In good times and bad

Besides dance challenges and trending memes, Tik-Tok, the most popular app of Gen Z also offers accounts that focus on Greek mythology. The creator of @daddypersephone reflects on the unconventional – or only too conventional – marriage of Zeus and Hera, and treats the adulterous adventures of the king of the gods with spot-on humour. One example:

Indeed, Hera had no mercy on either Zeus’ lovers or his innocent offsprings. She had a gadfly drive Io, the Argive princess, who had been transformed into a heifer, to wander the world without rest. Hera was also responsible for the death of Semele, the mother of Dionysos. She provoked the Theban king’s daughter to ask Zeus to reveal himself in all his glory. His oath forced the god to comply, and the mortal Semele perished on seeing the divine blaze. Hera even made the life of Heracles, one of the most famous offsprings of the chief deity into a living hell: she induced madness upon the hero, who was compelled to kill his own children – then atoned for his crime by carrying out his twelve labours.

It would be tempting to condemn the vengeful Hera, were we not to recognise ourselves in her figure: what we lack is only the divine means the Olympians had at their disposal.

Featured image: 19th century drawing of a detail of the Parthenon’s east frieze: Iris, Hera and Zeus © The Trustees of the British Museum
Image gallery: 1. Athenian red-figure stamnos: Hermes slays Argos, who watches over Io (early 5th century BC) © KHM-Museumsverband; 2. Detail of a Roman sarcophagus: Semele on her deathbed (ca. 190 AD) © The Walters Art Museum / CC0; 3. Paestan red-figure bell krater, Asteas: the mad Heracles (350–320 BC) © Madrid, Museo Arqueológico Nacional, 11094 / Public Domain
TikTok videos: 1.@daddypersephone; 2.@daddypersephone

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