Hera’s MDT – Day 8: Regional Variations

Χαίρετε πάντες!

Today’s topic is regional varieties and aspects of Hera. I kind of already did this yesterday, as I went a bit more deeply into her epithets than simply listing the titles and translations thereof.

I do not believe she has a regional variance that is a particularly departing from her commonly viewed nature. She is a Goddess of the State of Governance, Patroness of Statesmen (and -women), a mighty Goddess in her own right and not just through her marriage with Zeus.

In Sparta, she had a cult founded to avert a devastating flood of the Eurotas-rover, as Hera Hyperkheiria. And also as Goat Eating Hera (Aigophagos) as Herakles founded the cult and sacrificed goats to her, lacking other sacrificial animals. She had regional cults tied to Heroes at Sikyon and Korinthos, and as a Charioteer in Olympia and Lebadeia. On Sicily, she was worshipped as Hera Sikelia, Sicilian Hera, and in Picenum as Argoia for her patronage over the expedition of Iason and the Argonauts, a cult said to have been founded by Iason.

To lengthen this post a bit I will now also discuss some syncretisms. Most notably she was identified with the Roman Goddess Iuno, who is the quintessential Women’s Goddess. A Goddess who is the amalgamation of the countless individual Iunones, guardian spirits that each woman has one of in Roman religion. She is also viewed as the spouse of Iuppiter, the supreme protector of Roman civilisation. The Etruscan Goddess that is identified with her is Uni, and in Picenum there is an indigenous Goddess named Kypra who was worshipped in a syncretic cult.

The Carthaginian Goddess Tanit is also often considered equivalent by the Romans, yet the Pyrgi tablets and the Christian theologian Augustinus of Hippo claimed that “Iuno was called Astarte in the Punic tongue”. Through interpretatio Graeca this could also make Hera identifiable with Tanit and Astarte, though Astarte is more clearly linked to Aphrodite in Hellenic sources.

That’ll do it, for now, I think.

Ἔρρωσο.

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