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Zeus was king of the gods, and his lightening bolt was something of a supreme weapon in the clash with the titans.

And yet, Zeus is often depicted as a hen-pecked husband, fearful of his wife.

What power does Hera have over Zeus?

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She's a daughter of Zeus in her own right, and so has some power on his footing. However, I wouldn't say Zeus is a hen-pecked husband. In the Iliad (560-569), Zeus states unequivocally that he is the supreme being of the universe:

Zeus, the cloud gatherer, spoke out in response:
“My dear lady, you’re always fancying things.
Your attention picks up every detail.
But you can’t do anything about it,
except push yourself still further from my heart,
making matters so much worse for you.
If things are as they are, then that’s the way
I want them. So sit down quietly.
Do as I say. If not, then all the gods
here on Olympus won’t be any help,
when I reach out to set my hands on you,
for they’re invincible.”
Zeus finished speaking.
Ox-eyed queen Hera was afraid—so she sat down,
silently suppressing what her heart desired.

That said, Hera is his wife, so why deliberately incur her wrath? That's the real reason to hide affairs, human or divine.

  • I did up-vote, but for an accepted answer, you will need to research much more widely. Homer is subtle, and literal interpretations are not always sufficient. One of the functions of the Iliad may be said to elevate the humanity of mortals by contrasting their dignity with the Olympians, who are not generally portrayed well. In other words, the Iliad is subversive. – DukeZhou Mar 3 '17 at 19:41
  • @DukeZhou I'm not sure of the connection between your comment and the original question. Can you clarify what you're looking for? – C. M. Weimer Mar 3 '17 at 20:29
  • You reference one quote from the Iliad taken out of context. The answer that will ultimately be accepted will cover a much broader body of material regarding Zeus and Hera, and likely require non-literal analysis of the intents of the texts cited. (Myths are generally allegorical.) – DukeZhou Mar 3 '17 at 20:31

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