A Month of Devotional Thought — Hera, Day 8

This is an interesting topic for me today, as it concerns variations in how the Goddess Hera is portrayed, both in aspects and regional variations. Many of the titles and epithets of Hera concern her aspects. They detail her role in the life-cycle of women during the Pre-Christian and Late Roman Imperial eras. She was intimately involved in the areas of marriage and childbirth, as one of the only major Olympian Goddesses to be married.

As far as the local variations, it seems that during the Mycenaean and Classical Periods, her Cultus was found more in the southern part of Greece with her temple at Olympia actually being older than the temple honoring Zeus. Her worship seems to have been particularly prominent in the area of Argos, which includes the city-state of Sparta. And because of Linear B writings, Hera may even have been worshipped during the Minoan era in Greece.

Her worship was also found in the Greek Aegean islands and spread to the southern part of Italy prior to Hera’s adoption by the Romans and her being syncretized with  Juno. It is in Juno, however that we see more of the aspecting that people generally refer to. Juno Moneta (the admonisher) was more of a martial deity than is typically seen in Hera, even though Hera did go to war, against the Titans, Giants/Monsters (such as Typhon), and also in the Trojan war where she fought on the side of the Greeks against the Trojans due to Paris’ choice of Aphrodite over her. Juno Moneta was actually believed to slay guards who fell asleep on watch, and as such could be thought to have a guardian role for the Romans similar to her title of Hyperkheiria where the title evokes an image of Hera’s hand being “over” a person or place protectively.

There is actually, a lot of material concerning Hera and her various variations in several sources — more than I could include in a short post. I encourage people to look into these variations, so that more people can see past the stereotypes that Hollywood and modern books (such as the Percy Jackson series — which are otherwise not terribly bad) have created.

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