Not all Greek Goddesses were full of virtue and goodness. Some goddesses proved to be cruel, inhuman, and criminal, but they were powerful enough. Hera was one of the evilest goddesses in Ancient Greek Religion.
Hera was born as the Titan Cronus’s daughter, who swallowed all his children except the youngest son, Zeus. Cronus feared to be dethroned by one of his offspring in the same way that Cronus uprooted his father from the throne.
Whenever Rhea, Cronus’ wife, gave birth to her children, Cronus would devour them. But she secretly saved her son, Zeus, who later tricked his father into consuming poison and freeing all his siblings, including Hera.
Hera is the renowned Queen of Olympus, sitting behind her husband Zeus, the universe’s supreme god. Moreover, she had kept some mysteries within her that led her to be villainous.
What were those mysteries that overwhelmed Hera to do evil acts? Let’s discover some unsung facts about Hera.
10. Hera always hated Heracles.
Heracles means “Hera’s glory”, but he never received respect from Hera. He was Alcmene’s son from Zeus, and Hera was his stepmother. When Alcmene was pregnant, and Heracles was about to be born, Zeus announced that his upcoming child would rule Mount Olympus.
Hera didn’t want Heracles to have Olympus’ throne. So, she made the wife of Sthenelus give birth to Eurystheus after only seven months and prevented Heracles’ delivery. And Eurystheus became the king of Tiryns.
Besides, other alternative myths also describe Hera’s attempt to trouble Heracles. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Hera tried to prevent Alcmene from giving birth to Heracles with Eileithyia’s help. But Galanthus frightened Eileithyia, and Alcmene was freed for delivery.
When Hera couldn’t stop Heracles’ birth, she tried to kill him, sending two serpents. But snakes couldn’t harm him. Hera kept watching on Heracles and drove him mad when he reached adulthood.
It led Heracles to kill his wife and children. Then, Hera made him a servant to King Eurystheus at Mycenae and made his labours more difficult.
9. Hera was the mother of Ares, Eileithyia, Hebe, Hephaestus and others.
Hera had given birth to seven children, and among them, illustrious offspring were Ares, Hephaestus, Hebe and Eileithyia. Ares, born out to Zeus and Hera, was the God of War.
He participated in the Trojan War and supported Trojans. Legends say Hera had given birth to Hephaestus with Zeus’ companion. Noticing that she had created an imperfect son, she blamed and threw Hephaestus 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 when she tried to get up. Hera only managed to free herself after agreeing to give Aphrodite to Hephaestus as his wife.
Besides Hephaestus, Hera had daughters such as Hebe and Eileithyia from Zeus’ companion. Hebe was the Goddess of youth, while Eileithyia (Ilithiya) was the Goddess of childbirth.
Hera gave protection to married women, while Eileithyia was responsible for women in childbirth. She also had the ability to delay or prevent birth.
8. The peacock was sacred to Hera.
Hera’s temples were scattered throughout the whole Greek world. Married
and pregnant women were especially devoted to her. Together with Hestia, Hera was always part of the domestic holt.
The cow and the peacock are too consecrated animals in honour of this goddess. Other symbols associated with Hera are pomegranate, peacock feather, diadem, lily, lotus, cuckoo, panther, sceptre, throne and lion.
Other birds associated with Hera are a hawk and a crane. Pomegranate is the symbol of fertility, while the cuckoo is a symbol of her marriage to Zeus. Besides, Hera is often depicted either in a standing position or seated on a throne. She also has some connection to other mythology.
Hera is also identified by the name of Juno in Roman mythology. In it, she was revered alongside her husband, Jupiter. The goddess Hera is Amira and hated by the man who cannot tolerate her revengeful temperament.
But no one is indifferent to her, which makes her one of the most important goddesses of Greek Mythology.
7. Hera was the faithful wife of an unfaithful husband.
Hera was a deity associated with faithfulness, but 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 travelled the earth and universe frequently and had kept endless extramarital relationships. He had several consorts before and after his marriage to Hera.
His first and favourite lover was Metis, a Titan goddess and Athena’s mother. He later married Themis, who was the Titan Goddess of Tradition. The couple bore six children; the three Horai (Hours) and the 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.
Zeus and Leto had Apollo and Artemis. Even after his marriage to Hera, Zeus kept sleeping and having affairs with both immortals and mortals. Zeus’ affair list involves Europa, Io, Semele, Ganymede, Callisto, Dione, Persephone, Nemesis, Thaleia, Alkmene, Danae and many others.
6. Hera was a jealous wife.
Zeus was never tired of keeping extramarital affairs, and Hera didn’t stop watching him out. Wherever he went, he had an affair. Because of uncountable affairs, Zeus had many lovers and illegitimate children from them.
Each of his affairs enraged her, and Hera targeted Zeus’s lovers for punishment. She persecuted the children born out of these forbidden unions. Many myths and stories claim that Hera was the troublemaker for Zeus’ illegitimate lovers and children.
