Top 10 Astonishing Facts about Hera

Hera, daughter of Rhea and Cronus, was associated as the goddess of women, marriage, and childbirth. However, she was one of the cruelest goddesses and the Queen of Olympus.

Her life was full of mysteries and interesting facts, and the most famous was about the swallowing of her and her siblings by their father, Cronus.

Like other Greek Goddesses, she too had numerous cults all over Greece and also had followers honoring her. People worshipped her and her sacred bird peacock for a healthy life.

Here is the list of the top 10 interesting facts about Hera with some details.

10. Hera always hated Heracles

Baby Heracles with the Serpent
Baby Heracles with the Serpent

Heracles means “Hera’s glory,” but he never received respect from Hera. Hera hated him for being the stepson and for fear of him ruling as the King of the Olympus.

To stop Heracles from being the King, Hera made the wife of Sthenelus give birth to Eurystheus. Eurystheus was forced to be born on the seventh month and was announced as the King of Tiryns right after his birth.

In addition to this, Hera also planned on killing Heracles during his birth by sending two serpents. However, the plan was unsuccessful as the serpents could not harm him for some reason.

9. Hera was the mother of Ares, Eileithyia, Hebe, and Hephaestus

Baby Heracles with the Serpent
Baby Heracles with the Serpent

Hera had given birth to seven children, and renowned ones included Ares -the God of War, Hephaestus, Hebe, and Eileithyia.

Ares participated in the Trojan War and supported Trojans. According to Hera, Hephaestus was not perfect as he did not show bravery or courage as so.

Hera, in rage, tried to kill him by throwing him from the top of Olympus. The reconciliation between mother and son took place after Hera fell into a trap set by Hephaestus, who gave her a beautiful golden throne.

Hera sat on it, but soon she realized she was stuck to it, but managed to free herself after agreeing to give Aphrodite to Hephaestus as his wife.

However, her daughters Hebe and Eileithyia made her proud by being the Goddess of youth and the Goddess of childbirth. Eileithyia was capable of delaying or preventing childbirth.

8. The peacock was the sacred bird of Hera

a portrait of Hera with her sacred Peacock
a portrait of Hera with her sacred Peacock

Hera’s temples were scattered throughout ancient Greece, where the married and pregnant women worshiped her. Most of the temples had a cow statue and a peacock kept to honor the goddess.

The peacock was her sacred bird, while the cow was her sacred animal. Other symbols were associated with her, including pomegranate, feather, cuckoo, hawk, crane, lily, lotus, panther, throne, lion, and diadem.

All the cult dedicated to Hera would have anyone, or more than one of these symbols, worshiped and honored. The fruit pomegranate was symbolized fertility, while the cuckoo symbolized the perfect marital relationship.

7. Hera was the faithful wife of an unfaithful husband

Hera with her husband
Hera with her husband

Hera was associated with faithfulness, while her husband, Zeus, was exactly the opposite. Hera never cheated on Zeus, but Zeus could not be loyal to Hera and his other wives.

Zeus traveled the earth and universe frequently and kept endless extramarital relationships. He had several consorts before and after his marriage to Hera, including Europa, Io, Semele, Ganymede, Callisto, Dione, Persephone, Nemesis, Thaleia, Alkmene, and Danae. 

His first and favorite lover was Metis, a Titan goddess however, he was also married to Themis. The couple bore six children, three Horai (Hours) and three Moirai (Fates). 

Then, Zeus tried his tricks on Demeter, but she resisted him immediately. Zeus’ third wife was Mnemosyne, from whom the nine Muses were born. He was also involved in an affair with Leto shortly before he married Hera. 

6. Hera was a jealous wife

Hera - the jealous wife
Hera – the jealous wife

Zeus, despite being the husband of Hera, had numerous extramarital affairs. He was involved in numerous relations before marrying Hera as well.

Hera, on the other hand, was a loyal but very jealous wife. She would follow Zeus wherever he would go and curse the women he would have an affair with.

