Olympos: Hera, the jealous mother

358px-Hera_Campana_Louvre_Ma2283Studio Tablinum: this month I want to tell the fascinating story of another greek godness of the Pantheon: Hera.

Who exactly was this deity? Why she suffered so much  because of her husband Zeus? Something you may have guessed by the previous article dedicated to the father of gods.

Hera , as well as the bride of the divine father of the gods , she was alsohis sister, daughter of the divine Cronus and Rhea . Unanimously considered the greatest female deity .

Like her brother Zeus she also had the misfortune of having as father Cronus that swallowed his children. Era was saved thanks to the rebellion of his younger brother, who freed  her from the belly of his father. She grew up in harmony with the two gods of second generation of Titans, Oceanus and Tethys,   famous for being the ancestors of the Homeric hero Achilles.

matrimonioLater, she  lived into the garden of the Hesperides, where she married her brother Zeus.  The marriage  was ratified by all the gods and, for the happy event, the goddess Gaea had grow a tree from the beautiful golden apples, which later Heracles and Odysseus in their pilgrimages were able to appreciate.

The love between these two deities was at the center of gossip divine , between betrayals, deceptions and revenge, even brutal.

Being Hera the goddess of marital fidelity, as well as the wedding, you ‘ll understand that something does not right. Probably, since Zeus fallen in love with her even at the time when Cronus ruled over the Titans, he wanted to make her pay for waiting  so long his love, by making betrayals against her everywhere.

The mother of the gods that comes from the ancient texts was described as austere and icy-She was sitting on the divine throne wearing the crown, holding one of His favorite symbols, the pomegranate and enjoyed the company of a “royal” animal: a beautiful peacock. It was was defined by the Homer: the cow-eyed goddess, Because Of her famous sweet gaze.

era disinibitaReally I like to imagine Hera not so “passive”:  we will discover  soon the cause of that.

The relationship between Hera and Zeus begins with a ‘ deception: The Father of gods  saw the beautiful woman walking alone and pensive in Esperides Garden. Immediatly he fell in love with her, and he decided to rape her . He decided to turn into a bird, a cuckoo,he was affixed to the top of a mountain, and  was triggering a violent storm. Under the guise of that animal he took refuge into the arms of the goddess that trying to warm up the poor animal. Suddenly the villain appeared in its real forms, raped Hera.

We can draw a moral, maybe is old as the world, but always present: never trust in men who presented Himself under Certain pretenses, may conceal other.

Era disinibita IIHera, choleric wife, does not fail to take revenge on her faithless husband. At the expense  was the  beautiful girl Io,  seduced by the Father of the gods, by a stratagem: to avoid being caught by his wife, the god turned the young girl into a cow and turned him into a bull. Hera discovered the stratagem and she  instructed a gadfy to  chase the beautiful Io until her arrival in Egypt, where Zeus allowed her to regain his human form.

This betrayal caused the beautiful color of the peacock’s tail: the god Hermes, under orders from Zeus, killed the guardian Argus with a hundred eyes, put by Hera as a guard over the girl  Io,

In order to prevent further betrayal by Zeus. When  Argo  was killed, its eyes were placed on the tail of the peacock consecrated to Hera. Even the name of the strait between Europe and Asia , the Bosphorus , is to be attributed to this mythical story : Even the name of the strait that separates Europe and Asia, that today we call the Bosphorus, is to be attributed to this mythical event: in the attempt to escape the persecution of the the gadfly, the poor girl went through that strait that from that moment took the name of Bos-foros, ” that mena in greek  “passage of the cow”.

It also assigns a similarity between the Egyptian goddess Isis and the girl, because, from the union between Zeus and Io  was born Epaphus, king of Egypt, which has been attributed to the construction of the city of Thebes.

It is thought that the mother Io became a godess of the city: is concealed behind the figure of Isis, the Egyptian goddess indeed wearing two horns of beef on the head in which is placed a sparkling sun.

