Hera was the wife and sister of thunderbolt-chucking Zeus in Ancient Greece. She usually comes across as a high-class, snooty, and arrogant woman who would stop at nothing to make everyone else's life hellish. She is rarely shown in a sympathetic light, though much blame for this is heaped on Zeus, who was a total prick.
Hera has been portrayed by artists as an attractive woman when smiling. When she wasn't smiling, you were advised to stand well clear! Her temper was notorious, and if she caught another woman having it off with her hubby, Hera would be after them like an unleashed hell hound. Hera is also responsible for the Milky Way. So the band of stars visible in the night sky is simply Hera's dried boob juice.
Besides being the sister of Zeus, Hera's other siblings were Hades, Poseidon, Demeter and Hestia. Her parents were Cronus (old father Time-Warner) and Rhea, a goddess who looked just like a bird and gave birth like one. Cronus had read a prophecy that if his wife gave birth to children, he was to eat them whole. So Hera ended up inside the crowded stomach of her father, sharing the space with the rest of her family - bar Zeus who was yet to be born. Must have been a very cramped experience and she was only liberated from that confined space when Zeus defeated his father and obliged his pa to regurgitate the rest of the family. This was the first time Hera had seen sunshine since she was born.
Zeus needed a wife and this being the Hill Billy Era of Ancient Greek history, naturally chose one of his sisters to be that spouse. Hera was the most appealing of her sisters (to Zeus). The Greeks said Hera had 'cow eyes' whereas Demeter smelt like one and Hestia was about as attractive as the back end of a milker. So Hera got her brother. However he was to learn that Hera was not just 'cow eyed' but the full Jersey cream in due course.
According to the myths, Zeus and Hera enjoyed a three hundred year honeymoon, rarely leaving the couch except to wash, watch a porn video and order a Greek feta salad from room service. This extended bout of bedroom activity in due course led to the birth of Ares (Brutal War), Eris (Violent Arguments), Hebe (Service with a Smile) and Eileithyia (Call the Midwife) . Zeus disclaimed paternity of Hephaestus claiming Hera must have sneaked off with a quickie with his brother Hades since Hephaestus was as ugly as the God of the Underworld.
Job description and Zeus's Infidelities
Hera's job was the Goddess of Marriage and the marital way, a somewhat ironic title considering the lengthy list of women (and possibly a few men) that Zeus got busy impregnating. One imagines Hera needed a wall chart to keep up but at the same time, seems always surprised when she found out that Zeus was up to his old tricks. Since Hera couldn't directly attack her husbands various bastards, she made it extra hard on the women who had let the God into their bedrooms.
Zeus's first bout of 'extra marital' was with Hera's dumb sister Demeter which produced Persephone. Then Zeus embarked on a mighty shag fest all over Greece which in due time produced a number of new gods including Apollo, Artemis, Hermes and the permanently sozzled Dionysus. The other fruits of Zeus's over active loins included Perseus, Pollux and Heracles. The last child was especially those most telling as his name translated into Greek as 'Hera Will Love Me Like Her Own'. Hera first met him when she was fooled into suckling the infant hero (she thought it was a grandson whose name she couldn't remember) but so vigorous and painful was Heracles's suckling, that she let go of him. A spray of breast milk shot out her nipples and sprayed into the sky to become the Milky Way.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Hera reserved her special wrath of Heracles. They would eventually be reconciled when the hero married Hebe but only after Heracles had gone through two marriages, a frenzy of child murder, 12 dangerous labours and tasks and a final, agonising death from poison.
Hera's revenge affair and a beauty contest
Eventually Hera got her own back at a party. She befriended a Greek hunk called Xion at a dinner party who was either unaware of her identity or didn't care. Legend says Zeus created a cloud in Hera's shape for Xion to hump in enthusiastically before the 'big reveal'. Xion's punishment was to be strapped to a fiery wheel and somersault for ever in the deaths of hell. Unsurprisingly with Zeus's filthy temper, Hera found it hard to find any male friends. One she did know was Tiresias, a priest and astrologer who had received an unwanted sex change after coming across to horned vipers entwining. Going by the name of Tiresia she had worked for Hera as her diary editor until another chance encounter with writhing reptiles turned her back into a man. Zeus tolerated this gender reversal and permitted Tiresias to carry on working with his wife. Then one evening Zeus asked Tiresias if he enjoyed sex more as a woman than a man. Tiresias said men had more fun - for which Hera struck her employee blind and toothless in one go. Zeus apologised and granted Tiresias a long life and the gift of foresight except when it came to the lottery.
Later Hera entered a beauty contest for an apple against Aphrodite and Athena. Hera expected to win considering Aphrodite had 'gnat bites' rather than breasts whilst Athena was 'all muscle and gristle'. Paris who had made the judgement against Hera would in due time lose his family, country and life for that in the Trojan War.
Eventually Hera dropped out of all myths and moved to Italy where they called her Juno and gave her a special month to brood over (June). This didn't do the trick and eventually Hera/Juno retired permanently to her bed with a giant box of chocolate and a Twitter account to attack her cheating husband and his reputation.