Hera and Apollon

My daughter just a few months ago mentioned to me how she absolutely had to have a Hera statue. She had one of Apollon, and one of Zeus, and she just needed one of Hera. I can sympathize because Hera is one of the Olympians I don’t have a statue for and it is frustrating. Out of curiousity I asked her why. She said because Apollon needs his mom there. Now this viewpoint confused me for a minute since mythically we all know Leto is his mom. Even she knows that. The comment stuck in my head though, and what is interesting was when I was reading Thrace and the Thracians the book mentioned some devotional work that depicts Hera as mother of Artemis and Apollon. Naturally my reaction was ” whoa! huh?” I can understand a connection between them, as a sort of step-mother/fostermother role. Granted, I can accept that different regions likely would have had different mythos of the gods too. But it just got me thinking of Hera as a sort of foster mother role. Leto is the mother of Apollon and Artemis, and they are depicted frequently interating with their mother. However, at the same time I can imagine an elevation through the nurturing provided by Hera. Mythic account in the Iliad of Hera whipping Artemis with her bow certainly strikes me as a maternal action as a discplinary measure. Technically outside of parental figures one doesn’t see alot of punishment that is the equivalent of a spanking. Second is that the selection of gods as Olympians is a very small one comparable to the vast majority of gods out there. There are only 12, and nearly half of them share a sibling relationship. Hestia, Hera, Zeus, Poseidon and Demeter. Then other 7 are Ares, Athena, Hephaistos, Hermes, Apollon, Artemis, and Aphrodite. Of those Aphrodite is almost related as a sibling because seh was born from the crastration of Cronos. Ares and Hephaistos are both considered sons of Hera and Zeus. So that leaves just a few in selection as children of Zeus among his many many MANY children that he has sired through myth. Athena, Hermes, Artemis and Apollon. As I have mentioned there is some representation already of Artemis and Apollon as children of Hera in Thrace, it would be interesting to see if there is any such imagery connected with Athena and Hermes that depicts a foster-mother relationship with the gods. I would think that this relationship would be part of their status. There are, for instance, images of Herakles and Hera that are maternal in appearance that are directly related the acceptance of him as a god. Anyhoo just food for though.

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