When Hera found that Leto was pregnant with twins from Zeus, she cursed that Leto would not find a place in the whole of Greece for delivery. Later Zeus provided Leto with an island for giving birth to twins.
After the delivery of Artemis, Hera abducted Eileithyia, who helped Leto in childbirth. When nobody was there for the delivery of Apollo, Artemis helped Leto to give birth anyhow.
A similar case was with Lamia, who was the queen of Libya. She was Zeus’ mistress among many ones. When Hera knew about their affair, she turned Lamia into a monster and killed her children.
It also has an alternative version. Hera murdered Lamia’s children, and Lamia’s grief and sorrow turned her into a monster. Hera cursed Lamia that she would not be able to close her eyes so that she would witness her dead children’s image every time. Because of such pain, she became envious of other mothers and ate their children.
5. Hera renewed her virginity annually.
Besides the goddess of matrimony and marriage, people worshipped Hera as the virgin goddess. The tradition in Stymphalia in Arcadia was that there had been a triple shrine to Hera the Girl, the Adult Woman, and the Separated (“Widowed” or “Divorced”).
Besides, the temple of Hera was in Hermione near Argos was to Hera the Virgin. According to Greek Mythology, Hera renewed her virginity annually in the spring of Kanathos and was close to Nauplia. The rites of renewing Hera’s virginity were not to be spoken of.
Virginity also has some connections to the Moon. When showing the female figure as “Moon” over the lake, Hebe, Hera, and Hecate are taken as the new moon, full moon, and old moon in the order. If not, tree idols are personified as the Virgin of Spring, The Mother of Summer, and the destroying Crone of Autumn.
4. Zeus had married Hera by deceit.
She is described as the most beautiful among all goddesses, and for this reason alone, Zeus fell in love with her. Hera resisted Zeus’s intentions who resorted to any trick to seduce the goddess.
Zeus knew that Hera was fond of animals and birds. He disguised himself as a cuckoo and sat on Hera’s window, and pretended to be in distress or cold weather created by himself.
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 in his real form and raped her. Hera felt ashamed and exploited due to the incident and agreed to the marriage with Zeus. Hera then reigned next to Zeus. Though Hera married Zeus in dissatisfaction, she always remained loyal to him.
3. Hera was one of the most beautiful immortals.
If there were a contest among immortals for the beauty pageant, Hera would be the winner. Hera is believed to be one of the most beautiful goddesses in Ancient Greece.
She looked stunning in a high, cylindrical crown. Also, she showed her grace and beauty with sandals, a chariot driven by peacock and a throne, all made of pure gold. She reigned over the skies from the top of her golden throne.
Short-tempered in nature, Hera grew angry in no time if she felt her beauty in danger. When Antigone, the daughter of Laomedon, boasted about her hair being more beautiful than Hera’s, Hera turned Antigone’s hair into serpents.
Also, Hera’s sensitiveness to her beauty troubled many others. Whoever went against Hera’s beauty invited the disaster. When Paris declared Aphrodite to be more beautiful than Hera, Hera targeted Paris for future war.
She played a noteworthy role in the Greeks’ winning against Troy through her indirect deceptions and direct interventions. These kinds of evil nature of Goddess make Hera out of the league of inner beauty.
2. Hera was born by Olympians and brought up by sea gods.
Hera was born in Mount Olympus, where her parents Cronus and Rhea reigned. Rea feared that Cronus could harm her children. Cronus had already devoured all his children before Zeus saved them all.
So, Rhea sent Hera to Tethys and Oceanus for safekeeping. Then, sea gods, Tethys and Oceanus and Tethys fostered Hera when she was very young.
Oceanus was the God and king of the river Oceanus, and his palace was in the west where Hera grew up. When Hera went to live in Mount Olympus, she always remembered her foster parents.
When Oceanus and Tethys fell into an argument, Hera tried to reconcile them. Oceanus and Tethys were the models of matrimonial fidelity for Hera. That’s why Hera always remained loyal or faithful to Zeus despite his many and frequent affairs.
1. Hera was the goddess of marriage, women, childbirth, and family.
According to ancient poets, Hera received the highest honours because Hera’s prestige was second only to Zeus. The goddess became a deity associated with marriages, motherhood, and the protector of the wives.
She had presided over weddings and blessing marriages. The fruit, the pomegranate, was a symbol of fertile blood in ancient Greece and Hera always appeared holding it in her hand.
Thus, it refers to the Goddess of marriage and family. Moreover, the word Hera is compared with the Greek word hora, which means season. It also interprets the “ripe for marriage”.
After marriage, childbirth comes as the next step in a woman’s life. In this sense, Hera was the perfect example or goddess of marriage, women, childbirth and family.
Besides the above, the noticeable thing is that 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.
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. It is her plus point to virtue.
Besides, I feel interested in Hera because she troubled children and mothers despite being a mother and wife. This leads her points to decrease to evil. What do you feel about the above facts associated with Hera? Write your thoughts in the comment box.