Homeric Hymn to Hera:
“(ll. 1-5) I sing of golden-throned Hera whom Rhea bare. Queen of the immortals is she, surpassing all in beauty: she is the sister and the wife of loud-thundering Zeus, — the glorious one whom all the blessed throughout high Olympus reverence and honour even as Zeus who delights in thunder.” (Homeric Hymn to Hera, translated by Evelyn-White)
Anthropomorphism: The use of terms applicable to men when speaking of God
Epithet: a term, phrase, expression
Eponym: one whose name is a synonym of something
Etiological tale: a story assigning or seeking to assign a cause
Myth: a purely fictitious narrative involving supernatural persons, actions, or events, and embodying some popular idea concerning natural or historical phenomenon.
Pantheon: a temple or sacred builing dedicated to all the gods.
Myths always have a hero, a villan, and a challenge of some sort. Myths usually take place in a time before the current age, when the world was less sophisticated, to show how the world progessed to the point that it is at. Myths occur usually in an area close to or heard of within the area that is telling the myths, otherwise people would not be familiar with or identify with the stories. The purpose of many myths is to explain how the world achieved the advancements that it did. Myths are believable to the people who heard them, because they accounted for all the reasons that things were the way that they were, such as why there are days, seasons, or how man got things such as fire.
Zeus and Hera were brother and sister, born to Cronus, a Titan, and Rhea, a Titaness. Cronus, to escape the event of one of his sons becoming stronger than him and overthrowing him, swallowed each of his children after Rhea gave birth to them. Eventually, Rhea tired of not having any living children, and she and Mother Earth, Cronus’ mother, schemed to avoid the problem. After Rhea gave birth to Zeus, she hid him, and put rocks in his blankets, which Cronus ate without realizing the difference. Eventually, Zeus grows up and overthrows Cronus, and takes Hera as the Queen of Gods. Whenever a new generaes of age, it seems that they overthrow the current rule. This is shown by Cronus overthrowing Uranus, and Zeus overthrowing Cronus. Zeus is not overthrown, but he is part of the last generations of the Greek gods.
Hera was tricked into marrying Zeus. She had no interest in him, but Zeus was persistent. One day, he transformed himself into a cuckoo, created a storm, and was pitied by Hera. She held the bird in her arms, and was surprised when it changed back into the great Zeus. Because of Zeus being the cuckoo, the cuckoo is a symbol of Hera. Later, they married, and Hera became Zeus’ main wife, and Zeus gave her the title of Queen of Olympus. As well as being the Queen of Olympus, Hera us also known for being the goddess of marriage, and one of the goddesses of childbirth.
Hera was a very jealous wife. She knew that Zeus had many “girlfriends”, and would go out of her way to make things difficult for them. One time, Hera knew that Zeus had a new wife, who was named Io. When she caught Zeus, the only other thing with him was a white cow, which was Io, who Zeus had transformed to protect her. Calling his bluff, Hera asked for the cow, and Zeus had no choice but to give it to her. She had Argus, who had a hundred eyes, all over his body, to watch her. Hermes managed to trick Argus into closing all of his eyes at once, dying of boredom, and free Io. Hera, in a fit of rage, had a gadfly sting her and chase after her, all over Greece, and into Egypt. In remembrance of her friend Argus, Hera took all of his eyes, and put them onto the peacock, which became the bird of the goddess. The peacock is vain because of its spots, which is similar to Hera’s own vanity.
The symbols of Hera are the peacock, the cuckoo, the cow, and pomegranate.
A story by a Greek mythographer in the C2nd A.D. :
“Zeus fell in love with Semele and slept with her, promising her anything she wanted, and keeping it all from Hera. But Semele was deceived by Hera into asking Zeus to come to her as he came to Hera during their courtship. So Zeus, unable to refuse her, arrived in her bridal chamber in a chariot with lightning flashes and thunder, and sent a thunderbolt at her. Semele died of fright, and Zeus grabbed from the fire her six-month aborted baby [Dionysos], which he sowed into his thigh.” (Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 26 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.)
A symphony song about Hera: