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HERA MYTHS
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Roman Name
Ἡρη Hêrê Hera Juno
OTHER HERA PAGES

Hera Intro, Index & Gallery
Hera Myths 2
Hera Wrath 1
Hera Cult 1, Part 2

HERA was the Queen of the gods, and goddess of the sky, women and marriage. This page describes general myths featuring the goddess Hera.

(N.B. Quotes for this section are still being compiled.)


THE BIRTH OF HERA

Hera, like her siblings, was swallowed by her father Kronos as soon as she was born. Zeus with the help of Metis later tricked Kronos into a swallowing a potion that forced him to disgorge his offspring.

Hesiod, Theogony 453 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"But Rhea was subject in love to Kronos and bare splendid children, Hestia, Demeter, and gold-shod Hera and strong Hades . . . and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker [Poseidon], and wise Zeus . . . These great Kronos swallowed as each came forth from the womb to his mother's knees with this intent, that no other of the proud sons of Ouranos should hold the kingly office amongst the deathless gods. For he learned from Gaia (Earth) and starry Ouranos (Sky) that he was destined to be overcome by his own son, strong though he was, through the contriving of great Zeus.Therefore he kept no blind outlook, but watched and swallowed down his children: and unceasing grief seized Rhea . . .
[Rhea hid her youngest child Zeus from Kronos.] The strength and glorious limbs of the prince increased quickly, and as the years rolled on, great Kronos the wily was beguiled by the deep suggestions of Gaia (Earth), and brought up again his offspring, vanquished by the arts and might of his own son, and he vomited up first the stone which he had swallowed last."

Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 42 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"[Hera] whom wily Kronos with her mother Rheia did beget."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 4 ff (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Because both Ge (Earth) and Ouranos (Sky) had given him [Kronos] a prophetic warning that his rule would be overthrown by a son of his own stock, he took to swallowing his children at birth. He swallowed his first-born daughter Hestia, then Demeter and Hera, and after Plouton and Poseidon . . .
[Later] Metis gave Kronos a drug, by which he was forced to vomit forth first the stone and then the children he had swallowed."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 4. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Samians themselves hold that the goddess [Hera] was born in the island by the side of the river Imbrasos under the willow that even in my time grew in the Heraion (temple of Hera)."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Saturnus [Kronos] and Ops [Rhea] [were born] : Vesta [Hestia], Ceres [Demeter], Juno [Hera], Juppiter [Zeus], Pluto [Hades], Neptunus [Poseidon]."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 6. 3 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"You [Hera] reside in your ancient shrine at Samos, which alone can pride itself on your birth, your infant cries, and your nurture."

For MORE information on her birth, devouring and regurgitation see KRONOS


FOSTERING OF HERA

Homer, Iliad 14. 200 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"I [Hera] go now to the ends of the generous earth on a visit to Okeanos, 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."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 13. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Olen [semi-legendary poet], in his hymn to Hera, says that Hera was reared by the Horai (Seasons)."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 17. 1 :
"[Near the Heraion and river Asterios in Argos:] Euboia is the name they give to the hill here, saying that Asterion the river had three daughters, Euboia, Prosymna, and Akraia, and that they were nurses of Hera."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 22. 2 :
"The story has it that in the old Stymphalos [in Arkadia] dwelt Temenos, the son of Pelasgos, and that Hera was reared by this Temenos."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 177 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Tethys, wife of Oceanus and foster mother of Juno."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 2. 512 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Juno [Hera] . . . descended to the sea, to Tethys and old Oceanus, whom the gods greatly revere, and to their questioning replied: ‘. . . You who reared me . . .’"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31. 264 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
“Hera the Titan's daughter took strong part in the war against Kronos her father and helped Zeus in his fight."

For MORE information on her foster-parents & nurses see:
OKEANOS, TETHYS, THE ASTERIONIDES


SEDUCTION OF HERA BY ZEUS

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 17. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The presence of a cuckoo seated on the sceptre [of Hera] they explain by the story that when Zeus was in love with Hera in her maidenhood he changed himself into this bird, and she caught it to be her pet [in order to seduce her]."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 36. 1 :
"A mountain [near Halike in Argos], called in old days Thornax; but they say that the name was changed because, according to legend, it was here that the transformation of Zeus into a cuckoo took place. Even to the present day there are sanctuaries on the tops of the mountains : on Mount Kokkux (Cuckoo) one of Zeus, on Pron one of Hera."

Statius, Achilleid 1. 588 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Beneath his mother Rhea’s rule the young prince of Olympus [Zeus] gave treacherous kisses to his sister [Hera]; he was still her brother and she thought no harm, until the reverence for their common blood gave way, and the sister feared a lover’s passion."


THE MARRIAGE OF ZEUS & HERA

Hera grew up to be the most beautiful of the goddesses & Zeus made her his bride. As a wedding present Gaia created for her the famed garden of the golden appples, which the Hesperides & the Drakon Ladon were set to guard.

Hesiod, Theogony 921 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"Lastly, he [Zeus] made Hera his blooming wife : and she was joined in love with the king of gods and men, and brought forth Hebe and Ares and Eileithyia." [N.B. Hesiod says "lastly" because the marriage of Hera followed after Zeus' seductions of the goddesses Metis, Themis, Eurynome, Demeter, Mnemosyne, and Leto.]

Aristophanes, Birds 1720 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"Let your nuptial hymns, your nuptial songs, greet him and his [wife]! 'Twas in the midst of such [wedding] festivities that the Moirai (Fates) formerly united Olympian Hera to the King [Zeus] who governs the gods from the summit of his inaccessible throne. Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaios! Rosy Eros with the golden wings held the reins and guided the chariot; 'twas he, who presided over the union of Zeus and the fortunate Hera. Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaios!"

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 113 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Gaia (Earth) had given them [the golden apples and tree] to Zeus when he married Hera. An immortal serpent guarded them . . . With it the Hesperides themselves were posted as guards, by name Aigle, Erytheis, Hesperie, and Arethusa."

Callimachus, Aetia Fragment 2. 3 (from Scholiast on Homer's Iliad 1. 609) (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
“Zeus loved [Hera] passionately for three hundred years." [N.B. This refers to the Hieros Gamos or secret marriage of Zeus and Hera.]

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 72. 4 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Men say that the marriage of Zeus and Hera was held in the territory of the Knossians [on the island of Krete], at a place near the river Theren, where now a temple stands in which the natives of the place annually offer holy sacrifices and imitate the ceremony of the marriage, in the manner in which tradition tells it was originally performed."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 38. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"In Nauplia . . . is a spring called Kanathos. Here, say the Argives, Hera bathes every year and recovers her maidenhood [i.e. her virginity]."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 22. 2 :
"[Temenos of Arkadia] gave her [Hera] three surnames when she was still a maiden, Pais (Girl); when married to Zeus he called her Teleia (Grown-up)."

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 3. 83c (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to C3rd A.D.) :
"As for the so-called apples of the Hesperides, Asklepiades [C2nd A.D.], in the sixtienth book of his Egyptian History, says that Ge (Earth) brought them forth in honour of the nuptials, as it was called, of Zeus and Hera."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 3 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Constellation Serpent . . . He is said to have guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides, and after Hercules killed him, to have been put by Juno among the stars. He is considered the usual watchman of the Gardens of Juno [Hera]. Pherecydes [Greek mythographer C5th B.C.] says that when Jupiter [Zeus] wed Juno, Terra [Gaia] came, bearing branches with golden applies, and Juno, in admiration, asked Terra to plant them in her gardens near distant Mount Atlas. When Atlas’ daughters kept picking the apples from the trees, Juno is said to have placed this guardian there."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 9. 497 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Gods have loved their sisters; yes, indeed! Why Saturnus [Kronos] married Ops [Rhea], his kin by blood . . . and Rector Olympi (Olympus' Lord) [Zeus], married Juno [Hera]. But the gods above are laws unto themselves."

