Teaching Students About the Goddess, Hera

Teaching students about Greek mythology is a captivating way to encourage them to learn about ancient civilizations and their rich cultural heritage. One of the key Olympian gods who should be introduced to students is Hera, the goddess of marriage and family. As the wife of Zeus and queen of the gods, she played a significant role in the mythological world and serves as a powerful symbol for love, loyalty, and family unity. This article will explore ways to teach students about Hera, her relationships with other gods, how she was honored in ancient Greek society and uncover her significance in our understanding of Greek mythology today.

1. Introducing Hera’s role in Greek Mythology

Begin by introducing Hera’s place among the twelve Olympian gods as well as her role as a major deity in ancient Greece. Present her as the sister and wife of Zeus, king of the gods, illustrating the importance of her position. Mention that she often displayed jealousy due to Zeus’ numerous infidelities, leading to her sovereignty over marital loyalty.

2. Discussing Hera’s Attributes and Epithets

As with other gods and goddesses in Greek mythology, multiple symbols are associated with Hera. For example, the peacock represented her beauty and pride, while the cow symbolized motherhood and nurturing qualities. Furthermore, various epithets like “Hera Ox-Eyed” or “Hera Tall-Stepped” were used by poets to describe her characteristics.

Explain these symbols and epithets to your students so they can gain a deeper understanding of how ancient Greeks viewed their deities. This will also help students comprehend how these symbols were representative of broader themes present in mythological stories.

3. Exploring Myths involving Hera

There are several mythological narratives where Hera plays a central role – either as an ally or an antagonist – making it essential to include some of these stories in your teaching practice. By learning about Hera’s involvement in myths featuring figures such as Heracles, Io, and Leto, students can better understand her influence on the ancient Greek people and their beliefs.

Encourage students to analyze the relationship between Hera and Zeus, paying attention to the ensuing conflicts due to Zeus’ numerous extramarital affairs. By highlighting these points, students will gain a deeper understanding of Hera’s connections within Greek myths and the role of marriage and family within ancient Greece.

4. Hera’s Worship across Ancient Greece

After discussing Hera’s mythical significance, broaden your coverage by exploring how she was worshipped across ancient Greece. Describe the temples dedicated to her – particularly the sanctuary of Hera at Argos known as “Heraion” – which was one of the most important religious sites for ancient Greeks.

Having students understand how myths were tied to rituals and everyday life will show them that her role wasn’t merely limited to mythology but touched all aspects of society at the time.


Teaching students about Hera is an exciting way to engage them in learning about Greek mythology and related cultural history. By delving into her attributes, myths involving her, and her worship across ancient Greece, educators can help students gain a more comprehensive understanding of a fascinating figure who represents a powerful symbol for love, loyalty, and family unity.

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