Hera - Queen of the Gods in Greek Mythology

Hera Suckling the Baby Heracles. Apulian Red-Figure Squat Lekythos, c. 360-350, From Anzi.
Hera Suckling the Baby Heracles. Apulian Red-Figure Squat Lekythos, c. 360-350, From Anzi. © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

In Greek mythology, the beautiful goddess Hera was queen of the Greek gods and the wife of Zeus, the king. Hera was goddess of marriage and childbirth. Since Hera's husband was Zeus, king not only of gods, but of philanderers, Hera spent a lot of time in Greek mythology angry with Zeus. So Hera is described as jealous and quarrelsome.

Hera's Jealousy

Among the more famous victims of Hera's jealousy is Hercules (aka "Heracles," whose name means the glory of Hera). Hera persecuted the famous hero from before the time he could walk for the simple reason that Zeus was his father, but another woman -- Alcmene -- was his mother. Despite the fact that Hera was not Hercules' mother, and despite her hostile actions -- such as sending snakes to kill him when he was a newborn baby, she served as his nurse when he was an infant.

Hera persecuted many of the other women Zeus seduced, in one way or another.

" The anger of Hera, who murmured terrible against all child-bearing women that bare children to Zeus...."
Theoi Hera: Callimachus, Hymn 4 to Delos 51 ff (trans. Mair)
"Leto had relations with Zeus, for which she was hounded by Hera all over the earth."
Theoi Hera: Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 21 (trans. Aldrich)

Hera's Children

Hera is usually counted single parent mother of Hephaestus and the normal biological mother of Hebe and Ares. Their father is usually said to be her husband, Zeus, although Clark ["Who Was the Wife of Zeus?" by Arthur Bernard Clark; The Classical Review, (1906), pp. 365-378] explains the identities and births of Hebe, Ares, and Eiletheiya, goddess of childbirth, and sometimes named child of the divine couple, otherwise.

Clark argues that the king and queen of the gods had no children together.

  • Hebe may have been fathered by a lettuce. The association between Hebe and Zeus may have been sexual rather than familial.
  • Ares might have been conceived via a special flower from the fields of Olenus. Zeus' free admission of his paternity of Ares, Clark hints, may be only to avoid the scandal of being a cuckold.
  • On her own, Hera gave birth to Hephaestus.

Parents of Hera

Like brother Zeus, Hera's parents were Cronos and Rhea, who were Titans.

Roman Hera

In Roman mythology, the goddess Hera is known as Juno.

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Gill, N.S. "Hera - Queen of the Gods in Greek Mythology." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/hera-queen-of-gods-greek-mythology-111822. Gill, N.S. (2023, April 5). Hera - Queen of the Gods in Greek Mythology. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/hera-queen-of-gods-greek-mythology-111822 Gill, N.S. "Hera - Queen of the Gods in Greek Mythology." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/hera-queen-of-gods-greek-mythology-111822 (accessed June 1, 2023).