Ovid, Heroides 4. 35 ff (trans. Showerman) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Should Juno yield me him who is at once her brother and lord."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 263 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Aphrodite addresses Harmonia :] ‘I joined Zeus in wedlock with Hera his sister, after he had felt the pangs of longlasting desire and desired her for three hundred years: in gratitude he bowed his wise head, and promised a worthy reward for the marriage that he would commit the precepts of Justice (Dike) to one of the cities allotted to me [i.e. Beruit].’"

Servius, On Virgil's Aeneid 1. 505 (Roman scholia C4th A.D.) :
"For his wedding with Juno [Hera], Jupiter [Zeus] ordered Mercurius [Hermes] to invite all the gods, the men and the animals to the wedding. Everyone invited by Mercurius [Hermes] came, except for [the Nymphe] Chelone who did not deign to be there, mocking the wedding. When Mercurius noticed her absence, he went back down to the earth, threw in the river the house of Chelone that was standing over the river and changed Chelone in an animal that would bear her name [the tortoise]."


CHILDREN OF ZEUS & HERA

Hera became the mother of Ares, Eileithyia and Hebe by Zeus. Ares was born before the Titan-War and he is said to have defended Olympos against the assaults of the Titanes.

Hesiod, Theogony 921 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"Lastly, he [Zeus] made Hera his blooming wife: and she was joined in love with the king of gods and men, and brought forth Hebe and Ares and Eileithyia."

Aeschylus, Fragment 282 (from Papyri Oxyrhynchus) (trans. Lloyd-Jones) :
"Hera has reared a violent son [Ares] whom she has borne to Zeus, a god irascible, hard to govern, an one whose mind knew no respect for others. He shot wayfarers with deadly arrows, and ruthless hacked . . ((lacuna)) with hooked spears . . ((lacuna)) he rejoiced and laughed."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 13 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Zeus married Hera and fathered Hebe, Eileithyia, and Ares."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 18. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Kretans suppose that Eileithyia was born at Amnisos in the Knossian territory [in Krete], and that Hera was her mother."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 13. 3 :
"Olen, in his hymn to Hera, says . . . that her children were Ares and Hebe."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 9. 2 :
"Hera's daughter Hebe."

Aelian, On Animals 7. 15 (trans. Scholfield) (Greek natural history C2nd A.D.) :
"Ye Eileithyiai (Goddesses of Birth), daughters of Hera."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Again from Jove [Zeus] and Juno [Hera] [were born]: Juventus (Youth) [Hebe], Libertas (Liberty) [Eileithyia ?]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 8. 178 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Now Hera left the shieldbeswingled cave of the Diktaian rock and the cavern where the goddess of childbirth [Eileithyia] was born [in Krete]."


HERA & THE BIRTH OF ATHENA

There were two versions of Hera's reaction to the birth of Athena. In the first, she was furious that Zeus had produced a child alone, and she produced Hephaistos in response. In the second, Hera was pleased with the child and accepted her like a daughter.

Hesiod, Theogony 921 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"Zeus gave birth from his own head to Tritogeneia [Athena] . . . Hera was very angry and quarrelled with her mate. And because of this strife she bare without union with Zeus who hold the aigis a glorious son, Hephaistos, who excelled all the sons of Heaven in crafts."

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 2. 27 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting at Neapolis (Naples):] Athena, at this moment has just burst forth fully armed from the head of Zeus, through the devices of Hephaistos . . . Zeus breathes deeply with delight . . . and he looks searchingly for his daughter, feeling pride in his offspring; nor yet is there even on Hera's face any trace of indignation; nay, she rejoices, as though Athena were her daughter also."


HERA & HER SON HEPHAESTUS

After Athene's birth from the head of Zeus, Hera was furious and gave birth without Zeus to the fatherless Hephaistos.

