of marriage, women, and family, and the protector of women during childbirth. In Greek mythology, she is queen of the twelve Olympians and Mount Olympus, sister and wife of Zeus, and daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. One of her defining characteristics in myth is her jealous and vengeful nature in dealing with any who offended her, especially Zeus's numerous adulterous lovers and illegitimate offspring.

Her iconography usually presents her as a dignified, matronly figure, upright or enthroned, crowned with a polos or diadem, sometimes veiled as a married woman.[1] She is the patron goddess of lawful marriage. She presides over weddings, blesses and legalises marital unions, and protects women from harm during childbirth. Her sacred animals include the cow, cuckoo, and peacock. She is sometimes shown holding a pomegranate as an emblem of immortality. Her Roman counterpart is Juno.[2]



The name Hera (Hēra or Hērē) has several possible and 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"[3] as Zeus is said to have married her for love.[4] According to Plutarch, Hera was an allegorical name and an anagram of aēr (ἀήρ, "air").[5] So begins the section on Hera in Walter Burkert's Greek Religion.[6] In a note, he records other scholars' arguments "for the meaning Mistress as a feminine to Heros, Master", with uncertain origin. 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."[7] A. J. van Windekens,[8] offers "young cow, heifer", which is consonant with Hera's common epithet βοῶπις (boōpis, "cow-eyed"). R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin.[9] 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,[10] as well as in the Cypriotic dialect in the dative e-ra-i.[11]

The PIE... could be originally either (a) 'the female who is attached/coupled' or (b) 'the female who attaches herself'... both socially and physically or emotionally."[12]

Many theophoric names such as Heracles, Heraclitus, Herodotus, Herodicus, , derive from Hera.[13]



Hera bore several epithets in the mythological tradition and in literature. In the historical times the majority of the Greeks recognized Hera as the consort of Zeus.[14] Hera is the protector of marriage and of the rights of the married women.[15] In some cults she has some functions of the earth goddess. She is occasionally related to warfare as tutelary goddess.

Goddess of marriage and bride

  • Γαμήλιος (Gamēlios), 'preciding over marriage'. A sacrifice to Hera ensured a happy married life.[16]
  • Γαμηστόλος (Gamēstόlos), 'leading the troop of marriage'.[15]
  • Νυμφευομένη (Nymphevomenē), 'led as a bride' at Plataea, in relation to her festival Daedala.[17][18]
  • Νυμφη (Nymphē), 'bride'.[15]
  • Παρθένος (Parthénos) 'Virgin'[15]
  • Παρθενία (Parthenia),[19]
  • Παῖς (Pais) 'Child' (in her role as virgin) at Stymphalus.[20][15]
  • Συζύγιος (Syzygios) 'patroness of marriage' [21][15]
  • Τελεία (Teleia) 'bringing the fulfillement of marriage'.[20][18]
  • Ζυγία (Zygia), 'yoke of marriage'. Her husband Zeus had also the epithet Zygius (Ζυγίος).[22]
  • Χήρα (Chḗrα) 'Widowed' at Stymphalus.[20]

Consort of Zeus

  • Ανασσα , ( Anassa) ,' Queen' .[18]
  • Ἀμμωνία (Ammonìa), at Elis related to Zeus-Ammon[23]
  • Βασίλεια (Basíleia) 'Queen' at Ialysus in Rhodes [19]
  • Βασιλίς (Basilis) 'Queen' at Libadia and Argos.[16]
  • Διώνη (Diōnē) as the consort of Zeus at Dodona.[18]
  • Ηνιόχη (Hēniochē), at Libadia . She was worshipped together with "Zeus-Basileus".[16]
  • Ολυμπία (Olympia) ,with an altar near the altar of Olympian Zeus.[24]
  • Σκηπτούχος (Skēptouchos),'bearing a sceptre' (Queen).[18]

Founder and protector

  • Αρχηγέτις (Archēgetis), 'founder', leader of the settlement at Samos.[16]
  • Ἀκραῖα (Akraìa) '(She) of the Heights (Akropolis)'[25][26]
  • Βουναία (Bounaia) '(She) of the Mound' (in Corinth[27][28])

As an earth and fertility goddess

  • Ἄνθεια (Antheia), meaning flowery at Argos and Miletos.[29][30]
  • Βοῶπις (Boṓpis) 'Cow-Eyed'.[19] probably a form of the earth-goddess.
  • Γή (Ge), 'Earth' by Plutarch in a passage of Eusebius.[18]
  • Ευεργεσία (Euergesia), 'doing a good service' [24][31]
  • Ζευξιδία (Ζeuxidia),'yoking the oxen' at Argos.[18]
  • Πάμφοιτος (Pamfοιtos) 'repeatedly coming'. (Pamfoitos Anassa) [18]
  • Φερέσβιος (Pheresbios) 'life giving'. by Empedocles (Plutarch) .[18]
  • Ωρόλυτος (Hōrolytos) at Samos as the controller of the seasons and times of the year (Horae) [16]

As goddess of the hymns

  • Εὑκέλαδος (Εukelados), 'well sounding, melodious'.[18]
  • Προσυμναία (Prosymnaia), 'goddess of the hymn' at Argos.[16]

Place of worship


Warlike character

  • Ἀλέξανδρος (Alexandros) 'Protector of Men' (among the Sicyonians). Her cult was founded by Adrastus.[16]
  • Οπλοσμία (Oplosmia) 'bearing arms or shield' at Elis[16]
  • Προδρομία (Prodromia), 'running forward' at Sikyon.[16]
  • Τροπαία (Tropaia), 'giver of victory' [24]

Local cults

  • Αἰγοφάγος (Aigophágos) 'Goat-Eater' among the Lacedaemonians[34][18]
  • Εἰλείθυια (Eileithyia) at Argos and Athens as goddess of childbirth.[35] In Theogony Εileithyia is the daughter of Hera.
  • Ἐλεία (Eleía) 'of the marsh' at Cyprus.[19]
  • Θελξινία (Thelxinìa) at Athens.[36][35]
  • Θεομήτωρ (Theomētōr) 'mother of a god' at Samos.[37]
  • Ἱππία (Hippia), 'of the horse' at Olympia.[24][38]
  • Λακίνια (Lacinia) at Croton.[39][19]
  • Λευκώλενος (Leukōlenos) 'White-Armed'[40]
  • Μειλίχιος (Meilichios), 'gentle', like "Zeus-Meilichios" at Selinus.[41][42]
  • Μηλιχία (Μēlichia) 'gentle, with gentle words' at Hierapetna.[41]
  • Τελχινία (Telchinia): Diodorus Siculus write that she was worshipped by the Ialysians and the Cameirans (both were on the island of Rhodes). She was named thus because according to a legend, Telchines (Τελχῖνες) were the first inhabitants of the island and also the first who created statues of gods.[43]
  • Ὑπερχειρία (Ηypercheiria), 'with the hand above' at Sparta.[44][19]



