Hera, Hestia, and Poseidon

Authored by: Robin Hard

The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138652606
eBook ISBN: 9781315624136
Adobe ISBN:


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Chapter 6 examines the nature and mythology of the three great Olympian deities of the oldest generation who have yet to be considered, starting with Hera. Although her cult was largely independent of Zeus, most of her mythology is connected with her marriage to him, consisting either of myths and cultic traditions that tell of the circumstances of their wedding or first intercourse, or of revenge stories in which she persecutes his mistresses. Hestia, the virgin goddess of the hearth, requires brief coverage because she makes almost no appearance in myth. The rest of the chapter is devoted to Poseidon, whose nature is discussed initially in relation to his main functions as the great god of the seas and as the lord of earthquakes and of horses. Some characteristic myths are then considered in which he competes unsuccessfully with other deities for possession of various lands, most notably with Athena for Athens and with Hera for Argos, before passing on to his marriage to Amphitrite and the children of their union, of whom the sea-god Triton was the most significant; and reference is finally made to the many children he was supposed to have fathered by mortal women.

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