Hebe, Goddess of Youth, Youngest Daughter of Zeus

Meet the Greek Goddess Hebe. Discover her powers and characteristics, know the most popular legends of her history and influences.

hebe goddess

Hebe the Goddess of Youth

Hebe Goddess of Youth, it is said that in ancient Greek tradition, the female offspring of the household served any guest. Even the daughters of deities were not exempt from these duties. As the youngest daughter of Zeus and Hera, it was Hebe’s job to bring her golden chalice filled with nectar and ambrosia, the food and drink of the gods, and the sustenance of immortality.

Also included in her duties were the tasks of preparing her mother’s chariot and preparing the bath for her brother Ares. Despite her seemingly mundane duties, Hebe also had advantages. She had the gift of eternal youth, and that was reflected in her teenage figure and fresh appearance. In later days, after Heracles was granted his divinity, she became his wife and they had twin sons together.


Hebe is known as the child of Zeus and Hera, but there is another myth that Hera conceived her by eating wild lettuce while dining with the god Apollo. Either way, Hebe was often found serving nectar to Zeus’ guest gods and goddesses. That is, of course, until the day she tripped, had an embarrassing closet malfunction and her breasts fell out of her dress. Apollo fired her from her job as cup bearer and she was replaced by young Ganymede, a boy, and her father’s lover and protégé.

Family of Hebe goddess of youth

According to the Odyssey, after Herakles’ mortal life ended, he ascended Mount Olympus, where he was granted both divinity and the goddess of youth as his wife. These rewards were for his heroism during Gigantomachy, the war of the gods and giants. But they had to go through Hera first, as she never cared much for Heracles, the son fathered by her husband and one of his many mistresses. In the end, Hera appeared and Hebe and Heracles were married. Later they had twins, Alexiares and Anicetus.


One of Hebe’s best known roles was her participation in a tragedy written by Euripides in 430 B.C. and called Heracleidae, meaning sons of Heracles. The protagonist Iolaus is an old man and friend of the late and now divine Heracles. Iolaus asks Hebe to make him young again for a day so that he can fight the enemy Eurystheus who tried to kill the Heracleidae.

A quote from the play translated by Ralph Gladstone from the English-language book Euripides: Four Tragedies. Ed. by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore:

  • To Zeus and Hebe, to regain their youth.
  • For just one day, and take total revenge.
  • Then came the most amazing thing of all!
  • Two stars shone on the yoke. They cast a dark
  • Cloud over the whole car, and the people who
  • You should know were Hebe and yours.
  • Great son. Then the mist lifted to reveal
  • A young man with big biceps.
  • Iolaus was victorious!

Hebe diosa de la juventud

Modern Influence

Hebe was a popular subject for painters and sculptors in Europe from the mid-18th century through the 19th century. Many of his works can be found in various museums and galleries around the world. In the early 19th century there was a movement in the United States that prompted the construction of temperance fountains to discourage the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Also, in Tompkins Square Park in New York City. There is still a statue of Hebe by Bertel Thorwaldsen, a Dutch sculptor.

In Chicago’s Grant Park there is a bronze statue of Hebe and a fountain that was funded by the Joseph Rosenberg Foundation in the mid-19th century. Rosenberg grew up in the Chicago area and worked as a newsboy. He was unable to convince local grocers to give him some water along his route. As a result, he decided that if he was ever wealthy, he would create a fountain where working children could easily get a drink.

It was sculpted in Germany by Franz Machtl. As the quest for eternal youth continues to this day. Replicas of statues of the goddess are a popular choice in private gardens and fountains.

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