The affairs of Zeus led to him having numerous children from many of his lovers. The most famous love affair is of Zeus and Leto, and the twins, Apollo and Artemis, bore by them.

Hera, in return, cursed Leto and made her birth process difficult by not letting her give birth in a solid land. However, Leto gave birth to the twins, and they were able to take revenge.

A similar case was with Lamia, the queen of Libya and the mistress of Zeus. Here too, Hera, after knowing about their affair, sent a monster and killed their children.

5. Hera renewed her virginity annually

Hera was worshipped as the goddess of matrimony, virginity, and marriage. Her cults were spread all over Greece, and people honored her for her associations.

Though she was married to Zeus, she was worshipped as a virgin goddess. She was able to maintain her virginity by renewing it every year at the Spring of Kanathos. The rites and ritual used to renew her virginity was unspoken of and kept a dark secret.

On the other hand, virginity has some connections to the Moon and Hera. The three goddesses, Hera, Hebe, and Hecate, are taken as the full moon, the new moon, and the old moon, respectively.

They are also associated with the Virgin of Spring, The Mother of Summer, and the destroying Crone of Autumn.

4. Zeus had married Hera by deceit

Zeus and Hera

Hera, one of the most beautiful goddesses in Ancient Greece, was able to impress Zeus with her beauty. Zeus, who have had numerous affairs before meeting Hera, fell in love instantly with her charm.

He found about Hera’s inclination towards birds and animals and turned himself into a cuckoo to impress her. He would sit on the windowpane and pretend to be in pain caused by the cold weather.

Hera felt pity for the bird, and she brought it inside the room. When she held the bird to her breast to warm it, Zeus restored it in his real form and raped her.

Hera felt ashamed and exploited due to the incident and was forced to agree on marrying Zeus.

3. Hera was one of the most beautiful immortals

One of the most beautiful Greek Goddess - Hera
One of the most beautiful Greek Goddess – Hera

Hera is believed to be one of the most beautiful goddesses in Ancient Greece. She looked stunning in a high, cylindrical crown, with a chariot driven by her sacred bird, peacock.

Her throne was made up of gold, and she would reign over the skies staying on her golden throne.

However, Hera was proud of her beauty and very sensitive when it came to her beauty. She would punish or curse anyone prettier than her.

For instance, when Aphrodite was declared the most beautiful woman by Paris, Hera challenged Paris for a war.

2. Hera was born by Olympians and brought up by sea gods

Hera with sea gods
Hera with sea gods

The legend about Cronus swallowing his offspring is the most interesting fact of ancient Greece.

Hera, the daughter of Rhea and Cronus, was born in Mount Olympus. But, she was sent to Tethys and Oceanus for her safe upbringing.

Cronus was warned that he would be dethroned by one of his offspring so that he would swallow all her offspring right after their birth. Rhea, the wife of Cronus, was fed up with his behavior and wanted to save Hera and Zeus.

Rhea decided to send Hera away to save her from Cronus’s cruelty. Hera was kept safe and flourished as a Greek Goddess due to the clever move of her mother, Rhea.

1. Hera was the goddess of marriage, women, childbirth, and family

Hera and her depiction
Hera and her depiction

Hera was associated with marriages, motherhood, virginity, and being the protector of the wives.

She had presided over weddings and blessing marriages, and also her sacred fruit, pomegranate, was a symbol of fertile blood in ancient Greece. Her depiction always portrayed her with her sacred fruit in her hand.

Hera was the first deity to whom the Greek people dedicated an enclosed roofed temple sanctuary. People built that temple in Samos around 800 BCE. Later the Heraion of Samos replaced it and became one of the largest Greek temples.

Conclusion

Hera is the goddess representing mixed feelings having both good and evil. She was the ultimate loyal wife despite her husband’s frequent and unbearable affairs.

What do you feel about the above facts associated with Hera? Write your thoughts in the comment box.

Leave a Comment