Hera and Herakles

in Numen
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Abstract

For reasons of symmetry between Zeus and Hera, Hera is identified with the night sky; further arguments in favour of this interpretation are the myth about the origin of the Milky Way, Hera's epitheton bo-opis (with the great shining eye, the Moon) and the etymological argument, that old-indian svarga means the sky. A further result of this interpretation is not only that the enmity between Hera and Herakles, the night sky and the morning sun, becomes intelligeable, but also the etymology Herakles = "he who is famous by Hera"; for Herakles' deeds, which have made him famous, are performed on the twelve constellations of the Zodiac, which ornate the night sky However, if it is tried to set the twelve deeds of Herakles in parallel to the successive overpowering of the twelve constellations of the Zodiac by the morning sun, it is seen that this correspondence holds only for 4 out of 12 cases.

Numen

International Review for the History of Religions

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