Hebe, Cup-bearer of the Gods

After Hercules died, became a god, and ascended to Mount Olympus, he married yet again, to the goddess Hebe, who was the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Hebe had the honor of being the gods' cup-bearer, pouring and bringing them wine.

London 1971.11-1.1, Attic black figure dinos, c. 580 B.C.
Hebe, wearing a fancy embroidered tunic, sandals, and jewelry, with the god Dionysos. Note the inscription of her name next to her.
Photograph courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum, London

Now the gods, seated by the side of Zeus, were holding assembly on the golden floor, and in their midst the queenly Hebe poured them nectar, and they with golden goblets pledged one the other...

Homer, Iliad 4.1

Hebe was worshipped as a goddess of pardons or forgiveness; freed prisoners would hang their chains in the sacred grove of her sanctuary at Phlius.

Philadelphia MS5462, Attic red figure pyxis, c. 350 B.C.
Hercules with his bride, Hebe
Photograph by Maria Daniels, courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Museum

And mighty Heracles, the valiant son of neat-ankled Alcmena, when he had finished his grievous toils, made Hebe the child of great Zeus and goldshod Hera his shy wife in snowy Olympus. Happy he! For he has finished his great work and lives amongst the undying gods, untroubled and unaging all his days.

Hesiod, Theogony 950


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