To devoted followers, she was a faithful wife and nurturing mother. To the rest, she was an evil goddess and a vengeful wife. No matter how you see her, Hera was the queen and chief goddess of Mount Olympus. Hera is the goddess of marriage and childbirth, which is ironic considering her husband Zeus repeatedly cheated on her and she killed many of his bastards. Though known for such horrible things, Hera remained loyal to her husband. She had worshippers all over Greece, but Hera’s main temples were built in Argos, Sparta, and Mycenae. Roman mythology worshipped her as Juno and as Uni in Etruscan mythology. Let’s get started with these 70 facts about Hera, the Queen Goddess of Olympus!
Hera means “queen”
She is a chief goddess in Olympus, sitting on the throne next to her husband Zeus. This is fitting because the name Hera means “queen.” Other interpretations include “someone who is mature for marriage” as she is the goddess of marriage, “protectress” because she protects women from their unfaithful husbands, and “beloved” as she is the god of thunder’s wife.
She also had unpleasant nicknames
Called a vengeful wife and a hater of demigods, Hera had worse nicknames. Illiad author Homer called the goddess “ox-eyed” and cow-faced,” an ode to the cow, Hera’s sacred animal. On the other hand, the Spartans called her “goat-eater” because they always offered her goats. Though the nicknames sound like insults, they’re paying compliments to the goddess.
The goddess had several epithets under her name
To be Queen of Olympus is one thing, but to have several epithets is another. Hera earned a lot of epithets under her name for centuries. Some of her Greek epithets are Alexandros (defender of men), Hyperkheiria (Whose Hand is Above), and Teleia (the Accomplisher). Meanwhile, some of her English epithets include Bride of the Thunderer, Glorious Goddess, Golden-Throned, and Mistress of Animals.
Hera and her siblings were once devoured by their father
After overthrowing and succeeding his father Uranus, his mother Gaia warned Cronus that one of his sons will soon overthrow him. To make sure that the prophecy won’t come to fruition, he swallowed each of his children as soon as they were born.
To prevent this from happening again, his wife Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus. She fooled the Titan by wrapping a big stone in swaddling clothes before handing it to him. The god of thunder killed Cronus and freed his siblings from their father. Hera, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, and Poseidon came out of their father’s stomach as fully-dressed adults.
Two Titans brought her up
A Titan couple once stood as Hera’s foster parents. The goddess of the waters Tethys nursed and guided the goddess, while Hera looked up to the primordial god Oceanus for being a faithful husband. The goddess loved them dearly and they became her “models of matrimonial fidelity.”
Zeus tricked her into marriage
Seemingly unbelievable, Zeus tricked the goddess of marriage into one. The thunderer fell head over heels with the goddess, but she refused all of his proposals. Zeus had enough of it, and so transformed himself into a cuckoo bird. Hera noticed the freezing, so she cradled it in her bosom out of pity.
As soon as the goddess arrived home, Zeus revealed himself and made love to her. Some say the goddess fell in love immediately afterward, while some agreed that she married him “to cover her shame.”