Hera and Zeus are among the most famous of all mythological couples. Many people are able to name them, and they recognize that Hera is Zeus’s wife. Many different traits have been attributed to both Hera and Zeus. However, the both of them are identified as a husband and wife pair very strongly. Some people are positive towards them. However, it is always important for people to keep the nature of Greek society and Greek mythology in mind. When describing a heavenly marriage – Hera and Zeus story – people are going to have to be somewhat ironic about it.
While Hera holds the distinction of being Zeus’s wife, the story of how they met is going to be familiar to almost anyone who knows about Zeus in general. Zeus was infamous for the fact that he was shockingly lascivious. Falling into hopeless infatuation with various women was par for the course for Zeus. He was casually walking through the Greek region of Hesperides, an area known for its natural beauty, when he caught a glimpse of Hera.
Hera, like most of the Greek goddesses, was remarkably beautiful. She certainly tends to be depicted that way in statues, and she meets the Greek standard of beauty very strongly. Zeus didn’t need much more of a reason than that to fall desperately in love with her. However, Zeus was not the sort of man who would approach a woman directly and form a relationship with her honestly. In order to start a relationship with Hera, Zeus resorted to the tactic that he often used with women: shape-shifting.
Zeus turned himself into a cuckoo bird. Specifically, he made himself look like a wounded cuckoo bird on the verge of freezing to death. He successfully managed to play on Hera’s sympathies and compassion, since she took the apparently poor and ailing cuckoo into her home in order to help the bird. When Zeus gained access to Hera’s home in the form of a cuckoo bird, he quickly revealed who and what he actually was. The two of them quickly became intimate.
Zeus then promptly brought Hera to the Cithaeron mountain so they could be legally married. This was partly a matter of Zeus trying to legitimize their previous relations, given the strict social mores associated with marriage and virginity in Greek society. Ancient Greek people apparently believed that even the gods could and should have been subjected to those sorts of regulations and rules, or they could never have imagined a society without them. Hera soon became the goddess of marriage and almost everything associated with it, making her the veritable symbol of many of these social mores in Greek society.
Hera and Zeus certainly had a lavish wedding by the standards of the time. The ceremony was performed in the beautiful Garden of Hesperides. Greek ceremonies like these often had various sacrifices, and that’s what Hera and Zeus had in their honor, in addition to various other honors.
The other gods were literally singing hymns of praise for the newly wedded couple, singing about the wonder of the occasion. All of the gods brought their own gifts. Gaea, the goddess of the Earth, had the most notable gifts of all. She was eager to offer a quince, which was the Greek symbol of love. She also created a tree blossom festooned with golden apples for Hera. Hera loved the gift enough to plant the tree along the seaside in her garden. Gaea blessed the couple with happiness in general.
The honeymoon period of any relationship is often said to be brief. However, for Hera and Zeus, it lasted for a shocking three hundred years. They spent it on the Greek island of Samos. Many Greeks used this myth in order to talk about the Earth’s fertility, or the enduring power of marital love.
People who know more about Zeus and Hera are well aware of the fact that Zeus did not honor monogamous marriage vows. Hera was hugely jealous and threatened by his endless romantic encounters with other women, which often followed a similar pattern as their own. However, at least the two of them had a much longer honeymoon period than the majority of married couples, even if it was still probably too short for them.