In historical times, the majority of the Greeks recognized Hera as the consort of Zeus.[14] Zeus was the protector of rights and mores, and his partner Hera became the protector of legal marriage and the rights of married women .[15] Hera emerged from a form of the "Mycenean goddess of the palace" and became the spouse of Zeus.[45][1] Modern scholars suggest that Hera is not only the Olympian sky-goddess, but in some cults she may be identified with the earth-goddess.[46][47] Her ancient connection with her sacred animal, the cow, still existed in historical times. She is probably related to Near-Eastern forms of cow-goddesses such as Hathor or Bat.[45] The Greek earth-goddess Gaia is occasionally identified with Hera.[48] Gaia may be related to the Vedic earth-goddess Prithvi, who was also associated with the cow.[49]

Mycenean Greece


An inscription in Linear B on a tablet found at Pylos mentions offerings "to Zeus-Hera-Drimios".(Drimios is the son of Zeus) .[50] Hera was the tutelary goddess of Argos and it is possible that she had Mycenean origin.[1] Martin P. Nilsson suggested that Hera is mainly the "Argeiē" (Ἀργείη), a name given by Homer[51] which describes her not as Greek, but as an Argive goddess. She is the protectress of the citadel.[52] In literature Argos is called "dōma Hēras" (the house of Hera) [53] and the Argives are called her people by Pindar.[16] Homer in Iliad uses the formula "boōpis potnia Hērē)" (cow-eyed, mistress Hera), which probably relates her to a form of the Mediterranean goddess of nature.[54][45] The epithet Qo-wi-ja ( boōpis) appears in a Linear B inscription.[55] Walter Burkert notices that it is difficult to confirm that the epithet "bowpis" corresponds to a Greek belief.[56] However it is possible that Hera was conceived as a cow in her archaic cults.[45][47]

Consort of Zeus


Hera exists as a spouse of Zeus and their "sacred marriage" was celebrated in many Greek festivals in a processional ceremony from ancient times.[1] The myth of the premarital approach of Hera by Zeus is early mentioned by Homer .[57] It is possible that the myth has its origins to an old custom of the European country population, the premarital intercourse of the engaged couple.[58] According to Walter Burkert the "Mediterranean goddess of nature" becomes the bride of the Greek sky-god.[59] He notices that "the disappearance and retrieval of Hera has parallels with other fertility cults" .[60][61] Hera was originally a goddess of fertility in her fest "Toneia" at Samos and at Knossos in Crete. At Samos the image of Hera was hidden bounted in willows and the participants tried to discover it.[62][63] At Knossos Zeus is mating with the earth goddess (finally named Hera) in a very ancient ritual.[1] In her festival Daedala at Plataia there is an account of Hera's quarrel with Zeus and their reconciliation.[64][17]

Near-Eastern origin


In Crete the bull was associated with religious practices. In the legend of the Minotaur the Queen of Knossos is hidden inside an artificial hollow cow and she is mating with a bull-form god in a sacred ceremony. The hieros gamos indicates a ritual of fertility magic, which was probably introduced from Near East in the Aegean region.[65] The "hieros gamos" of Zeus with the earth goddess (finally named Hera) was celebrated at Knossos in Crete.[1][65] In Near East the solar-deity and the moon-goddess are oftenly represented as a bull and a cow [65] and Roscher proposed that Hera was a moon-goddess.[66] The combination feminine divinity-cow-moon is not unusual in Crete and Near East.[65] The relationship of Hera with the cow still existed in the historical times and this propably relates her to Near-Eastern forms of cow-goddesses like Hathor (or Bat).[45] The Egyptian sky-goddess Hathor is the consort of the sky-god Horus.

Indo-european origin


In the Vedic tradition the earth-goddess Prithvi is the consort of the sky-god Dyaus and she is associated with the cow. Prithvi may be identified with the Greek goddess Gaia.[49] Pherecydes of Syros in his cosmogony describes the mating of two divine principles: The marriage of Zas with Chthonie. Geoffrey Kirk notices that after the marriage "Cthonie" becomes Ge who probably takes charge of the protection of marriage. Hera is occasionally identified with "Ge".[48] In a fragment of Euripides the Aether of Zeus is the sky-god who is the father of men and gods, and the earth-goddess Ge is the mother of all life.[67] It seems that Io the priestess of Hera at Argos and consort of Zeus, was another form of Hera. In a Greek myth "Io" is tranformed into a cow .[68]


Hera on an antique fresco from Pompeii

The worship of Hera was sparse in Thessaly, Attica, Phocis and Achaea. In Boeotia she is related to the fest Daedala. The main center of her cult was North-Eastern Peloponnese, especially Argolis. ( Argos, Tiryns, Corinth, Sicyon, Epidaurus and Hermione). She was worshipped at the Arcadian cities Mantineia, Megalopolis, Stymphalus and at Sparta. The oldest temple at Olympia belonged to Hera. In the islands she was worshipped at Samos, Paros, Delos, Amorgos, Thera, Kos, Rhodes and Crete. The island Euboea was considered her holy place. A month was named after Hera at Delphi (Heraios), Olous, Laconia, Tinos (Heraiōn), Pergamos (Heraos).[69][70] Hera is the Olympia, Queen, Anassa , the Queen of heaven. The royal quality of her was preserved by the monuments of Greek art.[71]

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 of Samos, one of the largest of all Greek temples (altars were in front of the temples under the open sky). There were many temples built on this site, so the evidence is somewhat confusing, and archaeological dates are uncertain.

The temple created by the Rhoecus sculptors and architects was destroyed between 570 and 560 BCE. This was replaced by the Polycratean temple of 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 the sky.

Earlier sanctuaries, whose dedication to Hera is less certain, were of the Mycenaean type called "house sanctuaries".[72] 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, and Egypt, testimony to the reputation which this sanctuary of Hera enjoyed, and 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.[73]

The Temple of Hera at Agrigento, Magna Graecia.

Though the 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,[74][75] where the festivals in her honor called Heraia were celebrated. "The three cities I love best," the ox-eyed Queen of Heaven declares in the 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 temple of Hera.[76]

The Daedala fire festival on Cithaeron near Plataea, included an account of Hera's quarrel with Zeus and their reconciliation.[77]

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 Argolis, were the very earliest monumental Greek temples constructed, in the 8th century BCE.[46] At Argos the Dorian "Heraion" was built on the hill of Prosymna near Mycenean hero-tombs.[46] At Samos the cult activity near the altar begun in late Mycenean period and a big altar was built in the 9th century BC.[78]



According to Walter Burkert, both Hera and Demeter have many characteristic attributes of Pre-Greek Great Goddesses.[79]

In the same vein, British scholar Charles Francis Keary suggests that Hera had some sort of "Earth Goddess" worship in ancient times,[80][81][82] connected to her possible origin as a Pelasgian goddess (as mentioned by Herodotus).[83][82] In Greece the Mediterranean goddess of nature is the bride of the Greek sky-god . In her fest Daedala Hera is related to the nymph Plataia (consort of Zeus), an old forgotten form of the Greek earth-goddess.[59] Plataia may be related to Gaia who is occasionally identified with Hera.[48][84]

According to Homeric Hymn II to Delian Apollo, Hera detained Eileithyia to 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, delaying the birth of Heracles until her protégé, Eurystheus, had been born first.[85]

The Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo makes the monster Typhaon the offspring of archaic Hera in her ancient form, produced out of herself, like a monstrous version of Hephaestus, and whelped in a cave in Cilicia.[86] 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, 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."[87]



