Tag Archives: Juno

Mythic Heroes: Hercules

Hercules in Marble

Hercules (Greek-Heracles) was the demi-god son of Jupiter  (Greek – Zeus) and the most beautiful of all women, Alceme. Hercules attributes included a lion skin and a gnarled club that was his favorite weapon. Throughout his career as a hero, he killed many monsters and made the world safer for mankind.

Hercules & the Nemean Lion

Juno hated the children of Zeus that were not hers and often gave them trouble.  When Hercules was born, Juno slipped snakes into his cradle.  Hercules killed the snakes with his massive strength.  During his adult life, Juno sent Hercules into a blind rage in which he killed wife and children.  Hercules consulted the Oracle of Delphi (we’ll visit her in a few days) for expiation.  The Oracle sent him to Eurystheus, the king of Mycenae, who (with the spiteful assistance of Juno) assigned him a set of impossible tasks that became known as the Labors of Hercules which took 12 years.  His labors included killing the Nemean lion, destroying the Lernaean Hydra, capturing the Ceryneian Hind, trapping the Erymanthian boar, cleaning the Augean stables, destroying the Stymphalian birds, capturing the Cretan bull, rounding up the Mares of Diomedes, taking Hippolyte’s girdle, returning the cattle of Geryon, delivering the golden apples of the Hesperides,  and capturing the Cerberus from Tartarus.

Kevin Sorbo as Hercules

After Hercules was married the second time, he killed the centaur Nessus with a poisoned arrow for abducting his wife.  Before Nessus died, he gave Hercules’ wife Deianeira a vial of blood and told her that the blood was a love potion that would bring Hercules back to her when he strayed.  When she suspected he had been unfaithful, she sent him a cloak that had the blood spread in it.  When he donned the cloak, the blood burned like acid and destroyed his body.  Hercules died in horrific pain.  He was taken to Olympus and deified.  His wife committed suicide in despair.

Tomorrow,  The Heroes of the Trojan War   Rita Bay

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The Olympians: Hera & Her Sisters

Hera (Juno)

Mount Olympus
 

When Zeus overthrew his father Cronos, he rescued his brothers Poseidon and Hades and sisters Hera, Ceres, and Hestia. Together, they cast Cronos into Tartarus. Then, they all ruled the world from Mount Olympus.

With her marriage to Zeus, Hera (Juno) became queen of the gods. She was also the goddess of the sky and heavens, women, marriage and family. Her symbols included the peacock, pomegranate, crown, cuckoo, lion and cow.  She was usually depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a crown and holding a royal, lotus-tipped staff. She was accompanied by a royal lion, cuckoo or hawk. She was known for seeking revenge against her unfaithful husband Zeus’ girlfriends and their families. 

Hestia (Vesta)

Hestia (Roman Vesta) was the goddess of the hearth, architecture, and of the right ordering of domesticity and the family. She received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household.  She presided over the cooking of bread and the preparation of the family meal. Hestia was also the goddess of the sacrificial flame and received a share of every sacrifice to the gods. She never married, despite being pursued by Apollo and Poseidon.  Instead, Zeus allowed her to reside at his royal hearth. Hestia was depicted as a modestly veiled woman sometimes holding a flowered branch. A kettle was her attribute.  The community hearth of a city served as her official sanctuary. With the establishment of a new colony, flame from Hestia’s public hearth in the mother city would be carried to the new settlement.

Demeter (Ceres)

Demeter (Ceres) was the goddess of fertility, agriculture, nature, and the seasons. Her symbols included the poppy, wheat, torch, and pig. Demeter was depicted as a mature woman, often crowned and holding sheaves of wheat and a torch.  As an Earth Mother figure, she was honored for providing food for the people of Earth. 

When Hades kidnapped her daughter Demeter and carried her to his realm as his queen, she wandered the earth searching for her daughter and mourning her loss.  Seeing the destruction she was causing, Zeus decreed that Persephone return to her mother IF she had not eaten anything while in the Underworld.  Since she had consumed six of the twelve seeds of a pomegranate, she had to remain with Hades for six months of the year.  Demeter mourned her loss, which is how winter came to the earth.

Tomorrow, The Olympians, Gen #2      Rita Bay

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