Hesiod, Theogony 921 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"Zeus gave birth from his own head to Tritogeneia [Athena] . . . Hera was very angry and quarrelled with her mate. And because of this strife she bare without union with Zeus who hold the aigis a glorious son, Hephaistos, who excelled all the sons of Heaven in crafts."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 19 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
“Hera bore Hephaistos without benefit of sexual intercourse, although Homer says that Zeus was his father. Zeus threw him from the sky for helping Hera when she was in chains. Zeus had hung her from Olympos as punishment for setting a storm on Herakles as he was sailing back from his conquest of Troy. Hephaistos landed on Lemnos, cripped in both legs."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 20. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"One of the Greek legends is that Hephaistos, when he was born, was thrown down by Hera. In revenge he sent as a gift a golden chair with invisible fetters. When Hera sat down she was held fast, and Hephaistos refused to listen to any other of the gods save Dionysos--in him he reposed the fullest trust--and after making him drunk Dionysos brought him to heaven."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 18. 16 :
"[Amongst the scenes depicted on the throne of Apollon at Amyklai near Sparta:] There are also represented . . . the fabled binding of Hera by Hephaistos."

For MORE information on this god see HEPHAISTOS


K4.7 HERA TRAPPED
ON THE THRONE
K7.1 RETURN
HEPHAISTOS
T21.1 HERA TRAPPED
ON THE THRONE
 

BIRTH OF TYPHAON

After Athene's birth from the head of Zeus, Hera was angered and invoking the powers of Heaven and Earth produced the monster Typhaon.

Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo 300 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"She [Python] it was who once received from gold-throned Hera and brought up fell, cruel Typhaon to be a plague to men. Once on a time Hera bare him because she was angry with father Zeus, when Kronides bare all-glorious Athene in his head. Thereupon queenly Hera was angry and spoke among the assembled gods : ‘. . . Yes, now I will contrive that a son be born me to be foremost among the undying gods - and that without casting shame on the holy bond of wedlock between you and me. And I will not come to your bed, but will consort with the blessed gods far off from you.’
When she had so spoken, she went apart from the gods, being very angry. Then straightway large-eyed queenly Hera prayed, striking the ground flatwise with her hand, and speaking thus : ‘Hear now, I pray, Gaia and wide Ouranos above, and you Titanes gods who dwell beneath the earth about great Tartaros, and from whom are sprung both gods and men! Harken you now to me, one and all, and grant that I may bear a child apart from Zeus, no wit lesser than him in strength--nay, let him be as much stronger than Zeus as all-seeing Zeus than Kronos.’
Thus she cried and lashed the earth with her strong hand. Then the life-giving Gaia (Earth) was moved: and when Hera saw it she was glad in heart, for she thought her prayer would be fulfilled. And thereafter she never came to the bed of wise Zeus for a full year . . . But when the months and days were fulfilled and the seasons duly came on as the earth moved round, she bare one neither like the gods nor mortal men, fell, cruel Typhaon, to be a plague to men. Straightway large-eyed queenly Hera took him and bringing one evil thing to another such, gave him to the drakaina; and she received him. And this Typhaon used to work great mischief among the famous tribes of men."

For MORE information on this monstrous giant see TYPHOEUS


SEPERATION & RECONCILIATION OF ZEUS & HERA

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 22. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[Temenos] gave her [Hera] three surnames when she was still a maiden, Pais (Girl); when married to Zeus he called her Teleia (Grown-up); when for some cause or other she quarrelled with Zeus and came back to Stymphalos, Temenos named her Khera (Widow). This is the account which, to my own knowledge, the Stymphalians [of Arkadia] give of the goddess."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 3. 1 :
"Hera, they say, was for some reason or other angry with Zeus, and had retreated to Euboia. Zeus, failing to make her change her mind, visited Kithaeron, at that time despot in Plataia [or the mountain-god], who surpassed all men for his cleverness. So he ordered Zeus to make an image of wood, and to carry it, wrapped up, in a bullock wagon, and to say that he was celebrating his marriage with Plataia, the daughter of Asopos. So Zeus followed the advice of Kithairon. Hera heard the news at once, and at once appeared on the scene. But when she came near the wagon and tore away the dress from the image, she was pleased at the deceit, on finding it a wooden image and not a bride, and was reconciled to Zeus. To commemorate this reconciliation they celebrate a festival called Daidala."


HERA & POSEIDON VIE FOR ARGOS

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 13 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"The land [of Argos] was without water [when Danaus and his daughters arrived there], thanks to Poseidon, who, in anger at Inakhos for testifying that the region belonged to Hera, had dried up even the springs."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 15. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The oldest tradition in the region now called Argolis is that when Inakhos was king he named the river after himself and sacrificed to Hera. There is also another legend which says that Inakhos . . . was not a man but the river. This river, with the rivers Kephisos and Asterion, judged concerning the land between Poseidon and Hera. They decided that the land belonged to Hera, and so Poseidon made their waters disappear. For this reason neither Inakhos nor either of the other rivers I have mentioned provides any water except after rain."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 22. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"They say that Poseidon inundated the greater part of the country [Argos] because Inakhos and his assessors decided that the land belonged to Hera and not to him. Now it was Hera who induced Poseidon to send the sea back, but the Argives made a sanctuary to Poseidon Prosklystios at the spot where the tide ebbed."

For MORE information on the River God judges see ASTERION, KEPHISOS


HERA, ATHENA & POSEIDON BIND ZEUS

Homer, Iliad 1. 397 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"You [Thetis] said you only among the immortals beat aside shameful destruction from Kronos’ son [Zeus] the dark-misted, that time when all the other Olympian gods sought to bind him, Hera and Poseidon and Pallas Athene. Then you, goddess, went and set him free from his shackles, summoning in speed the creature of the hundred hands to tall Olympos, that creature the gods name Briareos, but all men Aigaios' son, but he is far greater in strength than his father. He rejoicing in the glory of it sat down by Kronion, and the rest of the blessed gods were frightened and gave up binding him."

Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 2. 82 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
“What time Jupiter [Zeus] first heard the rising tide of secret girdings, and felt the anger of the gods kindle against his new soveignty, and that the calm of peace in heaven could not last, first he hung up Juno [Hera] from the wheeling sky and showed to her chaos in its horror and the doom of the abyss. And presently when Vulcanus [Hephaistos] would have undone his trembling mother’s fetters, down from the sheer height of heaven he cast him."

For MORE information on the helpers of Zeus see BRIAREOS, THETIS


HERA & THE WAR OF THE GIGANTES

Hera distinguished herself in the war by slaying the Gigante Phoitos (a scene depicted in ancient vase painting). She was also rescued by Herakles and Zeus when the Gigante Porphyrion became filled with lust and attempted to rape her.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 36 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
“In the course of the battle [of gods and Gigantes] Porphyrion rushed against Herakles and also Hera. Zeus instilled him with a passion for Hera, and when he tore her gown and wanted to rape her, she called for help, whereat Zeus hit him with a thunderbolt and Herakles slew him with an arrow.”

For MORE information on the giant war see THE GIGANTES


K4.4 HERA,
GIANT PORPHYRION
K4.3 HERA,
GIANT PHOITOS
K4.12 HERA, IXION,
HERMES, ARES
 

HERA & THE ALOADAI GIANTS

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 54 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
“[Of the Aloadai giants who attempted to storm heaven:] Ephialtes paid amorous attention to Hera, as did Otos to Artemis.”

For MORE information on these giants see THE ALOADAI


HERA & THE LUST OF IXION

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E1. 20 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
“Ixion fell in love with Hera and tried to rape her, and when Hera told Zeus about it, Zeus wanted to determine if her report was really true. So he fashioned a cloud to look like Hera, and laid it by Ixion’s side. When Ixion bragged that he had slept with Hera, Zeus punished him by tying him to a wheel, on which he was turned by winds up in the air."

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6. 40 (trans. Conybeare) (Greek biography C1st to C2nd A.D.) :
“If you only would bear in mind the fate of Ixion [who fell in love with Hera], you would never have dreamed of falling in love with beings so much above you. For he, you remember is bent and stretched across the heaven like a wheel.”


CONTEST OF ZEUS & HERA, THE JUDGEMENT OF TEIRESIAS

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 71 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Teiresias saw two snakes sexually couples in the area of Kyllene, and when he injured them he changed from a man into a woman. Later, seeing the same snakes again mating, he was changed back into a man. Thus, when Hera and Zeus were arguing as to whether men or women enjoy sex more, they put the question to Teiresias. He said that on a scale of ten, women enjoy it nine times to men’s one. Whereupon Hera blinded him, and Zeus gave him the power of prophecy."


HERA FAVOUR : PANDAREIDES

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 30. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The parents of the maidens [the daughters of Pandareos] died because of the wrath of the gods, that they were reared as orphans by Aphrodite and received gifts from other goddesses: from Hera wisdom and beauty of form, from Artemis high stature, from Athena schooling in the works that befit women."


HERA FAVOUR : JASON & THE ARGONAUTS

I) COMMAND OF PELIAS

For the PRELUDE to this story see Hera Wrath: Pelias

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 108 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Pelias asked an oracle about his kingdom, the god warned him against the ‘one-sandaled man.’ . . .
[Jason arrived in the city missing a sandal.] [Pelias] went up to Iason and asked him what he as king would do, if an oracle had told him he was to be assassinated by one of the citizens. Iason’s reply was made either because he was taken by surprise or because of Hera, who in her wrath at Pelias for not honouring her, had planned Medeia as an evil for him. ‘The Golden-Fleece’, said Iason, ‘I would assign him the task of retrieving it.’ When Pelias heard this, he straightway commanded Iason to go after the fleece."

II) ARGONAUTS ABANDON HERAKLES

Suidas s.v. O Herakleis ti mainei (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"O Heracles, why are you mad? They say that this was said by the Argonauts, when they were calling on Heracles who had been left behind by them in accordance with a wish of Hera."

III) PASSAGE THROUGH THE CLASHING ROCKS

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 125 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"They [the Argonauts] watched until the [Clashing] Rocks drew apart and then, by dint of vigorous rowing and Hera’s help, they made it through, although the tip of the ship’s curved poop was trimmed off."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 136 :
"The ship [of the Argonauts] came successively to Kharybdis, Skylla, and the wandering rocks called Planktai . . . But Hera sent for Thetis and the Nereides, who escorted the ship through these hazards."

IV) MEDEA AT THE ALTAR OF HERA

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 146 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[At Korinthos, after destroying the king and his daughter with fire, Medeia fled the city.] In another account she [Medea] left her sons [by Jason] behind, inasmuch as they were still infants, setting them before she fled as suppliants on the altar of Hera Akraia (of the Heights); but the Korinthians took them from the sanctuary and wounded them thoroughly."


HERA & THE TROJAN WAR

I) THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E3. 2 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[At the wedding of Peleus and Thetis:] Eris tossed an apple to Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, in recognition of their beauty, and Zeus bade Hermes escort them to Alexandros [Paris] on Ide, to be judged by him. They offered Alexandros gifts: Hera said if she were chosen fairest of all women, she would make him king of all men; Athena promised him victory in war; and Aphrodite promised him Helene in marriage. So he chose Aphrodite."

See THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS

II) CONFRONTS ZEUS OVER HIS PACT WITH THETIS

Homer, Iliad 1. 536 - 570 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Zeus went back to his own house, and all the gods rose up from their chairs to greet the coming of their father, not one had courage to keep his place on the throne; yet Hera was not ignorant, having seen how he had been plotting counsels with Thetis the silver-footed, the daughter of the sea’s ancient, and at once she spoke revilingly to Zeus son of Kronos: ‘Treacherous one, what god has been plotting counsels with you? Always it is dear to your heart in my absence to think of secret things and decide upon them. Never have you patience frankly to speak forth to me the thing that you purpose.’
Then to her the father of gods and men made answer: ‘Hera, do not go on hoping that you will hear all my thoughts, since these will be too hard for you, thought you are my wife. Any thought that it is right for you to listen to, no one neither man nor any immortal shall hear it before you. But anything that apart from the rest of the gods I wish to plan, do not always question each detail nor probe me.’
Then the goddess the ox-eyed lady Hera answered: ‘Majesty, son of Kronos, what sort of thing have you spoken? Truly too much in time past I have not questioned nor probed you, but you are entirely free to think out whatever pleases you. Now, though, I am terribly afraid you were won over by Thetis the silver-footed, the daughter of the sea’s ancient. For in the early morning she sat beside you and took your knees, and I think you bowed your head in assent to honour Akhilleus, and to destroy many beside the ships of the Akhaians.’
Then in return Zeus who gathers the clouds made answer: ‘Dear lady, I never escape you, you are always full of suspicion. Yet thus you can accomplish nothing surely, but be more distant from my heart than ever, and it will be the worse for you. If what you say is true, then that is the way I wish it. But go then, sit down in silence, and do as I tell you, for fear all the gods, as many as are on Olympos, can do nothing if I come close and lay my unconquerable hands upon you.’
He spoke, and the goddess the ox-eyed lady Hera was frightened and went and sat down in silence wrenching her heart to obedience and all the Ouranion gods in the house of Zeus were troubled."

