Wednesday, June 17, 2009


In the Olympian pantheon of classical Greek Mythology, Hera (pronounced /ˈhɪərə/ or /ˈhɛrə/, Greek Ήρα) or Here (Ήρη in Ionic and Homer) was the wife and older sister of Zeus. Hera is the Goddess of Childbirth and Marriage. In Roman mythology, Juno was the equivalent mythical character. Hera, wanting to set a good example to the gods, goddesses, and mortals, chose the cow as one of her emblems, because they are the most motherly of animals. Not wanting to be viewed as plain-looking like the cow, she also chose the peacock and the lion.

Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos (a high cylindrical crown worn by several of the Great Goddesses), Hera may bear a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. A scholar of Greek mythology Walter Burkert writes in Greek Religion, "Nevertheless, there are memories of an earlier aniconic representation, as a pillar in Argos and as a plank in Samos."

Hera was well known for her jealous and vengeful nature, most notably against Zeus's paramours and offspring, but also against mortals who crossed her, such as Pelias. Paris offended her by choosing Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess, earning Hera's hatred.