Hera was the Olympian queen of the gods and the goddess of women and marriage. She was also a goddess of the sky and starry heavens. She was usually depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a crown and holding a royal, lotus-tipped staff. Sometimes she held a royal lion or had a cuckoo or hawk as her familiar.
Some of the more famous myths featuring the goddess include:--
- Her marriage to Zeus and her earlier seduction by the god in the guise of a cuckoo bird;
- The birth of Hephaistos who she produced alone and cast from heaven because he was crippled;
- Her persecution of the consorts of Zeus, especially Leto, Semele and Alkmene;
- Her persecution of Herakles and Dionysos, the favourite bastard sons of Zeus;
- The punishment of Ixion, who was chained to a fiery wheel for attempting to violate the goddess;
- The assisting of the Argonauts in their quest for the golden fleece, their leader Jason being one of her favourites;
- The judgement of Paris, in which she competed against Aphrodite and Athene for the prize of the golden apple;
- The Trojan War, in which she assisted the Greeks.