Mythology Monday: Divine Marriages

Mythology Monday: Divine Marriages
Hera and Zeus, Temple E in Selinunte, ca 450 BCE (public domain)

This is my #MythologyMonday thread on divine marriages in article form. There are quite a few of those in Greek mythology. The anniversary of Zeus' and Hera's wedding is coming up, celebrated in ancient Greece in the form of the Theogamia festival on 27 Gamelion, corresponding to 18 February this year.

Gamelion was the luckiest month to have a wedding in ancient Greece, just as June was particularly lucky for the ancient Romans due to its association with Hera's Roman counterpart Juno.
Zeus and Hera went all out with their wedding with Zeus loving Hera passionately for 300 years.

Eros himself pulled their chariot and Gaia gifted them the Garden of the Hesperides with its famous golden apples. The Moirai (Fates) formally united Hera and Zeus in the midst of the wedding festivities that were thought to have taken place on Crete, the childhood home of Zeus.

Ladon of Hesperides by bschu on DeviantArt
Art of the Hesperides in the Garden of the Hesperides, snuggling with Ladon, dragon guardian of the place, by bschu (Brendon Schumacker)

One story relates how Zeus and Hera had Hermes invite every god and mortal to their wedding. And all showed up except one: the nymph Chelone refused to come and mocked the wedding. Hermes went out of his way to go back down to earth and changed her into the first tortoise, one of his sacred animals.

But Zeus and Hera are not the only gods who got married. Their brother Poseidon had his eyes set on Amphitrite, eldest of the 50 nereid nymphs. But she fled his advances and hid herself away at the ends of the earth.
The dolphin-god Delphin eventually tracked Amphitrite down and either persuaded her to wed Poseidon after all or told Poseidon where she was, so the god straightway carried off the goddess and overcame her against her will. At least he made her his bride and Queen of the Sea.

The Last Bacchae
“Salty water ballad”Amphitrite is the wife of Poseidon, and the eldest of the fifty Nereids, sea nymphs according to Hesiod daughters of Nereus and Doris, and of Okeanos and Thetys for Apollodorus....
Art of Amphitrite by @TheLastBacchae

Their bro Hades also decided to abduct his wife in one of the most popular stories in Greek mythology. He did ask her father Zeus for her hand but neglected to tell his sister Demeter, her mother, almost causing the wipe-out of all mortal life on earth. In a bittersweet ending, Demeter's daughter Persephone now spends half a year with her mother and half a year with her husband, causing the change of the seasons when Demeter's grief halts the growth of plants. Persephone, I like to believe, is happy she can enjoy both worlds: earth and the underworld.

If you enjoy the story of Hades and Persephone, check out Linda Sejic's comic Punderworld:

Demeter, by the way, chose not to get married. She lives a life of sexual independence, taking lovers as she pleases, while her sister Hestia also chose to remain unwed but as an eternal virgin.

I wrote a story about the two of them as a Patreon reward:

Hestia x Demeter: Comfort

Of the younger generation of gods, only Dionysos, Hephaistos, and Hebe got married. Hebe, goddess of youth and daughter of Zeus and Hera, was given away to Herakles after his deification as an act of reconsiliation between him and Hera.

Hephaistos famously won the hand of Aphrodite. But it wasn't a lucky match and ended in possibly the only formal divorce on Olympus. After Hephaistos caught her in flagranti with her lover Ares, and got together all other Olympian gods to see them, he demanded Zeus take her back and got married to the Grace Aglaia instead.

Dionysos was the only god to marry a mortal, though she was a in fact a demigoddess. When Ariadne was abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos, either because he broke his word to marry her or because Dionysos threatened him, the god successfully wooed her and they got married.

Olimpo: gioie e disagi

The wedding of Dionysos and Ariadne was attended by all the gods and they all brought wedding gifts. Aphrodite gave a crown of shining stars which later became the constellation Corona. Apollon sang with his locks flowing down his shoulders, and the Erotes brandished their torches.

I cannot throw you a divine wedding but I can promise you a merry time reading about the erotic exploits of the gods (married or otherwise) with a subscription: