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Hera is the Olympian goddess of women, marriage and family. Wife and sister to Zeus; the king of the Olympian Gods, Hera in a lot of ways represented the ideal woman as Queen of the Gods of Olympus.

However, despite her devotion to her marriage, her refined nature and power, she is perhaps most famous for her temper and her vendettas against her husband's illegitimate lovers and their offspring.

Background[]

Born on the island of Samos as the third child of the Titan King and Queen, Cronus and Rhea, Hera was swallowed alive by her father while she was an infant in an attempt to prevent her from assurping his throne.

Later rescued from her father's stomach by her younger brother, Zeus, and her cousin, Metis, Hera supported their war against their father while being attended to by Oceanus and Tethys.
Zeus had always adored his sister and would often boldly kiss her during visits between his battles with Cronus. As he was her brother Hera felt there was no harm in such displays of affection and often responded to his kisses with kisses of her own, however, as the affections continually increased, she began to sense a lover's passion behind them and feared that he actually desired her. This fear was realised when Metis met with her in private and revealed her and Zeus' desire for her. Hera was horrified, stating that she loved him as a brother and that they couldn't mate due to being siblings. In a bid to calm her fretting, Metis related to her all of the times their parents, the Titans, had mated with each other in spite of being siblings and that they had also mated with their parents, the Primordial Gods, and still do. She continued on, stating that the Primordial Gods, after discovering sex thanks to their mother, Gaea, not only mated with their children but had also mated with their siblings and with their own parents as well; with the most famous example being Uranus, who had mated constantly with his mother, Gaea, to create the Titan race. Metis then stated that, in the grand scheme of things, regardless of whatever title they are referred to as (brother, sister, mother, father, god, titan, or mortal) they were all simply males and females designed by the great creator to mate with each other and she also questioned Hera's hesitation if all the other gods and Titans thought nothing of the action and practised it regularly.
Finding no satisfactory response, when next time Metis and Zeus visited, Hera welcomed her brother's and her cousin's affections openly and received both Zeus and Metis in her bed as part of several ménage à trois; actively mating with them through the ten year war together and individually to provide them with respite during the ongoing war without Oceanus' or Tethys' knowledge. However, neither Hera nor Metis allowed Zeus to impregnate them.
However, after the war had ended and the Olympian gods had become the new celestial rulers of Greece, Hera took to her new role as the Goddess of Women, Marriage, Family, and Childbirth seriously and no longer slept with the other gods. She was particularly repelled with Zeus; whose fraternizing with the other goddesses and titanesses after Metis' apparent demise appalled her.
Despite this, Zeus was still enthralled with Hera and continued attempting to seduce her despite her constant refusal of his many advances and even his first marriage proposal.

During his frustrated attempts at courting Hera, Zeus also attempted to lay with the Titaness Asteria, daughter of Titans Coeus and Phoebe and mother of Hecate, however, the Titaness did not desire to liaise with the Olympian god and she assumed many forms to escape him, eventually leaping from the heavens in the shape of a quail and metamorphosing into the island of Delos.
Zeus, however, had much better luck with her sister, Leto, who was gifted with wonderful beauty, modesty and womanly demure. Tenderly loved by Zeus, Leto let the god-king take her and impregnate her womb with twins.

Refusing to be denied by Hera, Zeus decided to take advantage of Hera's fondness for animals, and her love for the cuckoo bird in particular, and created a large thunderstorm around Olympus where no flying creature could fly through unharmed. Transforming himself into a cuckoo bird, Zeus then flew into the storm and sought shelter at Hera's window.
Seeing the bird's form, drenched and withered from navigating the storm, and being none-the-wiser, Hera took pity on the pathetic creature and brought the cuckoo into her room for safety. As the storm continued through the night, Hera disrobed and clutched the cuckoo to her nude breast as she retired to bed.
As Hera fell asleep, lulled by the sound of the storm outside, Zeus returned to his real form in her arms and began softly fondling her nude breasts. As she began positively responding to his attentions, Zeus began stroking and groping the rest of her naked body under her bed sheets, causing her to become aroused by his touch and forcing her dreams to turn lewd as she began recalling the nights she had spent with Zeus and Metis during the Titanomachy. As her body opened itself to his will, although she still remained asleep, Zeus took advantage of Hera's pliancy and gently mated with her while she slept; the deceitful union resulting in her being impregnated with the god of war, Ares.

The next morning, angry and ashamed of being exploited, Hera agreed to marriage with Zeus to save face and Zeus offered to make her Queen of the Gods in gratitude. All of nature burst into bloom for their wedding and many gifts were exchanged.

During the wedding Hera noticed Leto's pregnancy and immediately deduced that Zeus was the father. Enraged by Zeus' lack of devotion to her as his wife (although Zeus had impregnated Leto before their betrothal), she pushed Leto out of Olympus. As Leto wandered on the earth, no being would let her stay in their home for fear Hera would be offended and Hera herself also sent the serpent Python to drive Leto from land to land to prevent her from finding a place to rest and give birth. But Zeus, who had observed Hera's vindication, resolved to find refuge for Leto to rest and, remembering where Leto's sister, Asteria, had transformed herself into an island, he transformed Leto into a quail and directed her to the island of Delos.
Returned to her normal form, Leto was able to temporarily rest on the island as the other goddesses gathered there to help Leto during the labour. Hera stayed away and managed to detain Eileithyia (goddess of childbirth) but the messenger goddess Iris eventually succeeded in bringing her to the island. Leto first gave birth to Artemis, and after another nine days of labour, to Apollo. Still fleeing Hera's wrath, Leto and her children went to Lycia where the peasants tried to prevent her from drinking from their well, so she turned them into frogs.
Her children growing fast, both Artemis and Apollo became powerful archers and they used their skills to protect their mother. When only four days old, Apollo managed to kill Python. Then, the Euboean giant Tityus tried to rape Leto, but was also killed by the children. Eventually, as the mother of two powerful gods, Leto was able to return to Zeus' court on Olympus despite Hera's disapproval.

