From The Religions of the Ancient World” by George Rawlinson, 1883
“The anthropomorphism which was so main an element in the Greek religion made it requisite that motherhood, as well as fatherhood, should be enthroned in the Olympic sphere, that Zeus should have his consort, heaven its queen, and women their representative in the highest celestial position. Hera was, perhaps, originally Era, ” the Earth” but this idea was soon lost sight of, and in Greek mythology, from first to last, she is quite other than the principle of mundane fecundity, quite a different being from the oriental earth-goddess, called indifferently Cybele, DindymenS, Magna Mater, Rhea, Beltis, Mylitta, etc. Hera is, primarily, the wife of Zeus, the queen of the Olympic court, the mistress of heaven. She is “a reflected image of Zeus,” and exercises all her husband’s prerogatives, thunders, shakes Olympus, makes Iris her messenger, gives her orders to the Winds and the Sun, confers valour, and the like.
As the personification of maternity, she presides over child-birth ; and the Eileithyise, her daughters, act as her ministers. She does not present to us an elevated idea of female perfection, since, despite her exalted rank, she is subject to numerous feminine infirmities. Mr. Grote notes that she is “proud, jealous, and bitter.” Mr. Gladstone observes that she is passionate, wanting in moral elevation, cruel, vindictive, and unscrupulous. Her mythological presentation was certainly not of a nature to improve the character of those women who might take her for their model; since, although she was possessed of certain great qualities, passion, fervor, strong affection, self command, courage, acuteness, yet she was, on the whole, wanting in the main elements of female excellence, gentleness, softness, tenderness, patience, submission to wrong, self renunciation, reticence. She was a proud, grand, haughty, powerful queen ; not a kind, helpful, persuasive, loving woman. The mythology of Greece is in few points less satisfactory than in the type of female character which it exhibits at the head of its pantheon.”