Friday, August 02, 2013

Hera / Juno

As one of the children of Cronus, the former ruler of the universe, Hera was never likely to be satisfied with second place, yet she played second-fiddle as the wife of her brother Zeus. She was, however, hardly a subservient wife, except on those occasions when Zeus was able to coerce her into submission with threats of domestic violence. And well she might have been frightened: her husband had once hung her from the summit of Olympus by her wrists with her feet weighted down by anvils. Most often, however, her anger was directed at the various lovers and illegitimate children of Zeus rather than at the god himself.
Heracles, the greatest of Zeus' mortal offspring, was the most persistently persecuted until he died. After he was made immortal, Hera gave him her daughter Hebe as wife. Unlike her husband, she took no lovers. At the same time she was capable of having children without him.

Her response to his production of Athena out of his own head, though only after intercourse with the goddess Metis, was to give birth to Hephaestus by parthenogenesis ("maidenbirth"), that is, entirely by herself. In a Roman take on this story, after Minerva appeared out of Jupiter's head, Flora gave Juno a magical herb to impregnate her with Mars.
By Susan Deacy, 30 Second Mythology


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