Hera Greek Goddess of Marriage

Hera Greek goddess of marriage was the wife of Zeus and, as such, the queen of all the gods.

She was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea and just like her brothers and sisters (except Zeus) she was swallowed by her father. Of course, as we know, she was later disgorged by him. Her siblings were Hestia, Demetra, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus.

When Zeus was fighting against the Titans, Rhea wanted to protect Hera, that's why she was sent to Oceanus and Thetys, who brought her up. Years later, when the two had a fight, Hera helped them reconcile. Being grateful to them, she also raised the Nereid Thetis, who was Oceanus and Thetys' granddaughter.

When she grew up, she married Zeus in secret, without her parents' knowledge. After a while, they celebrated their solemn wedding, and many cities in ancient Greece claimed to be the place where the sacred wedding (hieros gamos) took place. Anyway, each year the wedding of Hera Greek goddess of marriage and Zeus was celebrated throughout all Greece and her statues were adorned like a bride.

Another version about her marriage to Zeus goes like this: her brother was in love with her for 300 years. When he saw he had no chance with her, he transformed into a cuckoo. When Hera saw the poor bird shivering in the rain, she took it and put it near her breast, but then the cuckoo turned into Zeus again. That's why one of Hera's symbols is the cuckoo bird.

Everyone brought gifts at the wedding of Zeus and Hera. Gaea brought her a tree with golden apples, which Hera liked so much, that she planted it in a garden near Mount Atlas. At first, a serpent guarded them, but Hercules killed him. Hera put the serpent in the sky, and turned it into a constellation. After that the Hesperides guarded the garden, which took its name from them: the garden of the Hesperides.

Hera was the last one of Zeus' wives (that is, after he married her, he didn't have the courage to leave her. Also, their children were not a threat to him - Zeus had "left" (i.e. eaten) Metis because he was told that if he had a son with her, the son would be more powerful than his father.)

Being the wife of the ruler of the gods, Hera Greek goddess of marriage was respected by all gods and goddesses. She was also considered the goddess of women.

She was worshipped all over Greece and her temples (called

Heraion) were among the oldest, the biggest and the most beautiful. There were temples dedicated to her at Samos, Argos, Perachora, Olympia, Corynth, Tyrins, Delos (these are in modern Greece), Lucania, Paestum, Selinunte (these are in modern Italy). At the temple in Samos they found votive offerings from other countries (Iran, Babylon, Assyria, Egypt), which mean that this sanctuary was very famous, if pilgrims from so many countries went there.

Hera Greek goddess of marriage was said to be beautiful, even more beautiful than Aphrodite. One of the epithetes used for her is "Boopis", that is "the cow-eyed". She was also called "Hera of the white arms". She was represented as a mature woman, queenly and dignified, with a high cylindrical crown on hear head and a veil on her shoulders, which represented her veil as a bride. In her hand she held a pomegranate, symbol of both life and death.

Zeus and Hera's children are said to be four: Ares, the god of war, Hephaestus, the god of the crafts, Hebe, the goddess of youth and cupbearer of the gods, and Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth. But of course there are several versions about which of them were really their kids, because some say Hephaestus was only Hera's, and others say all the children were "produced" only by Hera, by beating her hand on the Earth.

Click here to read more about the relationship between Zeus and Hera Greek goddess of marriage - were they really living on cloud nine? (Sorry, I just couldn't resist)

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