The Vengeful Nature of Hera – Queen of the Gods
In Ancient Greek mythology, it seems that the gods and goddesses were either virgins or they constantly cheated on each other. Zeus, the king of the gods, is especially known for his multiple romantic conquests. Hera, his wife and sister, is known for the jealous and vengeful nature that came about because of Zeus’s many infidelities.
Zeus Courts Hera
Zeus actively pursued Hera, who didn’t welcome his advances. After being denied several times, Zeus decided to trick her so that she could be with him. To do so, he turned into a cuckoo bird and pretended to be in distress so that she could find him and nurse him back to health.
Upon finding the injured bird, she lifted it up to her chest to comfort it. At that moment, Zeus changed back into his regular form and proceeded to rape her. Because she was shamed, she and Zeus got married almost immediately after the incident.
Since their marriage had its roots in this deceptive and violent act, it is possible that Hera always felt anger towards Zeus. After all, she turned him down when he initially pursued her.
The Revenge of Hera
Despite Hera’s jealous nature, Zeus continued to have both mortal and immortal lovers. However, rather than accept that Zeus was like this, she chose to retaliate. Here is a list of some of her more famous incidents. These are just some examples of the acts of revenge taken on Zeus’s lovers and children.
- Dionysus. After learning that Zeus slept with Persephone, Dionysus’s mother, Hera plotted to have him killed.
- Hercules. Hera’s hatred for Hercules, Zeus’s son by a mortal mother, is legendary. She caused him constant problems, which barely enabled him to succeed.
- Leto. She was one of Zeus’s conquests. When Hera found out she was pregnant, Hera made her an outcast. Poseidon took pity on her and hid her, enabling her to give birth to the twins, Artemis and Apollo.
- Lamia. Zeus deeply loved Lamia, who was the queen of Libya. When Hera found out, she turned Lamia into a monster.
- Lo. When Hera found out about Lo, one of Zeus’s lovers, she immediately set out to find her. Zeus tried to protect her by turning her into a heifer. When Hera found out, she demanded to receive the heifer as a gift. Eventually, Lo, in the form of a heifer, managed to escape. Some sources say she wandered to Egypt and became the goddess, Isis.
Despite the fact that he kept cheating on her, Zeus did appear to love her. Hera was beautiful and Zeus found that he loved her passionately. He was always honest with her about his indiscretions and he never quite understood why Hera would get so jealous.
Though Zeus claimed to have loved several of his lovers, he seemed to love Hera the most. However, did she love him back? Even though she had a reason to be angry with him, if she truly didn’t care for him, she may not have gone through all that trouble to seek revenge.
Categorized in: Greek Mythology
This post was written by Greek Boston