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Hera is not the only goddess of her generation, being a sister to Demeter and Hestia. Furthermore, Aphrodite, in the Hesiodic account, is older, originating from the batter of Ouranos' severed junk when it was discarded and cast into the sea.

Why is then Hera queen of the gods?

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    The simple answer is that Hera is queen by virtue of marrying Zeus. – yannis Mar 3 '17 at 9:48
  • @yannis, that would garner an up-vote, but not be accepted as the answer. That said, I think even the simple answer is useful as a place to begin. – DukeZhou Mar 3 '17 at 20:15
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    I suspected you aren't looking for the simple answer here, hence why I posted it as a comment. However, I don't think it's obvious from your question what you would consider the answer. Apart from being Zeus' wife, Hera isn't otherwise special. – yannis Mar 3 '17 at 21:10
  • Are you asking this Question specifically, because there are older goddesses than Hera, why none of them (your example being Aphrodite) is Queen; &/or are you looking for a symbolic [psycho?]analysis of Hera's character & attributes, & such; or both, or... am I even remotely on track here? – Adinkra Jun 24 '17 at 12:35
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Without touching on the issues attendant to the idea of someone asking a question with 'the answer' already in mind, let alone trying to suss whatever that might be out, I'm going to answer as cogently and enjoyably as I can, even if the range of potentials I give might make it uncomfortably close to opining.

I would preface this by saying I'm answering for Hera in the Greek mythos, not Juno over on the Italian peninsula, though I suppose a lot of the same reasoning might apply.

To begin with, and buttressing yannis's comment, there is an appreciable amount of merit in the idea that Hera is queen of the gods because she's the consort of Zeus, who is the king. This is very linear, though, and comes out sounding like premature certainty (hey, it happens to every guy a few times in his life).

Moving along, considering Hera's attributes on their own, there is some reason to call her the queen. The first argument I'd advance is based on her 'birth order'. Greek tradition varies on this, but one of the most popular is that Kronos and Rhea had six children, first three females and then three males. In this tradition the order is Hestia, Demeter, Hera, followed by Hades, Poseidon and Zeus. Hesiod's Theogeny favors this order. However, Kronos's bad child-eating habits, and Zeus's freeing his siblings from their father's stomach later on, means they have two 'birth' orders - the first reckoning from Rhea's vagina, the second from Kronos's mouth - and in this sense Zeus is both the youngest and oldest. This is, incidentally, one of the bases for Hestia's epithet 'First and Last', but more to the point places Hera as the first, and therefore primary, of the goddesses.

Moreover, we ought consider the somewhat murky etymology of her name. If it derives ultimately from a feminine form of 'heros' - as in 'the ascendant male' - then she is the ascendant, and paramount, female.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, we must concern ourselves with Hera's bailiwick as goddess of marriage, domesticity, womanliness and, in an attenuated sense, motherhood. If a king is the 'father' of a nation (or if he is popularly seen this way) then a queen would be a mother to a nation. By the reflexive property, a mother would be a queen. Most mothers' 'royal' prerogative extends only so far as their property line or the influence over their relatives and social circles, whereas Hera's would encompass Olympus and the 'nation' of the deities who rule from there. This cannot be seen to emanate from Zeus's authority, as each is necessary for the existence and validity of the other, and the fact that Zeus commonly carries the epithet '(husband) of Hera' stands as evidence that Hera's power/prerogative/authority is distinct from Zeus's, even if the two end up irrevocably intertwined.

Cheers!

  • The truth is, I have some ideas, but no certainly. It's been a while I was in a classroom where this was touched on, and I'm interested in other people's thoughts and links to any scholarly articles on the subject. I think your answer is quite worthwhile. – DukeZhou Mar 7 '17 at 22:30

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