There has been considerable scholarship, reaching back to Johann Jakob Bachofen in the mid-nineteenth century,[88] 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.[89]

However, it remains a controversial claim that an ancient matriarchy or a cultural focus on a monotheistic Great Goddess existed among the ancient Greeks or elsewhere. The claim is generally rejected by modern scholars as insufficiently evidenced.[90] Walter Burkert notices that the ancient Kourotrophos figure is almost absent in Crete, and the nomination Mother Goddess was not the underlying principle in the Minoan religion.[91]



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.[92] At Plataea, there was a sculpture of Hera seated as a bride by Callimachus, as well as the matronly standing Hera.[93]

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').[94] In the region around Argos, the temple of Hera in Hermione near Argos was to Hera the Virgin.[95] At the spring of Kanathos, close to Nauplia, Hera renewed her virginity annually, in rites that were not to be spoken of (arrheton).[96] In her fire-festival Daedala at Plataia the puppet of the goddess was bathed in the river Asopos before the wedding ceremony. In the festival "Toneia" at Samos the image of the goddess was purified, bounted in willows and then probably hanged on a tree.[97] Robert Graves interprets this as a representation of the new moon (Hebe), full moon (Hera), and old moon (Hecate), respectively personifying the Virgin (Spring), the Mother (Summer), and the destroying Crone (Autumn).[98][99]



The marriage of Zeus with Hera is the main theme in most Greek festivals celebrated in honour of the goddess. In the cults of Hera the dances and rites are performed by young married women. These choral dances reenacted early myth and ritual.[100] Burkert notices that "the disappearing and retrieval of Hera in some cults has parallels with other fertility cults".[60] The Greek aetiological myths (aitia) give a reasonable explanation of the ritual and replicate its structural form. This is accurate for "aitia" related to initiation rituals from youth to maturity.[101] Ancient accounts refer to the retirement of Hera after a quarell with Zeus. Hera's wrath may indicate the wrath and jealousy of the Greek wife.[102] Other accounts refer to cultic trees or pillars.[103] and rituals of the goddess of vegetation.[63] Some accounts are related to rituals of the bronze age before the splitting of the "Mistress of the animals" into separate goddesses.[104]

  • Argos. During Hera's famous fest "Hecatombaia"(one hundred oxen) -or Argive "Heraia"-the priestess of Hera was carried on a chart drawn by white-heifers to the sanctuary. The festival included an armed procession of male citizens and the prize of the contest was a bronze shield.[105] The Argive festival was a new year festival and the new male citizens introduced themselves in the community. It is not verified that the festival was originally a wedding processional ceremony.[106] At Argos Hera controlled the seasonal goddesses Horae.[16][46] Near the Heraion of Argos there was the stream "Eleutherion" (water of freedom). The priestess of Hera used it for purifications and the sacrifices were kept secret (aporrheta) [107]
  • Plataia in Boeotia. The festival Daedala of Hera was a fire festival. The citizens of Plataia maintained from prehistoric times the processional wedding ceremony. A puppet named Hera was married with Zeus. The puppet was washed in the river Asopos and it was carried on a cow-drawn chart to the top of Kithairon. There the puppet was burned together with other idols. Pausanias in the aetiological myth mentions the retirement of Hera after a quarrel with Zeus and their reconciliation.[77] The nymph Plataia, consort of Zeus is an old form of the Greek earth-goddess and she may be related to Gaia.[84]
  • Samos.The name of the island was "Parthenia" in the Carian period.[105] In the Samian festival "Toneia", Hera was originally a goddess of fertility. The festival included initiation rites of girls and probably boys from youth to maturity.[104] At the beginning of the festival a xoanon of Hera was carried on a plank to the sea and then back to the coast. This custom reminds the cult of the Hittite-Hurrian god of fertility Telepinu.[61] In the aetiological myth of Menedotus the image of Hera was bathed, bounted in willows and finally hidden (or hanged). The participants tried to find it.[105][63] Zeus was absent, and the processional wedding ceremony was introduced later.[62]
  • Corinth. Hera-Acraea was the protectress of the castle. The Corinthian "Heraia" was a mourning festival. Hera is related to Medea (the wife of Jason) a foreign goddess who was introduced in Greece. In the myth of the Argonauts Hera is the protectress of Jason. The scholiast of Euripides suggests that the cult of Acraea is related to the cult of Adonis. Every year seven boys and seven girls with shorn hair and wearing black garments were dedicated to the goddess. Annual sacrifices were performed for the killed children of Medea .[108]
  • Stymphalus in Arcadia. Hera was worshipped as goddess of marriage. Three festivals celebrated the three phases of Hera as "pais" (virgin), "teleia" (fulfilled) and "chera" (widowed). "Pais" may symbolize the arrival of the goddess in spring and "chera" her departure in winter. In the aetiological myth of Pausanias Hera retired after a quarell with Zeus and then she came back. During her retirement people considered that she was divorced and she was worshipped as "chera".[92]
  • Euboea. The island was the holy place of Hera and the goddess was worshipped near Elymnion or on the mountain Dirfi. Coins from Eretria verify that the citizens imitated the wedding of Zeus with Hera.[109]
  • Athens. The "sacred marriage" of Zeus with Hera was celebrated in Athens during the month "Gamelion" (late winter).[105]
  • Hermione in Argolis. Hera was worshipped as "parthenos" (virgin). In a Greek myth Zeus was transformed into a cuckoo to seduce Hera. There were two temples, one of Zeus on the mountain-Cuckoo and one of Hera on the mountain Pron.[105]
  • Olympia. In the festival Heraia young girls competed in a footrace. The race was held every four years and only virgin women were allowed to attend the games. The prize was an olive wreath.[110] Traditionally the custom was established by Hipodameia and choral dances were performed in honour of her. A marriage-ceremony was probably part of the festival.[111] The choral dances and the dressing of "parthenoi" indicate that the festival was an initiation ritual from youth to maturity.[112] The relation of Hera with "parthenoi" (virgins) seems to connect her with the goddess of vegetation.[104][101]
  • Aegina'. Traditionally the festival was introduced from Argos. The image of Hera was carried on a chart drawn by white heifers. The festival included games and sacrifices. There was a contest between young boys for killing a female goat with their spears and they got her as a prize. In the aetiological myth Hera retired to the woods after a quarell with Zeus and her place was discovered by a female goat. Then she was obliged to return.[111]
  • Nauplia in Argolis. Like the bride who took her bride-bath, Hera bathed every year in the spring Kanathos and recovered annually her virginity. This is one of the holy secrets (aporrheta) at the mysteries which they celebrated in honour of Hera.[96]
  • Knossos in Crete. The "hieros gamos" of Zeus with the earth goddess (finally named Hera) was celebrated near the river Theren. The ritual continued unchanged from very ancient times.[1] The original name of the Minoan goddess could be Britomartis, Diktynna or "Hellopis".[65] On a Minoan depiction the goddess seems to arrive on a chariot during spring and she disappears in winter.[62]


Jupiter and Juno on Mount Ida by James Barry, 1773 (City Art Galleries, Sheffield)

