A Month of Devotional Thought — Hera, Day 20

While yesterday’s post was on what I particularly like about Hera, today’s is the opposite. What about Hera do I find particularly problematic?

For me, the thing which I find about Hera to be problematic is that a goddess who can be so caring can also be extremely vindictive — often seeming to be taking out her anger on people other than the one she is angry with.

There are many examples in Hellenic mythology of this trait, especially in her treatment of the paramours of her husband Zeus. One of the more “extreme” examples of this is in the treatment of the Titaness Leto, mother of the twins Apollon and Artemis. Hera decreed that Leto could not give birth on any land then existing. It took the island of Delos rising out of the sea AFTER this decree for Leto to finally able to bring forth her children.

Another famous example is in her ire against the Trojans due to the prince Paris giving the golden apple thrown by Eris to Aphrodite. Even after the end of the war the Aeneid tells of her ire extending to the remainder of the Trojans who fled the city — particularly Aeneas, son of Aphrodite, who was the mythic ancestor of Julius Caesar.

To me, this is what most people today seem to focus on with Hera instead of the things that are more likely what the Greeks of the Mycenaean and Classical periods did.

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