Table of Contents

Firstly, in Olympus Mrs Hera reigns Queen and overall in the Greek pantheon. On the surface Hera is no more than a chess piece whose is merely chosen to thoroughly dislike the Trojans simply due to the fact that she is deemed less fanciable in the infamous account of Paris’ Judgment. She may be the Queen of the divine yet mythologically she is rather complex and paradoxical since she is the goddess of lawful marriage and legitimate childbirth. Thus, she constitutes her own subordination. The paradox of the Great Goddess’ plays well into patriarchy and her subordination to Zeus, her ‘husband,’ is revealed in the persecution of lo by Hera herself. The Priestess of Hera whom Zeus has disguised as a cow and thus she gets the name ‘ox-eyed.’ Further, she is the only one who dares to stand up to Zeus, the epidemy of patriarchal dominance. Hera wishes to wipe out Troy from the map as to say this great fortress should be reduced to nothing but ashes. Her destructive nature can be traced all the way back to her origins in what is now seen as a dissident feminine mythology. When Zeus stands in her way, she uses certain techniques such as seduction and deceit to get what she wishes, the best example of this is when she borrows Aphrodite’s girdle to stop Zeus from interfering in the battle. There underneath the divine earth broke into young, fresh grass, / and into dewy clover, crocus and hyacinth / so thick and soft it held the hard ground deep away from them. / There they lay down together and drew about them a golden wonderful cloud, / and from it the glimmering dew descended Here, one sees a direct account of the earth goddess Hera once were, whose union to the sky god Zeus actually causes vegetation to spring from the earth. Although this may be true, in the Iliad her main concern is that of the sanctity of marriage for humans rather than the divine. Thus, within the framework of the narrative se is much more than just an incarnation of mother earth, she is a much stronger and vigorous individual. She may concern herself with the union of two individuals, yet marriage is far from presented as a positive image of women. And, when it comes to their role it is far from favourable. When Zeus comes to the realisation that his lovemaking with his wife is part of a greater scheme, he gets furious and threatens Hera with a horrific beating. This violent punishment reminds her of the numerous others she has been victim to previously. For all Hera’s willingness to change her situation, she simply strengthens the power of the patriarch. Furthermore, in myth she is most often depicted as a wife and a queen. As a mother figure she is nothing to write home about. Doing her loveless marriage to Zeus they get two daughters and two sons where the last was lame. In Homer’s account Hera was so ashamed of her his handicap that she preceded to throw him of Mount Olympus.Then there is a goddess we honour and respect in our house. / She saved me when I suffered much at the time of my great fall / through the will of my own brazen-faced mother, who wanted to hide me for being lame. / Then my soul would have taken much suffering had not Eurynome and Thetis caught me and held me… / No other among gods and mortal men knew about us / except Eurynome and Thetis. / They knew since they saved me As a wife Hera may be held in high regard but as a mother she certainly is not. When it comes to Hephaestus, she has no motherly instinct, the same cannot be said for the sea nymphs who not only gave him a safe base, love and later a job. She does not seem to be a bragger either since it was only, she who knew and the sea nymphs since they saved him. She may not be much of mother but the notion of discarding one’s disabled children is not a new phenomenon apparently. Nowadays, one still hears of families neglecting their disabled children but not going as far as to murder them. Then again, some studies suggest that one should go for an abortion rather than carrying out the pregnancy if the child is disabled. Hera may have literally thrown her youngest out of Olympus, but he does get his revenge in the end. This revenge comes in the form of a gilded throne, when Hera places herself in this throne she is immediately chained with invisible chains. When Hephaestus hear of his mother falling for his trap and his fellow gods wishing him to free her, he simply answers ‘I have no mother.’ He only agrees to release Hera if he gets offered Aphrodite’s hand in marriage and all this is done in a state of significant drunkenness. In reality, this is not the only time she cruelly mistreats her own flesh and blood. Many a myth tells of her torturing and subsequent slaughtering of her many children with the skirt-caser that is Zeus. In one horrific instance she wishes Dionysus to become a plaything for the Titans. The most famous instance is by no doubt the twelve labours of Heracles. These cruelties often lead her to be depicted as a wicked stepmother rather than the caring maternal figure women should strive to be. Thus, one can conclude that she is most often depicted as malicious, irrational and power-hungry. In contrast, to how she is depicted in later myths she has a powerful origin as a powerful pre-Olympic deity. Hesiod details the divine progression from female-dominated generations, characterised by natural, earthy emotional qualities, to the superior and rational monarchy of Olympian Zeus. Whether this corresponds to a historical change in Greek religion from emphasis on the worship of female divinities to that of male divinities is unclear… In the quotation above one sees that at some point in history the Greek changed their worship of female deities to their male counterparts where Zeus is the most prominent. This change puts the ox-eyed Hera in a weaker position than that of the powerful former earth-goddess and thus a victim of patriarchy. Mr O’Brien suggests that ‘Homer’s Hera rises out of the ashes of an early embodiment of matriarchal chaos.’ Out from this one can conclude that Hera has close connections to the creation of new life and the general creativeness of feminine mythos. Despite this connection her marriage to Zeus put her in such a position that she cannot obtain any power in the universe. As stated by Mrs Mary Daly: ‘As patriarchy became the dominant societal structure, a common means of legitimisation of this transition from gynocentric society was forcible marriage of the Triple Goddess.’ Here, it is seen that through marriage males can obtain power and thus we have the dynamic of ‘the ruler and the ruled.’ Building upon this a marriage should also provide a common understand and comfort which is not the case in this marriage. Further, Hera’s ‘sudden’ loss of power combined with her move down in rank leads not only to rebellion but also to her fury. Yet, this righteous fury mixed with her helplessness against the tyrant Zeus is more laughable than heroic:Crucially, this Hera has no power to smite. However, artfully she and Sleep tame Zeus, her machinations never passage cosmic ruin. They amuse, not frighten. Zeus may be outmanoeuvred, but he has the power to smite as once before he subdued Typhon and her. This nurse of monsters has lost her bite. Hera may have a hunger power but her inability to obtain this combined with her forced compliance with patriarchy makes her out to be merely a shell of what she once may have been. Mrs Hera is not the only goddess we encounter, in this great narrative, with great cosmic powers. These goddesses also have an inner discussion with their former selves and how to present the primal ‘Great Mother.’ According to Jean Shinoda Bolen, a feminist psychologist: The Great Mother Goddess became fragmented into many lesser goddesses, each receiving attributes that had once belonged to her. This simply suggests that what once was have only been cut down to something lesser. One can see Aphrodite and Athena as significant examples of this ‘Great Mother.’ They seem to be a somewhat satisfactory model for the woman who wishes to stand up the patriarch. Secondly, Aphrodite who is the embodiment of sexual attraction and deep affection originally this was the powerful force of creation. In the patriarchal framework of Greek myth, she is reduced to nothing more than a flirt or a mistress. Despite her youthful appearance, Aphrodite is an ancient mighty deity who is associated with the waters of life due to her birth from sea foam. Yet, more interesting is her union with Ares which show the intriguing dynamics of love and war. Whenever, Aphrodite wishes to get something, she much like Helen uses her beauty and sense of sexuality to roll men around her finger. Yet, this sense of allure and pure sexuality also makes her an easy target for objectification. In the framework of the Iliad Aphrodite works through her marionets of Helen and even Hera herself. This marionet show is in full swing when she uses Helen to get information out of the Trojans.Surely there is no blame on Trojans and strong-grieved Achaeans / if for long time they suffer hardship for a woman like this one. Out from this we can gather that these elders are simply fascinated by her immense grace, elegance and danger. Indeed, they cannot blame Paris for taking this bribe from Aphrodite. In the same fashion Aphrodite helps Hera seducing her husband by lending her girdle to her. As a divine being, Aphrodite has often been linked to the Semitic goddess of love, Ishtar, who was worshipped in Ancient Mesopotamia. They were alike in more ways than one, for example both were associated with the intriguing dynamic of love and war. How come, this dynamic is related to women in these ancient religions may it be because even then women were seen as dangerous. Or may it be because, like Sappho, they argue that desire is always a component of war. Then there is question of whether or women really are the weaker sex or is it simply do to their religious focus being more in a matriarchal vain than the much later move to a stronger emphasis on the patriarch. This remains to be seen. When it comes to titles, Aphrodite has to title of Heavenly (Urania) while Ishtar has the honour of being the Queen of Heaven. In continuation of this, worshippers often used incense sticks to honour them and the sacrifice of doves were common as well. Moreover, many an ancient text argue that Ishtar especially was associated with sacred prostitution which