Hera is the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. The cow, lion and the peacock were considered sacred to her. Hera's mother is Rhea and her father Cronus.
Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos, Hera may bear a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. Hera was also known for her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus' lovers and offspring, but also against mortals who crossed her, such as Pelias. Paris also earned Hera's hatred by choosing Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess.
Hera presides over the right arrangements of the marriage and is the archetype of the union in the marriage bed, but she is not notable as a mother. The legitimate offspring of her union with Zeus are Ares (the god of war), Hebe (the goddess of youth), Eris (the goddess of discord) and Eileithyia (goddess of childbirth).
Hera was jealous of Zeus' giving birth to Athena without recourse to her, so she gave birth to Hephaestus without him, though in some stories, he is the son of her and Zeus. Hera was then disgusted with Hephaestus' ugliness and threw him from Mount Olympus.
Hera constantly battled with her husband’s infidelity and she often took swift revenge. Leto was so punished through Hera promising to curse any land that gave the pregnant goddess refuge. Only after months of wanderings could Leto find a place (Delos) to give birth to her son, the god Apollo. Even then, Hera had her daughter Eileithyia prolong the labor to nine months. Other victims of Hera’s jealousy were Semele, who was tricked by Hera into asking Zeus to reveal himself in all his godly splendor and the sight immediately destroyed her. Callisto was another of Zeus’ lovers who caught the wrath of Hera as she was turned into a bear and hunted by Artemis. Zeus, in pity, later made her into a constellation, the Bear.
Hera is also known to be an enemy of the mighty Greek hero Heracles, evident when she sent two serpents to kill him as he lay in his cot. Heracles throttled a single snake in each hand and was found by his nurse playing with their limp bodies as if they were a child's toys. She even manipulated him into killing his family and attempting to make each of his Twelve Labors increasingly difficult.