The Greek goddess Hera

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statue of goddess Hera
The Goddess Hera was the Queen of the Gods
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In Greek mythology, Hera was the Goddess of marriage and childbirth, Protector of married women and Queen of the gods

As the Roman Empire expanded, it assimilated elements of the cultures it conquered. In religion this process has been called interpretatio Romana, or the Roman understanding. When Roman and Greek culture mixed after the Romans conquered ancient Greece in the 3rd century BCE, ancient Roman gods and goddesses became associated with those of the Greek civilization.

Hera is a title given to this ancient Goddess by the Greeks; it means "Lady". She is depicted as a young lady, fully clad and of stunning beauty. She is often is wearing a high, cylindrical crown. She was born, according to the Summarians, in the isle of Samos on the banks of the river Imbrasos near a water willow which still existed in the days of Pausanais. According to stories of the time, she was either raised by Macris or by the daughters of the river of Asterion. Her childhood was spent on the isle of Euboa.

According to legend, the first encounter between Hera and her husband Zeus, king of all the gods, was in the region of the Hesperides. Hera was not responding to his attempts to seduce her so he resorted to trickery that appealed to Hera's nurturing side. It was winter and Zeus turned himself into a cuckoo that appeared to be frozen from the cold. Hera, feeling sorry for the bird turned to her motherly instincts as she held the bird tightly to her breast to warm it. Zeus then turned himself back into his normal shape and took advantage of Hera's surprised state. Unable to fight him off, Hera was raped and then persuaded to marry him to cover her shame.

During the sacrifice that took place before the marriage, Hera was associated with Artemis and with the Morai. They both received the cuttings of hair that young girls sacrificed before them before a ceremony of matrimony. On the day of Hera's wedding, Aphrodite joined them and brought Hermes, Peitho, and Charites.

In Greek mythology, Hera was the queen of the gods, the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea, and the sister and wife of the god Zeus. Hera was the goddess of marriage and the protector of married women. She was the mother of Ares, god of war; Hephaestus, god of fire; Hebe, goddess of youth; and Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth.

Hera was a jealous wife, who often persecuted Zeus's mistresses and children. She never forgot an injury and was known for her vindictive nature. Since Hera was goddess of marriage, she was often angry with her philandering husband Zeus. According to mythology, Hera is described as very jealous. She persecuted Hercules because Zeus was his father, but another woman - Alcmene - was his mother. Hera persecuted many of the other women Zeus seduced in one way or another.

Hera's vindictive nature was taken out on other goddesses as well. Antigone, daughter of Laomedon, once boasted about having hair more beautiful than her. Hera then turned Antigone's hair into serpents.

It is said that the reason the Hera had sided with the Trojans in the Trojan War was because she had lost a beauty contest where she competed against Aphrodite and Athena. Paris was the judge. Paris refused to give her the prize even after she attempted to bribe him with promises of world sovereignty.

Angry with the Trojan prince Paris for preferring Aphrodite, Goddess of love, to herself, Hera aided the Greeks in the Trojan War and was not appeased until Troy was finally destroyed. Hera also became known as the protectress of Argo. She guided him through the narrow rocks of Cynea as well as those of Scylla and Charybdis. Hera's symbol is known to be the peacock, whose plumage was said to represent the eyes of Argos, the watcher.

Zeus was the king of Hellenistic heaven, taking the guise of the bull (symbol of potency). Hera, in turn, was cow-eyed. There is speculation that "Cow-Eyed" Hera may have been the first sacred cow. From there, she became known as "Earth Mother". The Greek Goddess Hera is often identified with the Roman goddess Juno.

The Greek Gods did not provide man with a moral code, but only a reason for the whims of fate. Greeks sought the gods' favor through ritual and sacrifice. Divine sanction was invoked for oaths, marriages, and every other enterprise. Greek Mythology lives on in art, poetry, and drama. Their noble themes, rousing tales and delightful fantasies have given the gods immortality. There are countless other goddesses, like the Greek Goddess Persephone, who, according to legend, lived very interesting lives.

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