archaeologists along with experts in the field has found to be inaccurate. In regard to Aphrodite and her centres of worship there have also been accounts of priests reading erotica and some claiming that prostitution took place at her temple. A much-published example is that of the Corinthian athlete Xenophon who had won two disciplines at the Olympics in 464 BC with the help of Aphrodite. In this deal he had promised to dedicate a handful of escorts to her as a thanks. This renowned exchange was immortalised in Pindar’s Fragment 122.Young woman visited by many, / attendants of Persuasion in wealthy Corinth, / who burn the fresh, amber drops of frankincense often fluttering in thought to the mother of loves, / Ouranian Aphrodite. / To you without blame she granted… Based on this, one may argue that there was a fragment of the professional who sold themselves in order to keep their promise to Aphrodite if they achieved what they wished. If one look past Helen’s circumstances one may even argue the she herself became a lady of the night in order to appease Aphrodite. Thus, if one should look at Helen in this matter one should also look past her familiar bond her and the goddess of love share and thus her advantages in terms of seduction and manipulation. This may also attempt to explain her twisted relationship with her captures brother.Thirdly, there is Athena who is the incarnation of wisdom of the Great Goddess since she was born from Zeus head this makes the great combination of the male archetype with the softness of the female. She also finds her own place within the world of men. At first her approach seems to be quite respectable. She is one of the greatest war goddesses in the Iliad, second only to Zeus himself, thus she has placed herself far above her brother Ares, who represents her male counterpart. Additionally, she is quickly being established as a defender of cities, most notable Athens, which makes her an urban deity who concerns herself with technology and culture of middle earth. Above all, she should be seen as a magnificent manager, this side to Athena is especially prevalent in times of war. This depiction of her is particularly interesting since she is not associated with chaos but rather strategy and discipline. Her strong focus on strategy, discipline and above all democracy is greatly emphasised when she motivates the Greeks to keep fighting.Son of Laërtes and seed of Zeus, resourceful Odysseus: / will it be this way? / Will you all hurl yourself into your Benched ships / and take flight homewards to the beloved land of your fathers, / and would you thus leave to Priam and to the Trojans Helen of Argos, / to glory over, for whose sake many Achaians lost their lives in Troy / far from their own native country? / Go now along the host of the Athaians, give way no longer, / speak to each man in words of gentleness and draw them backwards, / nor let them drag down to the salt sea their oarswept vessels Here, one sees a back and forth between Athena and Odysseus where Athene herself admits that it is Odysseus ability to manipulate, she is interesting in. Plus, she uses his hunger for glory to point out why the Achaemenians should keep fighting. Another reason why she thinks they should keep fighting is to honour those men whom they lost instead of running home with their tails between their legs. Moreover, it is often through her aggressive masculine stances she exercises her power if not through words as seen in her empowerment speech to Odysseus. In both literature and art, she is depicted as a fearsome warrior this is also the case in the Iliad where she is one of many intervening in the war. On the battlefield she flies through the Greeks ranks bellowing war-cries to motivate them to go on. She has a finger in everything happening on the battlefield, from grabbing chariots, guiding spears into the chests of the enemy to fending off Trojan weapons with her bare hands. It is said that the mere sight of her golden helmet, enormous spear and flapping aiges strikes terror into her opponents. When she intervenes the Trojans die like flies, not even the noble Hector can hide from her. The greatest example of this is arguably the time when he is talked into fighting Achilleus. In this scene Athena plays the role of his brother to perfection by offering ‘his’ assistance. When Hector then agrees to fight, she only intervenes to hand back Achilleus his spear after a mis-throw after this she leaves Hector to face the music. Respect for fair play is not the warrior maiden’s strong suit though. Finally, while the grey-eyed Athena may have a great past as a matriarchal warrior goddess, despite this mighty history it is completely erased by her connection with the patriarch and thus her strength is purely derived from the patriarch himself rather than playing on her feminine nature. She has thus become more masculine in her appearance and manner, and thus being described as a lady driven by reasoning and intellect. Therefore, one may argue that she has lost her sense of the feminine by trading it for masculine brutality. Upon this one may suggest that she has neglected her roots in the feminine and more extremely her origin as a maternal figure.