A to Z Challenge Folklore

Queen of the Gods: Hera #folklore #AtoZChallenge

Q is for Queen

I’m doing folklore and book review posts to reach and please a larger audience. Previous years have shown select interest in both and to minimise blogging throughout the year, I’m focusing my efforts on April.

If you’d rather check out my book review for today, go here.

Learn more about the challenge here.

I first encountered Hera as these peacock eyes in the sky in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Seeing her in Disney’s Hercules was so weird after that.

Folklore

Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology edited by William Smith [1849]

Hera was, according to some accounts, the eldest daughter of Cronos and Rhea, and a sister of Zeus. (Hom. Il. xvi. 432; comp. iv. 58; Ov. Fast. vi. 29.) Apollodorus (i. 1, § 5), however, calls Hestia the eldest daughter of Cronos; and Lactantius (i. 14) calls her a twin-sister of Zeus. According to the Homeric poems (Il. xiv. 201, &c.), she was brought up by Oceanus and Thetys, as Zeus had usurped the throne of Cronos; and afterwards she became the wife of Zeus, without the knowledge of her parents. This simple account is variously modified in other traditions.

Being a daughter of Cronos, she, like his other children, was swallowed by her father, but afterwards released (Apollod. l. c.), and, according to an Arcadian tradition, she was brought up by Temenus, the son of Pelasgus. (Paus. viii. 22. § 2; August. de Civ. Dei, vi. 10.) The Argives, on the other hand, related that she had been brought up by Euboea, Prosymna, and Acraea, the three daughters of the river Asterion (Paus. ii. 7. § 1, &c.; Plut. Sympos. iii. 9); and according to Olen, the Horae were her nurses. (Paus. ii. 13. § 3.) Several parts of Greece also claimed the honour of being her birthplace; among them are two, Argos and Samos, which were the principal seats of her worship. (Strab. p. 413; Paus. vii. 4. § 7; Apollon. Rhod. i. 187.)

The Homeric poems know nothing of all this, and we only hear, that after the marriage with Zeus, she was treated by the Olympian gods with the same reverence as her husband. (Il. xv. 85, &c.; comp. i. 532, &c., iv. 60, &c.) Zeus himself, according to Homer, listened to her counsels, and communicated his secrets to her rather than to other gods (xvi. 458, i. 547). Hera also thinks herself justified in censuring Zeus when he consults others without her knowing it (i. 540, &c.); but she is, notwithstanding, far inferior to him in power; she must obey him unconditionally, and, like the other gods, she is chastised by him when she has offended him (iv. 56, viii. 427, 463). Hera therefore is not, like Zeus, the queen of gods and men, but simply the wife of the supreme god. The idea of her being the queen of heaven, with regal wealth and power, is of a much later date. (Hygin. Fab. 92; Ov. Fast. vi. 27, Heroid. xvi. 81; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 81.) There is only one point in which the Homeric poems represent Hera as possessed of similar power with Zeus, viz. she is able to confer the power of prophecy (xix. 407). But this idea is not further developed in later times. (Comp. Strab. p. 380; Apollon. Rhod. iii. 931.)

Her character, as described by Homer, is not of a very amiable kind, and its main features are jealousy, obstinacy, and a quarrelling disposition, which sometimes makes her own husband tremble (i. 522, 536, 561, v. 892.) Hence there arise frequent disputes between Hera and Zeus; and on one occasion Hera, in conjunction with Poseidon and Athena, contemplated putting Zeus into chains (viii. 408, i. 399). Zeus, in such cases, not only threatens, but beats her; and once he even hung her up in the clouds, her hands chained, and with two anvils suspended from her feet (viii. 400, &c., 477, xv. 17, &c.; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1003). Hence she is frightened by his threats, and gives way when he is angry; and when she is unable to gain her ends in any other way, she has recourse to cunning and intrigues (xix. 97). Thus she borrowed from Aphrodite the girdle, the giver of charm and fascination, to excite the love of Zeus (xiv. 215, &c.). By Zeus she was the mother of Ares, Hebe, and Hephaestus (v. 896, Od. xi. 604, Il. i. 585; Hes. Theog. 921, &c.; Apollod. i. 3. § 1.)

The Forest in Folklore and Mythology by Alexander Porteous

Hera

Many of the Isles of Greece contained sacred groves. Thus in the island of Samos a certain grove was deemed sacred to Hera or Juno, and peacocks were first brought tither from the East and kept in the temple there, where whole flocks of them were fed. From this the tradition grew that the Peacock was the favourite bird of Hera, and that it was native of that island.

*Read more in the book.

peacock full feathers
Peacock. Image credit.
peacock from side
Peacock. Image credit.
Peacock walking
Peacock. Image credit.

Further Reading:

Zeus and Hera. Image credit

Folklore in a Nutshell by Ronel

Hera is the Greek goddess of marriage, women and family. She’s sometimes also seen as the goddess of childbirth. Looking at the various myths surrounding her, it is clear she presides over all aspects of female life. As the sister-wife of Zeus, she is also worshipped as the queen of heaven. She was worshipped throughout the ancient Greek world. The Romans identified her with Juno, who gave her name to the month June, which is a popular month to get married in the Northern Hemisphere. Hera is one of the twelve Olympians who reside on Mount Olympus, daughter of the Titans Kronus and Rhea, and the mother of Ares, Hebe, Ilithiya and Hephaestus.