In 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 Hera and Juno.[113] A bird that had been associated with Hera on an archaic level, when 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, Hera bears some resemblance to the Ancient Egyptian deity Hathor, a maternal goddess associated with cattle. Hera absorbed the cult of her heifer-priestess Io and may be related to the Vedic earth-goddess Prithvi.[47]

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." At Argos in a Greek myth the priestess of Hera Phoronis ties her mistress to an aniconic pillar. At Samos Hera's plank was tied on a willow tree to ensure fertility.[6]

Temples of Hera

Plan of the Temple of Hera (Olympia):Heraion
First temple of Hera, Paestum (Basilica)
  • Perachora, Corinth. One from the earliest Greek temples was the temple dedicated to Hera Akraia at Perachora, built in the 9th century BC. The dimensions of the plan were 5,50x8,00m. A teracotta house-temple model indicates that it was an upsidal building with one room. The walls were made fom small stones and dried bricks. Τhere were two pairs of (probably wooden) columns, and the high-peaked roof was covered with straws.[114]
  • Olympia. The Heraion was built in late 7th century BC (620 BC) . It was a Doric style peripteral temple measured 18,75x50,01m at the stylobate. The number of the originally wooden pteron columns was 6x16 (hexastyle). Τhe wooden columns were later replaced with columns from limestone. The temple had pronaos, cella, and the oldest known opisthodomos. The porches were distyle in antis. A colossal head of a woman, is probably a part of a statue dedicated to Hera. It was made from limestone.[115][116]
  • Corfu. The Archaic temple of Hera was built in 610BC. Large terracotta figures such as lions and gorgoneions decorated the roof of the temple. The temple was completely destroyed by fire in the 5th century BC.[117]
  • Samos. The older Heraion was built in 560 BC. It was a dipteral temple with Ionic order features. It measured 50,50x103,00 m at the stylobate and the number of pteron columns was 10x21. The temple formed a unit with the monumental altar of Hera to the east, which shared its alignment and axis. It was constructed partly of limestone and partly of marble. Herodotus calls Rhoecus of Samos its first architect. It was the first of the massive Ionic temples.[118]
Heraion of Samos. A reconstruction of the "Polycrates temple" (front view)
  • Samos. The new Heraion was built in 525 BC and it is called the "Polycrates temple". The temple measured 54,58x111,50m at the stylobate. It was dipteral on the flanks and tripteral at the ends. The outer row had 8x24 columns except that at the back there were nine columns. The forms of the capitals resembled the ones at Ephesus, but the volutes were wider.[119]
  • Selinus. The Doric temple E (temble of Hera) was built in 490 BC. It measured 25.32x67.82m at the stylobate and the number of pteron columns was 6x15. The porches were distyle in antis[120]
Selinunte-TempleE- Temple of Hera
  • Paestum. The first temple of Hera ,the so-called "Basilica", was built in the early 6th century BC. It was an extraordinary building with a central row of inner columns. The Doric style temple measured 24,52x54,30m at the stylobate, and the number of pteron columns was 9x18. There were three columns in antis in its porch.[121]
  • Paestum. A Doric temple dedicated to Hera (the so called temple of Poseidon) was built in the first half of the 5th century BC and is usually placed later than Parthenon. The temple measured 24,3X60,00 m at the stylobate. It was an hexastyle structure and the number of pteron columns was 6X14.[122] The temple was also used to worship Zeus and another deity, whose identity is unknown.
Agrigento-TempleD-of Hera
  • Agrigento. The temple of Hera (Juno Lacinia)was a Doric style peripteral building, built in 450 BC. It measured 16,90X38,15m at the stylobate and the cella measured 9.45x28,00m. The number of pteron columns was 6X13.[123]
  • Argos. The predecessor of the Heraion was built in late 7th century BC and has left little traces. The long stoa of the Heraion is dated from the late 7th to 6th century B.C.E.[124]
  • Argos. The new Heraion was built in c.410BC after the burning of its predecessor in 423BC. It measured 17,40x38,00m at the stylobate and the dimensions of the cella were c.10,00x c.27,00m. The number of pteron columns cannot be specified.[125]




Hera (according to inscription); tondo of an Attic white-ground kylix from Vulci, ca. 470 BCE

Hera is the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea, and the sibling of Hestia, Demeter, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus.[126] 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, Poseidon and Hades.[127]

Other traditions, however, appear to give Hera different upbringings. Pausanias states that she was nursed as an infant by the three daughters of the river Asterion: Euboia, Prosymna, and Akraia.[128] Furthermore, in the Iliad, Hera states she was given by her mother to Tethys to be raised: "I go now to the ends of the generous earth on a visit to the Ocean, whence the gods have risen, and Tethys our mother who brought me up kindly in their own house, and cared for me and took me from Rheia, at that time when Zeus of the wide brows drove Kronos underneath the earth and the barren water."[129]

Marriage with Zeus

Marble statue of Hera, 2nd century, Cyprus Museum, Nicosia.

Hera is the goddess of marriage and childbirth rather than motherhood, and much of her mythology revolves around her marriage with her brother Zeus. She is charmed by him and she seduces him; he cheats on her and has many children with other goddesses and mortal women; she is intensely jealous and vindictive towards his children and their mothers; he is threatening and violent to her.[60]

In the Iliad, Zeus implies their marriage was some sort of elopement, as they lay secretly from their parents.[130] Pausanias records a tale of how they came to be married in which Zeus transformed into a cuckoo to woo Hera. She caught the bird and kept it as her pet; this is why the cuckoo is seated on her sceptre.[131] According to a scholion on Theocritus' Idylls, when Hera was heading toward Mount Thornax alone, Zeus created a terrible storm and transformed himself into a cuckoo who flew down and sat on her lap. Hera covered him with her cloak. Zeus then transformed back and took hold of her; because she was refusing to sleep with him due to their mother, he promised to marry her.[132]

In one account Hera refused to marry Zeus and hid in a cave to avoid him; an earthborn man named Achilles convinced her to give him a chance, and thus the two had their first sexual intercourse.[133] According to a version attributed to Plutarch, Hera had been reared by a nymph named Macris on the island of Euboea, but Zeus stole her away, where Mt. Cithaeron "afforded them a shady recess." When Macris came to look for her ward, the mountain-god Cithaeron drove her away, saying that Zeus was taking his pleasure there with Leto.[134]

God council in Olympus: Zeus and Hera throning, Iris serving them. Detail of the side A of an Attic red-figure belly-amphora, ca. 500 BC.Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich

According to Callimachus, their wedding feast lasted three hundred years.[135] The Apples of the Hesperides that Heracles was tasked by Eurystheus to take were a wedding gift by Gaia to the couple.[136]

After a quarrel with Zeus, Hera left him and retreated to Euboea, and no word from Zeus managed to sway her mind. Cithaeron, the local king, then advised Zeus to take a wooden statue of a woman, wrap it up, and pretend to marry it. Zeus did as told, claiming "she" was Plataea, Asopus's daughter. Hera, once she heard the news, disrupted the wedding ceremony and tore away the dress from the figure only to discover it was but a lifeless statue, and not a rival in love. The queen and her king were reconciled, and to commemorate this the people there celebrated a festival called Daedala.[17] During the festival, a re-enactment of the myth was celebrated, where a wooden statue of Hera was chosen, bathed in the river Asopus and then raised on a chariot to lead the procession like a bride, and then ritually burned.[137]

According to Diodorus Siculus, Alcmene, the mother of Heracles, was the very last mortal woman Zeus ever slept with; following the birth of Heracles, he ceased to beget humans altogether.[138]


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 Heracles means "Glory of Hera". 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 fulfillment of Zeus's oath in that it was Eurystheus rather than Heracles.[85] In Pausanias' recounting, 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 that Alcmene had delivered her child; having been deceived, the witches went away, allowing Alcmene to give birth.[139]

Hera's wrath against Zeus's son continued and while Heracles was still an infant, Hera sent two serpents to kill him as he lay in his cot. Heracles throttled the snakes with his bare hands and was found by his nurse playing with their limp bodies as if they were a child's toys.[140]

The Origin of the Milky Way by Jacopo Tintoretto, 1575

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.[141] Her milk also created a white flower, the lily.[142] Unlike any Greeks, the Etruscans instead pictured a full-grown bearded Heracles at Hera's breast, a reference to his adoption by her when he became an Immortal: he had previously wounded her severely in the breast.

When Heracles reached adulthood, Hera drove him mad, which led him to murder his family and this later led to him undertaking his famous labours. Hera assigned Heracles to labour for King Eurystheus at Mycenae. She attempted to make almost all of Heracles's 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 Hera stirred up the 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. Afterwards, Hera sent a gadfly to bite the cattle, irritate them and scatter them. 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 Hera.

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 Marathonian Bull.

Some myths state that in the end, Heracles befriended 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 of Heracles as "Hera's man", it was thought suitable for the builders of the Heraion at Paestum to depict the exploits of Heracles in bas-relief.[143]

Leto and the Twins: Apollo and Artemis


When 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.[144] Poseidon gave pity to Leto and guided her to the floating island of Delos, which was neither mainland nor a real island where Leto was able to give birth to her children.[145] Afterwards, Zeus secured Delos to the bottom of the ocean.[146] 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.[147]

Either way, Artemis was born first and then assisted with the birth of Apollo.[148] Some versions say Artemis helped her mother give birth to Apollo for nine days.[147] Another variation states that Artemis was born one day before Apollo, on the island of Ortygia and that she helped Leto cross the sea to Delos the next day to give birth to Apollo.

Later, Tityos attempted to rape Leto at the behest of Hera. He was slain by Artemis and Apollo.

This account of the birth of Apollo and Artemis is contradicted by Hesiod in Theogony, as the twins are born prior to Zeus's marriage to Hera.[149]

Io and Argus

Io with Zeus by Giovanni Ambrogio Figino, 1599

The myth of Io has many forms and embellishments. Generally, Io was a priestess of Hera at the Heraion of Argos. Zeus lusted after her and either Hera turned Io into a heifer to hide her from Zeus, or Zeus did so to hide her from Hera but was discovered. Hera had Io tethered to an olive-tree and set Argus Panoptes (lit.'all-seeing') to watch over her, but Zeus sent Hermes to kill him.[150] Infuriated, Hera then sent a gadfly (Greek oistros, compare oestrus) to pursue and constantly sting Io, who fled into Asia and eventually reached Egypt. There Zeus restored her to human form and she gave birth to his son Epaphus.[150]

Judgment of Paris

Judgement of Paris.Side B from an Attic black-figure neck amphora, 540-530BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art

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.[151] Possibly for this reason,[152] Thetis was betrothed to an elderly human king, Peleus son of Aeacus, either upon Zeus's orders,[153] or because she wished to please Hera, who had raised her.[154] All the gods and goddesses as well as various mortals were invited to the marriage of Peleus and Thetis (the eventual parents of Achilles) and brought many gifts.[155] Only Eris, goddess of discord, was not invited and was stopped at the door by Hermes, on Zeus's order. She was annoyed at this, so she threw from the door a gift of her own:[156] a golden apple inscribed with the word καλλίστῃ (kallistēi, "To the fairest").[157] Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena all claimed to be the fairest, and thus the rightful owner of the apple.

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

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 where 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 Athena offered 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.

The Iliad

English: Hermes, Athena, Zeus (seated), Hera and Ares (all named). Side A of an Attic black-figure neck-amphora, end of 6th century BC. BnF Museum, Paris

Hera plays a substantial role in The Iliad, appearing in several books throughout the epic poem. She hates the Trojans because of Paris's decision that Aphrodite was the most beautiful goddess, and so supports the Greeks during the war. Throughout the epic, Hera makes many attempts to thwart the Trojan army. In books 1 and 2, Hera declares that the Trojans must be destroyed. Hera persuades Athena to aid the Achaeans in battle and she agrees to assist with interfering on their behalf.[158]

In book 5, Hera and 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's mother, saw Ares's interference and asked Zeus, Ares's father, for permission to drive Ares away from the battlefield. Hera encouraged Diomedes to attack Ares and he threw his spear at the god. Athena drove the spear into Ares's body, and he bellowed in pain and fled to Mount Olympus, forcing the Trojans to fall back.[158]

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, Hera and Athena head to the battlefield. However, seeing the two flee, Zeus sent Iris to intercept them and make them return to Mount Olympus or face grave consequences. After prolonged fighting, Hera sees Poseidon aiding the Greeks and giving them the 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.[159]

In book 21, Hera continues her interference with the battle as she tells 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. After Apollo declines to battle Poseidon, Artemis eagerly engages Hera for a duel. Hera however treats the challenge as unimportant, easily disarming the haughty rival goddess and beating her with her own weapons. Artemis is left retreating back to Mount Olympus in tears to cry at Zeus's lap.[158]

Minor stories

Hera and Prometheus, tondo of a 5th-century BCE cup from Vulci, Etruria

Semele and Dionysus


When 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 Styx,[160] his thunder and lightning destroyed Semele. Zeus took Semele's unborn child, 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 Demeter.[161] 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 Zeus gave Semele the heart to eat to impregnate her. Hera tricked 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.



Lamia was a lovely queen of Libya, whom Zeus loved; Hera in jealousy robbed Lamia of their children, either by kidnapping and hiding them away, killing them, or causing Lamia herself to kill her own offspring.[162][163] Lamia became disfigured from the torment, transforming into a terrifying being who hunted and killed the children of others.[164]



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 folk.[165]


Hera in the pediment of the Academy of Athens.

Cydippe, a priestess of Hera, was on her way to a festival in the goddess's 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 her and Hera, and so asked Hera to give her children the best gift a god could give a person. Hera ordained that the brothers would die in their sleep.

This honor bestowed upon the children was later used by Solon as proof when trying to convince Croesus that it is impossible to judge a person's happiness until they have died a fruitful death after a joyous life.[166]



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.[167]

As a result of his experiences, Zeus and Hera asked him to settle the question of which sex, male or female, experienced more pleasure during intercourse. Zeus claimed it was women; Hera claimed it was men. When Tiresias sided with Zeus, Hera struck him blind.[168] Since 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 a prophecy instead.



At the marriage of Zeus and Hera, a nymph named Chelone was disrespectful or refused to attend the wedding. Zeus thus turned her into a tortoise.

The Golden Fleece


Hera hated 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.



When Zeus had pity on Ixion and brought him to Olympus and introduced him to the gods, instead of being grateful, Ixion grew lustful for Hera. Zeus found out about his intentions and made a cloud in the shape of Hera, who was later named Nephele, and tricked Ixion into coupling with it. From their union came Centaurus. So Ixion was expelled from Olympus and Zeus ordered Hermes to bind Ixion to a winged fiery wheel that was always spinning. Therefore, Ixion was bound to a burning solar wheel for all eternity, first spinning across the heavens, but in later myth transferred to Tartarus.[169]


Name Father Functions Explanation
Angelos Zeus 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 Europa. To escape her mother's wrath, she tried to hide. Hera eventually ceased prosecuting her, and Zeus ordered the 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 the epithet katachthonia ("she of the underworld").[170]
Ares Zeus God of war According to Hesiod's Theogony, he was a son of Zeus and Hera.[171]
Arge Zeus A nymph A nymph daughter of Zeus and Hera.[172]
Charites Not named Goddesses of grace and beauty Though usually considered as the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, or Dionysus and Coronis according to Nonnus,[173] the poet Colluthus makes them the daughters of Hera, without naming a father.[174]
Eileithyia Zeus Goddess of childbirth In Theogony and other sources, she is described as a daughter of Hera by Zeus.[171] Although, the meticulously accurate mythographer Pindar in Seventh Nemean Ode mentions Hera as Eileithyia's mother but makes no mention of Zeus.
Eleutheria Zeus Personification of liberty Eleutheria is the Greek counterpart of Libertas (Liberty), daughter of Jupiter (Zeus) and Juno (Hera) as cited in Hyginus, Fabulae Preface.
Enyo Zeus A war goddess She was responsible for the destruction of cities and an attendant of Ares, though Homer equates Enyo with Eris.
Eris Zeus Goddess of discord She appears in Homer's Iliad Book IV, equated with Enyo as the sister of Ares and so presumably the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Alternatively, Hesiod refers to Eris as the daughter of Nyx in both Works and Days and Theogony.
Hebe Zeus Goddess of youth She was a daughter of Zeus and Hera.[175] In a rare alternative version, Hera alone produced Hebe after being impregnated by eating lettuce.[168]
Hephaestus Zeus God of fire and the forge Attested by the Greek poet Hesiod, Hera was jealous of Zeus's giving birth to Athena with Metis, so she gave birth to Hephaestus without union with Zeus[176] (though Homer has Hephaestus refer to "father Zeus"[177]). Hera was then disgusted with Hephaestus's ugliness and threw him from Mount Olympus.[178] In a version of the myth,[179][180] Hephaestus gained revenge against Hera for rejecting him by making her a magical throne that did not allow her to leave once she sat on it.[178] The other gods begged Hephaestus to return to Olympus to let her go, but he repeatedly refused.[180] Dionysus got him drunk and took him back to Olympus on the back of a mule.[181] Hephaestus released Hera after being given Aphrodite as his wife.[182]
Pasithea Dionysus (?) One of the Graces Although in other works Pasithea doesn't seem to be born to Hera, Nonnus made the Grace Hera's daughter.[183] Elsewhere in the book, Pasithea's father is said to be Dionysus,[184] but it's unclear whether those two together are meant to be Pasithea's parents.[note 1]
Prometheus Eurymedon God of forethought Although usually Prometheus is said to be the son of Iapetus by his wife Clymene[189] or Asia,[190] Hellenistic poet Euphorion made Prometheus the son of Hera by the giant Eurymedon, who raped the young goddess while she was still living with her parents.[191][192]
Typhon Serpent-monster Typhon is presented both as the son of Hera (in Homeric Pythian Hymn to Apollo) and as the son of Gaia (in Hesiod's Theogony).[193] According to the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (6th century BCE), Typhon was the parthenogenous child of Hera, whom she bore alone as a revenge at 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 pregnant.[194] Hera gave the infant Typhon to the serpent Python to raise, and Typhon grew up to become a great bane to mortals.[195] The b scholia to Iliad 2.783, however, has Typhon born in Cilicia as the offspring of Cronus. Gaia, angry at the destruction of the Giants, slanders Zeus to Hera. So Hera goes to Cronus and he gives her two 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 Typhon is born, Hera, now reconciled with Zeus, informs him.[196]


Hera's family tree [197]
Uranus' genitalsCronusRhea
    a [198]
    a [201]     b[202]

