While all Greek gods and goddesses hold special symbols, Hera, the queen of Olympus and wife of Zeus, is considered the most powerful Greek goddess. She's symbolized through a lotus-staff and cuckoo, pomegranate, and a peacock.
Hera is the goddess of women, family, and marriage. She is also the goddess of childbirth and the protector of women during that critical time.
The Portrait of Hera and Her Different Symbols
Even though she’s a goddess, Hera was always portrayed modestly. She was depicted wearing a loose flowing robe with a crown and holding a lotus scepter with a cuckoo or pomegranate engraved on it.
The cuckoo symbolizes the way Zeus wooed Hera, and the pomegranate is the symbol of fertility. Apart from these, there are other symbols of sacred animals associated with Hera.
The scepter is Hera’s most iconic symbol. Hera is always portrayed holding a scepter in her hand. She was the queen of the gods and ruled heaven. The scepter symbolized her position and power.
The cow symbolizes motherhood and fertility, and Goddess Hera is also the goddess of fertility, married women, and family. In her case, the cow is also seen as the symbolic partner of Zeus’ bull.
Moreover, according to ancient Greek beauty standards, large, dark wide eyes, like a cow, were considered a desired physical trait. Hera was believed to have this feature.
The peacock feather symbolizes Hera’s wisdom and that she is watching everything, and nothing can escape her eyes.
There is an interesting story behind the peacock feathers and why they are associated with the Greek Goddess Hera.
Argos, or Argus Panoptes, was one of Hera’s loyal servants and a hundred-eyed monster. Upon Argos’s death, Hera placed his hundred eyes on the peacock’s feather and ultimately turned the monster into a peacock.
The cuckoo, or its melodious voice, goes back to the Greek myths when Zeus wooed Hera. According to the myths, Zeus transformed into an injured cuckoo to woo Hera and gain her sympathy.
There are various portraits of Hera. When she was shown wearing the golden diadem, it symbolized Hera’s royal power and superior position over the other gods of Mount Olympus.
There is an interesting story behind the symbol of Lily and its association with Hera. According to Greek mythology, Hera’s child Heracles was feeding so vigorously that she had to pull him off her breast. When she did that, the droplets of her breast milk created lilies on earth, and her milk created the Milky Way galaxy.
The lion is another symbol associated with Hera. The mighty animal represents Hera’s power, strength, and immortality.
Hera Symbol in Other Mythologies
Hera, the Greek Goddess, is the most powerful Goddess who ruled over the twelve Olympians on Mount Olympus. We see several different aspects of Hera’s persona, but mainly that she was the matriarchal figure in all mythologies and the head of every household.
Hera in Roman Mythology
In Roman mythology, Hera is known as Juno. Juno attributed the same qualities as Hera, and her sacred animal was the peacock. Romans worshipped Juno as the Goddess of marriage, and she watched over the women of Rome.
The Romans also called her Regina, which means queen. The only difference between the portrayal of Hera and Juno was their appearance. Juno was always presented in warlike attire, fully armed, which reflected her powers.
Hera had characteristics similar to pre-Hellenic goddesses. Some scholars say that she was originally the Goddess of ancient prehistoric people that followed the matriarchal structure.
Origin of Greek Goddess Hera
Hera was the eldest daughter of the youngest Titan, Cronus, and Rhea. However, her father swallowed her and her siblings, Zeus, Hestia, Demeter, Poseidon, and Hades, because a prophecy said that Cronus would be overthrown by one of his children.
But Rhea managed to hide their youngest child Zeus, and he later regurgitated all his siblings. Later Zeus married Hera, which made her one of the most potent Goddesses of Mount Olympus.
Hera & Zeus
As mentioned before as well, Hera was Zeus’ wife. But this marriage was not a happy one. When Zeus offered his proposal, Hera refused because Zeus was her brother.
But Zeus tricked her by transforming himself into a cuckoo. He pretended to be wounded and stood in sorrow outside Hera’s window. When Hera got the bird inside her room to heal him, he returned to his original form and rapped Hera.
Hera had no choice but to agree to marry him out of shame. But even though it was an undesirable marriage, Hera always remained loyal to Zeus. However, he still engaged in so many illicit relationships outside of marriage.
This inflicted jealousy, and Hera is known for her jealous and vengeful nature. The target of her vengeance was especially the adulterous lovers of Zeus. Zeus had numerous affairs with many women, and Hera directed all her energy into tormenting them.
Her jealousy sometimes went to the extent of killing them and trying to make their lives as hard as possible.
Hera has so many children, and there is no clear evidence about the exact number of her children.
- Ares/Eris- God of War
- Angelos- Goddess Of the Underworld
- Arge- A nymph
- Charites- Goddesses Of Grace and Beauty
- Eileithyia- Goddess Of Childbirth
- Enyo- War Goddess
- Eleutheria- Signifies liberty
- Eris- Goddess Of Discord
- Hephaestus- God Of Fire & Forge
- Hebe- Goddess Of Youth
There are so many other stories associated with the Greek Goddess Hera. Being the queen of heaven, she enjoyed enormous powers. Hera held an irreplaceable position among the people of ancient Greece.