Hera became queen of the gods when she married her brother Zeus. While Hera is his most well known wife, she was actually Zeus' fourth or fifth wife depending on the legend. Long before she married her brother, she was a powerful goddess in her own right. One of the six children born to the Titans Cronus and Rhea, Hera grew to maturity in the belly of her father Cronus, emerging first of her sisters when Zeus poisoned Cronus.
Marriage and Children
Her marriage to Zeus was not founded on love. Zeus courted his sister, but she refused him time and again. Zeus disguised himself as a bird, when Hera cuddled the bird, he transformed into himself and seduced her. Some legends call it rape, while still others say she was swayed by his seduction. In the end, Hera succumbed to Zeus' wishes and the pair were married.
After marrying Zeus, Hera gave birth to Hephaestus. Zeus disliked the look of his son and threw him down the mountain in a fit of rage, leaving the smith forever lamed. Her second child with Zeus was the goddess Hebe and their third was Ares, god of war.
Some legends state that Hera conceived her own children without the help of Zeus.
Rebellion in Olympus
Marriage did little to dampen Zeus' ardor. He strayed against his marriage with mortals and goddesses alike. In addition to these insults, he often favored his mortal born children over the children he shared with Hera. When Zeus' leadership grew tyrannical, Hera convinced her brothers, sisters and fellow Olympians to follow her. She slipped a drug into Zeus' food and bound in him a thousand knots and chains, to teach him a lesson.
Unfortunately, one goddess felt some loyalty to her King and freed him. Zeus' wrath was fearsome. He hung Hera from the heaven in chains where she wept for many days and nights. Zeus made her swear an oath that she would never lead a rebellion against him again before releasing her. Despite her acceptance of the oath, Hera acted against Zeus by striking at his lovers and children.
Goddess of Marriage
Hera was the patron goddess of marriage. Marriage vows were made to Hera and she had particular fondness for married women. Romans adopted Hera along with the other Greek gods, naming her Juno. The month of June was named in honor of the goddess and June remains a popular month for weddings in modern western culture.