Art and events


See also


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  1. ^ Throughout the epic, Nonnus gives conflicting parentages of various characters: for example Helios's daughter Astris's mother in book 17[185] seems to be Clymene while it's Ceto in Book 26,[186] and Lelantos's daughter Aura's mother is Cybele in Book 1,[187] but Periboea in Book 48.[188] Moreover, Pasithea is described as one of the Graces, and elsewhere in the poem the Graces' parents are given as Dionysus and Coronis.[173]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Elderkin(1937), "The marriage of Zeus with Hera"
  2. ^ Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopedia, The Book People, Haydock, 1995, p. 215.
  3. ^ LSJ s.v. ἐρατός.
  4. ^ Plato, Cratylus, 404c
  5. ^ On Isis and Osiris, 32
  6. ^ a b "Greek religion", pp. 131–132
  7. ^ Chadwick, The Mycenaean World (Cambridge University Press). 1976:87.
  8. ^ Windekens, in Glotta 36 (1958), pp. 309–11.
  9. ^ R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p. 524.
  10. ^ "The Linear B word e-ra". Palaeolexicon. Word study tool of Ancient languages. Raymoure, K.A. "e-ra". Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B. Deaditerranean. Archived from the original on 2016-03-22. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
  11. ^ Blažek, Václav. "Artemis and her family". In: Graeco-Latina Brunensia vol. 21, iss. 2 (2016). p. 47. ISSN 2336-4424
  12. ^ Willi, Andreas (1 December 2010). "Hera, Eros, Iuno Sororia". Indogermanische Forschungen. 115 (2010): 234–267. doi:10.1515/9783110222814.1.234. S2CID 170712165.
  13. ^ Van der Toorn, Karel; Becking, Bob; van der Horst, Pieter Willem (1999), Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (second ed.), Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, ISBN 0-8028-2491-9: [1] p.401-402
  14. ^ a b Farnell Cults I, p.195
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nilsson, "Geschichte", Vol i, p.428-429
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Farnell Cults I, 194-197
  17. ^ a b c Pausanias, Description of Greece:9.2.7-9.3.2
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Farnell Cults I, 241-243
  19. ^ a b c d e f Farnell Cults I, 249-254
  20. ^ a b c Pausanias 8.22.2
  21. ^ συζύγιος
  22. ^ A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, Zygia and Zygius
  23. ^ Pausanias 5.15.1
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h Farnell Cults I, 246-252
  25. ^ James Joseph Clauss, Sarah Iles Johnston. Medea: Essays on Medea in myth, literature, philosophy, and art, 1997. p.46
  26. ^ Pausanias 2.24.1
  27. ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon βουναία
  28. ^ Heinrich Schliemann. Ilios: The city and country of the Trojans, 1881.
  29. ^ Suda, alpha, 2504
  30. ^ Pausanias 2.22.1
  31. ^ Ευεργεσία
  32. ^ H.G.Payne, Perachora 1940: Nilsson, Vol I, p.428A1
  33. ^ A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, Pelasga
  34. ^ Pausanias 3.15.7
  35. ^ a b Farnell Cults I, p.247
  36. ^ Hesch. "Thelxinia Hera is honoured by the Athenians"
  37. ^ Θεομήτωρ
  38. ^ Pausanias 5.15.5
  39. ^ Pausanias 6.13.1
  40. ^ λευκωλενος
  41. ^ a b Nilsson, Vol I, p.412
  42. ^ μειλίχιος
  43. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Library, 5.55.1
  44. ^ Pausanias 3.13.8
  45. ^ a b c d e Dietrich (1975), "The origins of Greek religion", p.178 p.178
  46. ^ a b c d O'Brien, Joan V. (1993). The Transformation of Hera: A Study of Ritual, Hero, and the Goddess in the Iliad. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 4–6. ISBN 978-0-8476-7808-2.
  47. ^ a b c West (2007),"Indoeuropean poetry and myth", p.184-185 :P.185
  48. ^ a b c Kirk, Raven,Schofield(1975), "The Presocratic Philosophers": p.57-58
  49. ^ a b Leaming,Fee ,:The Goddess. Myths of the Great mother":p.17-18
  50. ^ Burkert (1985), "Greek religion", p.43,45: id=sxurBtx6shoC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false p.43,45
  51. ^ Iliad 4.8
  52. ^ , "Geschichte", Vol I, pp. 350,428
  53. ^ Aeschylus :Suppliant Maedens, 297
  54. ^ O'Brian Joan(1993) "The transformation of Hera" p.49
  55. ^ Chadwick, John (1976). The Mycenaean World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-29037-1. p.95
  56. ^ Burkert (1985), "Greek religion": p. 64
  57. ^ Iliad 14.295
  58. ^ Farnell Cults I, p.185
  59. ^ a b Burkert (1985), "Greek religion" :p,17-18
  60. ^ a b c Burkert (1998), "Greek religion" , p.129-134
  61. ^ a b Burkert (1985), "Greek religion", p.52 p.52
  62. ^ a b c O'Brien Joan (1993), "The transformation of Hera" , p.53-57
  63. ^ a b c Bremmer, Jan N. (2008). Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East. BRILL. ISBN 978-9004164734. p.187
  64. ^ I Burkert (1985), "Greek religion",p.63
  65. ^ a b c d e Schachermeyer(1964) ,"Die Minoische Kultur des alten Kreta", p. 308-310
  66. ^ Roscher (1875), "Studien z.vergleichend Mythologie der Griechen und Romer II, Juno und Hera". p 40,387: Nilsson, ""Geschichte", Vol. I, p.432
  67. ^ Euripides,Chryssipos fr.839:Nilsson,"Geschichte" Vol I p.460
  68. ^ Farnell, Cults I, p.182
  69. ^ Nilsson, "Geschichte", Vol I, p. 427-428
  70. ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library :Ἡραίος
  71. ^ Farnell, Cults I, p.197-198
  72. ^ 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.
  73. ^ Burkert, p. 132, including quote; Burkert: Orientalizing Revolution.
  74. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.13.6
  75. ^ 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).
  76. ^ 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.
  77. ^ a b Burkert (1998),"Greek religion",p.63
  78. ^ Kyrieleis, H. (1993). "The Heraion at Samos".p.128
  79. ^ "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 Potnia Theron "Mistress of the Beasts", and Mistress of the Sacrifice, even Hera and Demeter."
  80. ^ Keary, Charles Francis. Outlines of primitive belief among the Indo-European races. New York: C. Scibner's Sons. 1882. p. 176.
  81. ^ Renehan, Robert. HERA AS EARTH-GODDESS: A NEW PIECE OF EVIDENCE. In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie Neue Folge, 117. Bd., H. 3/4 (1974), pp. 193-201. [2]
  82. ^ a b Harrison, Jane Ellen. Myths of Greece and Rome. 1928. pp. 12-14
  83. ^ Keary, Charles Francis. Outlines of primitive belief among the Indo-European races. New York: C. Scibner's Sons. 1882. p. 176 (footnote nr. ii).
  84. ^ a b West (2007) "Indoeuropean poetry and myth" 174-175
  85. ^ a b Homer, Iliad 19.95ff.
  86. ^ Iliad, ii. 781-783)
  87. ^ The Iliad by Homer - Project Gutenberg
  88. ^ 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 and other students of Greek myth.
  89. ^ Slater 1968.
  90. ^ See, for example, the following:
  91. ^ Burkert(1985), "Greek religion":p.41
  92. ^ a b Farnell, Cults I 191-193
  93. ^ 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.
  94. ^ Farnell, I 194, citing Pausanias 8.22.2 Archived 2015-11-06 at the Wayback Machine' Pindar refers to the "praises of Hera Parthenia [the Maidenly]" Olympian ode 6.88 Archived 2015-11-06 at the Wayback Machine
  95. ^ S. Casson: "Hera of Kanathos and the Ludovisi Throne" The Journal of Hellenic Studies 40.2 (1920), pp. 137-142, citing Stephanus of Byzantium sub Ernaion.
  96. ^ a b Pausanias, 2.38.2-3 Archived 2015-11-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  97. ^ O'Brian Joan (1993), "The transformation of Hera" , p.54-55
  98. ^ Robert Graves (1955), The Greek Myths.
  99. ^ Barbara G. Walker (1983), The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, p.392 ISBN 0-06-250925-X
  100. ^ Claude Calame(1977), "Choruses of Young women in Ancient Greece", 2.126-133
  101. ^ a b Claude Calame(2001), "Choruses of Young women in Ancient Greece" p.17-18.
