Who were Hera and Zeus?
Who were Hera and Zeus? Hera and Zeus were the husband and wife deities who ruled as King and Queen on Mount Olympus. Hera was also the sister of Zeus. Hera was a powerful goddess, the protector of women who presided over marriage and childbirth and frequently punished offending husbands. As husband and wife Hera and Zeus had many quarrels and disagreements, most of which were due to the infidelities of Zeus and the jealous nature of Hera. As gods they both had great supernatural powers and abilities and these were used to devastating, and often cruel, degrees during their clashes which featured strongly in the legends and mythology of the Ancient Greeks.
The King and Queen of the gods on Mount Olympus
The Children of Hera and Zeus
The names of their children were:
- Ares - the god of war)
- Hebe - the goddess of youth
- Eileithyia - the goddess of childbirth
- Hephaestus, Hebe and Eileithyia
The Children of Hera and Zeus - Hephaestus
Hephaestus, was the only Greek god who was ugly. When Hera first saw Hephaestus she was so affronted by his ugly appearance that she threw him into the sea from the summit of Mount Olympus, causing him to become lame. So although Hera was closely linked with marriage and family she was not a particularly good mother. Hephaestus took revenge on Hera for rejecting him by making her a beautiful, magical throne but when she sat on it she was unable to rise. He then left Mount Olympus in a rage. The other gods begged Hephaestus to return to Mount Olympus to release Hera from the throne, but he repeatedly refused. The god Dionysus visited him, they rank wine and Hephaestus became intoxicated. Dionysus took him back to Mount Olympus on the back of a mule. Hephaestus then released Hera from the throne after she gave him the goddess Aphrodite as his wife.
Hera and Zeus - the Infidelities of Zeus
The liaisons between mortals and Zeus led to the birth of famous demigods and included the hero Perseus and Hercules. The names of the lovers of Zeus included Antiope, Callisto, Danae, Europa, Electra, Leda, Leto, Maria, Taygete, Niobe, Io, Semele, Themis, Mnemosyne, Demeter and Alcmene. So Hera did have a lot to put up with! Zeus would appear to mortal women in the guise of various creatures and then seduce them. The myths and legends of Zeus the lover included his seduction of Leda in the form of a swan and Europa in the form of a bull. Hera hated his mistresses and sought revenge on many of them and their children, the demigods.