The arguments between Zeus and Hera were fairly frequent as Zeus continued to have one affair after another, Hera could not punish him because he was much stronger than she was. But she could avenge herself on the females with whom Zeus dallied, and she often took full advantage of this.

Inachus and his river god brothers Cephissus and Asterion were mediators in a land dispute between Poseidon and Hera. When they judged that the land belonged to Hera, Poseidon took away their water out of anger. For this reason neither Inachus nor either of the other rivers provided any water except during rainy seasons. In Danaan founding myth, because of the springs of Argolid being dried up, King Danaus sent his daughters to draw water to counter this drought. One of these daughters, Amymone, in her search lay with Poseidon who revealed to her the springs at Lerna. Otherwise, Poseidon was also said to flooded the greater part of the country as his revenge but Hera induced Poseidon to send the sea back. The Argives then made a sanctuary to Poseidon Prosclystius (Flooder) at the spot where the tide ebbed.

Involvement[]

  • Hera is the mastermind behind the events of Amazon Fury story line, having anticipated Typhon's return and arranged for Circe to steal Zeus's crown of Olympus to redirect the wrath of the god of monsters. She physically appears at the end of the Olympus and God of Monsters raids.

Associated Equipment[]

Trivia[]

  • Hera first appeared in Wonder Woman #131 (July, 1962).
  • 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.
  • As one of the very few deities that remain reasonably faithful to her partner Hera came to symbolise monogamy and fidelity in addition to her initial realms of power.
  • The animal especially sacred to Hera was the cow. Her sacred bird was first the cuckoo, but later became the peacock; both of which the goddess reportedly kept as pets on Mount Olympus.
  • Zeus and Hera’s wedding was the first formal marriage ceremony and was a huge occasion. It took place at the Garden of Hesperides and all of the gods and goddesses attended and brought fancy gifts. There was lots of feasting and the ceremony was the model for modern weddings.
  • The goddess Iris, daughter of the Titan Thaumas and the Oceanid Electra and sister to the Harpies, was the personification of the rainbow and a messenger for the gods. Before Hermes was born, Iris was the only god relaying messages from Zeus and Hera to other gods or mortals. During this period, Iris is reported as performing many vital tasks, such as informing Priam about Zeus' merciful decision concerning his son’s dead body, informing Menelaus of Helen’s abduction and even autonomously granting Achilles’ prayers and summoning the winds to ignite the funeral pyre of his friend Patroclus. Following Hermes' ascension, Iris became Hera's faithful servant and personal envoy and personally commanded Lyssa (spirit of frenzy and mad rage) to afflict Heracles with a fit of madness which causes him to murder his sons.
  • Although she has had sex many times, Hera is worshipped as a virgin goddess as she renews her virginity annually at the spring of Kanathos in rites that are not to be spoken of.
  • As with all celestial gods, Hera's power and life force depends on mortal faith. If mortals were to stop giving faith to her and indulging in her "realm of power" (in this case power in the matriarchy, women and marriage) she would lose her godhood, her immortality and, eventually, her life and cease to exist.
  • The Garden of the Hesperides is Hera's orchard in the west, where a grove grows that produces golden apples that grant immortality when eaten. The trees were planted from the fruited branches that Gaia gave to Hera as a wedding gift when Hera accepted Zeus as her husband. The Hesperides were given the task of tending to the grove, but occasionally picked apples from it themselves. Not trusting them, Hera also placed in the garden a never-sleeping, hundred-headed dragon named Ladon as an additional safeguard. In the myth of the Judgement of Paris, it was from the Garden that Eris, Goddess of Discord, obtained the Apple of Discord, which led to the Trojan War.
  • The mortal man Tiresias, son of the spartan Eueres and the nymph Khariklo, and a priest of Zeus, was once out on a walk when he saw to snakes mating. He sat there watching for hours but when the snakes sensed his presence they attacked him. Striking the female snake, Tiresias was instantly transformed into a woman and remained female for seven years.As a woman, Tiresias became a priestess of Hera, married and had children, including a daughter named Manto. Then, one day, Tiresias encountered the snakes mating again but this time she struck the male one, instantly turning back into a man. When Zeus and Hera had a disagreement over which gender enjoyed the most pleasure during sex; with Hera insisting that men enjoyed sex more while Zeus claimed the opposite, they decided to let Tiresias judge, since he had experienced sex as both. Tiresias then said, that if sexual pleasure could be put on a scale from one to ten, women enjoyed it nine times to men's one. Affronted by the implied notion that her gender, and by extension her, enjoyed and desired the act of fornication so much more than men, Hera blinded Tiresias, but Zeus, in recompense, gave the mortal inner sight, wisdom and the ability to see the future; extending his life for seven generations.

Gallery[]

See also[]

External links[]


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