Like so many goddesses, she had no interest in Zeus. But he tricked her into marrying him – much like in a Regency romance where any kind of unwanted sexual advance was rewarded with marriage – and she stayed a faithful, if vengeful, wife. Zeus was never faithful, of course. Though some say that she was jealous of Zeus having these many affairs, resulting in over a hundred children, and taking out her rage on the women – Leto’s labour was prolonged by months – it can be argued that she was merely acting out as a woman wronged so many times by the same man. And as marriage is about fidelity, it was her duty to make sure others respected it.

Hera is a bold, clever, powerful woman who is usually dressed in a fine robe, holding a sceptre and wearing a crown. She is sometimes seen holding a pomegranate, the emblem of fertility.

Her sacred animals are the cow and peacock, though she’s also connected with horses, lions and cuckoos.

Time, and a lot of stories about her vengeful nature – especially regarding Hercules – has left her as merely the pretty and petty wife of Zeus. But clearly there’s much more to her.

Hera in Modern Culture

Disney’s Hercules

Hera is the Queen of the Gods, the wife of Zeus and the biological mother of Hercules in Disney‘s 1997 animated feature film Hercules.

Hera appears on Olympus with Zeus as they celebrate the birth of their newborn son, Hercules. She appears to be somewhat overprotective of him, as evidenced when she objects to her husband Zeus letting the newborn Hercules play with his thunderbolts. She also suggests that Zeus provide a gift from themselves to Hercules, resulting in Zeus creating Pegasus.

Hera appears in the series watching over Hercules along with Zeus. In the episode “Hercules and the Tiff on Olympus“, it is shown that Hera can become extremely bitter with her husband when he forgets things such as their anniversary despite having a loving relationship with Zeus. Hera does not seem to be as unfriendly to Hades as the other gods in the series, as shown when she persuaded Zeus to attend Hades’ pool party.

Learn more here.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys TV series

Hera is the Queen of the Olympian gods and the sister/wife of Zeus. Hera is Hercules’ jealous stepmother. Hera has many followers where some of them pray to her for help in defeating Hercules.

Hera, the Queen of the Olympians Gods, is the wife of Zeus, making her queen of the Olympians. Aside from her duties as Queen, Hera is known as the Goddess of Women and Marriage. Both the peacock and the cow are sacred to her and she would often appear in the disguise of a peacock.

Learn more here.
Hera’s eyes. Image credit
Hera. Image credit

Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan

Hera is the Greek goddess of Goddess of Women, Marriage, Childbirth and Familial love. She is the youngest daughter of Rhea and Kronos, as well as the older sister and wife of Zeus, therefore being the Queen of Olympus. Her Roman counterpart is Juno.

After hearing Hephaestus tell the story of how Hera threw him from Olympus and realizing how Hera was dismissive of Nico, Annabeth accuses Hera of only wanting a perfect family and claims that the goddess doesn’t care about her older brother, Hades’ side of the family. Hera responds with rage and states that Annabeth will regret being so disrespectful towards her. She proceeds to curse Annabeth with her sacred animals, causing cows to bother her all year by having them defecate everywhere.

Hera claims that her jealous behavior is all in the past now and that she and Zeus have received some excellent marriage counseling. Nevertheless, when Percy mentions Thalia, Hera casts a dangerous look and refers to the daughter of Zeus with a sneer.

Learn more here.

Hera in My Writing

Origin of the Fae: Hera

Hera is the goddess of the heavens, wife of Zeus, mother of few, adversary of many, and worshipped by thousands – especially women needing her aid. She doesn’t tolerate fools, those who don’t respect marriage, or anyone who abuses women and children. She is fond of peacocks and have many living in her private garden. She’s still faithful to her irascible husband, though she prefers distance between them – time has made her think of murder plenty of times.

See her in action:

Origin of Irascible Immortals (Origin of the Fae #7)

What do you think of Hera? Where did you hear about Hera for the first time? Any folklore about Hera you’d like to share? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to the subject.

You can now support my time in producing folklore posts (researching, writing and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion.

*If you have difficulty commenting, check that you’ve ticked the data use block beneath the comment before leaving your comment. (Protecting your privacy per regulations.) If you’re still unable to comment, try enabling all cookies in your browser. On a device, like a tablet, go to settings, find your browser (eg Chrome), and uncheck “prevent cross-site tracking” AND “block all cookies.”

Want a taste of my writing? Sign up to my newsletter and get your free copy of Unseen, Faery Tales #2.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
fairy
image credit https://pixabay.com/illustrations/ai-generated-fairy-wings-magic-8121013/

No-one writes about the fae like Ronel Janse van Vuuren.

2 thoughts on “Queen of the Gods: Hera #folklore #AtoZChallenge”

  1. I always hated that Hera took her anger out on other women instead of banding together with them to teach Zeus a lesson. Admittedly, if men were the one’s writing down all those stories, they would presumably rather see women keep each other down and never question a man’s right to do whatever he wants. Sigh.
    Alphabet of Alphabets: Quadrupeds

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *