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Hebe (pronounciation: He-bee) is the Olympian goddess of youth, prime of life and forgiveness and the former cupbearer to the gods in Greek Mythology.


Genealogy and Family[]

Hebe is the daughter of Zeus and Hera and the sister of Ares, Hephaestus and Eileithyia.

After Heracles, became a full God and rose to Olympus, he was rewarded with Hebe to marry. The couple went on to have twin sons, Alexiares and Anicetus, who became gatekeepers of Olympus with their father.

Role and Significance[]

Hebe is the Olympian goddess of youth and prime of life, she is the keeper of the fountain of youth, and the first and former cup-bearer to the Gods, as such she used to serve Nectar and Ambrosia to the gods to help them maintain their youthfulness.

Hebe is a member of both Hera and Aphrodite's retinues, joining and helping them both.

Hebe used to assist her mother Hera into her carriage and drew baths for her brother Ares, which were typical chores for high ranking, unmarried women in Ancient Greece.

Hebe was venerated in temples especially in those of Athens and Sicyon and also prayed to for forgiveness exclusively in Sicyon.   

Furthermore, Hebe was associated with marriage and was the patron goddess of Brides. Unmarried girls worshipped her to find their suitors and at marriages Hebe was also worshipped with Hera and Aphrodite too, this also being influenced by Hebe's love marriage to Heracles against her mother's wishes.

Hebe had one yearly festival dedicated to her in Ancient Greece, Kissotomoi.

Stories[]

Hebe, the youngest daughter of Hera and Zeus was concieved by Hera after eating Lettuce. In the tale, Hera who was sick and tired of Zeus' extramarital affairs became pregnant with two children including Hebe, without having intercourse with her husband. She travelled to the end of the world in the realm of Oceanus and Tethys. She went to the garden of Flora and touched a sole. It was a nameless plant from the land of Olene and with one touch, Hera became pregnant with Ares.

When she returned to the garden sometime later, she was with her step- son, Apollo. There they had dinner together. While dining, she found Lettuce and ate it. After eating the Lettuce, she was pregnant with her daughter Hebe.

There are two different stories to the demise of Hebe's job as the Cupbearer of the Gods, one is that after she married Heracles her job was passed to Zeus' lover and protégé, Ganymede. Another story is that once whilst serving the gods her dress became undone by accident exposing her chest in public which made Apollo remove her from her cupbearing responsibilities. In both versions Ganymede would take over as Cupbearer to the Gods.

According to the Playwright, Euripides, Hebe granted Iolaus’ wish to become young again to fight Eurystheus during a war, originally Hebe was reluctant to bestow the older man with a young warrior’s strength and youthful spirit. But after Themis, who was a seer, convinced her that her gift could end the war, she performed the miracle.

Appearance[]

Hebe was described as one of the most beautiful goddesses.

Historically she was portrayed as a young virgin wearing a golden wreath or flower garland with a sleeveless dress made up of varying colours.

Hebe was sometimes depicted with one or both of her parents, with Aphrodite or beside an eagle, sometimes feeding from the golden cup in her hand too. Hebe was also often depicted in wedding scenes too.

She was a remarkably popular figure in art from 1750 to 1880.

Personality[]

Hebe loves a good joke, and a good hug. She's very warm and open-minded to everyone, and doesn't hesitate to tell what's on her mind. Hebe is also brave. 

Powers and Skills[]

Hebe possesses: eternal youth and immortality, she does not require sleep and is invulnerable to any illnesses and diseases humans may experience. Unique powers to Hebe include her ability to make any old being physically young again.

Titles and Epithets[]

Hebe was often given the epithet, Ganymeda meaning "gladdening princess". Some of her other epithets were Dia meaning "heavenly", "divine", or "she who belongs to Zeus" and Basileia meaning "princess".

Symbols[]

Hebe's symbols are a wine cup, the eagle, the ivy plant, the fountain of youth and wings. The Lettuce is also sacred to to Hebe.

Relationships[]

Hera- Hera is Hebe's mother, queen and close friend. Hebe is generally very loyal and obedient to Hera but rebelled against her at least once when she married to Heracles and gave him eternal youth, the latter further angering Hera, on top of their marriage. Hebe also serves in Hera's retinue, fulfilling chores for her such as harnessing her horse amongst other things. In religion, the two were strongly associated with each other.

Zeus- Zeus, the King of the Gods is Hebe's father. Zeus holds much trust in Hebe to fulfil her important duties to the gods and humanity.

Ares- Ares, the God of War is Hebe's brother, she used to draw baths for him. Not much else is known about their relationship.

Heracles- Hebe married Heracles, the greatest hero of mankind when he became deified on his funeral pyre at Mount Olympus, an event which helped Heracles reconcile with his stepmother, Hera. Heracles and Hebe have a happy marriage together, the couple also had two sons, Alexiares and Anicetus.

Aphrodite- The two get along well with Hebe being a member of Aphrodite's retinue, Hebe was also described as dancing with Aphrodite and serving as her herald and bridal attendant.

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

Her name 'Hebe' literally means "youth" and is spelt Ἡβη in Ancient Greek.

Hebe's opposite is Geras, the god of old age.

Hebe was also the patron goddess of sinners, former slaves and prisoners in Ancient Greece.

The goddess Iris is also responsible for distributing nectar and ambrosia to the gods.

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