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Hera was Zeus
wife and sister, and was raised by the Titans Oceanus and Tethys.
She was the supreme goddess, patron of marriage and childbirth, having a
special interest in protecting married women.
Her sacred animals were the cow
and the peacock, and she favoured the city of Argos.
Zeus initially
courted Hera, but after many unsuccessful attempts, he resorted
to trickery. He took the form of a disheveled cuckoo; Hera,
feeling sorry for the bird, held it to her breast to keep it warm. Zeus then
resumed his normal form and taking advantage of Hera‘s
surprise, he raped her. Hera then married him to cover her
shame; their marriage was turbulent and they often clashed.
Occasionally, Zeus treated
the other gods with particular harshness; Hera took
advantage of that and asked them to join her in a revolt. They all accepted and
set the plan in motion; Hera drugged Zeus,
and then, the others bound him to a couch. At that stage, however, they began
to argue over what the next step should be. Briareus, one of the Hecatoncheires,
overheard the arguments; still full of gratitude to Zeus for
saving him and his brothers from a dragon, Briareus sneaked in and quickly
untied the knots that held Zeus in place. Zeus sprang
from the couch and grabbed his thunderbolt. The gods fell to their knees
begging and pleading for mercy. He seized Hera and
hung her from the sky with gold chains. She wept in pain all night, but none of
the other gods dared to interfere. Her weeping
kept Zeus up, so the following morning, he agreed to release
her if she swore never to rebel again. She had little choice but to agree.
While she never again rebelled, she often interfered with Zeus‘s
plans and she was often able to outwit him.
Most stories
concerning Hera deal with her jealousy and her plans of revenge
for Zeus‘s infidelities.

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