Hera: Goddess of Marriage in Greek Mythology

     Hera was the Greek Goddess of Marriage in Greek Mythology and she played a very important role (besides being one of the wives of Zeus, the king of the Gods). Hera had an irritable temper, check below.

Hera in Greek Mythology:

     Hera, in Greek Mythology, is the goddess of marriage, motherhood, and wives, equivalent to Juno in Roman myth. Sister and wife of Zeus, she is the queen of the gods, and patron of conjugal fidelity. Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often crowned with poles (a tall cylindrical crown worn by various goddesses), Hera is usually depicted with a pomegranate in her hand, a symbol of fertility, blood and death, and a substitute for opium poppy capsules. 

     The cow and, later, the peacock were its main symbolic animals. Iris was her faithful attendant, also a messenger and aide. Portrayed as jealous and aggressive against any extramarital relationship, she hated and persecuted Zeus' lovers, and the bastard children generated from those relationships. He tried, among some examples, to kill Heracles while still in his cradle. The only exception was Hermes and his mother Maia, who the goddess even admired for their cunning and beauty.

Their children are: Ares, Ennio, Eris, Hebe, Hefesto, Ilitia

Hera History:

     Hera may have been the first goddess to whom the Greeks dedicated a closed-roofed sanctuary in Samos around 800 BC. It was later replaced by Heraião, one of the largest Greek temples anywhere (Greek altars were in front of the temples, the clear sky). There were many temples built on this site but the evidence is a bit confusing and the archaeological dates are uncertain. In Evia, the festival of the Great Dédala, was sacred to Hera, and was celebrated in a sixty year cycle. The importance of Hera, in the archaic period it is attested by the great construction projects carried out in his honor. The temples of Hera in the two main centers of their worship, the Heraião of the Island of Samos and Argos in Argólida, were the oldest and monumental Greek temples ever built, in the 8th century BC.
     Hera had shrines, and was worshiped in many parts of Greece, often in common with Zeus. His adoration can be attributed to the early days: thus we find Hera, surname Pelasgis, adored by Iolcos. But the main place of worship was Argos. According to tradition, Hera had disputed the possession of Argos with Poseidon, but the river gods acted against her. Its most famous sanctuary was located between Argos and Mycenae, at the foot of Mount Evia. The vestibule of the temple contained ancient statues of Graces, the bed of Hera, and a shield that Menelaus had taken in Troy of Achilles. 

     The colossal sitting statue of Hera in this temple, made of gold and ivory, was the work of Polycletus. She wore a crown on her head, accompanied by graces and hours; on one side she held a pomegranate, and on the other a scepter directed with a cuckoo. Properly speaking, Hera was the goddess of marriage and the birth of children. Various epithets and nicknames, such as Ilituia, Gamélia, Zúgia, Teleia etc., contain references to this character of the goddess, and Ilitia and the hours are described as her daughters. His favorite places on Earth would be the center of his services, Argos, Sparta and Mycenae.


     There was considerable scholarship, based on the work of Johann Jakob Bachofen, in the middle of the 19th century, on the possibility that Hera, whose importance in the beginning of the Greek religion is firmly established, was originally the goddess of a matriarchal people, presumably who inhabited the Greece before the Hellenes. From this point of view, her activity as a goddess of marriage established the patriarchal bond of her own subordination: her resistance to Zeus' conquests is presented as Hera's "jealousy", the main theme of literary anecdotes that reduce her old cult.

These are the Sons of Hera:

     Hera presides over weddings and is the archetype of union in the conjugal bed, but she is not remarkable as a mother. The legitimate offspring of his union with Zeus are Ares (the god of war), Hebe (goddess of youth), Éris (the goddess of discord) and Ilitia (goddess of childbirth). Ênio, the goddess of war responsible for the destruction of cities and companion of Ares, is also mentioned as a daughter of Zeus and Hera, although Homer was equivalent to Eris. 

     Hera was jealous that Zeus gave birth to Athena, without resorting to her (parthenogenesis since Athena was born from Zeus' own head), so she gave birth to Hephaestus, without him, although in some stories, he is her son with Zeus . Hera was disgusted with Hephaestus' ugliness and threw him from Mount Olympus. In some myths, Hephaestus took revenge on his mother for having rejected him, making him a magical throne that, when she sat down, did not allow her to get up. . The other gods begged Hephaestus to return to Olympus to let her out, but he refused. Dionysus drunk him and took him back to Olympus on the back of a mule. Hephaestus took Hera from the throne after being given Aphrodite as his wife.

Judgment of Paris and the Trojan War:

     All gods and goddesses, as well as several mortals were invited to the wedding of Peleus and Tethys (the parents of Achilles). Only Éris, goddess of discord, was not invited. She was irritated by this, so she arrived at the wedding banquet with a golden apple, which had the inscription καλλίστῃ (kallistēi, "for the most beautiful"), and threw the apple between the goddesses. Aphrodite, Hera and Athena all claimed to be the most beautiful, and thus, the owner of the apple. The goddesses chose to let the matter be resolved by Zeus, who, not wanting to favor one of the goddesses, placed the choice in the hands of Paris, a prince of Troia. 

     The goddesses undressed for Paris on Mount Ida, yet, Paris could not decide, as all three were ideally beautiful, so the goddesses resorted to bribes. Hera offered control over all of Asia and Europe, while Athena offered wisdom, fame and glory in battle, and Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful mortal woman in the world, this woman was Helena, who was married to the king of Sparta, Menelaus . 

     Paris chose Aphrodite, and the other two goddesses were furious that they lost and favored the Greeks in the ensuing war, caused by the abduction of Helena by Paris. . In the war, Hera even wounded Artemis who protected the Trojans, and took Aphrodite's magic belt to favor the Greeks.

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