Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Image from wikimedia

Hera, Queen of Mount Olympus, was both sister and wife to Zeus. This goddess was the overseer of women and marriage, as well as the sky and starry heavens.

Jealous of her philandering husband's liaisons, she took revenge on his chosen ones. Hera pursued the pregnant Leto without mercy, driving her from the land and obliging her to give birth to the twins Aphrodite and Apollo on a floating island in the sea.

The mortal Semele suffered a worse fate. On discovering that she was expecting Zeus's child, Hera tricked the girl into begging the god to show himself to her in his full glory. This proved lethal. As Hera expected, Semele was consumed by his dazzling lightning bolts. However, her unborn son Dionysus was saved.

Hera could be vain as well as wrathful. One of the three most beautiful goddesses, she featured in the story of the Judgment of Paris. It began at a wedding celebration from which Eris the trouble maker was excluded. In revenge, she sowed discord and induced Athena, Aphrodite and Hera all to lay claim to a golden apple which Eris had inscribed To the Fairest.

After arguing, the three asked Zeus to judge among them, but he wisely delegated this task to the mortal Prince of Troy. Paris chose Aphrodite, bribed by her promises to give him the lovely Helen, already married to King Menelaus in Sparta. Helen's subsequent abduction by Paris led to the Trojan war.

Of course Hera was outraged when she was not chosen, and subsequently became the enemy of Troy (also known as Ilium, from Homer) helping the Greeks to vanquish the city.

No comments:

Post a Comment