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Fast Facts on: Hera

Greek goddess of marriage


Temple of Hera in Paestum
Buena Vista Images/The Image Bank/Getty Images
More than just the wife of Zeus, Hera was a prominent goddess in early Greek history and prehistory. Here's a quick introduction to this beautiful and powerful Greek goddess.

Hera's Appearance: A young beautiful woman, said to be the most beautiful of all goddesses, even beating out legendary Aphrodite.

Hera's Symbol or Attribute:The peacock.

Hera's Strengths: Determined defender of the sanctity of marriage and monogamy.

Hera's Weaknesses:Determined defender of the sanctity of marriage and monogamy - but married Zeus.

Birthplace:Said to be born on the island of Samos or at Argos.

Parents:Born of the Titans Rhea and Kronos.

Siblings Zeus, Hestia, Demeter, Hades, and Poseidon. What a family!

Spouse: Zeus, King of the Gods.

Hera's Children: With Zeus, Ares.
Hephaestus, usually said to be by Zeus, but sometimes by Hera alone through a mysterious process. Her daughters were Hebe, goddess of health, and Eileithyia, the Cretan goddess of childbirth. Also, by herself, Typhon, the serpent of Delphi.

Some Major Temple Sites: The island of Samos was said to be where Zeus and Hera spent the first secret three hundred years of their marriage, making this the longest honeymoon on record.

Basic Story:Zeus was the brother of Hera, who fell in love with him from the first moment she saw him, and eventually got a love charm from Aphrodite to seal the deal. She is very relationship-oriented and spends much of her time driving off Zeus's innumerable nymphs, mistresses, and other dalliances. She also sometimes torments the offspring of those unions, especially Hercules. To her credit, she's gorgeous and kept Zeus busy on his honeymoon on Samos for three hundred years, so she rightfully wonders why on earth he needs to go anywhere else. When she's really fed up, she wanders off by herself, always hoping Zeus will miss her and seek her, usually eventually relenting and returning without being so sought.

Interesting Fact:Hera is said to restore her virginity each year by bathing in Kanathos, a sacred spring near Nauplia in the Argolid region of Greece. One tale suggests Hera used magic to force Zeus into marrying her in a secret ceremony. Given some of Zeus's later behavior, perhaps it was a secret even from him. Other tales have Zeus seducing her, in the form of a damp cuckoo bird seeking refuge in her lap during a storm.

In Roman mythology, Hera is considered equivalent to Juno.

More Fast Facts on Greek Gods and Goddesses:

The 12 Olympians - Gods and Goddesses - Greek Gods and Goddesses - Temple Sites - Aphrodite - Apollo - Ares - Artemis - Athena - Demeter- Gaia - Hades - Helios - Hephaestus- Hera - Hercules - Hermes - Kronos - Medusa - Nike - Pan- Pandora - Pegasus - Persephone - Zeus.

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