Hera is the goddess of marriage, women, birth, and family in Greek mythology. She is also the queen of the gods, the wife of Zeus. Apparently, Zeus fell in love with her at first sight but she refused his marriage proposal. Refusing to give up so easily, he turned himself into a cuckoo bird (knowing that Hera loved animals) and pretended to be in trouble. Feeling pity for the small creature, Hera held the poor creature to her breast. Zeus transformed back into himself and she agreed to be his wife out of shame. Their marriage, though, was anything but a happy one. Zeus was a womanizer and fathered many children with many women, to Hera’s intense jealousy, and she would often go after these poor women and their offspring with vengeance.
Hera and Zeus had several children together, including Ares (god of war), Eileithyia (goddess of childbirth), Hebe (goddess of youth), and Hera is the mother of Hephaestus, god of fire and the forge, whom she bore on her own without Zeus’s help when he gave birth to Athena through his head.
Some symbols of Hera are the cuckoo bird, peacocks, pomegranates, the scepter and the diadem, as well as the cow, the lion, the apple tree, the willow, the fig, the myrrh, lily, and the orange tree.
Although the etymology behind the name Hera is uncertain, it’s often been associated with Ancient Greek hora ὥρᾱ (time, season) or heros ἥρως (hero, warrior), perhaps in reference to her as a protectress. It’s also possibly the name likely originated from a pre-Greek source.
Meaning: uncertain though it’s been linked to Ancient Greek hora “time, season” or heros “hero, warrior”
Usage: Ancient Greek
- Era (Italian)
- Héra (French, Hungarian, Czech
- Ira (Modern Greek)