Hawk, Cuckoo, Peacock, Diadem and Lotus-tipped Staff
Hera was the Olympian queen of the gods and the goddess of women and marriage. She was also a goddess of the sky and starry heavens. She was usually depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a crown and holding a royal, lotus-tipped staff. Sometimes she held a royal lion or had a cuckoo or hawk as her familiar.
Hera was, according to some accounts, the eldest daughter of Cronos and Rhea, and a sister of Zeus. Apollodorus however, calls Hestia the eldest daughter of Cronos; and Lactantius calls her a twin-sister of Zeus. According to the Homeric poems, she was brought up by Oceanus and Tethys, as Zeus had usurped the throne of Cronos; and afterwards she became the wife of Zeus, without the knowledge of her parents. After accepting Zeus, Gaia gave Hera the golden apples of immortality as a wedding gift, which she placed in her garden at the western edge of the world. Hera employed the Hesperides, daughters of Atlas, to guard the tree, but as the nymphs would occasionally pluck an apple from the tree themselves, she also placed a one hundred headed dragon named Ladon there as well. This orchard was later named The Garden of the Hesperides.
Respecting the real significance of Hera, the ancients themselves offer several interpretations: some regarded her as the personification of the atmosphere, others as the queen of heaven or the goddess of the stars or as the goddess of the moon and she is even confounded with Ceres, Diana, and Proserpina. According to modern views, Hera is the great goddess of nature, who was every where worshipped from the earliest times. The Romans identified their goddess Juno with the Greek Hera.
Her character is not of a very amiable kind, and its main features are jealousy, obstinacy, and a quarrelling disposition, which sometimes makes her own husband tremble. Hence there arise frequent disputes between Hera and Zeus; and on one occasion Hera, in conjunction with Poseidon and Athena, contemplated putting Zeus into chains. Zeus, in such cases, not only threatens, but beats her; and once he even hung her up in the clouds, her hands chained, and with two anvils suspended from her feet. Hence she is frightened by his threats, and gives way when he is angry; and when she is unable to gain her ends in any other way, she has recourse to cunning and intrigues. Thus she borrowed from Aphrodite the girdle, the giver of charm and fascination, to excite the love of Zeus. By Zeus she was the mother of Ares, Hebe, Eileithyia and Hephaestus.
When Eris threw the Apple of Discord into the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, bearing the inscription "for the fairest," Hera was one of the candidates to claim it. Paris, prince of Troy, was chosen to judge between the three most beautiful goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Hera offered Paris a reward if he chose her as the most beautiful, willing to give him rule over Europe and Asia. She lost however, to Aphrodite, because of the bribe the goddess of love had offered Paris ( the love of the most beautiful woman in Greece, Helen). Hera engaged along with Athena on the Greek's side in the Trojan War in revenge against Paris for rejecting them. </div></center>
It is unknown what kind of supernatural powers Hera possesses. In the Labyrinth she makes food appear out of thin air, like Dionysus and Hestia can. As queen of the gods, she seems to wield authority over the entire Earth, and was able to offer Paris kingship over all mortal countries if he chose her as the most beautiful goddess instead of Athena or Aphrodite. She also caused all land masses to shun Leto while she was in labour with two of Zeus's illegitimate children, Apollo and Artemis. She is the goddess of marriage, and might have the ability to bless marriages, or curse them if she is crossed. She is the goddess of motherhood, and might be able to affect fertility (Although this seems unlikely as she likely would have affected that of Zeus' mistresses to prevent any illegitimate children). Hera is goddess of both the skies and the earth, having dominance over both. Hera presumably possesses the standard powers of a god.
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