Hera and Zeus were powerful deities in Greek mythology. They were brother and sister, husband and wife, and king and queen of the gods. While they were both powerful in their own way, their weapons of choice differed.
Zeus: God of the Skies
Zeus was the Greek god of the skies. He often used a thunderbolt to defeat his enemies, making the thunderbolt or lightning bolt the weapon he most often used. He would hurl a thunderbolt at those who disobeyed or disappointed him, sometimes striking them dead.
Hera’s weapon was not so straightforward.
Hera: Goddess of Marriage
Hera was the Greek goddess of marriage. Her responsibility of marriage made Zeus’s infidelity so hurtful.
Zeus was unfaithful to Hera many times. During one of Zeus’s affairs, he impregnated a mortal woman named Alcmene. Alcmene would give birth to Hercules, a demigod who possessed superhuman strength.
When Hera discovered Zeus’s affair had resulted in Hercules, she was determined to destroy Hercules, as Hercules was a reminder of Zeus’s infidelity.
Instead of striking Hercules down with a weapon, she used her cleverness to devise a plan.
Hera Attempts to Destroy Hercules
When Hercules was first born and lay asleep in his cradle, Hera sent snakes to strangle Hercules to death. Hercules awoken to the serpents and immediately grabbed them and killed them. This was Hercules’s first display of superhuman strength.
Later in his life, Hera attempted to destroy Hercules once more. Hercules had married Megara and had children with her, so Hera sent madness upon Hercules. This madness made Hercules kill his wife and children. In order to make things right, Apollo tells Hercules that he must visit King Eurystheus and serve him. King Eurystheus decides that Hercules must complete 12 seemingly impossible labors.
As Hercules attempts the 12 labors, he is unaware that Hera is the reason King Eurystheus has given him these near-impossible tasks. Furthermore, Hera plays a part in his attempt to complete the labors by causing trouble and making the labors more difficult than they already were.
Hera Plans to Overthrow Zeus
While Zeus was not the faithful husband he should have been, Hera was not perfect either. Her unloyalty lied in the fact that she wanted to rule over Zeus and devised a plan to do so.
In order to overthrow Zeus, Hera decided that she would drug Zeus and make him fall asleep. Once asleep, the gods tied Zeus to his throne. As Zeus awoke, he was furious and began arguing with the gods who bound him to the throne. Briareus, also known as Aegaeon, was a giant who had 100 arms and 50 heads.
He overheard the arguments and came to help Zeus. He was able to untie the knots that the gods had tied when binding Zeus to the throne. Once Zeus was free, he grabbed his iconic weapon, the thunderbolt, and threatened to strike down the gods who had bound him. The gods begged for their lives, and Zeus showed mercy on them, but the same could not be said for Hera.
Zeus Hangs Hera in the Sky
As punishment for her attempt to overthrow him, Zeus seized Hera and hung her in the sky by golden chains. Hera wailed in pain all night, but no one would help her out of fear of Zeus.
After getting no sleep that night, Zeus approached Hera the next morning and agreed to take her down off the chains if she promised that she would never go against him. Hera reluctantly had to agree to be released from the chains, but she continued to use her cleverness against Zeus any chance she got.