Hypnos_Sonno_2Between Zeus and his wife, there was a sort of constant competition based on mutual teasing and tricks. One of the most famous is handed down from the pages of the most well-known poem of Greek literature, the Iliad. It is told that that when Zeus from his throne, ruling that none of the gods had to influence the outcome of the Trojan War, remaining neutral, leaving the men to the things of men, Hera and her brother,  Poseidon showed to have different ideas: their will was in fact to take an active part in the battle between the Achaeans and Trojans.

So Hera decided to disobey the orders of Zeus, playing the weapon of seduction.

tre grazieShe borrowed the belt from the goddess Aphrodite, which contained all the love in the world. The goddess began one of his most beautiful clothes and, to complete the cunning, she went to the god Hypnos * which asked the favor of your husband to fall asleep immediately after lying with her, to convince Hypnos, he promised grant the hand of one of the three Graces *, the beautiful Pasitea.

So the loving combat ready, she showed up to Zeus that he could not resist some of her and fell asleep.

Since that time the gods were free to side with one or the other hand, influencing the outcome of the battles between Trojans and Achaeans. We have this mythological episode drowsiness male performance post? Who knows how to give an answer to these mysteries?

One of these deceptions however cost Hera treatment really humiliating revenge for Zeus, hung a cloud and put her ankles two anvils that prevented her movements completely. We can try to imagine the screams and laughter of derision from others, not merciful, Olympians.

IssioneEven Hera was seduced by other suitors. Unlike Zeus was always too austere and modest life and never yielded to their advances. In one episode was sardonic. The unfortunate Ixion, king of Thessaly, fell in love with her, but Hera he was bothered by rough nature of the same. To punish him for such a daring, she created a cloud in his likeness. Ixion not realizing the deception, the father of the cloud of fabulous creatures: centaurs, half man and half horse. After the man mocked for his great folly, Hera ordered Hermes to punish him tying him to a wheel. Since then, the poor Ixion wheel forever without finding peace.

TiresiaAlways indisposed to accept defeat, the mother of the gods, became capricious when it was contradicted. The poor diviner Tiresias Theban * was the victim of these tantrums. Convened in the presence of Zeus and Hera, he was asked to determine who of the two had more pleasure in their bed. Tiresias replied that, because of his personal vicissitudes, the woman was to derive greater benefit. Hera angered because of the unseemly response, the soothsayer touched on the face, making it blind.

Hera took vengeance with the illegitimate children of Zeus:

Eracle nella cullaThe most famous victim of Hera is the demigod hero Heracles, who carries in his name as a joke “conducive to Hera”, we say that only during the apotheosis of the hero, Hera, made ​​peace with him really. Before he made ​​his earthly life difficult, from the cradle, when he sent two snakes. Then she brought upon him the very famous twelve labors, and finally with the madness that led Heracles to kill their children. Not being able to damage Zeus, had to pay a high price for his son. Provvedette the father of the gods on Olympus to reward Heracles making it rise, after his own death.

Semele ZeusOther events shed a light  mysterious and cruel on Hera, as the punishment inflicted on the mother of Dionysus, Semele. With a trick Zeus, Hera did appear in all its majesty in Semele who, unable to bear the sight of the divine father, died instantly incinerated.

Even tried, for the usual jealousy, to prevent the birth of Apollo and Artemis.

He went so far as to advise you to kill Callisto, a beautiful nymph of the woods and hunting companion of Artemis, because of the son of Zeus who was carrying. To protect her from the wrath of Hera, Zeus turned Callisto into a bear.

In this episode we saw how regal and majestic god as Hera suffers the influence of jealousy and sometimes become cruel.

The only excuse for a husband difficult to “control” … The next month will discover the most charming and fascinating deity of the Pantheon: Aphrodite.

 Alessandro Cerioli


* God of sleep, the son of Erebus and brother of Thanatos.

* Goddess of beauty and nature, live in Olympus with the Muses.

* The fortune-teller  of Theban lived ambe two conditions for women and men , Zeus gave him the gift of foresight and long life.