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Hebe

Ἣβη

Goddess of Youth

Hebe

Immortals Index
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Daughter of Zeus and Hera

Hebe is the daughter of Zeus and Hera, and the sister of Ares [god of War] and Eileithyia [goddess of childbirth]. Her name literally means Youth and for that reason she is sometimes thought of as the goddess of youth and spring. Hebe had the good fortune to have the ancient goddess Gaia [Earth] as her nurse … Gaia is Hebe's great-grandmother.

Hebe, the Graces, the Hours, Harmonia and Aphrodite join hands and dance when Apollon leaves his shrine in Pytho and travels to Mount Olympos. With the Muses and his sister Artemis, Apollon sings of the unending gifts the Immortals enjoy and the plight of the mere mortals, who must endure the pains of illness and the failings of old age.

Hebe's role in the Iliad seems to be one of gentle cooperation and selfless affection towards her mother Hera, and her brother Ares. When Hera prepared to leave Mount Olympos, Hebe attended her mother's chariot and when Ares was wounded on the battlefield of Troy, Hebe comforted him.

After his tragic mortal life had ended, Herakles ascended to Mount Olympos where he wedded Hebe "of the golden crown." Hebe's marriage to Herakles can only be seen as a reward for the long suffering hero and a blessing for the kindhearted young goddess. Herakles and Hebe had one son, Alexiares.

Hebe is often confused with the Roman goddess, Juventas.

Hebe in the Iliad

[from four different translations]

Richmond Lattimore

Loeb Classical Library

Robert Fagles

Robert Fitzgerald

Other Text References

Theogony

Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollon

Homeric Hymn to Herakles the Lion-Hearted XV

The Histories by Herodotus

Description of Greece by Pausanias

Library of History by Diodorus Siculus

Hebe

Hebe as seen on a Canthare-Vase found on the island of Rhodes, 500-475 BCE.

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