  102. ^ Comp. the myth of Typhon: Nilsson, "Geschichte", Vol I p.432
  103. ^ O'Brian (1993), "The transformation of Hera":p.36
  104. ^ a b c O'Brian (1993), "The transformation of Hera":p.60-61
  105. ^ a b c d e Farnell Cults I, p.185-187
  106. ^ Nilsson, "Geschichte", Vol I, p.430.
  107. ^ Pausanias 2,17.1
  108. ^ Farnell Cults I, p. 201-202
  109. ^ Nilsson, "Geschichte", Vol I, p.430
  110. ^ Matthew Dillon (2002), Girls and women in Ancient Greek religion" p.131
  111. ^ a b Farnell, Cults I, p.188 -190
  112. ^ Serwint Nancy (1993), "Heraia and the prenuptial initiation"
  113. ^ Seznec, Jean, The Survival of the Pagan Gods: Mythological Tradition in Renaissance Humanism and Art, 1953
  114. ^ Spivey p.109
  115. ^ Robertson p. 62-63,324
  116. ^ Spivey, 135-139
  117. ^ Excavations of Mon Repo-University of Nebraska. Excavations at Mon Repo
  118. ^ Robertson p.95,331
  119. ^ Robertson p.95-97,332
  120. ^ Robertson,327
  121. ^ Roberson, p. 75,325
  122. ^ Robertson, pp. 136,327
  123. ^ Robertson 327
  124. ^ Baumbach 2004: 78
  125. ^ Robertson,328
  126. ^ Hansen, p. 67; Hesiod, Theogony 453–9.
  127. ^ "Cronus | Greek god". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  128. ^ Pausanias, 2.17.1.
  129. ^ Homer, Iliad 14. 200 ff, https://www.theoi.com/Titan/TitanisTethys.html#Creation
  130. ^ Homer, Iliad 14.295–299.
  131. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.17.4.
  132. ^ Scholia on Theocritus' Idylls 15.64.
  133. ^ Ptolemaeus Chennus, New History Book 6, as epitomized by Patriarch Photius in his Myriobiblon 190.47
  134. ^ Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelica 3.1.84a-b; Hard, p. 137.
  135. ^ Callimachus, Aetia fragment 48
  136. ^ Apollodorus, Library 2.5.11.
  137. ^ Murray 1842, p. 313.
  138. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4.14.4.
  139. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.11.3
  140. ^ Evslin, Bernard (2012-10-30). Gods, Demigods and Demons: An Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology. Open Road Media. ISBN 978-1-4532-6438-6.
  141. ^ Mandowsky, Erna (1938). "The Origin of the Milky Way in the National Gallery". The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs. 72 (419): 88–93. JSTOR 867195.
  142. ^ Anonymous (1806). Geoponika: Agricultural Pursuits. Vol. II. Translated by Thomas Owen. London. pp. 81-82.
  143. ^ Kerenyi, p 131
  144. ^ Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae 140).
  145. ^ Hammond. Oxford Classical Dictionary. 597-598.
  146. ^ Freese 1911, p. 184.
  147. ^ a b Rutherford, Ian (1988). "Pindar on the Birth of Apollo". The Classical Quarterly. 38 (1): 65–75. doi:10.1017/S000983880003127X. JSTOR 639206. S2CID 170272842.
  148. ^ 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, Metamorphoses vi.317-81 provides another late literary source.
  149. ^ Hesiod. Theogony. pp. Line 918.
  150. ^ a b Dowden, Ken (1996). "Io". In Hornblower & Spawforth (ed.). The Oxford Classical Dictionary (Third ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 762–763. ISBN 0-19-866172-X.
  151. ^ Scholiast on Homer's Iliad; Hyginus, Fabulae 54; Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.217.
  152. ^ Apollodorus, 3.168.
  153. ^ Pindar, Nemean 5 ep2; Pindar, Isthmian 8 str3–str5.
  154. ^ Hesiod, Catalogue of Women fr. 57; Cypria fr. 4.
  155. ^ Photius, Myrobiblion 190.
  156. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 92.
  157. ^ Apollodorus, E.3.2.
  158. ^ a b c Homer. The Iliad.
  159. ^ Homer. Iliad, Book 14, Lines 153-353.
  160. ^ Hamilton, Edith (1969). "Mythology".
  161. ^ Seyffert Dictionary
  162. ^ Johnston, Sarah Iles, ed. (2013). Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece. Univ of California Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-520-28018-2.
  163. ^ Ogden (2013b), p. 98: "Because of Hera ... she lost [or: destroyed] the children she bore".
  164. ^ Duris of Samos (d. 280 B. C.), Libyca, quoted by Ogden (2013b), p. 98
  165. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.89 - 91
  166. ^ Herodotus' History, Book I
  167. ^ Hygini, Fabulae, LXXV
  168. ^ a b Detienne, Marcel (2002-11-25). The Writing of Orpheus: Greek Myth in Cultural Context. JHU Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-6954-9.
  169. ^ Kerenyi 1951, p.160
  170. ^ Scholia on Theocritus, Idyll 2. 12 referring to Sophron
  171. ^ a b Theogony 921–922.
  172. ^ Murray, John (1833). A Classical Manual, being a Mythological, Historical and Geographical Commentary on Pope's Homer, and Dryden's Aeneid of Virgil with a Copious Index. Albemarle Street, London. p. 8.
  173. ^ a b Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48.548
  174. ^ Colluthus, Rape of Helen 173
  175. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 921–922; Homer, Odyssey 11. 604–605; Pindar, Isthmian 4.59–60; Apollodorus, 1.3.1, and later authors.
  176. ^ Theogony 924–929.
  177. ^ In Homer, Odyssey viii. 312 Hephaestus addresses "Father Zeus"; cf. Homer, Iliad i. 578 (some scholars, such as Gantz, Early Greek Myth, p. 74, note that Hephaestus's 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.
  178. ^ a b Deris, Sara (2013-06-06). "Examining the Hephaestus Myth through a Disability Studies Perspective". Prandium: The Journal of Historical Studies at University of Toronto Mississauga. 2 (1). Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  179. ^ 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.
  180. ^ a b Karl Kerenyi (1951) The Gods of the Greeks, pp 156–158.
  181. ^ 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.
  182. ^ Slater 1968, pp. 199–200.
  183. ^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31.186
  184. ^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca 15.91
  185. ^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca 17.280
  186. ^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca 26.355
  187. ^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca 1.27
  188. ^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48.247.
  189. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 507
  190. ^ Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1.2.2
  191. ^ Scholium on the Iliad 14.295
  192. ^ Gantz, pp. 16, 57; Hard, p. 88.
  193. ^ Decker, Jessica Elbert (2016-11-16). "Hail Hera, Mother of Monsters! Monstrosity as Emblem of Sexual Sovereignty". Women's Studies. 45 (8): 743–757. doi:10.1080/00497878.2016.1232021. ISSN 0049-7878. S2CID 151482537.
  194. ^ Homeric Hymn to Apollo 306–348. Stesichorus, Fragment 239 (Campbell, pp. 166–167) also has Hera produce Typhon alone to "spite Zeus".
  195. ^ Gantz, p. 49, remarks on the strangeness of such a description for one who would challenge the gods.
  196. ^ Kirk, Raven, and Schofield. pp. 59–60 no. 52; Ogden 2013b, pp. 36–38; Gantz, pp. 50–51, Ogden 2013a, p. 76 n. 46.
  197. ^ This chart is based upon Hesiod's Theogony, unless otherwise noted.
  198. ^ According to Homer, Iliad 1.570–579, 14.338, Odyssey 8.312, Hephaestus was apparently the son of Hera and Zeus, see Gantz, p. 74.
  199. ^ According to Hesiod, Theogony 927–929, Hephaestus was produced by Hera alone, with no father, see Gantz, p. 74.
  200. ^ According to Hesiod, Theogony 886–890, of Zeus's children by his seven wives, Athena was the first to be conceived, but the last to be born; Zeus impregnated Metis then swallowed her, later Zeus himself gave birth to Athena "from his head", see Gantz, pp. 51–52, 83–84.
  201. ^ According to Hesiod, Theogony 183–200, Aphrodite was born from Uranus's severed genitals, see Gantz, pp. 99–100.
  202. ^ According to Homer, Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus (Iliad 3.374, 20.105; Odyssey 8.308, 320) and Dione (Iliad 5.370–71), see Gantz, pp. 99–100.