Hera, who walks in golden sandals, is the Queen
of Heaven, always a virgin, for she recovers her
maidenhood every year by bathing in a spring called
Canathus in Argolis. Hera is known for her jealousy, and because of it, she persecuted her husband's lovers and the children he had by them.
1207: Hera Ludovisi. 5C BC. Antikmuseet, Lund.
Creation of the Milky Way
According to some, the Milky Way (Via Lactea)
was formed by the milk of Hera, which flowed when
she realized that she had been giving milk to Hermes (or Heracles 1), and
thrust him away. But it is also said that the Milky
Way commemorates the milk of Hera with which she
was to anoint and feed Dionysus 2 in order to
heal his madness.
Semele and Dionysus 2
Semele, mother of Dionysus 2, is said to
have died because of the jealousy of Hera. For
Hera, having learned that Zeus had agreed to do for Semele whatever she
asked, persuaded her to ask Zeus that he would come to
her as he came to Hera. Zeus could not refuse, and
so he came in all his glory, which, being a sight
impossible for a mortal to survive, caused Semele's destruction. So,
when Semele died, Zeus snatched the six-month
old child Dionysus 2,
and sewed it in his thigh. When the child Dionysus 2 was ready
for life, Hermes entrusted him to King Athamas 1 of Boeotia
first and then Thessaly, and Ino (the daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia 1), and persuaded them to rear him as a girl. But Hera (though some affirm Tisiphone 1, one of the ERINYES, following
Hera's instructions) drove them mad, and Athamas 1 hunted his
elder son Learchus as a deer and killed him.
Opposing Heracles 1
Hera sent all kind of difficulties to Heracles 1, son of Zeus and Alcmena, including
serpents to his cradle. When Heracles 1 was about
to be born, Zeus declared
that the descendant of Perseus 1 then about to
be born would reign over Mycenae, and Hera out of
jealousy persuaded Ilithyia to retard Alcmena's delivery,
contriving that Eurystheus, who was
also a descendant of Perseus 1, should be born a seven-month child. That is how Heracles 1 lost the throne of Mycenae, which caused
all kinds of feuds and wars until the return of the HERACLIDES many
generations later. Hera is said to have nourished
the Hydra of Lerna, who Heracles 1 destroyed,
and to have brought up the Nemean Lion, which Heracles 1 captured.
And when Heracles 1 was sailing from Troy, Hera
sent terrible storms to destroy his ships. However,
this angered Zeus so much
that he hung her from Olympus with a couple of
anvils hanging from her feet, and her hands lashed
together with an unbreakable golden chain. And
because Hephaestus came to her rescue, Zeus cast him out of Heaven, and he fell on the island
of Lemnos, breaking his
0307: Sabouroff-Maler. Hera, 470-460 v. Chr. Staatliches Antikensammlungen, München.
Hera is said to have transformed Io into a cow, but Zeus consorted with her
anyway, assuming the form of a bull. Then Hera sent
a gadfly to torment the cow Io, who was compelled to
wander through many countries. Others say, however,
that it was Zeus who turned her into a cow to avoid Hera's anger (see Io). Leto too, because of
having made love to Zeus,
was hunted over the whole earth by Hera, until she
came to Delos where she gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. When Paris judged the
goddesses, Hera promised him the kingdom over all
men, but he took the hand of Helen that Aphrodite had offered
him. For this offence Hera desired the destruction
of Troy and the Trojans, and she opposed all their military efforts. Later, when Trojan Aeneas left for Italy,
after the sack of Troy,
Hera, attempting to prevent him from fulfilling his
fate, sent storms, having sought help from Aeolus 2, whom she promised a fair nymph (Deiopea 2) in marriage if he lashed fury into the winds against the ships of Aeneas.
For the sake of helping the Achaeans in the Trojan War, and
wishing to keep Zeus from
the battles, Hera requested and received Aphrodite's help in
the form of her magic belt, and so she could
distract him with the belt's and her own charms. Hera was a friend to the ARGONAUTS, because she
expected them to return with Medea, who was fated to
become the curse of King Pelias 1 of Iolcus. As a
young man Pelias 1 killed his cruel stepmother Sidero, who had
ill-treated his mother, in the precinct of Hera,
thus outraging the goddess. Jason was the man, who
going in quest of the Golden Fleece with the ARGONAUTS, was meant
to bring Medea to Iolcus
where she would kill King Pelias 1.
Other victims of Hera's wrath
It is said that Tiresias was blinded by
Hera for saying that women enjoy the pleasures of
love ten times more than men.
Hera cast Orion's wife Side 2 into Hades because, as they say, she rivalled her in beauty.
Hera curtailed Echo's
speech, because she held the goddess in long talk,
preventing her to catch the NYMPHS who had been in
her husband's company.