================================================== Statue of  Hera Later identified with the Roman goddess Juno, Hera reigns as the greatest of the Olympian goddesses. She is both sister and wife to her male equivalent, Zeus. Among their children are Hephaestus (the god of metal work or the forge) and Ares (the god of war). In ancient Greece, festivals celebrating her marriage to Zeus took place almost everywhere. She is probably most famous for her violent, punitive, and jealous responses to the many affairs of her husband (if you haven't figured it out by now, the ordinary human rules of sexual conduct hardly applied to the gods)!

Hera became the protecting deity of wives as a result. Since it was difficult for her to get back at Zeus directly (the mythic gods had a hierarchy both sexual and otherwise which was used to validate Greek patriarchy) she vented her anger on the mistresses and illegitimate children of her husband. Heracles (known as Hercules to the Romans) was among her more frequent victims. So much so that their exploits spawned a popular syndicated television show! Eventually, she and Heracles made peace, however. Do I sense a grand finale to the series here?

Right: Hera holding a small horse.
(c. 6th century B.C.E.)
Obtained from Mythology and Western Art