Hera’s MDT – Day 17: How does Hera relate to other pantheons?

Χαίρετε πάντες!

Today’s topic is the foreign Goddesses that Hera was identified with. I already touched upon this in previous posts, but I’ll recapitulate a bit here.

The most obvious identification of Hera with a foreign Goddess is, of course, the Roman Iuno, who like her was a quintessential Women’s Goddess, wife of Iuppiter and Queen of the Roman Gods. All of these reasons make the identification very easy to make and understand. It has come to a point where the general public often thinks of them (and indeed all Hellenic and Roman Deities) as one and the same. Whether they are truly one ontological being I will not answer here, nor do I feel like I can really make any statement about. My thoughts on the matter are that they should be considered and treated as distinct Goddesses unless either Goddess indicates to you that they are the same. I believe ancient syncretisms were more meant to indicate that the Deities are like each other, to say that “this is their Hera”, not necessarily making a statement about them being one and the same.

Via this Iuno Hera can also be identified with Uni, the Etruscan Goddess with a similar domain and who is the wife of Tinia, the counterpart to Iuppiter and Zeus. Iuno is also commonly associated with the Punic Goddess Tanith, so through interpretatio Graeca, one could make the same identification with Hera. Uni was also identified with Astarte however, and through this Iuno was as well. While interpretatio Graeca might then suggest Hera is identifiable with Astarte, the Hellenes very strongly identified Astarte with Aphrodite. The identification of Uni and Iuno with Astarte might be influenced by specifically Etruscan and Roman traits of Uni and Iuno respectively, which are not as present, if at all, in Iuno.

Hera could also sometimes be identified with Isis, but Isis was identified with various Goddesses. I feel that Isis was definitely considered a distinct Goddess, more clearly so than with other syncretisms, and these identifications were rather clearly meant to illustrate the various parts of Isis’ domain rather than constitute any actual claim of them being the same ontological entity.

That is about all I know and can say of Goddesses that were in antiquity identified with Hera.



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