Hera is the goddess of women, marriage, family, and childbirth in ancient Greek religion and myth, one of the Twelve Olympians and the sister and wife of Zeus. She is the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Hera rules over Mount Olympus as queen of the gods. A matronly figure, Hera served as both the patroness and protectress of married women, presiding over weddings and blessing marital unions. One of Hera's defining characteristics is her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus' numerous lovers and illegitimate offspring, as well as the mortals who cross her.
Hera is commonly seen with the animals she considers sacred, including the cow, lion and the peacock. 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 hold a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. 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."
Her Roman counterpart is Juno.
According to legend; Hera was one of the six children born to the Titan Rhea and her husband, the Titan Kronos. Unfortunately Kronos received a prophecy that foretold that he would be overthrown by one of his children; much like he himself had overthrown his own father Ouranos.
To prevent this from occurring, Kronos took the extreme step of swallowing each of his children when they were born. Hera along with her other sisters siblings of Hestia and Demeter and her brothers Hades and Poseidon all shared in that same tragic fate.
Then she and her other siblings were freed through the actions of Kronos and Rhea's sixth and last child; Zeus who escaped this fate thanks to Rhea's trickery. Zeus secretly fed Kronos' a mixture that forced him to regurgitate his swallowed brothers and sisters including Hera who thanks to their divine immortality, survived and actually grew to adulthood imprisoned within their own father. Along with her siblings, Hera would align against the Titans and ultimately proved victorious.
Her brother Zeus would subsequently emerge as the King of the Olympians and the Ruler of the Skies. He would go on to have several affairs and marriages with other Goddesses before Hera caught his eye. She was originally not receptive to his advances but it is said that he assumed the form of a cuckoo bird fleeing from a terrible storm. Taking pity on the bird, Hera shielded it and was caught off guard when Zeus reassumed his true form and seduced her (or raped her depending on several accounts). They were subsequently married and Hera became the Queen of the Gods.
However, Zeus' wandering eye has led him to have numerous affairs with even mortal women. The result of these unions have produced a number of heroic offspring including the legendary Herakles. Hera would also bear a number of children although accounts differ as to whether or not these children were fathered by Zeus; some accounts proclaim that Hera out of spite from Zeus' numerous infidelities would create her children without him and using her own godly powers to impregnate herself. Her known children include Ares the God of War, Hebe the Goddess of Youth, and Hephaestus the God of Fire and Metalworking.
Hera has often been portrayed as being jealously vindictive towards Zeus' infidelities in numerous myths; often subjecting Zeus' lovers and their children to any manner of petty acts of revenge. Her wrath is so well known that Herakles was originally known as Alcaeus until his mortal mother tried to appease Hera by renaming him "Hera-kles" which means "the Glory of Hera".
However her attempt failed and instead Hera would continue to torment the legendary hero for much of his life and was indirectly responsible for sending him off on his most famous quest, "The Twelve Labors of Herakles" which cemented his mythic stature much to her frustration as Hera continually created impossible tasks for him to complete. It is said that Hera ultimately ended her grudge against Herakles when he became a God and married Hera's daughter Hebe.
As goddess of marriage and queen of the gods, Hera grew angry over Zeus' cheating on her with mortals of all beings considering each time a direct insult. Hera was a very jealous Goddess and Zeus gave her plenty of opportunities to make her jealous. Whenever she discovered Zeus had been unfaithful to her Hera would take out her anger on either the female involved or if there was a child as a result she may put a curse on the child. Depending how angry she was she may even curse both the female and the child. Hera’s anger and wrath would be taken out of other Goddess or mortals. Hera was a beautiful Goddess but she was known for her jealous and vengeful nature. Paris chose Aphrodite as the most beautiful Goddess and Hera hated Paris for that.
Hera is portrayed as a royal, stately, serious woman. She was very powerful and Zeus was the only one that could stand up to her.
Hera has long been a mortal enemy of Hercules, tormenting him from the day he was born to modern times. Aside from the usual problems she has with Zeus's children Hercules has earned her particular enmity. Athena tricked her into nursing him as a babe where he bit down on her breast so hard she threw him a way and it created the Milky Way. Supposedly some of his godly powers come form this. Hera resents Hercules serving as the champion of Olympus over her son Ares. According to Athena's plan, Hercules rid the Earth of monsters and ushered in an era of reason ridding humanity of needing the gods and encouraging disobedience.
Hera tormented Hercules throughout his mortal life. Hera attempted to kill Hercules in his crib by sending two snakes to poison him, but they were killed when the young godling used his strength to strangle them. Later she sent a fit of madness on him to murder his own family and force the twelve labors upon him. Following his death and ascension to godhood, Zeus wed Hercules to Hera's favorite daughter Hebe, goddess of youth, in an attempt to bring peace between them.
In modern times Hera has continued to conspire to destroy Hercules or at least make him as miserable as possible. Among her plots were having Hercules fall in love only for it to be revealed all to be fake on her part and resurrecting Hercules' ancient enemy Eurystheus to lure Hercules into another set of twelve labors to embarrass him further. Zeus has done little to stop her or punish her for her actions.
One of Hera's more benevolent acts was to aide the Avengers when Zeus believed they were responsible for Hercules sustaning brain damage. It is hard to tell if she did this out of fear of the madness Zeus had entered which was leading him to lash out at everyone or if she did not wish for females such as the Wasp to be punished unjustly.
Following the death of Zeus. Hera came into possession of his lightning bolt and made a bit to seize control of the Olympian Group, the name the Olympian pantheon had taken on Earth, and pursue her vendetta's against those she felt had wronged her including Athena and Hercules. With Zeus's thunderbolt she has gained some of his political power to command the other gods and the ability to produce and control lighting. Among her first acts were to expel all of Zeus's illegitimate children and form a small army from Olympian monsters and "pure blood" Olympians including Pluto, the Huntsman, Typhon, and Delphyne. She attempted to kill Athena and Hercules with her allies, but was interrupted when the Dark Avengers interceded thinking Hera was conspiring against them. Hera came to an understanding with Osborn. She banished Hebe for altering the Dark Avengers and saving Hercules. She plans to introduce a product called "Continuum" that has even Osborn scared.
Current events: Enraged by Zeus infidelity she went to Zola's home, and transformed some horses into monsters to attack Zola and have her killed. Her reason for wanting Zola dead is because the young girl is pregnant with Zeus child.
Hera's rage rose to new heights when it was revealed that Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, also had a child with Zeus; namely Diana. In the middle of a violent storm, Hera descended upon Themyscira to meet Hippolyta face to face. During their conversation Hippolyta reveals regret that her actions has put a divide between them and one between herself and Diana. Hera on the other hand reveals how frustrated she is with Zeus, his antics and her own situation, demanding to know what it was all these mortal women had that she did not before the Amazons appear, ready to fight her over Hippolyta. Hippolyta on the other hand knows the outcome before it happens but still asks for forgiveness, Hera wished it could be otherwise but ends the confrontation with turning Hippolyta to stone and the Amazons into snakes.
Later Hera enlists the help of some of Zeus' other bastard children, Apollo and Artemis, to find Zola and bring her to Hera. In exchange for this Hera would not oppose Apollo's claim to the Throne of Olympus, thinking that if anything Zeus would return instantly it was threatened. But as Zeus did not return, Apollo stripped her of her godly status and powers before banishing her to Earth.
Now only human, Hera is the tolerated guest of Diana, who hopes that if Hera can be restored to power, then the goddess will see fit to undo the damage she's done to the Amazons. This sits ill with Zola, who has attacked Hera twice since she was depowered, but the hostilities appear to be slowing down, leading only to childish fights over a TV-remote. Whenever this will continue to be the case remains to be seen.
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