III) SUPPORTS THE GREEKS ON THE BATTLEFIELD

Homer, Iliad 5. 711 ff :
"Now as the goddess Hera of the white arms perceived how the Argives were perishing in the strong encounter [with the Trojans], immediately she spoke to Pallas Athene her winged words: ‘For shame, now, Atrytone, daughter of Zeus of the aigis: nothing then meant the word we promised to Menelaos, to go home after sacking the strong-walled city of Ilion, if we are to let cursed Ares be so furious. Come then, let us rather think of our own stark courage.’
So she spoke, nor did the goddess grey-eyed Athene disobey her . . . [The two travelled to Troy in Hera's chariot--see The Chariot of Hera below.]
Now these two walked forward in little steps like shivering doves, in their eagerness to stand by the men of Argos, after they had come to the place where the most and the bravest stood close huddled about . . . there standing the goddess of the white arms, Hera, shouted, likening herself to high-hearted, bronze-voiced Stentor, who could cry out in as great a voice as fifty other men: ‘Shame, you Argives, poor nonentities splendid to look on. In those days when brilliant Akhilleus came into the fighting, never would the Trojans venture beyond the Dardanian gates, so much did they dread the heavy spear of that man. Now they fight by the hollow ships and far from the city.’
So she spoke, and stirred the spirit and strength in each man."

III) HERA SEDUCES ZEUS TO AID THE GREEKS

After Zeus forbade the gods to attend the battlefield of Troy, and implemented his plan to support the Trojans and avenge Akhilleus as he promised Thetis. Hera, however, seeing the Greeks in peril conspired to seduce and put Zeus to sleep, so that Poseidon could rally their forces.

Homer, Iliad 14. 153 - 316 :
"Now Hera, she of the golden throne, standing on Olympos' horn, looked out with her eyes, and saw at once how her brother and her lord's brother, was bustling about the battle where men win glory, and her heart was happy. Then she saw Zeus, sitting along the loftiest summit on Ida of the springs, and in her eyes she was hateful. And now the lady ox-eyed Hera was divided in purpose as to how she could beguile the brain in Zeus of the aegis. And to her mind this thing appeared to be the best counsel, to array herself in loveliness, and go down to Ida, and perhaps he might be taken with desire to lie in love with her next her skin, and she might be able to drift an innocent warm sleep across his eyelids, and seal his crafty perceptions . . . [She applies her makeup and adorns herself in jewellery--see The Bath of Hera below.]
Now, when she had clothed her body in all this loveliness, she went out from the chamber, and called aside Aphrodite to come away from the rest of the gods, and spoke a word to her: ‘Would you do something for me, dear child, if I were to ask you? Or would you refuse it? Are you forever angered against me because I defend the Danaans, while you help the Trojans?’
Then the daughter of Zeus, Aphrodite, answered her: ‘Hera, honoured goddess, daughter of mighty Kronos, speak whatever is in your mind. My heart is urgent to do it if I can, and if it is a thing that can be accomplished.’
Then, with false lying purpose the lady Hera answered her: ‘Give me loveliness and desirability, graces with which you overwhelm mortal men, and all the immortals. Since I go now to the ends of the generous earth, on a visit to Okeanos, whence the gods are 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. I shall go visit these, and resolve their division of discord, since now for a long time they have stayed apart from each other and from the bed of love, since rancour has entered their feelings. Could I win over with persuasion the dear heart within them and bring them back to their bed to be merged in love with each other I shall be forever called honoured by them, and beloved.’
Then in turn Aphrodite the laughing answered her: ‘I cannot, and I must not deny this thing that you ask for, you, who lie in the arms of Zeus, since he is our greatest.’
She spoke, and from her breasts unbound the elaborate pattern-pierced zone, and on it are figured all beguilements . . . Hera smiled on her and smiling hid the zone away in the fold of her bosom.
So Aphrodite went back into the house, Zeus' daughter, while Hera in a flash of speed left the horn of Olympos and crossed over Pieria and Emathia the lovely and overswept the snowy hills of the Thrakian riders and their uttermost pinnacles, nor touched the ground with her feet . . . Hera light-footed made her way to the peak of Gargaros on towering Ida. And Zeus who gathers the clouds saw her, and when he saw her desire was a mist about his close heart as mush as on that time they first went to bed together and lay in love, and their dear parents knew nothing of it. He stood before her and called her by name and spoke to her: ‘Hera, what is your desire that you come down here from Olympos? And your horses are not here, nor your chariot, which you would ride in.’
Then with false lying purpose the lady Hera answered him: ‘I am going to the ends of the generous earth, on a visit to Okeanos, whence the gods have risen, and Tethys our mother, who brought me up kindly in their house and cared for me . . .’
Then in turn Zeus who gathers the clouds answered her: ‘Hera, there will be a time afterwards when you can go there as well. But now let us go to bed and turn to love-making. For never before has love for any goddess or woman so melted about the heart inside me, broken it to submission, as now.’"

Plato, Republic 390b (trans. Shorey) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"[From Plato's critique of the portrayal of the gods in Homer :] Nor will it profit them [the youth] to hear how Zeus lightly forgot all the designs which he devised, watching while the other gods slept, because of the excitement of his passions, and was so overcome by the sight of Hera that he is not even willing to go to their chamber, but wants to lie with her there on the ground and says that he is possessed by a fiercer desire than when they first consorted with one another, ‘Deceiving their dear parents.’"

IV) . . . MORE TO COME


HERA & THE INDIAN WAR OF DIONYSUS

When the gods ranged against each other in conflict in both the Indian Wars of Dionysos and the famed Trojan War, Artemis stood against Hera in battle and was defeated.

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 36. 28 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[The gods took sides in the battle between the army of Dionysos and the Indians:] Against Hera came highland Artemis as champion for hillranging Dionysos, and rounded her bow straight. Hera as ready for conflict seized one of the clouds of Zeus, and compressed it across her shoulders where she held it as a shield proof against all; and Artemis shot arrow after arrow moving through the airy vault in vain against that mark, until her quiver was empty, and the cloud still unbroken she covered thick with arrows all over. It was the very image of a flight of cranes moving in the air and circling one after another in the figure of a wreath: the arrows were stuck in the dark cloud, but the veil was untorn and the wounds without blood. Then Hera picked up a rough missile of the air, a frozen mass of hail, circled it and struck Artemis with the jagged mass. The sharp stony lump broker the curves of the bow. But the consort of Zeus did not stop the fight there, but struck Artemis flat on the skin of the breast, and Artemis smitten by the weapon of ice emptied her quiver upon the ground."


Sources:

  • Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
  • Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th-4th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Fragments - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Plato, Republic - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
  • Aristophanes, Birds - Greek Comedy C5th-4th B.C.
  • Herodotus, Histories - Greek History C5th B.C.
  • Callimachus, Fragments - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
  • Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st B.C.
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
  • Philostratus the Elder, Imagines - Greek Art History C3rd A.D.
  • Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana - Greek Biography C2nd A.D.
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Hyginus, Astronomica - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
  • Ovid, Heroides - Latin Poetry C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
  • Cicero, De Natura Deorum - Latin Rhetoric C1st B.C.
  • Valerius Flaccus, The Argonautica - Latin Epic C1st A.D.
  • Statius, Achilleid - Latin Epic C1st A.D.
  • Apuleius, The Golden Ass - Latin Epic C2nd A.D.
  • Nonnos, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th A.D>
  • Servius, Ad Virgil's Aeneid - Latin Scholiast C5th A.D.
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